The beginning of each year starts with great excitement. Most people are enthused to set New Year resolutions, whilst anticipating better outcomes than in the previous year.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur what will you do differently this year to propel your business forward? Ambiguous New Year resolutions aren’t quite enough. A premeditated and carefully executed plan is usually needed to achieve your goals.
A practical, implementable business plan is one of the most vital documents on your checklist, as relevant to start ups as it is to large corporations. In large organisations a strategic planning department might be responsible for analysing market trends to ensure the company stays relevant, grows their market share and keeps ahead of competition through innovation, but small entrepreneurs can do this on a significantly smaller and simpler scale.
Statistics show that at least 70% of businesses fail within their first three years, often for want of a workable business plan. A well-constructed plan helps build a strong business model, whilst eliminating bottle necks in your operational process.
The various components of the business plan include:
- Business concept description
- Ownership and shareholder information
- Detailed narratives of products and services
- Target market identification and customer segmentation
- Industry analysis
- Sales and marketing plan
- Long term goals
- Investor exit plan
- Personnel plan
- Task scheduling
- Financial information- start up budget, financial requirements, funding strategies, profit and loss, cashflow, balance sheet forecast, ratio and variance analysis.
The sections of a business plan are interrelated, ideally presenting a bird’s eye view of the organisation without ignoring the finer details.
When you document your business plan you create focus. By concentrating on your key objectives, your unique selling proposition and the value you offer your customers, you clarify for yourself the best route to take. This will help you stay on track and not get lost in mundane tasks which do not add to your bottom line.
A business plan is a road map of activities and events with time lines and delivery dates. It helps you check your best options, what needs to be done and by when, who is in charge of each deliverable, and how much it will cost. With the direction it gives, you can better predict future outcomes and take calculated risks based on informed research.
Writing a bankable business plan needn’t be a daunting task. If you can’t do it alone, hire a Business Plan Consultant to help you construct a plan to help you launch out or scale up your enterprise – but make sure you are involved, this is not a process that should be entirely delegated to a third party.
Don’t get stuck in a rut in 2016. Develop a professional, actionable business plan tailored to fit your unique purpose. Let this action open new doors!
Text by Titilayo Obasanya, a Business Plan/SME Consultant who is available via LinkedIn.
Image by John Hishin.