So, You Want to Start a Business: Writing a Business Plan
The foundation for building any successful business is outlined in the business plan. It communicates long-term company goals to your employees and builds confidence in potential investors to fund or support your growing business. We provide some considerations to keep in mind when drafting your business plan.
1. Vision, Mission, Objectives
You have your own motivations driving you to take your first entrepreneurial steps – now, articulate it through your business plan. The company vision paints a picture of where you see your company in the future, and the company mission describes the purpose of this business and its value-add to society. Both of these place employees and stakeholders on the same page with you, giving everyone a common direction to work towards.
Objectives highlight the feasibility of achieving this direction, by giving clear benchmarks to measure the firm’s progress towards attaining the aforementioned goals.
2. Business Model & Strategies
Next, outline the specifics of your business model. This will include the good or service to be provided and your business’ unique selling proposition. Relevant figures will be included here, such as start-up capital, anticipated expenses and anticipated income, all of which should add up to a projected healthy and sustainable cash flow.
3. Target Market Analysis
A common misconception many new business owners have is that the business plan should speak solely about the business. However, showing adequate awareness of market conditions and competing firms displays open-mindedness from the business owner’s end, indicating the business’ willingness to adapt and evolve.
Your business plan should convey research about market trends, current big players and most importantly, how your business intends to build a market share among existing competition. Take into account the challenges of starting out small, and be realistic and honest with your evaluation – the contents of a business plan indirectly serve as a promise to your employees and stakeholders.
3. Open to Change
A business plan should never be set in stone. Run it through established industrialists and analysts, note consumer confidence in your business, and discuss with peers from the entrepreneurial community. Doing these could surface areas of improvement for your business plan, from the viability of your business model to the tone and nuances of your written vision and mission. Changing market and consumer trends should also be regularly tracked and taken into account when a revamp of business model is necessary.
In our final article of this series, we share our recommendations for getting the word out for your young business. Stay tuned!
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