Whether you are a startup or an existing business, how do you establish what is supposed to happen without a business plan? Planning in your head is just a shortcut! If you are serious about business, designing an accurate map is critical to your success.
A business plan, in its simplest form, is a guide outlining your goals and the details of how you are going to reach these goals. It should contain sections such as Executive Summary, Strategy (S.W.O.T Analysis), Marketing Strategy, Forecast and Exit Strategy.
You can start simple and grow it organically. No matter what you use it for, business introduction, valuation, internal or external use, all business plans contain the following key elements:
- Executive Summary: management experience
- Strategy: direction of company including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (S.W.O.T.)
- Marketing Strategy: how will you promote business
- Forecast: how much capital needed and return on capital
- Exit Strategy: how will you exit the business (sale, legacy, etc.)
Often left aside, your abilities as an entrepreneur are essential to a realistic planning so honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses. Like all forecasts, your pre-vision of the future will probably not be accurate. Nevertheless serious planning will give you a significant advantage over those who don’t.
There is no better time than NOW to start.
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Author: Carine Dieudé, Strategy Director, Altima Business Solutions