Before you can get around to investing your money, hiring a staff or making a product, you need a business plan. Without a business plan it is difficult to achieve consistent, long-term success. The business plan is an outline of how the product will be created and marketed, how funds will be raised and who will buy the product.
The more detailed your business plan the better. It should look at all aspects of the business and plan for every step. One of the most important parts of the business plan is the executive summary. The executive summary is a short narrative summarizing the value of your business idea.
It helps investors or financial institutions to quickly understand the business you propose to start. It is important it be written in a way to get investors excited about the business and want to read your business plan.
The 5 Key Elements
There are 5 key elements that must be included in an effective business plan.
- Clear description of product or service
- Market & competition information
- Your unique selling proposition (USP)
- Technology and strategies required
- Listing of feedback obtained throughout your process
It should provide a clear description of the product or service and contain an in-depth look at the market you plan to enter and your primary competitors. This should also show what makes your product or service unique and will make customers choose you and not your competitors.
Any technology to be employed should also be clearly described along with the resources you will need for production and marketing. The fifth element of the business plan is a listing of some of the feedback your executive summary has generated.
The business plan itself should contain an in-depth description and analysis of the market you propose to serve. It should include as much demographic information as possible. This will help you to better understand what your company needs to do to attract and serve them and properly position your company in the marketplace.
Part of your plan has to be ways in which you anticipate your company will grow. It should include how you think your competition will react to your entrance into the market and how you will counteract it. The business plan should also include information on any intellectual property you have in the works.
Pricing is very important
In order to come up with a price that ensure you a good profit you have to know what it will cost to create the product. You must also show why you think your product is economically viable. Do an assessment of your company and identify any competitive advantages you may have.
Show if you are a company which will create a series of products and services or your focus is one major product which you feel will make you a success. It is also crucial for you to assess the size or the market and how much of it you can capture and control. List any trends or technologies which could negatively affect your company’s development and growth.
List the required resources to make your vision a reality, too (like I did here). This should include the members of your proposed management team and any other key hires you plan to make along with all technology or equipment you will use. You should also state the amount of capital you will need and a financial plan to show how you will use it. Point out your potential revenue streams.
You also have to include a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow plan that covers the first 12 months, 12 quarters and one for each of the first three years. It should show when you anticipate beginning to make a profit. You must also identify your sources of funding so don’t close out that file before you have this covered.
Get Your Plan in Order
The 5 main characteristics of a business plan you need to consider are to include clear information about your product or service, the market and competition, why you’re special, what technology you are to use, and what feedback you’ve received and used through your growing phases. Sure, there’s going to be a lot more to a winning business plan that brings in round after round of funding, but make sure you cover these basics first. You can work on tweaking it for ultimate success later.