7 essential steps to writing a successful Business Plan

A Business Plan is a written document that describes a business, its strategies, objectives, market segment and its financial forecasts. Often described as a roadmap to success, a business plan has many important uses from demonstrating the viability of a business, measuring success, identifying weaknesses and secure funding from angle investors, banks government bodies. It should be continuously updated as the business evolves.

Company Bureau has created a guide which explains the seven essential steps to creating a successful business plan which covers the following topics:

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a business plan is where all promoters involved in the business should be introduced and the reasons behind the preparation of the business plan.

This is arguably the most important step of the business plan as potential Investors will often make a provisional judgement based on the executive summary. Their decision to continue reading the main body of the business plan will depend on the information presented here.

Business Description

When you are writing a business description you should be as detailed as possible and cover the four main headings; People, Product, Objective and SWOT Analysis.

  • People – This includes listing the promoters, the shareholders and a breakdown of the management structure. Any financial or legal advisors should also be included in the description.
  • Product – When describing your product/service, clearly explain what it is and what exactly it does. It is important to cover all the main points such as the background to its development, the unique selling point, benefits and features and future developments.
  • Objective – This is basically a projection of where you see your business going over the next 5 years. You should state specific milestones to be achieved by your business and include sales forecasts, employment and product development.
  • SWOT Analysis – A SWOT Analysis is an extremely useful technique for identifying and analysing the internal and external factors that can have an impact a product/service. This technique assists you with analysing the strengths and weaknesses of your product/service, the opportunities that exist and the threats to the viability of the product/service.

Market Analysis

This section should cover the market research and competitor analysis.  You must demonstrate that you have carried out market research to justify the projections made in your business description and it must prove that there is a viable market for your product/service. There are four main headings to cover in this section:

  • Target Market- This is the market segment to which you are planning to sell product/ Service.
  • Market Trends – Is the market growing or declining? You will need to show any recent changes in the market, future predictions and your plans to meet future demands.
  • Profile of Competitors – What are the competing products/services? List the key players in your market and include their turnover, profits and market share.
  • Competitive Advantage – This is the reason(s) why potential customers will choose your product/service rather than your competitors.

Marketing/ Sales Strategy

This section should detail your strategies for reaching your target market and developing their interest in your product/service. You should also include a sales strategy to demonstrate how you will sell your product/service to your target market.

  • Marketing Strategy – This heading should answer questions such as, Who will do the marketing? What strategies will be used to reach the target market? How will they position the product/ service in the market and differentiate it from its competitors?
  • Sales Strategy – Describe how you will sell your product/ Service to the target market. Include whether or not it will be directly, through a distributor, through a website or other channels. Analyse the cost involved for each sales method and both the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
  • Communications Strategy – Describe the methods you will use to promote your product/ service in the marketplace. Detail your advertising plans, both online and offline as well as any exhibitions or conferences you intend to promote at.

Staffing and Operations

This is where you will outline the intended structure of the company in terms of management, number of employees, and the physical operational requirements to produce or supply the product/ service. There are three main heading to cover in this section:

  • Management Organisation Chart
  • Staffing
  • Training Plans

Funding Requirements

This is where you need to clearly state the total funding requirements of the business. You should describe how you intend to get funding and include a detailed breakdown of how these funds will be spent.

Appendices

The appendices of your business plan should hold the relevant documents to support the information given within the main text of the plan. Included documents in the appendices vary from business to business, but usually include a selection of the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae’s
  • Financial Assumptions
  • Receipts
  • Testimonials
  • Terms sheet for potential investors
  • Details of company website

For more information on writing a business plan or for a consultation with one of our experts, please do not hesitate to contact us on +3531 646 1625 or email formations@companybureau.ie

Contact us now for further details

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