How many times have you discussed your promising, mind blowing idea to someone and they ask “Do you have a business plan for this?” or “Are there plans in place to handle this your idea?” or the most infamous one especially coming from that older uncle or auntie you are hoping to sponsor or invest “Send me your business plans, let me look at it”.
There’s often a limitation when we think of writing down the business plan especially to fit into the requirements of a well-articulated business paper. The type of plan that anyone who can read will understand and be totally convinced that the business developer knows understands the rudiments of the business and would therefore elicit investments or investments opportunities.
Recently, the Tony Elumelu foundation called for applications to its entrepreneurship development programme. In the course of this program, participants would be required to present their business plans. Knowing what the business plan should contain is not nearly the issue as presenting it in a manner that is understandable and engaging. The business analyst would clamour about the numbers while the enthusiast or creative would hold forth for the idea, but we need a balance between both.
As with everything in life there is an established standard for the representation of a business plan. These under listed headings are what make up the business plan and how you represent them is up to you but always starting with the Executive summary is advised.
- Executive Summary
This section should contain in articulate detailed words about your company and what idea you are projecting. Although it is called an executive summary, it should be very detailed as most investors would likely read that section alone to get convinced about you and your idea. Create a lasting impression with emotive words and always eliminate the use of industry based jargon.
- Company Description
In this section, you are expected to give a description of what your company does and your mission and vision statements. Your Unique Selling Point as an organization, what other departments you have, your employee number and strength. Essentially, you are to express your organization as a force to be reckoned with.
- Market Analysis
Your extensive knowledge of the market you are about entering should be highlighted here. Show by them the examples and the numbers. Expatiate loop holes you are going to cover, lagging systems that you would hasten. This section is yours to shine in. It would express your already expectant eagerness to take over the market place. Own this section.
- Service and Product line
Your product is the new kid on the block. You should highlight unique features of your product or service you are offering. Make emphasis on the unique selling point of your product, that new thing it is bringing to the table or market as the case maybe.
- Marketing and sales
Marketing is the life blood of any organization. Explain your marketing strategies well and also enumerate what key market your product/service is suited for.
- Fund request
Whether you are borrowing from a bank or from an uncle, always write explicitly how much you would want. Please pay attention to not ask for more than you can chew.
- Financial Projections
This is one of the key areas, it is important for you to know where you are headed for with this ideas, know how much you are likely to get back and how much you will spend in the course of the idea launch and execution. This is also a pointer to the investor for how much they would also get.
So that’s it, we have demystified the business plan writing. The next thing is to write them down. We also have some business plans we have created especially for you, you can see them here.
Your business is the next big thing, get started with a plan today.