To write an effective business plan you will need discipline, time and focus. Although the process can seem challenging, it is very rewarding and gives you a sense of control over your business. Investing time and focus in creating a business plan is one of the most valuable activities you can undertake. Creating a well-structured business plan will give you direction and help your business become a success. A business plan provides a roadmap for your business future and is essential to attracting funding.
Business plans may be internally or externally focused. Externally focused plans target goals that are important to external stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. They typically have detailed information about the organization or team attempting to reach the goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers. External stake-holders of non-profits include donors and the clients of the non-profits services. For government agencies, external stakeholders include tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, various economic agencies of the United Nations, and development banks.
Start from the very beginning understanding that your business plan ought to be specific to your business needs and objectives. Every business ought to have a plan, but not every business needs a full formal plan with carefully crafted summaries and descriptions.
Business plans may target changes in perception and branding by the customer, client, taxpayer, or larger community. When the existing business is to assume a major change or when planning a new venture, a 3 to 5 year business plan is required, since investors will look for their investment return in that timeframe.
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