Getting a business plan that fits your project is essential before you start implementing it. Ask yourself what do you want to reach? And how can you do that? Understanding the motivation behind your desire to launch your project will make it easier for you to implement your vision and prioritize the things you can do, but preparing a business plan is only the beginning, you must be mentally prepared to spend several years in watering this product and developing it into a project.
“I am convinced that about half of what separates successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs is pure continuity.”Steve Jobs
The most important steps needed to write an appropriate action plan that will help you achieve your goals
The business plan is the roadmap that we draw to determine the most important goals, how to reach them and the details of their implementation. A good plan is the key to the success of your project. Some prefer to use their own method, and others prefer to use ready-made models suggested by experts. The Business Model Canvas is one of these models, and we will talk About it later in this article, but you need to understand a few basic things before you prepare your own business plan.
Why write a business plan?
There are two main reasons for writing a business plan:
- First: to write it in order to implement your strategy and achieve your goals: in this case it will be your copy in the first place.
- Second: to write it for investors and financiers: or to search for partners, in which case you will need to focus on some points more than others. (We will discuss it in this article).
3 basic rules for writing a business plan
1- Keep it short
The business plan should be short and concise, for two reasons:
First: You want your business plan to be read, you will not find someone free to read a 100-page business plan, not even 40 pages.
Second: Your business plan will be the means by which you manage and develop your business, you will reuse it and revise it each time, it will be a huge burden to deal with a long business plan, and the chance of putting it in your desk drawer and not looking at it again will be greater.
2- Know your target audience
Write your business plan in a language your audience understands. For example, if your company is developing complex scientific processes, but your potential investors are not scientists, and don’t understand the exact scientific words you want to use, you should adapt. Instead of writing:
“We have a new technology that is still being registered, and it is a new addition to the CPAP systems, which provide non-invasive bi-pressure breathing.”
“Our product – under registration – is an easy-to-use device without a charger, that replaces traditional ventilators in hospitals, at a cost of 1/100 of the previous price.”
3- Don’t be afraid
Most entrepreneurs are not experts and do not have degrees in entrepreneurship, they are just like you trying to learn as much as possible.
Writing a business plan may seem a difficult obstacle, but it should not be. If you are surrounded by your work and passionate about it, writing a business plan and implementing it to develop it will not be as difficult a challenge as you think, and you should know that you do not have to start writing an integrated and accurate plan, in fact, You can start with a simple one-page business plan that is flexible enough so that you can modify it later.
7 things you should focus on
Below we will provide you with details of what your business plan should include, and what you should avoid.
Remember.. a business plan is a tool for improving your business, not a homework . Good business plans are files that you come back to frequently and update according to what works for your customers, sales and marketing tactics, successful (and unsuccessful), and what went right or wrong about your budget and expectations. Your plan sets out the goals you want to achieve, and allows you to track your progress and adjust your course of action.
1- Executive summary : It is a general vision about your work and your plans. It is at the beginning of your business plan, although most put it at the end. It usually consists of one or two pages.
2- Opportunities : This part answers questions such as: What are you selling? Who is your target audience? What market should you be in? Who are the influencers in this market? Who are your main competitors? How do you solve the problems of your products in the market?
3- Implementation : How will you take advantage of your opportunities and turn them into work? This part will cover the marketing and sales plan, how to implement the basic processes and how you will measure your success.
4- Team work: Investors are looking for strong business teams, as well as great ideas. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you want to work with. It will also give a quick overview of your legal structure, the location and history of your company if it was previously operating.
5- Financial plan : Your business plan would not be complete without financial forecasts. We’ll tell you later what your financial plan should include.
6- Marketing : The marketing factor is often the decisive factor in the success of your project, so it is very important to define a good method that enables you to enter the market forcefully, and to give a high priority to marketing within your business plan.
7- Appendix : If you need additional space for your product images or any additional information, use the appendix to include these details.
How do you prepare the executive summary and why?
We will talk about the executive summary more broadly because of its importance in building relationships and partnerships with investors.
The executive summary is what defines your company and what you do, and it coordinates what you want from the readers of this plan organizationally. It is the first chapter of your business plan. Since it is the first part to be read, I advise you to write it as the last thing. Why? Because when you know the details of your business internally and externally, you will be more prepared to write a summary, since this part will summarize everything, refer to it after writing the rest of the chapters of your business plan.
Ideally, the executive summary will be the only document that will highlight the rest of the details of your plan. Funders usually only ask for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they find in the summary, they will ask for the full plan, pitch and other additional information for your business.
Because the executive summary is a sensitive component of your business plan, it will be very important to make it as clear and brief as possible. It should cover the main headings of your plan but avoid too much detail and scrutiny. The ideal executive summary is one to two pages long, designed for a quick read that will get the funder interested and eager to learn more.
