‘’ It is better you measure 7 times and cut once ’’ – Russian proverb.
The quote above underlines the need for thorough planning before executing any action.
There is an old tale in which the grasshopper was playing around while the ant passed by, toiling with a large ear of corn he was taking to the nest, he was laying up food for the winter. When the winter came, the grasshopper had no food and found itself quite hungry. This story tells us that effective planning is necessary because those who do not plan for the long term will not succeed in the long term.
A plan gives you the foundation and direction of where you are going. Before you build a house, you need a blueprint and a foundation. In the same vein, any successful business must start with a sound business plan.
With that in mind, there are 9 keys to writing a winning business plan.
- Step one is the executive summary. It is generally the first page of your business plan, and it summarizes the points from each section. It states what your business is and why it will be successful.It is the blue print or synopsis of a business. It tells the mission statement of your business and will be the first thing any potential investor will look at before considering your request for funding. It tells the problem you are trying to solve either through statistics, a story, or some other type of anecdote, how many people have done it before and why yours is different, how the return on investment will be, etc.Putting the solution in a detailed format also gives you a sense of clarity.
- Step two is the business description. It provides an overview of key aspects of your business. Your description should answer who, what, where, when, why and how. Your business name, goals, location, opening date, business structure, etc. as to be included.
- Step three is product and services. This describes in details the kind of product or services you render and the solution your product or services can solve.
- Step four is the target market and competition. Write out in detail the ideal persona of people who will need your product or services, there age, gender, what location they are in, how much are they going to spend on the product, how much is there daily package, all these information helps you define how you will price your product or services to sell.
- Step five is sales and marketing plan. The roadmap to profitability figure out what the business is about, why is it in existence, where it is you will sell, at what price point you are selling and why you are selling at that range.
- Step six is risk and operational plan. This steps describes how you are going to build or create your product, are you renting an office space? Put out a structure in place that defines whether you are going to be spending on internet services, etc.
- Step seven is financial plan Explain how your company will make money and achieve goals. Capture in a very detailed format what your forecast will be. Figure out what your expected revenue will be, your cash flow and put together your balance sheet.
- Step eight is the roadmap. The roadmap should tell you what and how you will get to where you are going to from now to 2 to 5 years’ time. Your succession plan should be quite clear.
- Stepnine is the appendices. Is usually the last section to appear when writing your business plan, It consist of figures, tables, maps, photographs, raw data, and any additional document your products or services need.
A plan doesn’t have to be perfect. Things might go wrong but what counts is what we do next that matters. Go back and start planning again.