The main areas covered by a business plan are an overview of the business, how money will be made and what opportunities and threats you will need to consider.
You have an exciting new business idea and want to start off immediately. Seasoned entrepreneur and billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump offers the following advice: “When I started out in business, I spent a great deal of time researching every detail that might be pertinent to the deal I was interested in making. I still do the same today. People often comment on how quickly I operate, but the reason I can move quickly is that I’ve done the background work first, which no one usually sees. I prepare myself thoroughly, and then when it is time to move ahead, I am ready to sprint."
Putting together a business plan is about doing the background work and about thinking through all the aspects that are required to turn your idea into a success.
The following questions can help to unpack all the elements of a business plan.
- Who are the people involved in setting up the business?
- What are their skills sets and experience?
- What are the products and services offered?
- Who else also offers these products?
- What makes your business idea unique?
- How will the product be marketed and bought?
- What will it cost to set up the business?
- Where will you get your set-up finance? What will you ask for your product?
- How many people would be interested in your product?
- What will it cost you to get it to those people?
- What will it cost to service the product?
- When will your business break even?
Opportunities and threats
- Where are your competitors not focusing on the market?
- What are other opportunities in the market?
- What will potential new entrants offer to this market?
- What are the impacts of legal and regulatory requirements on your business?
- What are the risks you need to look at?
Addressing these questions will help to give you the confidence to present your business idea to the people that can help you turn this idea into a reality.
In the case of you need to obtain finance from a bank, the drafting your business plan beforehand can speed up your negotiations with the bank as they will require you to draft a business plan.
There are many templates available on the internet to help you draft a business plan. A useful document can be found here.
A last thought from Henry Ford, “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success”.
Monene Murray offers executive and business coaching. She uses her business experience in large corporates and start-up businesses to develop her clients’ full potential.