Business Plan – Definition, Structure and How to write one

Definition – A Business Plan can be defined as well written and defined document that highlights and gives information about the nature of the business, the strategy of sales and marketing, financial background of the firm that contains the estimated profit and loss statement. It serves different purposes of the business.

It is quite necessary for every business to have a business plan in place that is aptly written in a professional fashion. It helps you to attract investors in the market and give a direction to the stakeholders of your firm. It is vital for the success of your business.

Essentials of a Business Plan

Executive summary of highlights the snapshot of your firm and business as a whole

Nature and description of your business

Analysis of your market that highlights on your target market, operative industry, and competitors in the market

Structure and management of your business and organization

Offerings of products or services

Marketing plans and sales strategy of your business

Funding that you will need to run your business in the time span of next 3 and 5 years

Financial projects such as balance sheets

Appendix, an optional section that comprises of resumes and permits

Anatomy of a Business Plan

Anatomy of a Business Plan

Types of Business Plan

1. Traditional Business Plan

Traditional Business Plan uses a standard structure and is more common in nature and usage as they showcase every section in detail. There is a lot of work involved writing the same and takes a dozen of pages to write it.

2. Lean Business Plan

Lean Business Plan is less common but still follows the same structure as the traditional one. It lays its focus on summarizing the key elements and important points of your business. It stretches only one page and takes almost an hour to prepare it.

How to write a Business Plan

How to write a Business Plan

1. Research and more Research:

To start writing the business plan, you will have to an immense amount of research on your product or service offerings, target market, and the objective of your expertise. As per experts, it is vital to spend more time researching on the vital elements of your business plan than you actually spend writing and executing the same. It is very much important to do thorough research on the nature of your business, products and service offerings, competition in the market, and your target audience.

It is your onus and responsibility to know every minute detail about your business and industry that you are planning to explore and enter.

2. Decide on the purpose of your Business Plan:

A business Plan works as a road map that gives direction to your business that helps to plan its future and avoid any obstacles on the road ahead. It is very important to keep this aspect in mind if you are bootstrapping or self-funding your business. And if you are planning for funding from outside by attracting the investors, you will have to plan the same in a different fashion as the plan needs to target them and their requirements.

3. Make your company profile:

The profile of your company is more of an About Us section as it talks about the history of your organization, the offerings of products or services, your target market and audience, your business resources, and what are pain areas that you are planning to solve of the target market with your product or service offerings.

The profile of your company is often made available on your website and is helpful in attracting investors and talent from the market. It is the first and foremost and the most vital element of your business plan and it talks about your company in brief.

4. Document all the facets of your business

If you are making a business plan to attract investors in the market, make sure that you incorporate and explain each and every minute detail as the investors want to make sure that your business will double up their money invested. And because of the same, they want to know everything about your business in detail. You will have to document cash flow statements, expenses statements, profit and loss statements, industry projects, licensing agreements, and location strategy amongst others.

5. Work on a strategic marketing plan

A good business plan always includes a strategic and aggressive marketing and promotional plan that comprises of the below-mentioned marketing objectives:

Introduction of new products and services in the market

Extending or retaining the markets for the existing line of the products

Exploring new market territories to expand your business operations

Being quite specific on the aspect that from where will your business grow and how will you boost sales for the particular product or service in the particular market.

Cross-selling your product with the other.

Refining your product

Formulating a long term association with your loyal customers

Strategy to raise the price of product and service offerings without hampering the sales

Have a content marketing strategy in place

Enhancing product delivery and manufacturing

Each of your marketing objectives should have specific goals and objectives to attain the overall business aims and objectives.

In the marketing plan of your business plan, you have to chalk out the entire tasks of promotions and marketing for the entire year having an edge of practicality and rationality.

6. Make the plan adaptable in nature for your target audience

When you are working on your business plan, you will have to make sure that it is quite adaptable in the nature to your readers or target audience. The potential readers of your business plan can range from investors, venture capitalists, employees, and bankers amongst others. Even though the list is quite diverse, but is a finite one as each type of your reader does have typical interests. And if you are well aware of their interests and business passions, you will be able to make the plan targeting them in the most efficient and effective fashion.

For instance, the venture capitalist will be more interested in the concept of your business and your management team. While the bankers will be keener on cash flow statements and balance sheets of your firm. And the manager of yours will keep on reading the business plan to remind himself of the objectives of the firm

Because of the same, you will have to keep on modifying and altering the plan considering your target audience. Make sure that the alterations are limited from one variation to the other. For instance, when you share the financial data of the firm, the other data needs to be the same across the entire plan.

7. Show that you care

When you are sharing your business plan with your set of investors, employees, bankers, or any of your team members, make sure that your plan should reflect your passion and dedication for your business.

You can list down all the mistakes that you have made with the learning from the same, the obstacles you faced, your business values, and what makes you stand apart from the competition in the market.

When you list all of the above details, you create a sort of emotional connection with your readers and target audience.