There is no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ business plan. Your product lines, your staff, your closest competitors and your business networks make your situation unique, which means your business plan needs to be specific to you.
Not only does your business plan need to be specific, it needs to be current. Maybe you had a solid business plan in place, and it served you well – but that was then, and this is now. The world is changing faster than ever, and there’s no guarantee that what worked last year will work again this year.
Ideally, you should also include a succession or exit plan strategy in your initial business plan. Highvale is not a financial advisor, but is well placed as a business intermediary to provide a conduit to qualified CPA’s and Finance Brokers to secure advice about different strategies available to maximize the value of the business and transitioning into financial freedom and peace of mind.
Highvale will call on a wealth of experience working with small and medium enterprises to help you formulate a rock-solid sales and marketing strategy tailored to your situation and your vision for the future. Let us help you:
- Leverage Strengths – build on those things that make your product, and your company, great!
- Reduce Weaknesses – identify and shore up any areas that are reducing your efficiency, marketability, productivity or morale.
- Maximise Opportunities – find new avenues for your product lines, connect you with the right people, and explore new lines of business through detailed and comprehensive market research.
- Minimise Threats – steer you around common pitfalls and traps, identify the dead-ends and ineffective strategies we’ve already stumbled up against ourselves, and help you deal with competitors and business rivals.
- Why Do Businesses Need a Business/Operational Plan Template?A Business Plan is a document that encapsulates the operational and financial objectives of a business and how those objectives can be achieved. It is the road map to the success of a business, and for anyone starting a business, it’s a vital first step. There is evidence that individuals who take the time to write a business plan are 2.5 times more likely to follow through and actually start a business. In addition, going through the process of creating a business plan improves entrepreneurial skills.
For Start-Ups , Early Starts and Existing Businesses, a business plan assists in determining if the business idea is viable. In reality there is no point to starting a business if there is little or no chance that the business will be profitable – a business plan helps to figure out what the odds are that a new enterprise’s chances of success will be.
The Business Plan Is a Living Document. An effective business plan contains detailed financial projections, business performance forecasts, and a marketing plan. It can be an incredibly useful tool for everyday business planning, and rather than be filed away should be revisited, reviewed and updated regularly.
Business Plan Outline.
1) The Executive Summary: This section appears first, but is written last. It summarizes the key elements of the entire business plan and is the first thing anyone looking at your business plan reads so it’s critical that your executive summary is outstanding.
2) The Business/Industry Overview: An overview of the industry sector that your business will be a part of,including industry trends, major players in the industry, and estimated industry sales. This section will also include a summary of your business’s place within the industry.
3) Market Analysis: An examination of the target markets for your product or service should include geographic location, demographics, your requirements and how these are currently being met. The purpose is to show in your business plan that you have a thorough understanding of the customer base you intend to sell your goods and/or services to. This is important so that you can make calculated predictions about the quantities of your goods and/or services customers may purchase.
4) Competitive Analysis: Researching your direct and indirect competitors, assessing their competitive advantage and providing an analysis of how you will overcome any entry barriers to your chosen market. In this section of the business plan, you need to distinguish your business from the competition, persuading the reader(s) of your plan that your business will be able to compete successfully.
5) Sales and Marketing Plan: A detailed outline of intended sales strategy (strategies), pricing structures, proposed marketing and promotional activities,and product or service’s features and benefits. This is the delivery point where you outline your business’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) encapsulate your strategy for marketing goods and/or services and develop effective campaigns to generate sales.
6) Ownership and Management Plan : A Business Plan should always be prepared on the premise of future business growth and should provide an outline of your business’s legal structure, management resources, internal/external management team (if any), and future human resources needs. If the goal is to seek future funding, the management plan should give consideration to an advisory board as a management resource.
7) Operational Plan : A description of your business’s physical location, facilities and equipment, kinds of employees needed, inventory requirements and suppliers, and any other applicable operating details, such as a description of the manufacturing process.
8) Financial Plan: A description of your funding requirements,your detailed financial statements, and a financial statement analysis. This part of the business plan is where you will present the three main financial documents of any business, the balance sheet, the income statement and the cash flow statement. (In the case of a new business, this last document will be a cash flow projection.)
9) Appendix and Examples:In addition to the sections outlined above, at the end of your business plan you will also want to include any additional information that will help establish the credibility of your business idea, such as marketing studies, photographs of your product, and/or contracts or other legal agreements pertinent to your business.
Does the Order of the Business Plan Sections Matter? It’s your decision – whilst the Executive Summary, being an overview, needs to come first, beyond that it’s logical to have all the material relating to markets (Industry Overview, Marketing Analysis, Competitive Analysis and Marketing Plan) together. However there’s no set requirement why the Management Plan section couldn’t directly follow the Executive Summary if you wanted to change the order.
Generally, in a business plan, you want to “present professionally”. For example, in the case where you have a group of people serving on a business advisory board, then put that section directly after the Executive Summary. Accentuating your business strengths will encourage reader(s) to continue reading your plan.
Finally,add a Title Page and Table of Contents – After completing all the sections, don’t forget to insert a title page at the beginning of the plan followed by a table of contents listing each section with page numbers.