If you’re starting a business, one of the first things you need is to create a business plan. This document will outline your ideas and goals for your company and will help you track your progress over time. More importantly, it will help you secure finance if you’re seeking a business loan or potential investors. But writing a business plan can be daunting – especially if you’re not familiar with the process.
A business plan should include a marketing strategy, a financial projection, and a description of your target market. Keep in mind that your business plan will evolve as your business grows, so don’t be afraid to revise it as needed.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a business plan, there are some essential elements that all plans should include.
To help you write a killer business plan, we’ve hit up one of our top business planners on the Gold Coast and picked their brains to compile a list of tips. So, without further ado, here are 10 tips from one of our professional business planners to help make the process easier.
1. Define your business goals and objectives
Defining your business goals and objectives is the first step in creating a business plan. You need to know what you want to achieve with your business, and setting realistic goals will help you stay on track as you grow your company.
Examples of typical business goals and objectives include:
- Increasing sales by X% in the next 12 months
- Entering a new market
- Launching a new product or service
- Expanding into a new location
- Employing X amount of staff in the next 12 months
Once you have defined your goals, you can start to develop a plan for achieving them.
2. Research your industry and competitors
When you’re starting a business, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your industry and the businesses that compete within it. What trends are happening in your industry? What do your competitors do well, and what could they improve? This information will help you to develop realistic goals and objectives for your company, and it will also give you insight into potential areas of opportunity.
There are a number of ways that you can go about researching your industry and competitors. One option is to attend trade shows and conferences related to your field. These events provide an excellent opportunity to network with other professionals and learn about the latest trends. You can also consult industry publications, websites, and trade association reports.
Talk to industry experts and other businesses in your field. Not only will they be able to provide valuable insights, but they may also be willing to share their own resources and research with you.
Finally, don’t forget to talk to your customers; they can provide valuable insights into the needs of your target market. Remember, the more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to write a winning business plan.
By taking the time to research your industry and competitors, you’ll be in a better position to develop a successful business plan.
3. Explain who your competition is and how you plan to differentiate yourself from them
It’s important to take a close look at your competition and understand what they’re offering, and then develop a unique selling proposition that sets you apart. For example, if you’re a small local business, you may want to focus on customer service or convenience. Alternatively, if you’re a new business, you may want to highlight your innovative approach or unique product offerings.
When writing your business plan, devote a section to researching and identifying your competition. Include an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as an explanation of how your business will fill any gaps in the market. This will show potential investors that you have a clear understanding of the competitive landscape and that you have thoughtfully considered how to position your business for success.
Whatever it is that sets you apart from your competition, make sure to prominently feature it in your business plan. With a well-researched and persuasive competitive analysis, you can give investors the confidence that your business has the potential to thrive in even the most crowded marketplace.
4. Discuss how you plan to reach your target market
Once you have a good understanding of who your target customer is, you can start to think about how to reach them. Reaching your target market is essential to the success of your business.
There are several ways to go about this, and the best approach will depend on your specific industry and product or service. However, there are a few general tips that can help you get started.
Consider the demographics of your ideal customer, such as age, location, gender, and income level. Then consider the best way to reach them by determining what channels your target market is most likely to use. The following point will offer some ideas on how you can develop strategies for marketing and advertising your business. Finally, make sure to track your results so that you can adjust your approach as needed.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you are reaching your target market and driving growth for your business.
5. Develop strategies for marketing and advertising your business
Marketing and advertising are essential components of any successful business plan. Without effective marketing, it will be difficult to attract customers and generate sales.
There are a number of different marketing strategies that can be used to promote a business, and the best approach will vary depending on the products or services being offered. Traditional advertising methods such as print or television ads can be costly, but they can reach a wide audience. Social media marketing and search engine optimisation are other options that are often more affordable and can be just as effective. Direct mail campaigns and word-of-mouth advertising are other options.
Businesses should also consider developing partnerships with other businesses in their industry. These partnerships can help to promote mutual growth and increase visibility.