Key Ingredients for a Successful Executive Summary
One sentence sums up your work
At the top of the paper directly under your company name, mention one sentence that summarizes the most important things you do in your business. It may be a personal slogan, but it better describes exactly what your company does. This sentence is known as a Value Proposition.
The following eight items are the essential components of a successful executive summary. Depending on the nature of each project, you may need to increase or delete another line item, but basically you can take these eight items as a start. If you master it as it should be, you will end up with a successful paper, which will impress investors, and they will realize how organized you are in your business, and successful in planning.
- the problem
Summarize in one or two sentences the problem that your business solves in the market. Each business solves a customer problem.
- The solution
Here you put your product or service, how will you solve the problem in the market?
- target market
Who are your ideal customers? How many are they? It is important to be precise here, if you own a shoe company, you are not targeting everyone just because everyone has legs! You will most likely target a specific segment of the market. For example: “athletes” or “men interested in luxury.” This will make it easier for you to attract customers who might buy your product.
- The competition
Are there other options in the market besides your company? Every business will face some form of competition in the marketplace and it is important that you mention this in your executive summary.
Provide your summary with a brief introduction to your team, and briefly explain why you and your team are the best to bring your idea to market. Funders place a lot of importance on the team – even more than the idea itself – great ideas need leadership to get real.
- Financial Summary
List the most important aspects of your financial plan in a table that shows sales plans, expenses and profits.
- Funding requirements
If you want to get money from investors to start or develop your business, you should mention the details of what you need in the executive summary. Don’t worry too much about the terms of potential financing, because they can be discussed later. Instead, briefly mention how much money you need to put your business in the market. .
- Action landmarks and attractions
The last thing in your executive summary that investors want to see is your progress so far, and the goals you intend to reach. If your target customers are interested in your products or services, or even started buying them, this is a great thing to mention.
As noted above, you are not limited to eight items, you can reduce or increase the number of items based on your project needs. The main objective of the executive summary is to present to investors or financiers a concise paper that expresses your project, so that by reading this paper, they become reasonably aware of what you are calling for.
Also, you can pass or scale back the executive summary if you’re writing a strategic internal business plan to guide your company. In that case, you can dispense with staff details, funding requirements, and attractions. Instead, treat your summary as a strategic overview of your company’s path to pitch to your team.
Is this enough to make a great business plan template?
No matter how much we talk and provide important information, experience will remain the most important factor that nominates a person to excel in the labor market. So it is a good idea to seek the assistance of experts and ask for their opinion. You will find a lot of project owners and experts on the independent platform who have had similar experiences with your project. Present your main ideas and what you want to achieve. Discuss the business plan with them and learn from their mistakes and experiences, and be sure that it will be a great addition to you.
Many of today’s successful founders started from small apps or side projects for fun that seemed trivial at the time, but it was these initial experiences that became the most important informative part of their subsequent great accomplishments.
If you are just experimenting, build what makes you happy or think it will solve a problem you are facing. It may not be legitimate yet, but it could lead to something. You don’t have to have a big project the first time to be able to plan it and set goals based on it. On the contrary, it is the experiences that you will gain from your small projects that will build your next success that you will be proud of forever.
You might build a website or build an app just out of experience. This kind of experimentation is great, and sometimes it’s the thing that ultimately leads to something special. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, started trying a product that he thought would be fun for him and his brothers. Zuckerberg then created a music app, then Facemash, and finally Facebook.
One of the most important challenges associated with the business plan is that it takes a long time to be completed, and this may lead to over-planning, which will delay you from starting your idea. A detailed business plan with multiple worksheets is usually not flexible enough to accompany you as you build and develop your business.
Therefore, in previous years, the Business Model Canvas was dealt with, which was very popular. This model was created by authors Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, who presented it in their book Business Model generation . In essence, it is about reducing waste while developing your project or product, as an alternative to a complex business plan, through a simplified model.
Instead of an analysis process that can take months to complete, the business model focuses only on the most important points of your project on a single page. The Business Model Canvas interface will definitely help you catch errors related to your business model that you may not have noticed, and that you need to focus on.
When creating a business model, don’t overthink it. The goal is not to do everything exactly. Set aside a half an hour or an hour and complete the form. If you don’t know what to fill in some fields with yet, leave them blank. And if you don’t know all the answers, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get started, or that your idea isn’t good, it just means that you’ve identified areas in your project that need you to think and test more.
While you can correct your answers in your Business Model Canvas interface as your project progresses, the great thing about creating this interface is that it helps you keep your eye on the many points of influence in your project, rather than randomly thinking that the model is does not suit you.