Your business plan is your blueprint for the future. It documents what your business is all about. It is also an essential requirement for obtaining external funding.
A business plan is a written document that details the various aspects of your business - what it does, your vision, goals, strategies, market positioning and financial projections.
A business plan is often a necessary part of getting started. It can be used for both internal and external purposes.
Internally, a business plan acts as a blueprint for your business. It helps you:
- Take an objective look at your business
- Think through the different aspects as you plan and execute
- Clarify and solidify your goals and direction
- Track and measure your success
Externally, a business plan is essential if you wish to secure external funding. The business plan serves as a key component of the assessment process.
A strong plan will give investors the confidence that you know what you are doing and have clear short, medium and long-term goals and plans. This gives them comfort that the business will be well-run, sustainable and increases the chances of them getting a healthy return on their investment.
These are some of the institutions/people who will want to see your business plan:
- Lenders like banks and financial houses
- Investors like business angels, venture capitalists, friends etc.
- Government agencies giving out assistance like loans and grants
- Potential business partners
Just as important, the business plan is for you, your business partners and your management team. Writing a business plan is not a one-time effort.
It is a document that will go through many changes as your business grows and evolves and will be a useful reference point in your entrepreneurship journey.
Depending on the purpose, your business plan can contain all or some of the elements below.
|Business Plan Section||Content|
Table of Contents
A concise summary/overview of your plan and business, written after you have completed your plan.
This is the most critical component, especially where investors and lenders are concerned, as many judge your business based purely on this section alone.
|Your Business||Vision, mission, goals, products and/or services.|
|Market Analysis||The current market landscape and how your business fits into it. Who are your competitors? What makes your business different and unique?|
|Management Team & Organisational Structure||People are the most important aspect of any business. Present your credentials and how your team will work together and how it is capable of running a successful business.|
|Sales & Marketing Plan||How you intend to market and sell your product/service. Why would people buy?|
|Operational Plan||Describes the day-to-day running of your business, containing details like premises, systems, processes, etc.|
|Financial Projections & Plan||Financing the business, costing, revenue, targets, profit/loss projections.|
|Risk Assessment & Management||Being aware of potential challenges and pitfalls will help with contingency planning.|
|Growth Strategy||Medium to long-term growth strategies help you focus on the future while giving investors a better idea of how their money might be used in the future.|
|Exit Strategy||Do you wish to sell, grow or list your business? Having an exit strategy will help you to make strategic decisions more easily.|
Credits: Enterprise Singapore