December is “Write a Business Plan Month”
December is a big month for celebrating the holidays--Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Writing a Business Plan. Wait…what? Writing a business plan? Actually, December really is “National Write a Business Plan Month.”
Every business, new or old, needs a business plan. The reasons to have a solid business plan are many. Not only does it help organize you and your business, but it helps your team stay on track and make progress toward your company’s goals. It can also help you make decisions on how and when to hire key employees, when to add assets, and help present your business to a lender when you need to borrow. These and a thousand other decisions are best made when you have a plan for the future.
So, what’s the best way to celebrate “Write a Business Plan Month”? Of course, write a business plan! However, many new business owners, and even existing business owners, find writing a business plan to be an overwhelming and daunting task; but there are hundreds of sites online that provide guidance, templates and tools to make the job easier.
Here are five (5) key elements every business plan should have:
1) Executive Summary. This is the first section where you have the opportunity to make a good first impression on whoever is reading the plan. Items to include in this section are your business and product description, your current market position, your target market, your financial outlook, future finding requirements, past achievements and future goals.
2) Business Overview. After the executive summary, you should use this section to precisely describe your business in detail; what it does, what your products and services are and who your customers are. This is also the place to include your mission statement and to outline your philosophies and goals for the future.
3) Sales and Marketing Strategy. This section requires that you have a deep understanding of your market and how you are positioned within it. Be sure to describe your target market and your target customers and be honest about whom your competition is and what threats could possibly affect your future. You can even include a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats). There are a number of SWOT templates available online to help with your assessment.
4) Operations and Management. Here is where you explain to the reader exactly how you do things differently from your competition. Describe in detail how your product is better, how your services are better and how you can deliver those services more efficiently or at lower cost. Essentially, you are touting your competitive advantage. If you have an organization, use this section to give an overview of the people involved in your business and what cumulative experience they bring.
5) Financial Plan. This is the most important section of your business plan, especially if it is aimed at investors or lenders. Include your 12-month sales projections, cash flow statement, breakeven analysis, forecasts of future funding requirements, as well as summaries of major expenses and day-to-day run costs. Your bookkeeper or accountant can help you with this.
“National Write a Business Plan Month” is the time to celebrate by getting started on that business plan so you can be prepared for success when you ring in the New Year.
Numbers by Victoria offers bookkeeping services and other financial options for individuals and small businesses. Since our services can be performed virtually, we’re able to work with people all over the United States. To contact Numbers By Victoria, or to learn more about our bookkeeping services, please visit: www.numbersbyvictoria.com.