Management tips

The business plan:
why and how
to prepare this
crucial document

A business plan can be intimidating for an entrepreneur in the startup phase. Many make the mistake of putting off the creation of this fundamental document, preferring to concentrate on short-term objectives, which can be more exciting. Others make an even bigger mistake: they set up their business plan, but they don’t invest the time and effort to make sure that it is well-thought-out and backed by solid data.

First, what exactly is a business plan?

The business plan is a document that contains all the information needed to understand the focus of a new business and the financing needed to implement the project. When you present someone a business plan, that person must be convinced to share your enthusiasm and your confidence in the success of your business. The business plan must demonstrate that your project is rooted in a certain amount of objectivity, that you validate your business decisions based on solid and recent knowledge.

What do I include in my business plan?

There is no universal template for establishing a business plan, but certain aspects are indispensable. A good business plan contains an analysis of the market that you want to enter. It outlines realistic financial forecasts, demonstrates how you plan to make a profit and how to position yourself in relation to the competition. The business plan also details your needs in terms of infrastructure, equipment and staff. It describes how you plan to surround yourself with a team of talented people and how you will promote your goods or services.

OK, so what is it used for?

The business plan for a startup business demonstrates the seriousness of the entrepreneurial initiative to investors and lenders. It clearly reveals your financing needs and explains how you will succeed in generating profits in order to build the confidence of your potential lenders.

In addition to helping you obtain financing, a good business plan will also help you to maximize the potential of your seed money. By presenting your plan to investors, you may have the opportunity to face objective criticism about certain aspects of your plan. These new insights can help you become aware of certain weaknesses in your plan, thus greatly improving your chances of success. Using projections based on reliable data and an in-depth analysis, you could make your mistakes on paper before they become costly disasters in the field.

Even when the business is up and running, a well-thought-out business plan remains a powerful management tool. It can be used to set clear goals for your business and can help you get back on track if you lose sight of these goals. Your business plan should help you anticipate problems before they become emergencies.

Knowing that most small businesses fail in the first five years, it is certainly better to put all the chances on your side. By drawing up a good business plan, you have a tool to understand and manage the risks that you will inevitably face as an entrepreneur.

To learn more

Obviously this short article does not cover all the ins and outs of the business plan. However, we hope that it will help you to keep in mind the importance of establishing a good business plan. To learn more, we suggest this Info entrepreneurs article or this guide from the Canada Business Network. Also the regional county municipalities (RCM) and several municipal organizations offer free services to help entrepreneurs build their business plan. Use all the resources available to you to maximize your chances of success!

The Acomba blog is brimming with articles on business, IT and business management.
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