10 Tips on Building A Solid Business Plan

In the process of putting together a business plan? Since this plan will serve as the foundation of your business, you have to make sure it’s pretty solid before you put it to use. Here are some of the best tips to help you out.

1. Start with a vision.
Don’t go ahead and write down the details yet. Before you begin building a business plan, have a clear vision of what you want for your company. Although these won’t have a huge impact on operations or sales, a mission and a vision statement will help you define your goals and priorities for the short and long terms.

2. Focus on the financials.
Many people get intimidated with the financial sections of a business plan and focus more on marketing strategies and the like. But if you’re trying to get investors on board, the most important part of your business plan is definitely the financial aspect. This will show potential business partners and investors how exactly their money will be used in the business, and what return they can expect in the long run. So what should your financial section include? For one thing, it should have a budget, or how you plan to spend your money in the short term, as well as a financial forecast, or how much money you expect to earn over time.

3. Have a basis for your financial forecast.
Make sure all financial aspects are based on accurate computations. The financial figures should be based on market conditions, the status of your industry, your competitive standing, and prospective customer base.

4. Consider your customers.
Your business plan should include an entire section devoted to analyzing and understanding the needs and wants of your target customers. Make sure that these needs and wants are backed by research, because the only way to know what your customers really need and want is to ask them. Otherwise, all your data will mostly be theories.

5. Always have a competitive plan.
Your business plan should include a competitive strategy, which would require a study of your top competitors. You can also learn from their strengths and weaknesses and impute this knowledge into your own business.

6. Risk management matters.
Nowadays, risk management should be part of any business strategy. Create a risk management program and include an outline of it in your plan. A good business plan is realistic, which is why it should take into consideration both good prospects and bad scenarios. This is where risk management lies.

7. Have someone else look at it.
Always have someone else, a consultant or a learned friend, to take a look at your plan and give you a second opinion, or perhaps even a third. This will give you a different point of view so you can identify the weaknesses of your plan objectively.

8. Don’t copy.
It’s good to look at what your competitors are doing, but a good business plan should not be a mere copy. Take note of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, but always built a plan that gives you distinction in the market.

9. Set defined goals.
Goals should be expressed as concretely as possible. This will be a major source of motivation for you and your investors.

10. Take the time to build your plan.
A business plan is not something you create as an afterthought because your investors are asking for one. A business plan is the very first step for building your business. So don’t just do it because it is required; put your heart and thought into it, because it will determine your business’ success.

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