Creating a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is much like drawing a blueprint for the success of your business. It is an exercise that helps the entrepreneur get all of his thoughts in the proper place, and determine what you need to do for success and how to get there, much the way a road map takes you from one town to another.

Parts of the plan usually include: an introduction – defining the purpose of the plan; overview of company – defining what the company is and will be; product description – describing the product the company will sell; marketing and sales-outlining the venues which will be used to selling product such as TV advertising, personal selling, public relations, newspaper advertising, etc; market comparison-describing the current market for the product; stage of development-showing exactly where the company and products fit in the big picture; market trends—how the market is changing, for instance in the world of fast food the trend today is towards multi-concepts at one location; competition—showing who the company is competing against, their strengths and weaknesses, the way a general views his opponent during wartime; management—bios or resumes of managers and key personnel, showing their qualifications and how they can symbiotically interact with each other for the good of the company; and financial information, especially current financial statements and sales forecasting—predictions of future sales.

Your business plan is a living document in that it can be changed as the market and other conditions change, but gives a guide to adhere to. Creating the plan requires the entrepreneur and his key associates to look at each section, pool their knowledge and take and honest inventory of all of the factors involved. They need to discover the strengths and the weaknesses of their business model, and where they are weak determine ways to either de-emphasize that aspect, or find key personnel who have skills in that area. While it may seem to some like a mundane chore, writing and creating a business plan is the first step to success.