What is a business plan ?
A business plan is a comprehensive, written description of the business of an enterprise. It is a detailed report on a company products or services, production techniques, markets and clients, marketing strategy, human resources, organization, requirements in respect of infrastructure and supplies, financing requirements, and sources and uses of funds.
The business plan describes the past and present status of a business, but its main purpose is to present the future of an enterprise. It is normally updated annually and looks ahead for a period of usually three to five years, depending on the type of business and the kind of entity.
Why a business plan ?
There are many important reasons for drawing up a business plan. By preparing your business plan, you get an integrated view of all issues regarding your business. For example, it helps you to identify better your target clients, outline your market segment, shape your pricing strategy and define the competitive conditions under which you must operate in order to succeed.
Business planning ensures that all these considerations are consistent and properly harmonized. Also, the business plan process often leads to the discovery of a competitive advantage or new opportunities as well as deficiencies in the plan. Committing your plans to paper, ensures that your overall ability to manage the business will improve. You will be able to concentrate your efforts on any deviations from the plan before conditions become critical.
Who prepares a business plan?
The larger the number of management and staff members involved in the preparation of a business plan, the less the chance that non-viable solutions will be arrived at. Ultimately, those employed by the business will assume some of the responsibility in implementing the plan. Therefore, it makes sense from a technical, psychological and team-building point of view to involve them at an early stage of the process. Firstly, employees have the best knowledge of the different aspects of the company operations, and secondly no plan will be implemented successfully unless key employees identify themselves with the targets set and the means committed.
What are the steps in the planning process?
When it comes to business plan creation there are now more templates and streamlined formats that are being adjusted to meet today needs to accommodate faster moving, leaner startups. Just do not let this part of the process slow you down. No matter how you do it, and who you show your plan to, make sure to have someone with experience review it for you.