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What is a business plan?
What is a business plan and why write one? A business plan is not mandatory, but is often essential if you are thinking about seeking finance for your company. It is a strategic document that summarises the plans you have for your business. It allows you to examine whether your plans are viable and whether a market exists for your product or service. Drafting a business plan also forces you to make certain choices and helps you avoid overlooking any important issues. Banks and funders often ask for your business plan before they grant you a loan or invest in your business.
Business plan preparationYour idea is the basis for your future business. Perhaps you have been thinking about this for quite some time now, but have not yet put it into writing. Try to write your idea down in no more than a few sentences. Refine your idea as far as you can. In effect, this is the start of your business plan. Once you have succeeded in explaining your idea in just a few sentences, you will notice that writing a business plan becomes a lot easier, as it provides sharper focus. You can also give it to others to read to get tips and feedback.
Using a business plan template
A business plan template can prove useful if you are thinking about drafting a business plan yourself. Sample business plan templates are available online for download, for instance from the Qredits website. Alternatively, you could hire a consultant to write your business plan for you.
Business plan checklist
A business plan should address the following issues:
- Your idea – described in concrete terms.
- Your financial plan – how much money will you need and where will this come from?
- Your organisational plan – how will you set up your administrative system and arrange your insurance cover?
- Your marketing plan – who are your customers and your competitors?
- Business details – describe in concrete terms how you intend to put your idea into practice.
- Personal details – information about your entrepreneurial skills and/or business acumen.
Tips for writing a business plan
- Use a template; you can find various business plan templates online.
- Start with a short summary or introduction.
- Set aside plenty of time to write your plan.
- Be realistic and honest.
- Ask others for feedback.