As a small business owner, you know how important it is to be well-prepared and have all your bases covered when it comes to starting up or expanding your company. Investing in a strong business plan will help lay out both short-term and long-term goals, as well as forecast future expenses. If you’re looking for some guidance on what to include in your business plan, here are some of the most important components that should be included.
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Writing a business plan is not easy, especially if it’s your first time doing so. Before you begin to tackle the task of writing one, hiring a professional business plan writer or consultant can help save both time and stress. These professionals are trained in model building, financial statement preparation, marketing strategy, etc., which will give you a better-than-average chance of getting your plan approved.
It Should Include Overview and Objectives
Your business plan should begin with an introduction, also known as an overview. The introduction should include a brief history of the organization and its mission statement. You should include short-term and long-term objectives in your plan – for example, “In 5 years’ time, we aim to be the number one supplier of widgets in Europe.”
It Should Be Detailed but Understandable
Your plan should provide a detailed explanation of your company’s intent, products or services that will be offered, and how it will all be done. It should have enough information for someone to understand the business’ purpose, in order to gain support. They should be able to look at the plan and understand what’s being done, without having to have extensive background knowledge or experience in the industry.
It Should Have a Marketing Strategy
When writing your marketing strategy, you can use any market research information available to help determine how much of your product/service will be sold, how it will be marketed, and how customers will be targeted. Your marketing strategy is what will help drive the success of your company, so it’s important to make sure you have one in place before proceeding.
It Should Include Financial Statements
You should include both financial information for the current year (business forecasts) as well as the upcoming years (trend analyses) in your business plan. You can use a projected balance sheet to help support this information. Your financial reports should be included as well, for easy reference. This will help you maintain a good record of what you’ve done so far, as well as what your next step should be.
It Should Include a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
Your business plan should include a SWOT analysis as a way to anticipate what may be coming ahead for your company. It will help you know if there are any weaknesses that need to be addressed or opportunities that can help increase your profits. A SWOT analysis is a great way to stay ahead of the game.
It Should Include a Risk Management Strategy
Your plan should include a strategy for dealing with the various risks that may happen. No one likes surprises, and drafting a business plan will help you prevent them from happening. Before beginning to write your risk management strategy, think about what can go wrong, and come up with solutions ahead of time – this way, you’re already prepared.
It Should Include a Plan for Growth
You should include details about the structure of your company, including its organizational chart (who reports to who), job descriptions, ratios, or percentages (for example, 70/30 – which means that 70% of employees will be dedicated toward marketing activities, while 30% will go toward product development), and a good idea of the company’s long-term goals.
It Should Assess Risks and Opportunities
You should also include a section of your plan that assesses risks and opportunities. This will help identify the challenges ahead, as well as highlight any positive changes or trends in the market. After preparing or revising your business plan, it’s important to monitor the ever-changing market, so be sure to include this section in your plan.
It Should Include an Action Plan
Your business plan should include both short-term and long-term goals, as well as milestones that can be used to track your progress. This is what will help you move forward with your plans toward success – without it, your business won’t have any direction. This is what will help you achieve your goals.
It Should Forecast Expenses
Your plan should have an accurate forecast of the expected expenses both short-term and long-term, so you’re aware of how much money is being spent in order to meet the company’s projected outlook. It should also include cash flow projections so that you can keep an eye on your available cash.
It Should Include an Executive Summary
An executive summary of your business plan should be included to give the reader a general overview of what it contains, without giving away too much information. It will help keep people interested by providing just enough information for them to want to know more. This is what will help spark their interest. This will help give potential investors or advertisers the gist of what they can expect.
It Should Be Updated Regularly
It’s important that your business plan is updated on a regular basis, so you’re always ready for anything that comes your way. This means having it reviewed by an outside accountant who can provide their valuable insight, as well as having it professionally edited or proofread.
In the end, your business plan should be a living document that can grow and change with you. This means it’s important to review it on a regular basis in order to stay current with any changes or trends in the market. A sound strategy for forecasting expenses will also help ensure success – without one, your company won’t have a good idea of what is coming ahead. Don’t forget about updating your SWOT analysis either! If you’re not sure where to start don’t hesitate to ask a professional. Good luck!