Business Planning – Why & How?
11/01/2021 - Whitley Morgan
If like me, you get very excited about the possibilities of what your business can achieve you are a true Entrepreneur. We are often creative and optimistic, finding it difficult to narrow down our ideas among all the exciting possibilities, whether it’s an opportunity to start a new business, increase your product line or expand into a new market.
A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business defines its objectives and how it is to go about achieving its goals. A business plan lays out a written roadmap for your firm from initial ideas to operation, marketing and finance. This document should describe your business to an outsider, providing them with the confidence that you have the ability to put your great ideas into place and that you’ve considered all aspects of running the business and achieving your goals.
When running a business it is vital to have the foundations in place for future stability and your Business Plan is the first step towards that.
So, what should you include in a Business Plan?
Business Overview – Your Vision, Your Mission, Culture & USP (Unique Selling Point)
An Introduction to you and your business idea(s) – the products and/or services you will be offering. How you will achieve this and what your core values are.
You must make sure that you are competitive in the marketplace. What are your competitors up to? What is their pricing structure? This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to match – but it would be good to know you are not too low in price, or pricing yourself out of the market. As long as your price offers the client a solution and adds value. Ask yourself: Why would a customer come to you over your competitors? (this links back to your USP).
A Review Of Your Customers/Clients
Who is your ideal customer? By understanding their habits, interests, challenges and aspirations your marketing will be more effective as they will be able to identify with you as a solution to their problem, whatever that might be.
A Review Of You!
Your business plan can also include your curriculum vitae showing outsiders why your knowledge, experience and/or qualification makes you the right person to start and run a successful business in the industry you have chosen. Look at your SWOT (Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats) analysis to help identify weaknesses to improve and strengths to capitalise on.
Branding & Marketing Plans
Having a strong brand is paramount – detail how it will look – keeping it consistent and memorable, so your target market can identify you in a busy competitive marketplace.
How will you market your new venture? Determine which platforms your potential clients spend time on so you know where your business should be present and active. E.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, networking or does your ideal customer prefer printed material?
Who Will Be Your Team & Advisors?
Will you have a team now or in the future? Will you use outsourced professionals? Be part of a networking community? Detail those that you intend to seek assistance from, how they will be helping you and how in return you can support them.
Financial Budgets & Forecasts
Often one of the weakest areas for business owners (and one of the first external sources of help that is sought) is the bookwork / accounts and tax, but this is also one of the most important elements of really understanding your business. As a business owner you should have a good understanding of your business numbers and not be frightened of them – they are there to help you make informed decisions about moving your business forward. Including in your business plan an initial profit & loss and cashflow projection will ensure you have considered all the figures for your venture over the coming months and will be a requirement if you need to seek any funding.
- Write everything down – it makes it easier to review and reflect on later.
- Do your research.
- Be realistic about opportunities and challenges as you plan ahead.
- Review your business plan to ensure you stay on track with your goals and priorities
How Can Whitley Morgan help you? Together with a strong financial background we are able to support you and your business bringing your ideas to reality. With 25+ years’ experience in starting, building, growing, franchising and selling companies we provide training, advice, support and guidance to businesses either starting up or established firms that look to increase their service/product range or improve an area to help the company grow. For more information please visit www.whitleymorgan.co.uk
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