If you are just starting out as an entrepreneur you will need to write a business plan. Initially for yourself in order to turn your idea into something tangible, but eventually you will need to get funded which means the business plan is also a sales document. So how do you manage to create one document that serves all of these purposes?
The answer is, you don’t. The focus of writing a business plan should be on the results you will achieve, not the plan itself. This means that there are different plans for different goals and you should be flexible when writing your business plan to ensure that it reflects you and the goals that you are trying to achieve.
What Is A Start Up Plan?
A start up business plan is a really simple business plan that acts as a test to assess whether your idea is viable from an investment perspective. A simple business plan will help formulate your ideas into a cohesive order to provide a solid structure to the idea. As the idea is likely to be relatively embryonic the plan should include:
- Executive Summary – To detail your mission
- Key Success Factors – What you will need to do well
- Market and Customer Analysis – Size of market and target customer
- Brief outline of Competition – Who will you be up against?
- Simple Breakeven Analysis – When your earning will cover your costs
A simple business plan is a thought process tool and in that regard it is valuable. However, it is not enough on its own to run a business or obtain funding.
A simple business plan is like a propagation chamber for your seedling idea and will help cultivate it into a much larger business plan further down the track.
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What About Business Plan Templates?
Our clients often ask if there is a standard contents list they can use when they write a business plan. The Internet is awash with business plan templates – most are free, some people actually charge for them. Do not pay for a business plan template. You are paying for something that is easily available for free. Business plans take many different forms depending on the nature of your business but generally a business plan should cover the following key topics:
- Executive Summary
- Customer Analysis
- Market Analysis
- Competition Analysis
- Sales & Marketing Strategy
- Operational Strategy
- Management Overview
- Financial Plan
This is the basic layout to follow when you write a business plan, but as we said above, each business is different and greater emphasis may be placed on certain aspects depending of the nature of your business and the intended audience.