What is Business Plan? A Step by Step Guide
A business plan is a written statement or document that gives detailed description of a business or a division, mentioning its objective and goal and the method of achieving the same. In fact before starting the operations of a business, defining the business plan is a pre-requisite for various reasons, getting the right kind of investment being one of them. The business should be reviewed annually for understanding gaps and shortfalls, if any.
Preparing a business plan requires specialized knowledge of the domain. In order to prepare an impressive and winning business plan – a plan that is realistic, practical and achievable – it is important to hire experienced and premier business plan consultants so that a viable plan is drawn up.
What are the reasons for preparing a business plan?
Commercially, business plan is prepared to reach out to two types of audiences – the internal audience or external audience. Business plans that are prepared to impress and attract funding from banks and even investors are the ones that focus on external audience. These plans are also good to portray when companies are put up for sale or when looking out for new alliances. Business plans are prepared for the internal audience which mainly constitutes of employees and the management, in circumstances when one needs to explain and share certain business goals with them.
Formal business plans are given shape in case of starting a new business, or looking for a financier or looking to grow the business.
Constituents of a business plan
In general, a typical business plan comprises of all or few of the sections below:-
a. An executive summary which is basically a summarization of the entire plan.
b. Mission statement that defines the reason behind the existence of the business
c. A description of the business
d. Analysis of the particular industry and environment
e. Analysis of the Strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business
f. Analysis of the market, potential customers and the existing competitors.
g. Detailed plan of operations, sales and marketing strategies and financial plan.
h. Summary of the management team
i. Achievements and milestones, in case of existing businesses.
What are the major steps involved in Business Plan?
The different stages that a typical business plan consultant will work through during making a business plan include:-
• Researching and analysing the current model; the industry, the market conditions, competition scenario, production and operation capabilities of the organisation and overall industry, demand and supply conditions for the particular product or service etc.
• From the findings of the above step, the consultant will collaborate with the business owner and management team to plan the next course of action.
• Once the plan is drafted, it is put down on the paper so that concerned parties can review it.
• On reviewing, there will be points that would require editing and reformatting. After much to and fro and detailed discussion, the final format gets ready and then the formal business plan is ready for the external and internal audience.
The business plan consultant’s job is highly complex. Every business – new or old – needs a plan made by a professional.
Hiring a consultant who is certified to do so is the foremost parameter to check for a business. Also getting to know about their previous record and experience helps determine if they are the right people for your type of industry, business, product etc. Checking with few of their past customers will help you decide if the business plan consultant is the one that can give proper shape and definition to your business goal.
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