A business plan is an important document, a formal statement of a business’ goals. It explains why the goals are attainable and how those goals are going to be achieved. It should outline the structure of the business and the way the product or service it provides will be carried out or sold.
A plan such as this will give your business purpose, giving it something to work towards. To this end, it can even be used as a great motivational tool for employees, letting them know what the end goal is, their part in the overall operation, and what they need to do in order to achieve it.
Furthermore, it is an important document to have when it comes to financing the business, so that investors can see exactly what it is they will be buying into, and see where they are going to get their investment return. Because of this use, business plans normally cover at least three years, usually up to five years, or longer. Usually, a business plan for this purpose will be written with an external focus, describing the business and the way it works to outsiders, as opposed to a more internally focussed business plans that the owners and employees would use.
What’s in a business plan?
The content of a business plan covers practically every aspect of a business, including:
- an executive summary
- an explanation of the business concept
- research into competitors
- a sale and marketing plan
- the growth of the market
- an operational plan
- projections of the business finances including profit and loss and future plans
Where to start with a business plan
If you are looking to start writing your business plan, you should talk to your accountant about it first. Then, there are many programs online which can guide you through the process.