Creating a solid business plan is absolutely essential to the creation or expansion of just about any business. Without regard to what kind of business it is, a business plan is like the blueprint for building a secure future as a successful entrepreneur. If you are applying for loans or grants as any part of your start up or for early operation costs you will have to have a well thought out, solid, workable business plan to submit with your application and other documents. If you are trying to attract investors for your business there is absolutely nothing to talk about until you present them with a business plan. Even if you have all your start up costs covered and you don’t require outside funding, a business plan is still a necessity to help you remain focused on your path, your goals, and your needs. It is a good idea to keep copies of your business plan in both PDF and Word digital formats as well as on printed copies because you never know when someone may run into you and ask you to mail or email them a copy.
Creating your business plan is so vital , that there are many professional business planners and websites that will consult with you and help you to write a professional business plan. Most small businesses are started either on a shoe string with very little liquid cash in the beginning so the majority of prospective entrepreneurs are stuck with the task of writing their business plan themselves. The internet is always a convenient place to research the requirements and proper formatting. You could also seek out newsgroups or websites for business owners to network socially and exchange ideas, information, and resources. There are numerous sites available that show you examples and give you outline structure into which you frame out your business plan..
What should be included?
In order to impress and win investors, grant organizations, and partnerships you want to first create a strategic plan that is clear and that is easily implemented or revised dependent on the results of application. Develop a competitive advantage, show how your idea and plan are better than other businesses to invest in. Do your research and know what you are talking about. Any numbers withing your plan, though they are projections, they still have to make sense and in practice they need to be attainable goals. Devote a separate section of your business plan to the S.W.O.T Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. When you analyze the threats to your possible success present the potential as well as existing threats to your expected market share and information on the competitors in your market. Unless you have come up with some completely unique and new product or concept there is a comparable business with which you can make comparisons and differentiate your product, resource, or service from those competitors.
Follow the plan and avoid detours
Your business plan is going to go and introduce you to a lot of people. As new backers come on board and as your ideas become brick and mortar you may want to revise and groom your business plan to reflect the new specifics. Stick to your plan as closely as you can, if all is going according to plan you hit your milestones around the period that you expected to and your projections concerning income and market share are borne out by the actual numbers that the business is producing, you can always point out to your investors, advisers, and general meddlers that you are sticking to your plan, which was what attracted them and their capital to your venture in the first place.
Final Words of Advice
There are a thousand different ways to shop your business plan from email and online advertising to good old fashioned newspaper and business directory listings. Make sure that you keep hard copies with you, in your car or in your briefcase. The reason to keep hard copies is because you may run into someone while your at the gym or out running errands that is either interested or wants to show it to someone they know. Also keep a copy of your business plan in both PDF and Word document formats for sending your business plan as an attachment via email. Groom your business plan periodically to add and edit details and to revise and refine your verbiage. Starting up a business is far to big a step and one would be remiss in taking such a huge step without a plan in place.