How to Start Your Own Business – Lesson Two

How to draft your own Business Plan

In the first lesson of this series (The Reasons to create a Business Plan), we told you some of the motives into why you should look at starting your own business and why it is important to develop Your Own Business Plan.

In this episode, we will share the components that are crucial into developing a workable business plan that you can continually build upon and advance.

Please review the below guidelines to get started on your very own business plan:

Components of a Business Plan: There are scores of websites that offer plans for ridiculous amounts of money. The websites are designed to let you enter your company name and specifics and to generate a plan for you. These plans are not worth paying for. Each business is unique and each business plan should be a unique document to be truly worthwhile to your business. Business owners should be fully invested and fully aware of all aspects / sections in their business plan.

Business Plans are not a three step process and will demand a great deal of your time. While you are not employed, this is the best time to sit and use your time constructively and productively by advancing yourself to create the career path that you always wanted and dreamed of.

The dream is obviously not going to come over night. So it is important to get the simple things right like the layout and style of the Business Plan. It is vital that the layout of the text is in a simpleeasy-to-read font, in aneat outline and presentation, with a table of contents and topic headers. You should also include charts where appropriate and appendices for monthly projections at the end of the business plan document in a landscape layout. The business plan should look professional and the potential investor / lender needs to know that it was laid out by you. It should not be longer than 30 or 40 pages (excluding the plan’s supporting documents).

The Business Plan Outline: It’s recommended that a business plan should start with a cover sheet stating the principles of your business, your business name and the address of your business. Follow this up with a table of contents to provide a quick reference guide to the topics covered in your business plan.

Please follow the step-by-step guide below to draft your own business plan:

  1. Executive Summary: This should contain a summary of everything you will say in greater detail in the plan. It spells out the content and goals of your plan, hitting all the highlights.
  2. Company Overview: This section should provide more info about your business, why and when it was formed, its mission, business model, strategy and any existing strategic relationships you might have built up.
  3. Business Offering: In this section you explain why you are in business and what you are selling, whether it’s products and/or services.
  4. Marketing Plan and Analysis: In this section you should include details of your marketing strategy, market and competitor analysis, sales, customer service, advertising (above or below the line), public relations and social media strategy.
  5. Strategy and Implementation: Every business plan needs details about how and when you plan to action the proposed online/ marketing strategy. You need to detail your strategy in your business plan and how you intend to implement it.
  6. Management Team: When writing your business plan for potential investors / lenders, you should explain the background of your company executives and managers and also explain how that will help you to reach business goals. It is also a good idea to include a plan for once you reach a certain income on the new recruits you plan to attract to the business and how you plan to find these candidates.
  7. Financial Projections: In this section you should provide the quantitative interpretation of everything you indicated in the organisational and marketing sections of your business plan

You should also build in metrics into your business plan so that you can use the document internally to help manage your business going forward. You should also revisit and review this plan as least once a month.Specifics are very important. A business plan should not be only about strategy, and should include specifics like who is responsible for what, when it happens, how much your products / services cost, the sales your business will generate, etc.

If you don’t have somebody outside the company reading your plan, then you might not need to put it out onto paper. It’s good to an outsider to review it. If it makes sense to them, chances are that it will make sense to potential investors / lenders.

If your business plan involves getting a business loan, lenders are going to need something slightly different from you. A section which details collateral / assets to pledge against the loan will need to be shown. Collateral also includes funds to support loan payments, interest expenses and debt repayment. Banks / other financial institutions are not allowed to make speculative loans. You need to include information in your plan to make them feel safe.

We hope this post was useful to you and assists you in starting your own business sometime in the future.  In the next coming weeks we will be sharing more insights into: how you can attract venture capitalists to your business, where else you can go for funding, once your business plan has been approved where you go from here: and finally how to find the right people to work for you using Job Mail.

If you have any questions regarding a business start-up and how to draft a business plan please leave these messages on the Blog comment stream and the Job Mail Team will be sure to get back to you soon.

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Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Channel Co-ordinator / Blogger at Job Mail

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