Writing a useful business plan takes a lot of thought, consideration and information. So where do you start? And how is it used when you want to start a business?
You should check out the Business Model Canvas as well – it is a business tool used to visualise all the building blocks of starting a business, including customers, route to market, value proposition and finance. The Lean Canvas, a variation adapted from Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, is a 20min, 1-page business plan version that helps you pull apart your idea.
There are 10 sections that could be included in a business plan:
- Executive Summary: This outlines your proposal, and summarises what you say in the rest of your plan. This is extremely important!
- Background: The 5W’s: who, what, where, when and why you are doing this? And how you want to continue doing it.
- Markets and competitors: Who are you targeting, who are your competitors and why you have an advantage.
- Sales and marketing: Who are your customers and why do they need your product? How will you sell to them?
- Management: Who will be managing the business and in what capacity? Will it be full time?
- Operations: Where your business is, what facilities you have, who your suppliers are or supply chain will be.
- Financial forecasts: Cash flow, profit and loss, and balance sheets.
- Financial requirements: How much do you and will need to run the business? Plus what if scenarios.
- Risks: What are your risks and how will you mitigate them?
- Appendices: Any relevant information cited previously.
Remember to keep it as short as possible, but be clear as well.