The Basics of a Business Plan and the length!

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If an individual or an organisation is thinking about a new business or business diversification then the first logical thing that could serve that business best is a business plan. A business plan could be seen as a written manuscript that details every possible minute aspects pertaining to the future of the business. The business plan is more of a tell-tale story that addresses what you plan and how you would want that plan to go about. In fact if you would take a sticky note and write the business strategy you have probably sown the seed for the business plan to germinate!

Be it by plan or by practice or by accident the business plan would have to inherently turn out to be strategic meaning you will have to address where this business is right now with your current ability and resource, where you would be trotting in the near future (say 3-5 years from now). In brief the business plan serves as a road map to driving you from the current state to where you would want to be over a period of time with a different set of abilities with increased profits and assets.

Although a lot convention on what all contents a business plan shall contain exists, attention should be given towards the following aspects I have named as sixer chutney:

I. Concept involved in the business: Here the industry into which this business shall fit into, the structure of the business proposed, whether it pertains to a product or a service and what steps have been considered to ensure that this business shall succeed are some of the sure points that will go under this head.

II. What are my strategy and plan of action in place to implement it: This section contains information as to what goals are in place for this business-i.e the ultimate ambition of this business directive and when and how this will take you to the goal shall be another business plan ingredient.

III. The product/service to be offered in this business and the edge it holds in the market: This is one section you could blaze your intended reader/audience with that quality of information about the product/service along with the reason as to why the target audience will want to pursue with your offering and not that of your competitors.

IV. The planned market to ambush: In this section the marketing plan in store that you have shall be spelt out! So information on who your customer will be and the demographic details shall be listed in addition to how entice them and retain them is also likely to be brought into this section of the business plan.

V. Background on the key employees and the management team: Though a detailed biography of the key personnel to be involved in this business is not mandatory high level information shall suffice. This way rather than having a detailed account of the personnel an accurate account of their achievements and what they bring to the table in this venture can be captured effectively.

VI. What is the financial need for this business: This section shall be based on the projected financial statements and they spell out a model of how the idea about your company, its planned markets and strategies will roll-out.

In short all the above points shall go like this have this theme: Stand by facts and not emotions; Walk with the projection and not hopes; Run with reality instead of unrealistic dreams. All these points work and show your credibility assertiveness and passion on the business you plan to get into.
Having understood the basic necessary ingredients necessary to cook a yummy business plan lets also see how long shall this be.

Business Plan length!
Actually a business plan of use and sense can be anything from a doodle on the back of the envelope to the one written in detail more than 100 pages for an enterprise. Typically aim at something in the range of 15-25 pages to be created as a business plan and have it shared electronically to your end recipient/s. Don’t be surprised if you are insisted to also produce a hard copy as both are here and there.

As the size of businesses also varies the length of the business plan can be cut short to 5 or 10 pages if the plan is for a popular concise business model. Larger businesses intending to garner more funds will have a mix of both the mini plans and the detailed plan in the pipeline. So based on the time you also have to present the plan to the audience things vary.

The concept of the business also plays a vital role. If the nature of business is a common one the business plan content could be concise else to bring that understanding a lot more detailing may be required. The detailing gets more intense if the venture requires more funding as there might be more points to convince the intended investor audience. In case the business plan is for internal purpose an abbreviated version to manage an on-going business may be more than apt for the requirement.

So to summarise the contents and the length of a business plan, the content shall largely detail the points given under the sixer chutney and the length shall be based on the size of business, the existence of that business, the novelty and the risk on novelty, the scale of funds proposed to be sought from the investor, the audience intended to read it and the relationship shared with a potential investor or a known acquaintance to whom this is being addressed. Remember these buzzwords while developing a business plan: what is that competitive advantage I hold over the others and how is that it will be available at a lower competitive price with no compromise on quality. With all these basic points in mind a business plan shall be developed either in detail or succinctly.

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