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What you need to do before writing a business plan

15 November 2018 / By Desley Grant

While you can articulate your goals, you don't have a complete a plan to get there, particularly around forecasting and reporting. Perhaps you're also in need of better support and information but you're not sure how to get the right help. 

To get to where you want to be, creating a detailed business plan is one of the most valuable investments of your time. Doing so will give you a clear direction for your business's future and help you to achieve the success you're looking for.

In this blog, we cover the steps for writing a winning business plan. 

1. Research

Get to know every aspect of your company. Analyse the products, market and expertise you offer customers by objectively researching and evaluating. Looking at your company through someone else's eyes will give you an intimate insight into it, and the competition, that can be incorporated into your business plan. 

2. Find the purpose of your plan and business

A business plan typically includes a description of the nature of the business, sales and marketing strategy, financial background, and projected profit and loss. It also provides direction for the future and can serve several different purposes. Consider what you want to achieve and accordingly, write concise purposes for your business. 

3. Write down your goals

Writing down your business goals will set you up for success as you'll be more likely to focus on achieving them through your day-to-day and long-term actions. The first step towards this is creating goals using the SMART format. This is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. By implementing SMART goal setting you'll be able to concisely articulate your goals and steer your business towards them. 

4. Document all aspects of your business

Investors want to know every aspect of your business so they can be sure it will make them money. With this in mind, document everything, from your expenses and cash flow, to industry projections and licensing agreements.

5. Analyse yourself

Owning a business is about having the skills and industry expertise to ensure it thrives. It's important to understand what's involved in achieving this. Consider these questions to give you insight into yourself and your motivations.

  • Why did you start a business?
  • What are your business and personal goals?
  • What are your skills?
  • What income do you need to generate?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning your own business?
  • What are the barriers to growing your business? How will you overcome these?

6. Get to know your industry, attend events

Search for local networking events to help expand your business, keep up-to-date on the industry, learn new skills and promote your business. Workshops and seminars are also valuable for issues such as planning, marketing, financial management, innovation, and employing staff. 

7. Clarify your business model

A good financial model should include details about hiring, pricing, sales, cost of acquisition, expenses and growth. Just like a business plan, it should be updated as your business evolves.

A detailed business plan is a critical document for achieving success. To ensure your plan will serve your personal goals, you need to carry out the right preparation or it won't mean anything. Following the above points will get you ready to create the right plan for your business that that will set you on the path to growth and financial freedom. 

Work 'on' not 'in' your business

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