The Importance of a Business Plan

Your business plan is your company’s calling card. It allows you to see your business through your investor’s eyes. As the name suggests it is a plan of your business; your communication tool; selling your marketing, sales and operations.

Every time you meet with a property manager about leasing space for your business or you have a meeting with a potential lender/investor it is your business plan that will do most of the talking.

Use your business plan to present your business concept in away others can understand. You should focus on exactly what you want to achieve, where you want your business to go and how you plan to get it there. Projected sales and monthly expenses will also be included in your plan. All of this information will influence your choices, including the type of location you will be looking for. Your business plan will monitor whether you are achieving these objectives and maximise your changes of success by allowing you to keep adding to it.

A business plan is the key to long term success for new and old businesses. Your business must have a foundation to start from and you have to give your business time as success will take longer then merely weeks.

If you’re a new retail business you should think about things such as will you have a walk in store? A catalogue? Will your store have an internet site? Will it enable Internet ordering? What will your delivery methods be? You should also think about who your competition is and how you are better than your competition.

Your business plan will:

o Help clarify/focus and research your businesses development and prospects.

o Provides a considered and logical framework within which a business can develop and pursue business strategies not just for the near future but throughout your business

o Serves as a basis for discussion with third parties such as shareholders, agencies, banks, investors etc.

o Offers a benchmark against which actual performance can be measured and reviewed.

Your business plan is a framework which your business must operate within. It will ultimately determine whether your business succeeds or fails. For management or entrepreneurs seeking external support, the plan is the most important sales document that they are ever likely to produce. It acts as the key to raising finance. Preparation of a comprehensive plan will not guarantee success in raising funds or mobilizing support, but having no plan at all will more than likely result in failure.

Some of the things that are worth thinking about before you start writing your business plan are:

o Clearly defining your target audience

o Determine your businesses requirements in relation to the contents and levels of detail

o Map out your plan’s structure

o Decide on the likely length of your plan

o Identify all the main issues to be addressed within your plan

For many people the mere process of planning, thinking, discussing, researching and analysing can often be just, if not, more helpful than the actual outcome, which is your plan.

No businesses are the same, just as no plans are the same. Your business plan might seem like a daunting task but the results it will produce will be worth it and if you are having trouble writing the plan yourself there are many websites that offer help and, along with your help, will actually write the business plan for you.