Starting a business should never be a rash decision.
In order to be sure that you’re taking everything into consideration, it’s important that you have a viable business plan.
A great business plan can help you anticipate important issues and possible challenges before you start your business.
In fact, studies show that entrepreneurs who take the time to write a business plan are 2.5 times more likely to follow through and get their business off the ground.
You’ll need to present your business plan to your bank when you apply for funding or to open a merchant account for your online business. So, if you’re serious about owning a small business, at some point you’re going to have to write a business plan.
Here are 6 great tips for writing a business plan:
1. Read Other Business Plans from Businesses Similar to Yours
You’re not alone in this journey and luckily, there are many people out there who would have done business plans similar to what you need to do. Try reading them and see what you can incorporate into your own plan.
Reading business plans can give you a good idea of how you would like yours to be.
There are many templates available online to help you get started on creating a business plan, so you can use these once you’re comfortable with what a business plan is.
2. Do Your Research
You will need to research your market thoroughly and be aware of the opportunities and threats. You can include a SWOT analysis in your business plan to show that you’ve taken everything into consideration.
Your plan should show how you intend to reach your business goals, so you’ll need to do your homework on this.
3. Know Your Competition
Unless you’re creating a completely new industry, you’re going to have competitors. So, your business plan should show that you can beat them, or at least compete with them. You’ll need to spend some time figuring this out by researching the industry, target base and competition.
4. Have a Convincing Executive Summary
The Executive Summary will appear at the beginning of your business plan and gives the reader the key points of your business plan. You’ll need your executive summary to be engaging and encourage people to want to read more of your business plan. Because it’s your main selling pitch, you should save writing the executive summary for last so you’re sure you’ve included all the highlights of your plan in it.
5. Get Your Financial Information Right
You’ll need to have your predicted cash flow and costs prepared. It’s important that you be realistic when stating predicted cash flow because this section of your business plan will be under the most scrutiny. For costs, include e-commerce transaction costs if you’re going to be accepting payments online.
6. Seek a Second Opinion
When you’re done preparing your plan, have it reviewed by someone who can offer independent, constructive criticism – perhaps an accountant or business adviser.
The most important thing is that you take it one step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed by the process. Great things don’t happen overnight. Don’t rush your business plan and definitely don’t attempt to finish it all in one sitting.