Business Plans for Small Businesses
You have a small business and need a plan, here is a basic guide, to help you write Business Plans for Small Businesses.
Your Executive summary will give the reader a clear insight; into what your business is about, your target market, how you will finance and operate your business to turn a profit. Keep it 1-2 pages in length anymore, and it becomes a long winded story, and the reader will quickly lose interest.
Stick to the facts, start by making your objective clear, with a statement i.e. To Gain and Maintain market leadership by offering a full range of service solutions that are simple, cost-effective, protect the environment and are beneficial to the client.s
Tip: Write your executive summary last. (once your plan is almost complete you will more of an idea of the direction you will take)
Further reading: Business Plan Checklist
You are in business to make money, having financial forecasts gives you a clear indicator that you will make money. Any person reading your plan will also clearly see your venture is a good investment.
Spend the time and include all your costs, projections and your investment and funding required. If you are borrowing money, describe how you will be paying that money back and the timeframe.
Further reading: Business Budget Planning and Managing Cash Flow
You will need to demonstrate that you know your customer and their requirements. You also need to demonstrate that the product or service you are providing fills the needs of that market. Show that you understand the market and its quirks and tendencies. Estimate how your marketplace will grow or change in the coming years and how you will adjust to these changes.
Further reading: How to Write a Market Plan
You are in business so are dozens of others in your area and even in the same market. Show that you know who your competition is and how you are unique in the market. Show what will give you the competitive edge over your opponents. Get to know your opposition; there is nothing wrong with talking to them directly, you might be surprised how much they will open up to you. Remember competition is good.
Every business needs a system or systems.
What skills do you have in managing a business, you don’t need to hold an MBA or a degree in management, but you will need to demonstrate how you will run your business and what knowledge you do have.
What system or tools will you be using, i.e. accounting, customer relationship management, project management, stock inventory control. There are many systems and tools available whatever you choose don’t forget to capture the cost in your financial forecasts.
Your demonstration of how you manage your business and your knowledge thereof will be reflected in your business plan. A good plan will show that you have understood management and it’s principals.
Plan Structure and Content
Make your plan simple to read an easy way is to ensure you have plenty of spacing, the, more white space you have makes it easier on the eyes; Use larger font on Headings and use Bullet points where possible.
- Executive Summary
- Business Profile
- Sales Analysis
- Market Analysis
- Competitor Analysis
- Marketing Plan
- Financial Plan
- Management Plan
- Production Plan (if manufacturing)
Using the above bullet points as a guide for headings in your plan, you will have a simple effective and professional business plan.
Further reading: Business Planning for Success
You can learn more, about starting a business by downloading my free book Your First Business a Beginners Guide
About Darren Wilkins
Darren is a semi-retired senior executive and serial entrepreneur who runs a number, of successful businesses both online and offline.
With 30+ years experience in management and as a management consultant Darren has a can-do attitude and offers real practical advice that can be used for any business no matter the size, Darren is using his time focusing on online opportunities and building better businesses.
With global experience managing and directing multimillion-dollar mega construction projects and businesses. Darren has a wealth of practical experience to share and wants to help you and your business.