Creating your small business plan is definitely something you should spend some time on, as it will serve as the first stone in starting your business. Even if you’ve already been running your business for quite some time and you still don’t have one, creating a small business plan will give you clarity about the future and what you want to achieve.
Why is it so important?
Goal setting and tracking: It’s about setting the milestones of your small business, the things you want to achieve, the actions and the period of time. Once you set this, you should keep coming back to your business plan to check that you’re actually moving towards your goals.
Get financial aid: Most of the time, when asking for funding, loans or investors, you will need to show your small business plan, otherwise it would be very hard for you to qualify for financial aid without a clear plan and analysis.
Hire the right people for your business: Having clarity about what’s ahead for you and what you want for your small business will also help you to identify what kind of people with what set of skills are needed.
Sell your business: It helps you and your buyers understand what your small business is about, to determine whether they want to buy it or not.
To understand your business and its competition: With a proper small business plan, not only will you understand your business, you will be also able to make a deep analysis about the competition, and how your small business ranks among them.
What should a small business plan include?
It’s your small business plan explained in short, without many details. The reader should be able to get an idea what the business is about and how you’re planning to make it grow.
It’s a description of what your small business does, the industry, the business structure, your mission, the marketplace needs your business is trying to cover, the location and even your own details.
A deep research in your industry and market. It is vital for you to know who you’re selling to, what they’re looking for, their pains and gains, and how your business addresses what they want or need.
This research is more focused on your industry and your competitors. Their strengths and weaknesses, and how your small business can differentiate itself from your competitors. To be aware of the barriers you may encounter and the areas of opportunity.
It is connected to the Operational plan, since it describes how your small business functions as well as the organizational structure of your business. The Management plan helps you define the profiles and skill sets of your management team and board of directors.
Once you analyzed your market, and set clear goals, it’s time to think about how the financial resources you have will be allocated in your small business. It is very important to include the historical financial data and prospective financial data, especially when you want to request funding from investors.
It’s basically all the additional files and information you would like to include to back up the rest of your plan. This one is not always needed and not obligatory, however it’s always good to have documents that support what you’re talking about.
In a very basic and short way, this is what you need to start your small business plan. There are several websites out there with business plan templates, that you can use as reference.