You may want to consider the following key questions to help determine if you are ready to start writing your business plan.
~ Have you thoroughly refined your business idea so you have a good understanding of how your business will operate?
~ Have you researched your business concept to determine if there is a need for it in the marketplace?
~ Have you completed a feasibility study to determine expected level of success?
~ Do you have the money required to start and grow the business?
~ Are you prepared to invest significant time into the business to get it up and running?
There are no rules about what your plan should cover or the level of detail. In general, plans need to include information regarding:
~ business profile
~ vision, mission and
~ market research
~ operational strategy
~ products and/or services
~ marketing plan
~ financial strategy.
Your business plan should present what a banker or venture capitalist expects to see, in the order they expect to see it in. Following a standard business plan outline will keep you on track, and save you from botching your best chance at getting your business funded.
Internally focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, the refurbishing of a factory or a restructuring of the organization. An internal business plan is often developed in conjunction with a balanced scorecard or a list of critical success factors. This allows success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures. Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called strategic plans.