For a business person, the real value in creating a business plan is not in having the finished product; rather, the value lies in the process of doing a proper research on your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you think things through thoroughly, study and research if you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically.
It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and re-vamping your ideas and assumptions. But then, that is the value of the process. So take time to do the background job properly; those who do never regret the effort. Finally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.
In writing your executive summary, include everything that you would cover in a five-minute interview. Explain the fundamentals of the proposed business. For example, what will your product be? Who will your customers be? Who are the owners? What do you think the future holds for your business and industry? Ensure you make it professional, and concise.
Furthermore, do a general company description which includes mission statement, company goals and objectives, business philosophy and legal form of ownership. A mission statement is a brief caption usually in thirty words or fewer explaining the reason for the organization and its guiding principles.
Goals are destinations where you want your business to be. Objectives are project markers along the way to goal achievement. For example, a goal might be to have a healthy, successful company which is a leader in customer service and possesses a loyal customer following. Objectives might be annual sales targets and some specific measures of customer satisfaction.
In addition, you should have a draft of your business philosophy, that is, what is important to you in business and to whom will you market your products? Describe your industry. Is it a growing industry? What changes do you foresee in the industry, short or long term? How will your company be poised to take advantage of them? Furthermore, describe your company’s most important strengths and core competencies. What factors will make the company succeed? What do you think your major competitive strengths will be? What background experience, skills, and strengths do you personally bring to this new venture?
Lastly for this segment, what legal form of ownership will the company take? Is it sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company? And what’s the basis for your selection?
Describe in-depth your products or services. What factors will give you competitive advantages or disadvantages. Examples include the level of quality or unique features. Also, what are the pricing, fee or leasing structures of your products or services?
…to be continued