writing a business plan

writing a business plan

Writing a Persuasive Business Plan

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1. Executive Summary

Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan as a whole. We are calling this an executive summary because it really is intended for busy business people who may not have the time to read the entire document. The summary should stand alone and should not refer to any other part of the plan. Try and write this summary as if the person reading the plan may not be totally familiar with your business. We understand this is a difficult task because you have intimate knowledge about your business, but this may be the only people that some people involved with your business plan will see. This summary should be a minimum of 4 paragraphs. It should give the reader a good idea of what to expect in the business plan, how the proposal relates to the person that will be reading, and should create interest by showing what is attractive about the business opportunity. To make things a little easier for you, we will guide you through what we would like to see included in each paragraph. At the end of your summary, do a word count and if you find that we have asked for 1200 words of text and you have handed in 800 words to us, you should go back and add more persuasive points and let the reader know that the following business plan will support these goals.

2. Company Overview

What are the advantages of developing a mission statement? This affirms that your business and intention are centered around the things you find most important. It guides decision-making activities/finality on a personal level as well as on a business level. It enables clarity of purpose, direction, and focus. Mission statements create a filter to help separate what is important and what is not. It influences an emotional bond, inviting clients to return to your product or service. Having an incredibly strong mission statement may even serve to attain a particular style of employee whose ultimate beliefs align with those portrayed by your company.

Establish the mission and vision of your company. Your business plan must really spell out your company’s mission statement. The mission statement is a concise statement that communicates the essence of your business to your target audience. This seasoned concept could be in the form of a verbal comment, moving picture, list, slogan or even an emblem. An emblematic statement needs to be manifest throughout all aspects of your business. The publicly visible pattern of a corporation’s mission is what gives consumers a bond and sense of attachment to your company, inviting them to return.

3. Market Analysis

Understand the Customer Taking a bottom-up approach, we can look at the customers who are looking for a painting service and the problems that they face. Considering the different types of customers, we will generalize them into two types: consumer and business. Homeowners and tenants are considered consumers, as well as landlords who manage rental properties. Häuslein Painting will categorize these types as clients. Clients and customers are looking for someone being doing the work at a good price, but with an emphasis on quality. Step 2 of value states that the service must be more efficient than an alternate service. Häuslein Painting feels that the convenience of coming home or waking up to a newly painted area is the epitome of cost efficiency. This service would potentially appeal to the second type of consumer clients mentioned earlier.

To start, we can define painting more specifically. Painters offer a service that will improve the look of a certain location. The market that painters exist in is cyclical but not very volatile. This means when times are good, people will renovate and paint their homes, and when times are bad, people will still need painters to do work on essential services/goods (i.e. government/hospital buildings and schools). Consumers will always look for the best value when selecting a service. Although the service may have a great upside in cost efficiency, if the quality and professionalism of painting are not met, a consumer will not be satisfied. Painting is also a fragmented industry. With a vague entry and exit into the industry, painters can range from construction companies, independent contractors, and regular Joes who will do it as a hobby. This can cause a lot of problems for consumers wanting to find and hire a service.

Your Market Gap To be able to be competitive, writing a business plan for any kind of firm will mean you need to understand the market that you are getting into. So let us revisit the market that we are targeting. Consider the potential gaps in the market and the service that is offered now. What factors will affect the success of your proposed service? What type of customers are you targeting? Why would they buy your product? How much are they willing to pay? Finally, consider the life cycle of the industry in which your firm will exist.

4. Business Strategy

Amidst getting near to a final business plan, many entrepreneurs will consider, in particular, what they want to do a few years down the road. Use the term “business plan” as the way to explain a written document also for a time frame. “A few years” is vague, but getting specific about short term (less than one year), intermediate term (one to three years), and long term changes adds clarity. The former is a statement now widely defined as a Five P type planning. At this stage, a savvy entrepreneur will be looking towards launching the venture and expect to secure enough resources to put together the basics of a successful business. This is quite a focus for startups while small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and larger companies will more likely have a take on growth or managing growth. In this case, an SME would effectively downscale the following strategy in an attempt to redefine its current position, then to consider new business development in the future. At all stages, the mission or purpose of the business should be defined. Microsoft (2005) in reference to its long-term vision for its new search engine Bing mentioned “to deliver the best search experience on the web”. This should be defined in an aspirational sense. In any case, what the firm would like to do is measured against a comparison of what they are actually doing, and the larger the gap, the more there is a need for strategy. This will result in an attempt to build some form of competitive advantage, which could be based on cost leadership, differentiation, focus, or just something that the company believes it can do better than any other.

5. Financial Projections

What is the position of financial forecasts in the business plan? Who should be involved and what role should they play in devising the business plan? Start-up businesses should generate simple pro forma, easy to understand forecasts of sales, costs, and cash to assess the feasibility of their business ideas. A formal business plan necessarily involves a presentation of financial projections. The key purpose of financial projections is to ascertain the financial requirements for the business and to evaluate the business proposition. Financial projections provide a detailed view of the financial shape and feel of the business envisaged. The more detailed and explicit the financial projections, the better the understanding of the business’ financial characteristics. Detail and rigor in the assessment of financial implications may also highlight gaps or weaknesses in the underlying assumptions on which the business is based. It is better to ascertain that the financial prospects are unattractive at an early stage! Financial projections are also a tool for monitoring the business implementation. By comparing actual financial results with the projections, one can analyze the reasons for any divergence from the plan. Financial projections should cover a 3-5 year planning horizon. It is unrealistic to have detailed annual projections over a longer time period due to the uncertainties in any business. The overall emphasis is on the logic and realistic assumptions underpinning the forecasts, rather than obtaining pinpoint accuracy on the future financial position of the business.

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