The first act of entrepreneurship is formalizing a business plan for a prospective company. Business plans, which serves as something of a roadmap for how a founder will turn an idea into full-fledged business, typically include information like an executive summary, a market analysis and financial projection.
Business plan can be vital for entrepreneurs and business owners in lining up a bank loan or attracting other stakeholders such as investors.
The role of business plan cannot be overemphasized because it has many functions and serves several purposes not the least of which is introducing your company to potential investors. As such, it should be well organised and answer some pertinent questions. It is also a place to organise your ideas and set up some management guidelines.
An ideal business plan contains the following:
1. Executive summary: Your executive summary must be compelling, concise and clear. It must outline what your business does and who the customers are. Your executives summary should also talk about how big the market is and how quickly it is growing. Make sure it highlights why you are the best company for the job.
2. Company analysis: This section should cover the basics in the company analysis including the date of incorporation, structure, physical location and stage of growth. This is also where to talk about past success and again how your company is unique to the market.
3. Industry analysis: This talks about market share, growth rate and business trends. The data about these can be confirmed from one independent research firm, if not more than one.
4. Customer Analysis: Identify your customer segments. It covers your customer needs, decision making, demographics and psychographics.
5. Competition analysis: You must have complete competitive analysis. Are you considering indirect and direct competition? Outline carefully each of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how you will overcome them. Make sure you talk about your largest competitor and any publicly traded competition as well.
6. Basics Marketing Plan: This details how you will deliver your product and serve your customer base. There are four P’s to remember: products/services, places or location, prices and promotion. The section also talks about how will you retain your customers
7. Long and short term plan: Both term belong in the operations plan. Your short term processes are those activities that are performed on a daily basis and essential to the operation of your company. Think manufacturing, distribution research and development. Long term processes, on the other hand, are milestones you hope to achieve like a new product release, exit strategies and revenue benchmarks.
8. Management team: It is a section that contains personnel to be involved running the operations of the company. Each may occupy different positions but their efforts are geared towards realization of organisation goals/objectives.
9. Financial Plan: The financial plan must be based on reality. Assumptions and projections must come across as realistic if you want investors to take you seriously, especially since this is the section they will focus on the most. Provide charts and prose to give a full picture of the following:
Sources of revenue, future revenue stream, market share, operating margins, employee numbers, additional funding information and exit strategy.
10. The appendix: Should contain the proof of everything stated in the rest of the plan. Pertinent documentation such as patents, additional financials, diagrams and schemata should all be contained within.
For more consultation contact Mr. Gbenga Michael, Managing Consultant Adoney Associates Limited.

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