Business plans form a vital part of the establishment and running of any kind of business, especially small businesses. The truth is, just as you have faith in the plans you have gathered on paper and given it a nice name “business plan”, that same document can be a drawback.
So what makes a good business plan? Well, it isn’t complex. You probably just have to twerk and twist your existing business plan (which you should have, if you don’t) with some more relevant details. But before I engage you on that, lets deal with this first;
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a document that covers and discusses major aspects of your business, from internal goals and objectives to industry happenings.
Take it as the blueprint of your business to which all other plans and strategies evolve. A complete business plan should discuss these essential aspects of your business and even more;
- The nature and identity of your business
- The goals, objectives and purpose of existence
- The products and/or services
- Your marketing strategies
- Defined niche and industry you operate
- P.E.S.T.E.L and S.W.O.T analysis of your business
- Financial standings & forecasts
- The future of your business
This information could guide you to kick start any kind of business, once you secure the funding. The importance of a business plan is that; it gives you an overview of your company at a glance.
Now the main importance is known, can we now look at the qualities of a good business?
1.The business plan must be detailed
The business plan is to cover every major aspect of your business, so it shouldn’t be sketchy. For instance, you marketing strategies shouldn’t just be some bullet-point actions.
It should cover the channels, the budget, campaigns, the tools etc. that would be used to execute those strategies. However, don’t not stuff it with irrelevant details.
2. The business plan must be formal
The format and style of your business plan must suit industry standards, at least if not for your office, for presentation purposes. Unless you just want a summary of ideas on a paper, a good business plan must be a style and structure that makes it fit for purpose.
You will need it for grant funding or a business loan application, and investors/banks will check for nothing less than standard, well spelt-out business plan.
3. The business plan must cover all the relevant areas
Your business plan must communicate your business at first sight. It must have a list of everything you need to get funding or run your business.
Although it is living document, the source of your business funding, staff, stock, financials and other resources that you may need to start or run venture shouldn’t be left out.
4. The business plan must be well researched
Yes, your business idea is viable, but you must also know that, you won’t be working in a vacuum. You will be part of an industry that probably has a cluster of similar existing businesses.
So, a good business plan must include market research that identifies your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, their share of the market, and products or services.
Your understanding of the industry will shape your business approach to the market, your business operation, and the opportunities you can take advantage off to shot your business to success.
5. Business plan should have realistic goals
Starting a business is a fascinating experience and you might feel like you can build a multi-billion conglomerate in weeks.
That feeling is real, and it is also at that point that you have to check your goals and expectations. Yes, you could find some great success with your business, but make sure your goals and objectives are S.M.A.R.T.
Take a look at existing trends, customer behavior, competitor operations and reports etc., and use that as a guide in your business planning.
Remember that you will be using the business plan throughout the life of your company. It is not today’s to-do-list.
It is a document that you will be referring to time to time, to make sure it works for your business model. As a living document, you will be making changes as your business grows and new goals become imminent.
With a plan for handling different situations, your business is certain to move closer to success and sustainability.