How to write a business plan
A business plan is a business tool that is necessary for the successful operation of an organization.
A well-prepared plan is a forecast document for the successful development and functioning of the company in the near future.
Major mistakes in compilation
- Too optimistic forecast. In volatile market conditions, it is difficult to really appreciate the potential returns, but it is worth trying. It is better to draw up three scenarios: optimistic, realistic and pessimistic - this will save you from overestimating your financial capabilities. To do this, it is necessary to conduct a high-quality comprehensive marketing analysis of the market.
- Lack of a cost planning system for the near future. All types of expenses must be considered in the business plan. Most entrepreneurs pay a lot of attention to one-time costs, completely forgetting about the current ones (payment for banking operations, communications, visits to suppliers, etc.). Because of this, faced with additional spending, an already operating organization incurs losses, fraught with a lack of money for the development of the company.
- Underestimation of implementation time. When developing a business plan, the next 3-5 years are taken into account. As a rule, a successful project pays off in the first three years, however, during implementation, circumstances may arise that will delay the payback process: obtaining permits, delivery times for materials, etc. To avoid this, it is necessary to provide for the terms with the possibility of increasing, or calculate the project for three years, broken down by months.
- Poor calculation of the working capital requirement. The calculation of inventories, equipment, funds for wages, etc., is not taken into account, the cash reserve, which may be required in case of delays in payments from buyers.
- Insufficient development of risks. This point is the most important, since the risks can lead to unpredictable consequences, up to the bankruptcy of the company. It is possible to minimize them at the stages of the development of the plan, before its introduction into life.
Existing Business Planning Standards
A business plan is a document, which means that it has certain standards and requirements. Today there are three planning standards:
- cover page;
- privacy statement;
- general description of the project;
- products (services) ;
- industry analysis;
- target market analysis;
- promotion strategies;
- financial analysis ;
Description, or summary, includes a short overview of the plan, reveals the nature of the services offered, the mission and goals of the organization.
The "Products" section includes a description of the offered goods or services, and also presents related products that can bring profit or enhance the organization's image in the eyes of potential customers.
Industry and market analysis is carried out in order to identify the need for the organization's services. It includes demographic analysis, competition analysis and SWOT analysis. Such analytical tools allow you to identify opportunities and threats to the market, as well as determine possible strategies for behavior.
In the section on target markets, it is necessary to indicate the target consumer group, geographic market, pricing methods.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs, in an ardent desire to start their own business as soon as possible, start without realizing what their actions may lead to in the future. Others, on the contrary, do not have a clear idea of which side is better to approach the project. Before starting a business, it is very important to draw up a business plan that will serve as a guide for implementing your own idea.
A business plan is a document that highlights all the characteristics of an organization, analyzes possible risks and problems, predicts methods that will help to avoid them. In other words, a business plan for an investor is, first of all, an answer to the question: "Is it worth financing this project at all, or is it better to immediately abandon it?"
Business plan structure and content - main sections
Success in business planning consists of 3 main factors:
- Awareness of the degree of your legal capacity at the moment, which is the starting point "A";
- A clear idea of the goal that you want to achieve - point "B";
- A sequence of steps that will lead from point "A" to point "B".
Drawing up a business plan is carried out on paper, taking into account some rules and sequence. In this form, your idea begins to materialize and demonstrates the desire to develop and willingness to work. In addition, the plan, implemented on paper, simplifies the perception of the idea from the outside.
When drawing up a business plan, it is necessary to identify all the advantages and disadvantages of the idea that has arisen, and then only calculate the income and take any action. Pay attention to competitiveness and market resilience.
When conducting a superficial analysis, pay attention to the payback of the product or service, as well as the period after which you can get the first profit - this will help you determine the amount of initial investment. If, after a cursory analysis, you still have not abandoned your idea, then it's time to start creating a business plan.
When compiling it, the following information is indicated on the title page:
- project name;
- organization name;
- project manager details;
- developer information;
- compilation date;
- the most important data on the financial calculation of the project.
There is a widespread belief that the question of how to draw up a business plan is relevant only for aspiring entrepreneurs who first decided to start their own business. But this is not at all the case.
Content of the business plan
A business plan is an obligatory part of every trade, production or organizational operation.
- A program of actions aimed at achieving industrial, commercial or organizational goals by the enterprise.
- A description of the goals the project is intended to achieve.
- Calculation of the profit expected from the project.
- An assessment of the available opportunities and funds that are supposed to be used for the implementation of the project. This assessment includes the material and technical justification of the project, as well as an audit of the financial capabilities of the enterprise.
