Purpose of a Business Plan

 When you are in the beginning stages of your new business, a key to success is having a well-developed and structured plan to follow. Business plans are crucial to the long term success of a organization/company. The number one goal of a business plan is to maintain long-term financial stability. However, a business plan is vastly different than the companies budget plan. A budget plan serves as a roadmap for all money entering the company. In this article we will discuss the various elements of a perfect business plan. With this business plan, it is important to be honest in your answers in order to provide viable next steps.

Executive Summary

An Executive Summary serves as the introduction to your business plan. This is simply a short and sweet snapshot of the mission and purpose of your business, market analysis, and explains your plan to meet the current needs of your market. You can find a good template on how to execute a well written Executive Summary on Bplans or on Forbes Advisor. The easiest thing to remember is you are providing an overview of your business to someone who knows nothing about what you do. If you are still finding it hard to write your Executive Summary, the chamber can provide you a sample Executive Summary and Business Plan.

Programs, Products, Services

This part of the business plan is one of the easiest steps to complete. In this step, you simply establish what your community has to offer its consumers. What products, goods, services, do you bring to the table? What services or products drive your revenue? What services or products keeps the bills paid?

Market Analysis

A Market Analysis is a detailed assessment of your target customers, what their needs are, and how your organization can meet their needs. A Market Analysis reduces the risk for your business by providing you with vital information about consumers. According to Business News Daily, “Knowing your market can reduce risks in your business, since you’ll have an understanding of major market trends, the main players in your industry, and what it takes to be successful, all of which will inform your business decisions”. Furthermore, the article recommends readers to conduct a SWOT Analysis as a part of your Market Analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths: Tangible and intangible assets.

Weaknesses: Negative aspects within your business. Example: Outdated accounting system or website. Highlight these specific areas for improvements.

Opportunities: Trends, demands, unmet needs?

Threats: Negative aspects outside of the business. Trends that may amplify your weaknesses? Loss of funding?

Marketing Plan

How are you currently getting the word out for your products? Are you marketing to your target audience?  “Gather demographic information to better understand opportunities and limitations for gaining customers. This could include population data on age, wealth, family, interests, or anything else that’s relevant for your business” The United States Small Business Administration. A helpful tool to use when developing a marketing plan is to use the four p’s. Product-Price-Place-Promotion. The 4 P’s are vital in ensuring you have created a streamlined marketing plan.

Operations Plan

An operations plan is the overview of the various processes/procedures you put into practice to ultimately reach your business goals and target market. Operations Plans are a key piece of your business plan, you want to be sure to take your time thinking this section through. A Simple template typically features the organization or companies top two-three goals and the financials. A more in-depth operations plan serves as a deep dive into more topics such as: How will you implement processes? Tangible details of your business plan

Quality Control

You can find a good example on how to write an in-depth Operations Plan at The Balance or a simple fill-in template at JotForm. 

Organizational Structure

This step however simple, is crucial. You must set in stone a breakdown of your organizations leadership or employee structure. Each levels responsibilities. Who will focus on what goals of the business plan.

Financial Plan

The Financial Plan is the crutch of your business plan, and will explain how your business will survive long-term financially. A good financial plan should include how available funds will be allocated. Financial plans sets expectations for your business and aids in better crisis management/prevention.

SIMPLE Financial Plans should include: Profit-Loss Statements, Cash Flow, Statement, Balance Sheet. To find a template or learn more on how to develop your business plan use B plans. Contact the chamber and ask us how we can help you develop this aspect of your business plan.

Appendix

Any and all additional documents that are necessary to further your business plan success such as business projections, financial projections, recent trends, promotional materials, budget plan, and strategic plan. The Chamber can assist members in developing a personalized business plan template and rough draft upon request.