Especially when the bank wants a robust business case to potentially fund you some money. This is when you’ll need to write a detailed and justifiable business plan and often consultants such as Reload Consulting can help here.
If however, like many people and small businesses, you don’t need a huge business plan and don’t have much time, there are alternatives. I have outlined below a quick guide to the best parts of a quick business plan that will put you well on your way.
Quick business plans – the key parts
1. Business DNA – best thing to do here is to write down what you want your “Business DNA” to look like. This is like the “Vision” and “Mission” of a tradtional business plan combined into one. It should cover off the key fundamentals of your business and where you are taking it. An example might be “By 2015 we will become the leading quality SEO company in Australia by having the best corporate culture and global team environment to flourish”.
2. Staff & Resourcing – You need to work out the staffing requirements early on. It’s important to try and “crystal ball” a bit here and make sure you attempt to predict the future numbers, otherwise you could rush hiring decisions and not get the best talent. You also need to plan out staffing resources in conjunction with commercial facilities that you will rent/buy, as it’s expensive to move if you get the wrong numbers.
3. Marketing plan – of course, base it around digital marketing which is the best way to track your marketing dollars. Start though with a marketing SWOT analysis and include in here some market research and competitor analysis. Market research is a key part to knowing your audience and the opportunity of the markets you want to target. A marketing plan should also be robust, but pretty flexible and dynamic to change to varying market forces. Try to build a paragraph for each part of the marketing and promtional strategy and include the various suppliers you are thinking of using for each segement. Finally, be preapred to tweak and change this marketing plan as you get data and stats back in.
4. Finances and Cash Flow forecasts – Work out the start up capital required or investment needed on the new product or service you are launching. However, it’s a bit like renovating a house, chances are it will probably cost you a third more that your first planned so budget in some buffer. Another key component to include is cash flow forecasting and planning, which is “king” for all businesses. You want to try to predict your cash requirements based on income and expenses over a minimum of 12 months, with 24 to 36 months of predictions great if you can stretch them this far. Try to build a cash flow forecast yourself first but always get professional advice here from a certified accountant.
For a free template that includes many of these areas, check out the Australian government’s business planning website here.