How to write a business plan from start to finish
Thinking about forming your own company? Well, there is a multitude of different factors to consider before taking this huge step. One thing that has to be considered in any business venture big or small is creating a solid basis for your idea. This is why knowing How to write a business plan is so important. A business plan is defined as a document that concludes the operational and financial objective of a business. It is essentially a business’s road map to success that details plans and budgets to show how the objectives will be achieved. A business plan will be able to demonstrate and guide how a company will achieve its goals. It is the standard for anyone starting a business to create a business plan as part of their first step.
Why are business plans necessary?
Having a business plan that is detailed and informative will help you track your business’s success or lack thereof; it will help you set business goals and objectives and be able to identify priorities and also set a benchmark for your priorities. It also helps you create strategies as you can include market research and a marketing strategy to make sure your priorities are aligned and your business’s audience is well-considered and runs smoothly. It is also paramount to have a business plan so you are better prepared to pitch to investors and funding campaign platforms. There are different business plans for different purposes today I’ll focus on business plan writing in the UK and how to write a business plan from start to finish. So, if you’re considering starting a business and want to know exactly how to create a plan then please do continue reading.
How to write a business plan from start to finish
A good business plan has a few components that must be included, no matter what your business is or how long you want your plan to be you’ll still need to cover some areas. Your business plan should be informative and tailored to your business regardless if you’re using a business plan template or writing one from scratch, you’ll still need to pay great attention to detail. Here are some simple steps on how to write a business plan from start to finish.
Before the fun begins research has to be a step, you’ll want to spend a lot of time on. You’ll need to research the fundamental information about your industry and business such as key data about the marketplace, your businesses competitors, its finances and any other relevant factors you think you’ll need to include. Keep a data-driven approach when researching, as this data can provide insights that you can use in your business plan.
The company description
In this section you should include in-depth information about your company itself, like your mission statement, include background information about the origins of it, problems that you intend on solving within your industry and the audience you want your business to reach. You should also include in your business plan what differentiates your business and what are the competitive advantages that will set it up for success.
You should also include the following:
- Details of when you started trading and the progress that you’ve made so far as a business
- Your business unique selling propositions (USP), each one should be related to your mission statement
- Include information about each expert on your team and the legal structure such as who the key stakeholders and partners are
- Details about your business patents or copyrights
Market and company analysis
Something that is a key consideration when you write a business plan is displaying what the market conditions are like in your industry. This section should involve in-depth research and is quite time-consuming. You’ll need to do competitive research to see what other businesses are doing and what their strengths and weaknesses are. You’ll also want to look at the different segments of the market and the types of customers in each and their spending habits. Identify the trends within these sectors what the result is for different businesses and also how much market share you hope to gain.
In addition, you should explore your existing or potential customers and create a profile of what your customers are like and their spending habits. If you are a small business or just starting you should also include who your prospects are and how you’ll generate leads.
Furthermore, this section should include what sets your business apart from its competitors, what are advantages it has that other businesses don’t. Is your pricing better or there is something unique about your services, be truthful but demonstrate your businesses strengths in comparison to other competitors.
Your marketing strategy is another fundamental piece of paperwork you must complete when writing a business plan. Creating a marketing strategy will focus on how you’re going to position your product or service in the market to relate to customers and generate sales.
Here are some key point you must include :
Channels. You’ll need to have a specific plan on how you’re going to market your service or product to customers. Which form of marketing will work best for reaching out to your consumers. What digital or platforms you want to use and how you plan on retaining your consumers once you’ve reached them.
Marketing budget. You’ll need to include data on how you plan to invest in your marketing campaigns. This will be important when forming your financial projection part of the business plan
Sales. Include your sales strategy and how long your sales cycle will be. In addition, explain the sale process and include whether an online checkout will be available and what the client onboarding processors look like (if applicable)
Organisation and management
For this section of your business plan, you should display the human resources you will have available to aid in the success of your business. As well as detailing how your company will be structured and who the executives and upper-level members will be to help run it. In addition, you’ll want to highlight the skills and strengths of the people in your team as well any particular gaps. Also, look at the size and scope of your workforce and how this compares to other businesses in the industry. Focus on how you may potentially grow your team through recruitment as well as accessing how you’ll manage if you lose a key member.
Service of product line
You should also include in your business plan (if your business offers products or services) what you plan on selling in great detail. You should include an explanation of how the products or service benefits your customer, having this information written in your business plan will be helpful if you want to get funding and need to write up a pitch deck. You should also include the product life cycle, based on research how long it can be sustained in the market with your industry after it is first released. Include information about intellectual properly (if applicable) like patent filing or copyright. Furthermore, have details about product testing that you’ve conducted for your product or services.
If your business plan is seeking funding, you should of course not miss this section when writing up your business plan. In great detail, explain how much funding you’ll need and what it will be allocated towards within a 3–5-year period.
All sections are important in a business plan and a financial forecast is not an expectation, this should follow the funding section of your business plan if you have included it. Writing up this part requires accurate knowledge of business finances and accounts and shouldn’t be taken lightly. This section should explain how much you expect to make, both over the first year of running your business and over five years. This section should convince the reader that your business can be financially stable and has the potential to be profitable long term so that investors can see it is a business worth investing in.
If your business is financially stable you should include historical data such as sales, gross margin and balance sheets for the past five years or less depending on how long your business has been running.
Perform a SWOT analysis
In this section, you should include an assessment of your business strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats that may arise. This will show you have considered all circumstances and aren’t going into the process of starting a business ignorantly.
The strengths should show your businesses USP, customer testimonials and factors that strengthen your position in the market such as experience, quality or price. Your weakness can include challenges that you may face and how you plan on overcoming them such as a niche market or lack of finances.
Using marketing research demonstrates how there may be an opportunity for your business to grow because your market may be changing. On the contrary, also demonstrate threats in your market that may hinder your businesses growth.
Write your executive summary
This is the final step to writing your business plan although it should be the first section of your business plan as it will summarize exactly what your company is, what it does and what you’re hoping to get from your readers. This summary should be written last because you’ll best understand your business and its goals extremely well. After all those hours of market research and accounting, you should know your business like the back of your hand.
In the summary, it is good to include the points you mention in the entire business plan in a few short sentences as well as a one-sentence overview.
The executive summary can be used to grab the attention of investors as it should best summarise your business, so they have an idea of what it is before they read your entire business plan.
Creating a business plan will give you direction on how to structure a successful business and also open the window for investment opportunities thus allowing your business to grow further. Writing a business plan from start to finish is no easy task and can take months to formulate depending on your expertise. If you would like guidance on creating a business plan or would like to pass the task onto someone who is far more experienced reach out to us today on our website http://bandfbusinessplans.co.uk/