Rome wasn’t built in a day and a business also needs hard work and planning to be great. If you want to succeed in business, you need to make a habit of writing a detailed business plan. A business plan is your blueprint for success. It’s every business’ roadmap for the gaps, holes, and possible opportunities present in the business.
Let’s pretend that you wanted to start a florist business with the aim of being the best in your city. Your business plan would outline the steps you would take to get there and who would help you along the way:
1) Offer flower orders through an app in 3 months.
2) Expand your range by importing flowers by the end of the year.
3) Offer innovative wrapping in the second year and so on.
Unfortunately, not all businesses have plans in place that will lead them on the journey to success. Having a well-formulated business plan is extremely useful for managing and tracking performance. Successful CEOs use a combination of delegation and business plans to achieve superior performance, and when it comes to raising funding, a business plan is an important document to communicate your strategies and business model to future investors.
If you are planning on creating or updating your business plan, it must cover these five main areas:
- Business Overview
Briefly give a summary of your business including your business purpose and business model. You should also identify three to five factors that are your point of difference in the market. Finally, list down your top 3 business objectives for the next 12 months.
- SWOT Analysis
List down all your business’s strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T). To come up with a practical analysis, you need to have a deep understanding of your business, industry and market. You can conduct some research, talk to your team or business partner or get feedback from your clients.
- Marketing Plan
This section of your business plan should explain in detail how you will get your clients to buy your product or service and why you are preferred over your competitors. So you’ll need to understand the industry or market you operate in and then identify your ideal customers.
In this section, you’ll also need to set your marketing goals. How many new customers or orders do you need (per year, per month, per week) to achieve your goals?
Once you have your marketing goals, the next step is to set your marketing tactics. Identify five ways you can generate leads for your business.
- People/Leadership Plan
This is a critical part of your business plan because the people that build the best teams are the people that build successful businesses. You need to think through who are the people you need to hire that will help you build a thriving business, when should you hire them and how to lead them effectively.
In this section, you need to address three main questions. The first thing you must do is think about three to five reasons someone would want to work for your business. What can you offer to attract and retain top talent? You’ll also want to list down the types of roles you will need to hire over the next 12 or 24 months. Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to hire full-time, part-time or casual staff. You’ll also need to decide if your team should work in the office or if they can work remotely.
Now that you’ve got a bird’s eye view of why someone would want to work for you and the types of roles you need to hire, it’s time to focus on your leadership skills. List down the top 3 things you need to work on or improve as a leader and build a plan on what you must do in order to improve on those areas.
- Financial Plan
To build a successful business, it is important to learn how to manage your money. So the final piece of the puzzle is outlining your financial plan. Some of the questions you need to answer what are your revenue goals for the next 12 and 24 months? What are your current and ideal net profit margin?
In the “financial” section of your business, you also have to list down three things you need to do to improve your financial management and how you can make it happen. You can talk to your accountant in order to ensure that you’re developing the right financial management plan for your business. Finally, you will also need to develop a growth strategy that you will follow over the next 12 to 24 months.
Free Business Plan Template
Now that you’ve discovered the five important sections of a well-formulated business plan. It’s time to put your knowledge into action and start creating your very own business plan.
To make it easier for you, we’ve created a 5-Page Business Plan Template. With this fill-in-the-blanks template, you can easily:
- Outline the purpose and services of your business
- Draw the organisational structure of your company
- Analyse your business using the SWOT framework
- Plan an effective and powerful marketing strategy
- Set your long- and medium-term business goals
Download the complimentary template here.
Once you’ve secured your copy, the next step is to print and use it as a guide to creating a business plan.
Finally, should you want to learn more strategies on how to grow your business, come along to our complimentary 1-day business growth workshop, New Rules of Business. By spending an entire day with us, you’ll learn practical and ready-to-implement strategies to grow your business. Join over 20,000+ people who have attended in the past and were blown away by the massive amount of information that we give out. To learn more about this event and how to reserve your seat, simply visit rego page here.