The road to success is long and bumpy, and one cannot hope to arrive anywhere without a proper business plan. It provides direction and makes sure companies stay on track and heading towards tangible goals. Facts and figures determine the feasibility of a business plan, not wishes and dreams. Hence, accurate information and detailed analysis are the driving force behind a planned attempt to get any small business off the ground.
Executive and Company Summary
Although the executive summary comes first in the business plan, after the title page, many experts advice to write it last. It is the overall outline of the business plan, a milestone that can make or break it. Company summary states the company’s purpose and mission and presents the current and future outlook of the industry sector. Here, the reader should find basic information about the business- when the company was founded, where it was incorporated, etc.
Money makes the business world go around. Financial aspect of the business plan covers financial projections, key financial indicators like costing, and financial goals. This means that projected profits and losses as well as cash flow charts are integral part of this section. At this point, the company must already be able to forecast its long-term sales, conduct a break-even analysis and come up with balance sheets and business ratios.
It describes how the business functions on a daily basis. This segment involves business structure, employees, location and premises, and how these factors affect the profitability and daily operations. It is important to highlight the logistics of the business organization and define the responsibilities and task of various teams and divisions in the company. The special focus is on the key members of the management staff, their backgrounds and experience.
Products and services
Here, one should list and describe product offerings and services having customer needs and wants in mind. It is common to include also detailed tables, price lists, product sourcing and bill of materials. Many businessmen compare their product lines and services with those of the competition here, and make an effort to predict their position on the market. Including the way technology affects the business as well, this section usually comes before the market analysis.
This part of the plan is the result of thorough market research and meticulous analysis of the industry sector the company is entering. Identifying the target audience is the prime concern here, which helps in selecting the appropriate promotional tactics and marketing channels to reach customers. This also makes finding the best ways to deliver products and services much easier. One must not overlook the competition as well, in order to discern the exact position of the company on the market.
Stage one over
Business planning is an ongoing business activity without one-size-fits-all solutions. All companies are evolving and going through different life stages, and a sound, realistic and detailed plan helps it keep the focus and stay ahead of the curve. When a businessman has such a document in hands, he is halfway to business prosperity. But, running a company is a task demanding a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears, nerves of steel and an impenetrable determination to see the plan through.