Dot Bekker - Entrepreneur Strategist

Dot Bekker works with Entrepreneurs to build, develop and grow their business success with proven strategies.

Business Plan Basics

I'm often asked by new Entrepreneurs how to put a business plan together and it seems to be the one thing that people have more questions about than answers.  In this section I will discuss the document and I will follow up in another blog a financial plan outline which should always accompany the plan.

Entrepreneurs often believe that they can start their business without a business plan, mostly because they don't understand the important role it plays and they are overwhelmed by the idea of writing it all down and have no idea what should be included.  Even if you are not applying for funding from a bank or financial institution writing the business plan is an important step in consolidating your thinking.  The plan is vital, for a number of reasons

  • It takes your idea and makes you transform the thinking into written words, this transforms your ideas and gives them voice.
  • Ideas are great and without a plan you're going to continue to pursue a vague concept with more hit and miss avenues than highways.
  • A plan is not written in stone, in fact it will and should change and adapt as you gain more information that guide you to better and improved ways of doing things.

The headlines below may not all apply to your business but attempt to fill them in rather than dismiss them before you have even tried.

TITLE / COVER PAGE

Includes your business name, name of owner(s) and contact details, if you have a logo include this.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

List the headings here and if your document has many pages include the page numbers.

SUMMARY

Here you will BRIEFLY describe your business, include information about why you have chosen this business, who the customer will be, why you believe in its success, how it is unique, what risks there are, how much competition, what the financial potential is and who your customer is.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION

Here you will provide the detail of the business and opportunity with as much information to support it as you can. Including background information of the industry and the potential.

CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION

Provide a detailed description of your customer in the form of an avatar.  You should have a clear image of your ideal client and their demographics that relate to your product.

MARKET ANALYSIS

Related to your Customer Identification but providing details about how and where you will find your customers, what will make you attractive within the market place and what channels you will pursue to find customers as well as your branding identification.

COMPETITION

Describe the type of competition that exists within your market and how you are able to differentiate yourself from them.  Also describe the weaknesses of your competitors and how you will take advantage of these.

OPERATING STRATEGY

How you will operate, where you will base yourself, what factors you will need to deliver your business to the client.  Interogate the suppliers you will need, raw materials, days of the week, number of staff, and all factors you will need to be effective.

FINANCIAL STRATEGY

This should be supported by a financial spreadsheet which will clearly demonstrate your operating capital and estimated income and expenses for 1-3 years.  In this section you will detail how you will obtain the finance and where you will deploy it.  This should also include information about your pricing strategy and profit margins.

TIMELINE

As they say a goal without a timeline is just a dream, be sure to indicate what timeline you are pursuing from launch to the first milestones you set out.

Now you should have come up with some information that you had not entirely thought through before and have a better idea of where you are going.  

Wishing you Business Success.

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© The Dot Effect

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Friday, 25 September 2020