Deciding to start your own business is exciting, but before you start building your business empire, it’s important to make sure you are building on a proper foundation. A great way to start ensuring your business’ foundation is sound, is by preparing a business plan.
A business plan is a written document that outlines how you are going to address key elements of your business. These can include, but are not limited to, how you plan to structure, operate, and expand your business.
What goes into a business plan?
There is no specific format for a business plan and depending on what industry your business will operate in, the type of investors you are looking for, or what products or services your business will offer, your business plan may look very different from someone else’s plan. That’s OK. What is important is that you are putting together a thoughtful roadmap that will guide you (and potential investors) through starting, managing, and growing your business.
Although there is no set format for a business plan, generally, these plans include an executive summary, company description, structure and management, service or product line description, market analysis, marketing strategy, funding requests (if any), and financial projections. There are tons of books and other source materials out there that go in-depth into each of these categories and the kinds of information or details that you may want to consider making a part of your plan.
What are the advantages of having a business plan?
If done properly, the process of preparing your business plan itself is an advantage because it will force you to think critically about numerous aspects of your business that you may not have otherwise adequately considered, such as analyzing market competition, or upcoming technologies or trends that may make your service or product obsolete.
Additionally, if you are hoping to secure investors, most will want to see your business plan. If your plan is thorough, this may increase the chance they decide to invest in your business.
Once you have drafted your initial business plan, it helps to have it reviewed by a professional who can advise you on any additional considerations to include or answer any questions you have.