Five top tips to help you write a business plan
The words "BUSINESS PLAN" sends many small businesses running and hiding, but they don't need to.
My five top tips to help you write a business plan are:
Who are you writing the plan for?
Knowing who will be reading the plan will help you decide what information you need to include. It could be that it is for internal purposes only, for you to plot and plan where you want to be, it could be that it is to support an application for finance.
The readers (the "who") in these cases are different audiences and want to see different information.
What are you trying to achieve?
Are you wanting to plot where you see yourself in 5 years time and the journey that you will take to get there? Are you looking to raise finance? Are you looking to expand and take on more staff?
The outcome that you are wanting will impact on what you need to say.
Why are you doing this?
Is it because someone told you that you should have one? In that case, is it really of use and benefit to you? Planning always is, but a formal business plan, not necessarily.
If it is a requirement for the loan you want from the bank then that is your why.
When has two parts - when do you need to have it done for, this is your deadline and you need to stick to it and the other when is when will you review it.
Lastly, it's the "how" question - how will you review it?
How will you look back and determine whether your planning was worthwhile and a success.
You need to know this so you know what metrics to include, these may be financial .. business will grow by 30% over the next 3 years, they may be softer .. we will have expanded our product range to 10 lines from the 4 that we have now.
Knowing what your targets and metrics for assessing a plans success means that you will target your planning so that you can do this.