By taking the time to develop an effective marketing strategy, businesses can increase their chances of success.
6. Detail your products or services and what makes them unique
A business plan should include a detailed description of the products or services you offer, as well as what makes them unique. This section should also include an analysis of your competition and how your products or services differ from theirs.
Not only do you need to describe what you’re selling, but you also need to show why it’s superior to your competition. What unique features does it have? What needs does it meet that other products don’t?
By clearly articulating the value of your product or service, you’ll be much more likely to convince investors to put their money into your business.
7. Describe your company’s history and how you got to this point
If you’re an established business looking to grow, it’s important to describe your company’s history and how you got to this point in your business plan.
When discussing your company’s history in your business plan, you should start with a brief overview of how you got to this point. Include information on the founding of your company, any major milestones or accomplishments, and how you’ve grown over the years. This will give readers a good sense of where your business has been and how it has evolved.
When discussing your company’s history, be sure to include information on why you decided to start the business and what your goals were (and are) for the future. Describing the journey that your company has been on can be an inspiring way to show readers that your business is built on a solid foundation and has a clear vision for the future.
8. Draft a mission statement
A good business plan will include a mission statement. This is a brief, clear statement that articulates your purpose as a business. It should explain what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it. Your mission statement should be reflective of your company’s values and aspirations. It should be something that you can refer back to when making decisions about your business.
A good mission statement will be concise, memorable, and aligned with your company values. Think of it as your North Star – something to guide you when you’re making decisions about your business.
Once you have drafted your mission statement, share it with your team and get their feedback. Then, revise it as needed until you have something that feels right for your business.
Keep in mind that your mission statement may change as your business grows and evolves.
9. Create a financial plan
Any successful business needs a strong financial foundation. Without a clear plan for generating revenue and managing expenses, it will be difficult to keep your business afloat. Fortunately, creating a financial plan is not as daunting as it may seem.
To create a strong financial plan, you will need to thoroughly understand your business’s financials. This includes your income and expenses, as well as your asset and liability levels.
The first step is to create a sales forecast, which will give you an idea of how much revenue your business is likely to generate in the coming months and years. Next, you’ll need to develop a budget that outlines your anticipated income and expenses. Finally, you’ll want to create a cash flow statement, which will show you how much money your business is likely to have on hand at any given time.
Your financial plan should also include both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals should be achievable within the next year or two, while long-term goals may take several years to achieve. As you develop your financial plan, be sure to include benchmarks that you can use to track your progress.
Once you have a good understanding of your financial situation, you can begin to develop a plan for how to achieve your desired results.
If you need help creating a financial plan, Grow Advisory Group is here to help. We have highly-experienced accountants in our Gold Coast and Tweed Heads offices who can help with every aspect of your financial plan. Click here to learn more about our Business Accounting services.
10. Outline your company structure and management team
Finally, a business plan should include a description of your company’s structure and management team. This will give readers an understanding of who is running the company and how it is organised.
In this section, you will need to outline the organizational structure of your company and introduce the key members of your management team. This will give investors a clear understanding of who will be responsible for running the business and how the different parts of the organization will be managed.
Be sure to include information on each team member’s experience and qualifications. This will help to instil confidence in your ability to successfully operate the business.
With a clear and concise description of your company’s structure and management team, you can ensure that your business plan is taken seriously by potential investors.
A business plan is an essential tool for any business, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in operation for years. By taking the time to develop a well-thought-out business plan, you can increase your chances of success and avoid common pitfalls.
When writing your business plan, be sure to include the 10 elements outlined in this article. With a comprehensive and convincing business plan, you’ll be on your way to achieving your business goals.
If you need help creating a financial plan, Grow Advisory Group is here to help. Our business planners in our Gold Coast and Tweed Heads offices can help with every aspect of your business plan, including your financial plan. Click here to learn more about our Business Planning services.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from an accountant and/or financial adviser.