Tips for a successful business plan

Above all, a business plan is an instrument which describes the resources needed to bring a business idea to life.

A business plan provides information about a company’s past, present and future. It contains declarations, the market situation, the actions planned and financial requirements.

First, the document introduces the management, in broad strokes, along with the underlying ideas and objectives. Only then will readers—potential partners and investors—be able to get a detailed overview of the risks and opportunities of the business.

A business plan is also recommended when a business is on the verge of expanding or when it depends on the support of partners.

Layout

The business plan should be directed at its readers, offering those readers all the information they require to make a decision. Simple, clear tables and graphs should set out each main idea in detail.

A business plan is based on facts and estimates: a clear distinction should be made between estimated figures/scenarios and facts. For this kind of document, 20 to 40 pages with an appendix are sufficient.

Drawing up your business plan

The business plan should contain the following:

  • Summary: business idea, vision, strategy, management, products, market, financial planning, possibilities and risk; possible shareholding proposal.
  • Company: legal structure and capital structure, owner, strategic and operational partners, management control, advisor.
  • Management and staff: organization chart, responsibilities, management training and experience of key staff, staff planning and development.
  • Products and services: detailed description of products and services along with usefulness to customer base, life cycle status, subsequent development and innovation.
  • Markets: outlets (potential and growth), structure of customer base, number of sales envisaged, competitors, analysis of competition and market.
  • Marketing: target markets and customer groups, PR, advertising, sales, distribution, product, service and price selection policy.
  • Business risks: analysis of risk potential and possibilities, risks to be avoided or reduced.
  • Production and infrastructure: site, production tools, capacities, warehouse, suppliers, calculations.
  • Miscellaneous: patents and trademark protection, risk and insurance policy, public commitment.
  • Schedule: deadlines, stage objectives.

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Last modification 26.07.2018

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