Hoe to Prepare a Business Plan

Topics: Marketing, Management, Venture capital Pages: 7 (2372 words) Published: July 14, 2013
Prepare a business plan
Overview
A business plan is a written document that describes a business, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts. It has many functions, from securing external funding to measuring success within your business. This guide will show you how to prepare a high-quality plan using a number of easy-to-follow steps, and includes a template business plan. Your products and services and audience for your business plan This part of the plan sets out your vision for your new business. It includes who you are, what you do, what you have to offer and the market you want to address. Start with an overview of your business:

* when you started or intend to start trading, the progress and investment you have made to date * the type of business and the sector it is in
* any relevant history - for example, if you acquired the business, who owned it originally and what they achieved with it * the current legal structure
* your vision for the future
Describe your products or services as simply as possible, defining: * what makes it different
* benefits it offers
* why customers would buy it from you instead of your competitors * how you plan to develop your products or services
* whether you hold any patents, trade marks or design registration * the key features and success factors of your industry or sector The person reading the plan may not understand your business and its products, services or processes, so try to avoid jargon. Get someone who isn't involved in the business - a friend or family member perhaps - to read this section of your plan and make sure they can understand it. The audience for your business plan

Many people think of a business plan as a document used to secure external funding. Potential investors, including banks, may invest in your idea, work with you or lend you money as a result of the strength of your plan. The following people or institutions may request to see your business plan at some stage: * banks

* external investors - whether this is a friend, a venture capitalist firm or a business angel * grant providers
* anyone interested in buying your business
* potential partners
Bear in mind that a business plan is a living document that will help you monitor your performance and stay on track. It will therefore need updating and changing as your business grows. Regardless of whether you intend to use your plan internally, or as a document for external people, it should still take an objective and honest look at your business. Failing to do this could mean that you and others have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved and when. What a business plan should include

Your business plan should provide details of how you are going to develop your business. It describes when you are going to do it, who's going to play a part and how you will manage the finances. Clarity on these issues is particularly important if you're looking for finance or investment. Your plan should include:

* An executive summary - an overview of the business you want to start. It's vital. Many lenders and investors make judgments about your business based on this section of the plan alone. * A short description of the business opportunity - who you are, what you plan to sell or offer, why and to whom. * Your marketing and sales strategy - why you think people will buy what you want to sell and how you plan to sell to them. * Your management team and personnel - your credentials and the people you plan to recruit to work with you. * Your operations - your premises, production facilities, your management information systems and IT. * Financial forecasts - this section translates everything you have said in the previous sections into numbers. The executive summary

The executive summary is often the most important part of your business plan. Positioned at the front of the document, it is the...
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