The word every business owner works for with a long-term vision.
Good business plans are not set in stone. Instead, executing a good business plan takes research, time, and, most importantly, smart work.
So what six most important elements must be included in your business plan?
Let’s find out!
What is Included in a Business Plan?
Whether you seek to build your business online or offline, you need an executive summary. It describes everything your business does along with the market requirement.
So take note, your executive summary must include the following:-
- Keep it brief and give attention to detail.
- Business profile- Name, Location, Address, Type of business, etc.
- Services offered
- Company’s mission and vision
- Legal structure
- The objective of such a plan with success plans.
A sound description of your firm is important. The goals, the issues your firm addresses, and the type of ideal customers you target must be described in detail with other success factors.
Analysis of Potential Customers
Data on market research is highly important.
- It gives us an insight into the customer base to be targeted
- Includes information on competitors.
This report should include information on the following:-
- Industry type and statistics.
- Potential customers and demographic profiles.
- Marketing strategies for products.
- Strengths and weaknesses of all competitors.
Pro tip: The best way to measure your success is by doing it against your competitors. So never overlook this step.
Ensure your file is structured with information you can retract easily for later reference.
It should include the following-
- How the company will be run
- The legal structure of the business (Sole proprietorship, LLC or C corporation, etc. )
- A chart depicting the hierarchy in the company with separate departments (it will go a long way in keeping things in order)
- List the board of directors if your company is a large corporation with multiple stakeholders.
- Anyone with access to this file should instantly know the structure of the funnel and how business operations are done. This way, you wouldn’t have to train new members from scratch.
Service and Product Features
This portion of the plan is specifically important for startups that are just starting and are introducing new products each quarter.
It should involve information on-
- Terms and conditions applicable on the product in full clarity.
- How these services solve customers’ pain points.
- Any copyright issues regarding the product (before or after its release ).
- Lastly, the costs involved must be explicitly mentioned, including life cycle data, R&D, and sales.
Strategic Marketing plans
This is one of the most important aspects of throwing your business on a profitable path.
- Prioritize the generation of leads, marketing, and sales.
- Define the exact process you will follow to allocate a budget.
- Review this sub-plan periodically to evolve your plans strategically over a while.
Apart from the six most basic elements, some other aspects go in hand and should never be ignored or forgotten.
An inflow of money is essential to run your business. Define the amount of money needed to operate your business comfortably. Include a buffer fund to cushion economic blows.
Include a timeline, almost like a to-do task, so you have a clear path in your head and writing.
The first suggestion we can provide is the automation of a financial plan.
You may not even be aware of it, but it is time you integrate your financial plans with tech.
Financial automation should include the proper use of tech in the best way possible.
Such a financial plan can be created by including the following:-
- Financial forecast with possible income statements
- Updated balance sheet
- Capital expenditure budgets
- Cash flow statements
- Automated bulk vendor payments
Even without an urgent need for funding, this section’s information is crucial to developing budgets, making decisions, and planning expenditures.
Planning needs to involve:-
- History of financial status
- Trends tracking
- Analysis of charts and graphs (they truly help save a lot of time with data visualization)
As a business owner, you should exhibit clarity in terms of
- How resourceful you are to the firm
- The clarity in thought and vision
- Technical ability
To get funding in the surest way possible, this would be your way to attract investors – while seeking ROI; they see the executive team’s strength of character and passion.
A clean slate record of your team can go a long way in building trust.
A business plan with trust building as its main objective is one of the best- It depicts long-term transparency and accountability between members.
Bear in mind investors bet not on horses but on jockeys. Therefore, the fact that a strong leader is executing a strong idea is all it takes to convince an investor to invest in your company.
Even the best idea may not work if the team is wrong.
People are the driving forces, So ensuring your detailed business plan is well understood by your people is crucial. Else it can act as a disaster in waiting with an authentic recipe for failure.
Include an Appendix
The final part of your plan needs to involve an appendix with the following:-
- Credit histories with a corporate credit card
- Legal documents – Name and number
- Customer lists
- Financial projections
We can write endlessly about how the best business models must be made, how competitor analysis is key, and how sales and marketing plans must be foolproof.
But the fact is that a good business plan involves all these elements in differing ratios. So eliminating any element can also throw the whole execution team out of gear.
So be cautious and do not underestimate any part of the business planning—estimate which element is more important than the rest.
You never know which element will be directly responsible for making it profitable.
Ramitha Ramesh is the editor at Karbon Business, working as an SEO content marketing strategist for Karbon with clients from the US, UK, and India. You can find her blogs anywhere in the fast-driven finance, business, and banking sphere. She is also an expert in vendor management processes that makes business payments hassle-free. Finding nirvana in food, fun, and travel, she is on a mission to save the world from the infodemic emanating from the digital world through her blogs.