How to Create a Winning Business Plan for a Small Business
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How to Create a Winning Business Plan for a Small Business

A business plan is important when kickstarting a successful small business. It is a document that outlines your business goals, strategies and financial projections. Creating a winning business plan is an essential step in launching and growing a business.

It gives you the chance to see through any weakness in your business idea, identify opportunities you may have skipped and plan how to tackle likely challenges. Let’s use this great business plan template as part of this guide. You’ll want to have it opened as you read this article, for a clearer picture.

However, creating a business plan is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process. It demands continuous monitoring and updating to ensure that it reflects the changing business goals and environment. In this article, we will share the key elements that determine a winning business plan for small businesses.

The Executive Summary

The executive summary is the most important part of your business plan. It is an overview of your plans and covers the highlights of your detailed plan. It is the first thing investors or anyone interested in your business plan wants to see first before deciding whether to move on with the plan.

Your executive summary should include an overview of your business, your products or service prescription, business goals, proposed target markets, team management, financial outlook, your competition, more importantly the problem you would be solving.

Note that it is best to write your executive summary last, after you have completed the rest of your business plan. This would help you think through all the elements of your plan and be prepared to summarize them.

Write out your Company’s Description

This is one of the first sections of your business plan. It explains the basic elements of your business as such it is essential to create a comprehensive and compelling company description that accurately represents your business.

The company description should answer questions that have to do with the company mission statement, company philosophy and vision, the target market, company’s history, industry and legal structure.

State your Products & Services

This part of your business plan is the sole of the whole business plan. The problem you are solving, your solution and how your products and services fit into the business competitive landscape should be included.

This is a description of your product and services, so you can start by describing the problem you are solving or intend to solve and your intended solutions.

Your competitions can follow next. You need to state who else provides the same solution as yours and your competitive advantages.

If there are intellectual property or patents that protect your product or services as a competitive advantage, it can be stated here and also lists of your products and services achievements and what you intend to achieve.

Provide your Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a roadmap for how you will promote your products or services to your target audience. Without a marketing plan, your business may struggle to reach its desired audience, and your sales may suffer as a result. 

 This section provides details on your industry, the competitive landscape, your target market and how you will market your business to those customers. 

You start by showcasing all your potential customers information while covering the information about your target market and the growth of your market and industry.

You can describe your target market, and be specific as possible. This will make creating a sales and marketing plan that will reach customers easier.

Marketing Sales Strategy

This section details how you plan to reach your target market segments, how you plan on selling to those target markets, your pricing plan, and the types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.

This plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products and services across to customers and clients as well as any likely challenges the business may have to overcome.

This section is a great chapter to include your SWOT analysis, though its optional but it can be a great avenue to explain how your products and services can deal with threat and embrace opportunities therein.

Indicate your Organisation and Management Team

Great teams lead to great ideas. Most investors are interested in who you hire and what your current team is.

You should highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member. Its importance is explaining why the team is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. Their background and entrepreneurial success should also be inclusive

You can also include a summary of your company’s business structure, the ownership, business partner, potential lenders and investors.

Financial projections

This section is what most entrepreneurs find tasking but it doesn’t have to be. Financial projections are an essential part of any business plan. They provide a detailed analysis of your business’s financial health, including revenue, expenses, cash flow, and profitability.

You might need to answer how much to spend on marketing and advertising before startup and on an ongoing basis? There are different tools that can help you build a solid financial plan. This financial plan must include;

  • sales and revenue projections, which include a monthly sales and revenue for the first year and the annual projections for the remaining three to five years.
  • Income statement, where your numbers shows if you are making a profit or loss
  • Cash flow statement, that keeps track of how much money you have at any point.
  • Balance sheet, that lists liabilities, assets and your company equity as well as the financial health of your business.

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