Pathway to making an effective Business Plan

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Through my years of consulting where I have been interacting with a lot of 1st generation entrepreneurs I have been asking this question to myself “how to make a business plan” that could serve and standardise the way in which a business plan could be developed effectively addressing the desired audience with the same flair and consistency. The answer to that is the list of steps that one could possibly look into as the guideline which answers your question how to make a business plan that can be effective in all sense:

1. See your business plan as an action tool for marketing: The seriousness of a business plan is best conveyed through a well laid presentation of thoughts to demonstrate your passion and sincere efforts you have taken to get this business idea going. This way a general idea related to the business could be better portrayed as being realistic and believable.

2. Audience Knowledge and the style adoption to expect needy action from the end audience: To expect a conducive reaction for your expectation provide the end readers with adequate information in a style that they are at ease to comprehend and act appropriately in your favour. It could to the requirement for a banker, an angel investor, board member, your employees and other partners. In other words if you ask how to make a business plan that can be understood by everyone the answer is use the end audience language!

3. Focus on your customer not you or the entrepreneur/s: All businesses that are to be established be it profit or non-profit ones ultimately serve customer/client/society’s needs. So focus on solving a problem, meeting a need or exploiting an opportunity. This way the focus can be on satisfying the needs and explaining your uniqueness in the competition in the market.

4. The funds doled out for business are based on the face value of the entrepreneur and the traits, skill sets and the leadership quality, so detail all that is possible about the entrepreneur: Anyone investing on the business would like to know more in detail from various points about you as they believe you are the one actually contributing which they see you as an asset and evaluate you based on the time, effort and passion you bring to the table! So the biography of the entrepreneur (you and others who are in your cadre makes relevance). The details that you showcase shall answer why you are best fit to run and operate this business. Now you start to realise how to make a business plan more appropriately.

5. Have the executive summary as the most important section that highlights and conveys your message in a tone that is precise, professional, enthusiastic and confident: Like the first read of any book or soon after you have decided to write a business plan the next question is how to make a business plan with all the necessary information captured concisely. To answer that we have this section to create that engagement into the reader reading the opening section to gain more interest. This is because most often many people will not traverse beyond this section. In fact the first two pages of this opening section shall convey and convince the reader that this business idea is definitely unique and stands out from the rest! Here provide details as to how the customers’ needs are better fulfilled or addressed, the uniqueness in addition to the financials and other returns expected by getting this business live. In fact connecting it to the 2nd point in this article varies your versions to suit the end reader like your banker/investor and the rest under our purview.

6. Support your sales goals to being SMART and on the data that has been developed based on good amount of research: This is addressed to answering the question where am I going to generate my revenue. So step into the shoe of a sales person and try talking your selling strategy to generate that all important cash flow inwards. Here describe your sales goals, making a convincing argument, provide the authentic research facts and data and substantiate your claims to show the market awareness and competition knowledge you possess to get into this business. If the convincing part is weaker here expect a tonsure on the funds you had aimed and what you are to earn.

7. Be honest on your funding requirements: The funding request supported with the financial statements manifests your thorough thought process, clarity and understanding about the business idea conceived by you. This way you showcase the financial prudence in you and the concern you have for your probable investor.

8. Invest the proceeds to generate the product/service: While investors think you are going to get too sweaty for funds, concentrate on ways to create infrastructure to generate sales. That means pay attention to detail on the funding requirement for critical staff salaries, product production equipment, and marketing programs with a direct or channel partner sales focus so that you will have cash to plough back into the business sooner.

9. Cram yourself with mentors/ advisors and walk them through your business idea: To better answer the question how to make a business plan and the business succeed beyond the 5 year as a start-up try getting perspectives from similar businesses that have been in this space, gain from others skills and experience, try reaching out to non-competing suppliers, talk to experts in areas such as marketing, sales, finance, and operations, join similar forums, post your road blocks and seek answers as it only enhances your business insight and knowledge to deep dive to meet the sharks and whales in the huge ocean! This way you feel you are not alone and there is more clarity and to the investors it sounds there are more intellects thinking on similar lines? This is the power input from other unbiased grids.

10. Don’t wait for near perfection: We all understand that nothing is perfect and in waiting to perfect we should not lose out on time and opportunity. For this set a personal deadline, stop planning and get hands on to go live.

11. It’s all $$$ (money!): Anything you decide and act will always have financial implications on your inflow or profit margins, so focus on ways to bring money into the business to realise your life style, mission, beliefs of yours. Is part of relating to the theme “how to make a business plan” keeping this point coded and presented.

12. Pivot, pivot and pivot: Keeping these vital questions in mind try to check into seeing if the point “ how to make a business plan” gets more credibility
           •  What are the keys to success or how are we going to get it right
           •  What are my achievable goals and objectives that can be achieved over the next 3 years realistically? Should they hand-cuff the keys to success points
           •  What are the ways to achieve the goals with more SMART-ness and what measures are in place to monitor them?

If these are borne in mind while developing our business plan then we question “how to make a business plan” clarified more specifically.

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