How to develop a business plan at any stage of the company

How to develop a business plan at any stage of the company

How to develop a business plan at any stage of the company

When starting a business, it is wise to make a business plan. Although some entrepreneurs may think that starting a business without a business plan is a brave act, moving forward without a plan may make you fear more in the future. But business plans are not just for start-ups. Growing companies also need planning. This is also true if your business needs to be transformed, such as during the COVID economy or digital transformation.

Many companies only think About making a business plan-but never make one, because it seems overwhelming. This article breaks down the process into steps and guidelines that can make business planning easier and more effective.

Step 1: Develop an outline

Before making a complete business plan, first create a business plan outline that lists all the components you need. A business plan outline is a good way to start because it simplifies the process. Even if your entire plan will never be fulfilled, you will at least have a touchstone outline that can help you focus on your goals and future decisions.

There are many Sample business plan And templates for you to find inspiration. Even just paying attention to the titles of these examples can help you build an outline with the items to consider. For example, here are some key things to include:

  • Mission statement
  • Your products and services
  • Your USP
  • Your marketing plan
  • Your operating plan
  • Your financial plan

Not all of these components will enter your formal business plan, but after we see 2020, careful consideration of these elements can greatly help your progress.

Step 2: Write a mission statement

Creating a mission statement can help you clarify why you are in business. It should contain your goals, ideas, goals, etc. To develop your mission statement, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why did you start/buy this business?
  • Who are your customers?
  • What values ​​do you represent?
  • What do you want others to think of your company?
  • What are you selling?
  • What kind of working environment have you created?
  • What makes you stand out from the competition?
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Your mission statement should be short, about three paragraphs or so, but you can use this information when creating a business plan. Just like a business plan, your mission statement is dynamic-don’t forget it when you finish writing it. Review it regularly to ensure that it still reflects your business philosophy and your actions.

Also, don’t confuse your mission statement with your vision statement-it is a prediction of the future.According to founder Tim Berry Palo Alto Software, The vision statement is what you expect the company to look like in three years. As your small business grows, your vision should also develop-because your experience will naturally improve your ability to predict the nature and health of the company and the market.

Step 3: Define your USP

USP (Unique Selling Proposition) makes your business unique and stand out. Here is how to determine your USP:

  • USP is about benefits, not features. How can your business help your customers? How can they benefit from doing business with you?
  • Do you know why your customers do business with you? Knowing this will help you make a compelling USP.
  • What is the USP of your competitor? If you want to stand out, you need to know how your competitors define yourself.

It is important to live up to your USP. Think of it as a promise you made to your customers—nothing will drive customers away faster than breaking a promise.

Your USP should be the main driver of your marketing plan (it itself is another key element of your business plan). To understand what makes you unique, consider the marketing strategies and strategies that best portray your uniqueness to potential customers.

Step 4: Consider how you will operate

The operating plan is another important subsection of your business plan. Here you can outline the tasks that employees need to perform to achieve company goals.An effective Operation plan These elements can be included-all of these elements should be measurable, specific and realistic:

  • Target
  • timeline
  • program

Step 5: Determine how you will make money

Finally, your business plan should address how you expect to profit from your business. At the very least, outline the financial aspects of your business. These can include:

  • Available start-up/working capital
  • Assets and equity
  • Income stream
  • Sales Forecast
  • Expected cost (one-time, fixed and variable)
  • Debts and liabilities

A simple Balance sheet It provides a good starting point for formulating and regularly evaluating your financial plan.

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For simple planning, go to lean

Do you need to develop a formal business plan? perhaps. If you want to raise capital and attract investors, yes, you can.If you just want to figure out how to plan for 2021, try creating a Lean Business Plan.

What is a lean business plan? Lean planning is a method of managing a business by understanding the smallest feasible plan that must be involved in order to develop the business strategically. Although small, it can help you decide which opportunities to take and which to ignore. In short, a lean plan might include:

  • Executive summary or recommendation
  • Financial plan including estimated sales forecast, profit and loss, cash flow forecast and balance sheet
  • Action plan with predetermined milestones and accountability
  • Performance tracking to compare actual financial results with your planned financial and other key indicators

After creating a lean plan, it may be helpful to review the plan monthly, compare the planned numbers with actual results, and adjust accordingly.

Money and tax planning

When you look at the business plan, one of the elements you are looking for is cash flow. Has your income met your expectations? This year, you probably are not. do not panic. This year, the situation is absolutely beyond your control.

If you are facing a cash shortage, this is a good time to cut expenses. Do you pay for overlapping software services? Do you pay for membership in organizations you don’t participate in or magazines/newsletters you’ve never read? When your team is working from home, are you still paying rent and management expenses?

If cutting expenses is not enough, you can turn to some resources. Fundbox offers credits And other financing options to help.This The Small Business Administration offers many types of loans You can have a look. As of December 27, 2020, Congress has approved additional funding for PPP. Fundbox no longer accepts PPP applications, but SBA can help you find PPP lenders.

Another area to check is your tax planning. Will you end up owing more or less money before the coronavirus pandemic breaks out?It’s easy to inadvertently Make mistakes when paying taxes. Talk to your accountant to make sure you did nothing wrong.

Develop a strategic plan

You might think that this is what you need-especially if you are already in business. hold on! You also need to develop a strategic plan. Why is strategic planning important for small companies? Because no matter how successful your business is now, the strategic plan will help you expand faster. After 2020, many aspects of your company may have changed, and developing a strategic plan can help you get back on track.

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Here is how to develop a strategic plan covering any time from 5 to 20 years:

step 1. How is your business now? Check your mission and vision statement, business plan, sales report and financial records.Determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business and market opportunities by doing the following SWOT analyze.

Step 2. Where do you expect your business to be in five or ten years? How old do you want to grow? What is your expansion plan? Do you want to add product lines, new services, new locations, or go global?

Step 3. Imagine your future. Think about your personal goals. Do you want to work less? Do you want to be a hands-on manager? You are a serial entrepreneur-do you want to start a business? Coding these goals into code in written form helps you determine what needs to be done to achieve these goals.

Step 4. Develop a plan that outlines the steps needed to achieve the goal. Start with the goal. What do you need to achieve it, and how long will it take? This is where the short-term plan comes in. Work backwards from the results you want to determine what you need to do to achieve it and when.For example, if you want to reach XX million in sales in five years, what do you need to do to reach this number Each goal should be addressed individually.

Step 5. Measure your success. Your goals should be measurable. Determine your key performance indicators (KPI). Sales volume? Number of locations?

Step 6. Check your plan every four to six months. Are you on the right track? If not, rotate and adjust.

How do you plan for an uncertain future?

You can start now. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that John Lennon was right, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” But don’t let this discourage you. Starting from the business plan outline, it is easier to create business and strategic plans.

Once you have completed your plan, don’t just put them back in the drawer or bury them deep in your computer.All the plans we discussed have one characteristic Need to be reviewed quarterly To make sure you are on the right track or understand why you are not going.

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