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How to write a business plan

A business plan is a strategy that defines the elements of your business-marketing, risk management, finances, performance monitoring, resource allocation and the key points required for carrying your business to new levels. Here’s a guideline which will help you in creating a business plan (for existing or new business start-up).

Standard elements of a business plan

Executive summary Create your mission statement - describe what your business is and your business goal. Include the key points of your business plan (from the basics of your business to the financial aspect). Make this section concise and interesting and it’s often best to write it last. Business opportunity or company summary This section should stress on what your business does, its products, services and processes, its vision, legal establishment, history, who you are, whether you intend to get investments or loans, the issues you want to address, your offer, starting of your business and its growth, what makes it different from others, why customers should buy from your company rather than competitors, and if you hold any patents or trademarks. Markets and competitors This section should state your current position in the market, market segmentation, analysis of any market research conducted (market needs, trends, growth), current customers, industry analysis, main competitors and their comparison, distribution and buying patterns, and changes you anticipate for the future. Marketing, sales and implementation strategy This section includes the brand positioning strategies of products/services, sales forecasts, distribution model, pricing strategies, competitive edge, milestones, marketing strategies (PR, mail...), sales literature, customers and their needs, strategies for future products and services, web plan, sales business plan and promotional methods (advertisements, retail...)

Management team and personnel

Include the current structure, key skills and experience of your management and workforce. Define strengths, recruitment process, costs and training plans. Operations Describe your location advantages, benefits of producing your own goods or any outsourcing opportunities, suppliers, modern facilities of your plant (technology), accounts, stock and quality control, IT, and expansion plans. Financial forecast This section will include revenue and income, mode of repaying loans, cash flow statements and balance sheet for the next 12-18 months, profit and loss forecasts (3-5 years), break-even analysis, risk analysis (natural disasters, customer or competitor risk, operations failure or staff unavailability), business ratios and long-term plans. Software You can also buy the business plan software (Business Plan Pro) consisting of numerous business plan templates that will assist in avoiding mistakes while making a business plan. Your business plan should be concrete, dependable and the details of your plan should be mapped to your rationale. A good business plan will not only guide you but also give you the vision for new investments and growth optimisation.

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