How to write a business plan
The first thing you need to do is state clearly and specifically what your business idea is. Very simply, you need to say what you intend doing, how you plan on doing it, when you plan to do it and why you believe you will succeed. In the process of doing that, you need to do some research into whether your idea and your plan will really work. Your business plan should cover four main areas:
- Your strategic focus (your “niche”, or “core business”): What exactly is it that your business will do? What makes it special? What won’t your business do?
- The marketing plan: How are you going to promote your product? How are you going to price your product? How do you plan on getting your product to your market?
- The operations plan: What staff will you have and what will they do? Who will supply you with what you need? How will you manage your business?
- The financial plan: What profits and losses will you make? How much sales do you need to make to break even? How much cash do you need to cover costs each month? What is the source of your funds? How will you use your funds? If you need a loan, then what can you offer as security for that loan?
- Work out how big your market is (the total number of people who will buy your product).
- Is the market growing or not? (Is there increasing demand for your product or is there an over-supply?)
- List all the factors about your business that will bring you success (e.g. is it in a good place, is it cheap, is it very high quality?).
Look carefully at your situation and make a list of the following
- your strengths and weaknesses in comparison with your competitors
- all the obvious market opportunities and threats
- the advantages you have over your competitors
- advantages that your competitors have over you
- ways of using your advantages to your benefit
- how you will deal with the disadvantages you face
- what must be done, when it must be done and how it be done.