Is Your Business Plan Broken?

man revising business plan

Business plans are a powerful tool that help ensure the success of a business. A well-conceived business plan establishes the mission, vision and objectives of the business and its strategic goal(s). It also proposes the organizational structure and details the business marketing plan, financial plan and cash flow projections. A business plan will help you understand your company and its operations.

business plan session for young professional entrepreneur

How to write a business plan

Your business plan is a presentation that explains your business and what it intends to achieve over the next, say, five years. It highlights how you intend to reach your goals and identifies your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

* It is a negotiation tool. So, if you present it to a bank or investor, they will ask for some concessions. A well-written business plan shows them that you are a credible company with an interesting proposition.

* It is a history of your company. Therefore, you can use it to look back and see where you have been and where you are going. You can also use it to look forward and see where you want to go.

Your business plan is organized in chapters and lists the steps you plan to accomplish your objectives and the resources you will need. It includes a Executive Summary, three Main Results and a Mission Statement.

Essential Parts of the Plan

* A well-conceived business plan includes a management summary, a financial plan, a competitive analysis, a market analysis, a product description, a market assessment, a market strategy, a strategy plan, a marketing plan, a cash flow analysis and a balance sheet.

The last part of the plan is where the meat is. It includes a Company Profile, a Business Description and a Sales and Marketing Plan. Your sales and marketing plan explains your company’s plan for growth, where you intend to get your products and how you intend to market them.

* Your business plan is not only an inventory of your business, but it also is a timeline for your business. Your plan contains an action plan and a budget plan. And, it gives an outline of the steps necessary to get your company to its next level of growth.

Your business plan should be your friend and not your enemy. More clearly, your business plan is not a plan to be blindly followed as the sky is pretty blue and the grass is always greener on the other side of the next horizon. It is a plan to guide you to the promised land, provided you do it with attention to detail and a plan for success. Furthermore, the business plan is not a wish-list, or an indulgent way to please your ego. Your plan should be a business in a box, which you can take with you wherever you go.