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How to write a business plan

- January 15, 2020 3 MIN READ

A builder would never construct a house without drawings, a chef would never cook a dish without a recipe. A business owner SHOULD never run a business without a plan.

Here is the general format of a comprehensive standard business plan. You can add in more, but this will cover the essentials.

1.Executive Summary

This introduction is at the start of the plan, but written last, when the other details have been fleshed out. Describe the idea, how you got started, the passion that drives it, your “WHY”. Present your mission statement and core values, these are written first, so that all other elements are consistent with your statement.

2. Business Details

ABN, ACN, Licences or Registrations. Contact details: address, phone, email, website, social media. Also bank details and governing bodies you report to.

3. Business Structure

What type of business entity are you? Introduce key personnel – even if it’s just you wearing all the different hats. Provide a synopsis of each key person, their resume or CV. Identify the stake holders, who has an interest in your success. Do you use outsourced service providers? Give them credit for the support they provide.

4. Description of products and/or services

What problem does your business solve? Include your “Unique Point of Difference”. Describe your products, and services in as much detail as you can, and prices with the current date.
You can also describe future plans for new income streams or product lines.

5. Market and industry analysis

Who is your target market? Do you service the public market, or business-to-business? What geographical area? Identify your specific ANZSIC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Code) or BIC (Business Industry Code).
Create a crystal clear picture of who your ideal customer is.

6. Marketing Plan
See the world through the eyes of your ideal customer. See what stands out to them. What will trigger their interest? What reason do they have to go with you? Once you have crafted this idea, spell out what will be presented, on what platforms, at what frequency, to how many people, and for how long. Measure the performance, analyse the data, make adjustments to try next time.

7. Operations Plan

What does a typical day at the coal face look like? Operating hours? What is the schedule or routine? A flow-chart of functions and processes? How do you ensure consistent delivery of your products or services? How is the standard of quality maintained? What are the activities that you can measure and track? These are your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) which, by the way, can be in every area of business (mainly marketing, operations and finance), your finger-on-the-pulse of how business is going.

8. Finance Plan

The funds that come from your customers will flow into your business, and keep the whole business vehicle afloat.  How will these funds be managed? What does it cost to keep your business operating? How much does each sale cost? How much do you need from the business throughout the year? How much will be invested back into the business? How much do you need for working capital? How will you honour your obligations?

GETTING IT RIGHT

This document sets the terms for the successful operation of your business. It’s a recipe to follow, and at the same time, a story being re-written every day. Too much, and you over-shoot the purpose. Too little, and you don’t have enough to go on.

There is a formula that ensures everything is running perfectly. It’s entirely unique to you and your business, a balance of all the different elements working together, where every one has found their groove, and you have harmony. If you haven’t found it yet, keep refining and experimenting, until you iron out all those little kinks.

GETTING IT DONE

The process to write a document such as this can be particularly painful for people who struggle with the number-crunching, or who feel like they don’t have the right words to describe what’s in their head, or haven’t got the first clue about a particular section.

Writing and maintaining a business plan is an ongoing continuing process, and should be part of the overall management, a few hours each month dedicated to perform a review, and prepare an action plan to put changes into effect.

GETTING HELP

There are potential assistants available everywhere. To find the best fit for you, just start looking, start talking. It’s OK to interview someone with no obligation. When you find the one that’s right for you, your business will have a plan, and you will have accountability to make it happen, and isn’t that so worth it?

My business, Evertrue Solutions, helps micro and small business owner-operators to develop a business plan. I run a 6-month program of online business plan workshops coupled with 1-on-1 coaching, to establish the kind of business you want to run – the one that gives you joy and purpose in your life. In order to get a great start on your business plan, I have produced a FREE Tutorial Video on how to create a 12 month financial projection. Go to: https://evertrue.thinkific.com/courses/create-your-12-month-financial-projection or contact me directly on 0411 496 025, or coach@evertrue.com.au.

This post was written by Bronwyn Lawson, founder of Evertrue Solutions