Type “write a business plan” into a search engine and you will get millions of results. If you merely base one of the foundational documents for your business on a few models pulled from the internet, however, you may neglect to include a few key components.
Executive statements and financial projections are basic elements of a strong business plan, but as I explain in The Entrepreneurial Journey, it is essential that your document also addresses where you currently stand in your organization, where you want to take the business and how you plan to get to that destination.
Pay attention to every factor
There are four components: defining your business, setting objectives, outlining operational strategies and financial management. Financial management represents the final section of your business plan, one that often does not get the attention it deserves. As it is such an important piece of information, I will be dedicating a later post to the financial statement.
You should declare your vision, mission and values and identify your business opportunity in the first portion of the business plan. (For guidance on drafting a mission statement, refer to this post). The business opportunity section should answer several questions, including where you make your money. Also ask yourself how you spend your time, to whom you sell and what you sell them. Which opportunities are going to contribute to your success? What markets are going to take your organization where you want it to go?
This question will lead into the next part of your business plan: Setting your yearly objectives. I like to start off with the three-year key objectives, as these will help you form your goals for the next 12 months as well. The last step will involve a SWOT analysis, thus providing a current picture of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
The operational strategies section will be the space where you hatch your marketing plan – activities to build your brand, tactics to carve out a space in your target markets, etc. – by outlining a sales plan of ideal clients, products or services you will sell and the timing of those sales. Also include your service plan, which should offer details about your value proposition and the service activities you will partake in to build client capital.
Consider that the foundational reason for founding your own business is to have control and dictate your salary and working hours. Without investing the time to draw a detailed roadmap, you may be at a loss for how to do that.