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Importance of a Well-Structured Business Plan

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1. Introduction

In the present time, business-related undertakings have become one of the most focused ventures throughout the universe. With every living human yearning to expand their life stature and consequently their financial belongings, business turns out to be the most straightforward road to choose. This actuality is supported by the endless emerging of new businesses and ventures, especially during a time of globalization and advanced information. However, starting a business isn’t just about beneficial things like profits, income, or pay. On the flipside, there are relatively exceptional bad things like failures or even disappointment. This is because many businesses are started impulsively and without a good and careful business plan. A good business plan is the key to the success of a business. A business plan can be conditionally likened to a future guide, showing the course to be taken and the possible success and accomplishment. This, in turn, will dissuade the unexpected delays and impasses towards the business vision and mission.

2. Key Elements of a Business Plan

7) Risk factors and contingency plans – A legal discussion of liability and the necessary protection with a plan showing capital requirements for the business. Then a discussion of the risks particular to this business, how likely they are to happen, and what steps you will take if they do happen.

6) Business development plan and management factors – This includes a build plan discussing how you intend to get from point A to point B. It includes pricing and expected date of significant revenue. Then a development status shows at a glance how development is going at any time. An organizational chart might be relevant if your business has reached a level of sophistication to which it needs one.

5) A marketing and sales strategy – What are you going to do? How are you going to tell people about your product or persuade them to buy it?

4) Industry and market analysis – A detailed description of your industry and market. Tell the story of your industry and its potential, focus on special things about the market and the particular growth you envision for your business.

3) A detailed description of the business – Not just what your business is, but what you want it to be. Discussions of vision, mission, and what the business stands for are relevant here.

2) The business opportunity – A description of the problem that your business will solve or the opportunity that it will take advantage of.

1) A clear, concise, defining statement – A short statement of the business identity, philosophy, and goals.

Your business plan should be clear, concise, and focused. The format really depends on your organizational style and your goals, but ideally, a business plan should include most, if not all, of the following key elements:

3. Benefits of a Comprehensive Business Plan

Much of the benefit derived from preparing a business plan results from the process of researching and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The plan should be comprehensive. If it is all-encompassing, there will be specific results that come from the exercise. You will have to think through the entire business process in order to fully understand it. For example, a well-known business class instructor took a group of students through the process of constructing a complete business plan. When they looked at the section of the plan that addressed the product or service to be offered, it became apparent that the business was not really a new concept but rather a replication of an existing business that had been successful. This being an untenable business proposition, the plan was abandoned.

4. Strategies for Creating an Effective Business Plan

A third strategy might sound a little strange, but it’s very effective in clearing communication roadblocks and ensuring consistency. This is to write the executive summary last, rather than first. The executive summary is traditionally a concise one-page review of the entire plan. Often it fails to effectively communicate the plan’s purpose and what has been done. This is because it is a summary of something that has not yet been written. Writing the executive summary last ensures clearing communication because it will effectively communicate what was done in the plan. You will see that there is no concise summary of the first strategy; it has failed to communicate why the strategy is important.

The second strategy is the development of a preplanned structure before starting on the business plan itself. Most people jump right into writing a business plan, with a complex process of trying to make the plan all things to all people. This is the primary cause of a lack of focus. Any business that develops a plan without a clear idea of what it is trying to accomplish has wasted its time. The structure should be developed using a series of guideline questions. These questions should drive the writer to a clear understanding of the scope of the plan, the reasons it is being developed, and what the user hopes to accomplish with it.

The first strategy is appropriate for anyone who is considering developing a business plan. It is to be prepared, both mentally and technically. This cannot be stressed enough. Developing an effective business plan takes a great deal of time and commitment. It also requires being able to get your hands on a variety of technical resources. This will usually include some information on the industry, marketing research to verify a potential.

Strategies for developing an effective business plan are the same as the steps taken when developing a new product or service. The plan can be used as a tool to effectively evaluate the feasibility of a change in an existing business or the development of a new venture. The steps required for product or service development are similar to the ones needed to write an effective business plan. This is probably one of the reasons why many marketing textbooks have a chapter on marketing planning and also why many marketing managers have a difficult time in developing a plan. Writing a marketing plan is not an easy process, but with the right structured guidance, it can break the process down into much more manageable steps.

5. Conclusion

In seeking finance, a well-structured business plan is essential. It can sell your business idea to a family member, private investor, or even a bank manager. When seeking finance, the prospective funder will ask to see the business plan. Many small businesses seek finance from family to begin with, then progressing to private investors. The business plan can be the first key to obtaining finance. With a well written plan a high percentage of prospective investors will give the money, and allow the business owner to retain the document to keep them on track.

Many business owners have taken the time to produce a business plan, and many have not. It is no coincidence that those who have not produced one, experienced difficulty, and in some cases failure. Businesses fail and the ‘upfront’ thought by the business owner is usually the last thing to be blamed. The late ‘thought’ is that if they had an idea on paper, they may have spotted the failure in the model before it was too late. Compare the process to a road trip. Some people would not contemplate travelling from one location to another without a map. Others would say ‘I know where I am going’. A high percentage of people who say this, will get lost along the way. The road trip is an analogy for the business. The map is the business plan.

Remember, your business plan represents your business. Invest time setting out your business plan, as the benefits are far reaching. Without a doubt, having a well-structured business plan is essential for running a stable and successful business. The importance can be boiled down to providing direction, increasing the likelihood of securing finance, and providing a benchmark for monitoring.

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