If you are reading this, then you probably already have a business idea – which is great! In order to turn your business idea into a reality, you need to develop an effective business plan. This is a vital tool for all entrepreneurs and will be used to guide your business right from the early start-up phase, through to establishment and eventually growth.
Your business plan will also be used to convince important people that your business idea is a smart investment. This will help you gain vital financial resources and support that you will need to get your business off the ground. With that in mind, here are five top tips for creating a successful business plan.
1. Develop the necessary business skills
The first step to creating an effective business plan is to develop the necessary skills and knowledge of the business world. All entrepreneurs require strong business skills in order to set-up and run a successful business. Having these skills will enable you to know the market, and develop a detailed and effective business plan that will help you achieve your short-term and long-term business goals.
Here are some of the top ways to improve your business skills:
- Training courses – There are a number of great courses designed to improve your business skills and prepare you for the business world. Many providers offer a fantastic range of online business courses that can be completed from home during your spare time, making them perfect for anyone with work or family commitments. Be sure to click here for more information.
- Work placements – Completing work placements with established companies is a great way to gain valuable insight into how these organizations are run. It also presents the opportunity to make connections with people in the industry and gain support for your business idea.
- Find a mentor – Find a mentor who is prepared to teach you everything they know. There is no better way to learn about business, than by watching how it is done by someone who is already established and successful in the industry. Learning from others is an effective way to broaden your skills and knowledge and is another great way to build relationships in the business world.
2. Use a business plan template
A business plan template is a useful tool that can be used to create an effective business plan. Typical business plans are split into sections and include the following information – description of the company, products and services being offered, market research, sales and marketing strategies, and a financial plan and projections. Click here for more information on what information to include in a business plan. A business plan template will help get your thoughts organized and guide you when writing your plan to ensure that you don’t forget to include anything.
3. Known your competition
Any business plan should include a detailed section on market analysis. Make sure you do thorough research to understand your competition, what they offer, and how they are viewed by consumers. When pitching your business idea, you need to be able to explain who your competition is and how you are different (and better) than these companies. Look for a gap in the market and try to provide a product or service that your competition is not currently offering. This will help make your business stand out, which means you will be more likely to receive the support you need to get your business off the ground.
4. Be conservative with financial projections
Obviously you want your business plan to impress. However, it’s important to avoid being overly optimistic when it comes to financial projections. Keep in mind that failing to fulfill expectations and deliver on promises will have a negative effect on your credibility, so always be conservative when it comes to any financial forecasts. Entrepreneur recommends including half of what you think is reasonable when making financial projections in your business plan.
5. Support every claim you make
It is vital that your business plan does not include empty claims and promises, as this will have a negative effect on the credibility of your brand and business. If you don’t have evidence to support a claim, then leave it out of your business plan. You should follow-up anything you say in your business plan with a statistic, fact, or quote from a knowledgeable source that supports the claim. For example, if you state that your team is highly-skilled and qualified to make your business successful, then you need to be sure that your staff resumes demonstrating sufficient experience and qualifications to support this.