Business plan

Topics: Strategic management, Management Pages: 11 (3839 words) Published: October 27, 2014
GUIDE TO WRITING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN INTRODUCTION A business plan is an important document for any business and it can be written for a variety of reasons. Internally, it can help owners and managers crystallise their ideas, focus their efforts and monitor performance against established objectives. Externally, the business plan can act as a medium for attracting finance for start-ups or expansion. There are many books and publications, which tell you how to write a business plan, what it should contain and how it should be used. This one is different. This is a work-pack specifically designed for those who wish to raise finance. For many people, the experience of raising finance is a new one. The importance of the plan to this process cannot be overemphasised. Many opportunities presented to financiers are subsequently rejected. It is essential, therefore, that the entrepreneur prepares a quality document. The objective of this work-pack is to help you prepare just such a document by providing you with the headings which need to be covered. The sections which follow outline the contents of the business plan. We hope that you will find the comments relevant and thought provoking and that you will be able to use these thoughts as a basis for preparation of a business plan which will adequately convey your ability to succeed. CONTENTS The business plan should summarise the proposed activity and the prospects for success for the venture, paying particular attention to factors that are critical to success or failure. The contents should be tailored to the particular individual requirements, circumstances or characteristics of the proposal. However, in general, they commonly fall within the following categories Executive Summary Current position Objectives Product/Service and Operations Marketing and Sales Plan Competition Management and Staff Financial plan Information and control Risk factors and mitigation We believe that the business plan should be written by you, the management, albeit with the help of professional advisers. The investor is backing the management and the plan must be an expression of your objectives. Experience has shown that the advisers provide a useful role in helping to determine the overall structure of the plan and can provide helpful ideas and reactions. Do keep the length of the plan under control and remember that the reader is unlikely to know the sector as well as you Avoid jargon and explain acronyms/abbreviations in some cases a Glossary is a good idea. Do include a title page containing address and contact details, together with an Index. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Although preferably written last, the Summary should appear at the front of the proposal. It is essential that the Summary catches the eye and grasps the imagination of the reader by providing enough information for him to decide in principle if he would be interested in the deal. Financiers have different preferences and are looking to invest in different situations. The Summary must be clear enough for them to establish from the start whether or not the case is worth pursuing. The Summary should include What your product or service is, in a clear, concise description What your market is The unique aspects of your product Why customers will buy from you rather than your competitors In the case of new or innovative products, what barriers there are to prevent competition entering the market Management experience and funding input The financial highlights, both achievements to date (if appropriate) and expectations of growth The finance required The potential Exit route/returns for the investor or the ability of the business to service borrowings. CURRENT POSITION This section should be a brief resume of the stage the business has reached and how the company has developed in the last few years, with reference to factual information. The following questions should be addressed What is the corporate structure Who owns the company and...
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