- Assessment of risks and obstacles that may be encountered on the way of project implementation.
- Calculation of the costs required to implement the project.
- Calculation of investors' funds that must be attracted for the successful implementation of the project.
The content of the plan is not limited to these points, since each business and enterprise has many of its individual features. To this we must add that the company exists in certain circumstances, which also have their own characteristics.
But the listed points are enough to get an idea of the complexity and versatility of the document.
Purpose of the business plan
Where to start when creating a plan? Before you draw up a business plan, you should clearly understand its purpose, as well as determine who it is addressed to. This will help you understand which points need to be emphasized and which points are secondary.
In other words, an entrepreneur, before writing a business plan, must understand what aspects of the document are important to him. The purpose of a business plan can be:
- Drawing up a program of action for the implementation of the project.
- Presentation of the project to potential investors.
Business plan addressees
A detailed, correctly drawn up business plan is necessary for every aspiring entrepreneur who decides to start his own business. It is the business plan that becomes the key to success, prescribing an orderly plan of action that can lead a businessman to the final positive result. The founder of the business must clearly know what he needs to take in order for his actions to help get closer to the goal, for this it is necessary to draw up a business plan. Most modern entrepreneurs needlessly underestimate the significance of this document, perceiving it as an empty formality.
Even with a fairly serious initial money capital, but without a clear understanding of the action plan that must be calculated and taken into account in advance, the entrepreneur risks getting significant losses. Only a business plan thought out to the smallest detail will allow avoiding ridiculous mistakes that arise in the process of forming a young organization. A well-established sequence will also help convey the main objectives and goals to each member of the formed team, which will come together to achieve success.
Simple business plan
Before drawing up a business plan, an entrepreneur must decipher this concept for himself, fully reveal its meaning. Under the term "business plan", modern economic theory means a certain action plan that includes all possible information about organizational issues, as well as about the further successful functioning of the business. It is on the pages of the business plan that data relating to the services provided or the goods produced, information about the intended sales market, various marketing strategies, about raw materials, about the minimum set of required equipment, and so on are indicated.
The document is a serious strategic tool that is essential for effective management and planning. In addition, as a result of drawing up such a plan, the entrepreneur will be able to calculate the amount of material resources that he will need to start, the profitability indicator, as well as the payback period.
A well-written business plan will help an entrepreneur to attract a sufficient amount of investment funds. When potential investors get acquainted with the real forecasts that are outlined in the document, they will want to meet the businessman halfway, conclude a deal and financially invest in the business being opened. Of particular importance is the preparation of a business plan for an entrepreneur who expects to receive a bank loan. This is due to the fact that a bank that agrees to issue a loan to open a business risks in the same way as a novice businessman. Banking organizations, before approving a loan, wish to familiarize themselves with information about the proposed business.
Therefore, the information contained in the business plan must be complete and concise. Submission of data should be simple, without any ambiguous suggestions. Each person who reads this document is looking for an answer to a simple question - is it worth investing money in a business that is being opened, if not, then why?
How to write a business plan
Drawing up a business plan is a laborious and difficult task, requiring the contractor to have certain knowledge in several industries. Diversified skills and knowledge in the aggregate give the desired result, which will help to shape the business correctly, as well as calculate the optimal strategy that will lead to the chosen goal. Today, there are three possible options for how to write a business plan:
- use the services of professionals specializing in the preparation of this kind of documentation;
- write a business plan yourself. However, before writing a business plan on their own, an entrepreneur needs to ascertain his competence. A businessman must have the appropriate knowledge not only in the chosen area for his business, but also in the legislation of the Russian Federation;
- buy on the Internet.
Choosing the first option, the entrepreneur can save a lot of time. An employee of a specialized organization, in exchange for a pre-agreed amount of money, will draw up a clear business plan. If we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this method, it is worth noting that a business plan will most likely be written in the shortest possible time, but its quality will be highly questionable. This is due to the fact that such companies work with pre-prepared templates that are not able to fully express all the necessary information. As practice shows, entrepreneurs who use the services of an additionally hired specialist are most often denied bank loans.
Templates for business plans often do not describe the competitive advantages, the costs associated with each operation, the estimated profit stream, as well as other details that may be of interest to a potential investor or lender. A significant disadvantage can also be called the fact that you will have to pay for drawing up a plan, however, in the first couples, not every entrepreneur will have the required amount at his disposal.
If we consider the second option, an entrepreneur needs to understand that before drawing up a business plan on his own, he must acquire a set of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Ideally, if a businessman can connect knowledgeable acquaintances who are competent in one area or another.