Why develop a business plan?
Whether you wish to set up a new company or start a new project within an existing company, preparing a business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.
This stage becomes even more important if you want to prepare for negotiations with external financers such as private investors, banks, or even public institutions. You would be ill-advised to treat this step as an administrative approach among others.
In short, the process of developing the business plan will allow you to demonstrate the quality of the business opportunity, identify the main risks, define the strategy, and set clear and measurable targets. This will all be particularly useful for convincing potential partners, and will also be a precious reference for you once the project is launched. You will have the option of taking stock at any time in terms of the targets and, if necessary, you can adjust elements.
Traditionally, the business plan must contain as a minimum :
- a company description (a high-level review of the different elements of your business),
- a service or product line section in which you describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits to potential and current customers,
- a market analysis that illustrates your industry and market knowledge as well as any of your research findings and conclusions,
- a description of the human and financial resources i.e your company's organizational structure, details about the ownership of your company, profiles of your management team, and the qualifications of your board of directors.
Perhaps you feel able to manage this project alone. But if not, it is important to recognize one’s limits. There is nothing shameful in this, and seeking good advice is not as wasteful and expensive as one might think.
Some consultants may prepare your business plan for you; others will provide support with certain sections. This is typically the case for the market study and the financial plan in particular. But this website already offers a remarkable free tool - My business plan - which allows you to create a business plan step-by-step, and worthy of the name. To be consulted without moderation !