If you’re trying to start a business, or plan for growth in your existing business, you eventually realize that you need a business plan. Articles on the subject are thus littered all over the Internet and that’s without even searching or scanning through them: there’s no shortage of content if this is what you’re looking for. There also aren’t many inventive ways to describe a business or planning document; there are, however, so many different plans and approaches to them (startup vs established firm; new vs current venture) that offer diversity and freshness in approach.
So what exactly is a business plan?
A business plan is a carefully thought-out strategy for your business that is written to outline what your company plans to achieve and how it plans to achieve these goals.
In your business plan you need to explain how the company will sell its products, what financial plans it has, and what kind of market research it has done. It will include the minutes of details like laptop GST rate that you will have to pay when buying it for the company to business strategies on how to avail the benefits of GST. Click here to learn more.
Your business plan should develop strategies which demonstrate how you will achieve your business objectives, including where you will be in one year, five years and ten years from now. There are a lot of other topics that should be taken into consideration as well, too. We’ll look at some of the things you ought to include in your plan, as well as a few things you need to do before even thinking about writing it.
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What is the format of a business plan?
Business plans are generally used by the entrepreneur or investor to work through ideas and decide whether or not to move forward with a given project. A business plan can also be helpful to convince investors or banks that you have a viable idea and that you know how to run your business.
Traditional business plans tend to be more like what most people think of as a business plan: a formal document with a standardized structure that includes everything from executive summaries to detailed financial projections. They’re often dozens of pages long, and you can easily spend many hours or days putting one together.
Lean business plans are almost the opposite: shorter and less formal, with a different type of structure and fewer requirements for things like financial projections. With less structure and detail, they require less time and work up front but also leave more unanswered questions. Lean business plans are more like “idea documents” that help you start thinking about your business idea and get feedback on it before you launch. They’re often only 1-3 pages long, so they won’t take much time or work to put together.
Whether you choose to write a traditional business plan or a lean startup plan, you start with the same basic questions:
Who is your customer? Who will pay for your product or service and why? Is there enough of that market to justify your idea? If not, can you find customers who will pay even less but are still willing to pay something? Can you find customers who will pay more or who will pay at a later date when the value of your product increases?
What problem do you solve? What problem do you solve better than what’s already available? The more specific and clear you can be about this from the outset, the easier it will be to convince investors to fund your business.