Creating your business plan is more than just getting your ideas down on paper for potential funders to see. It’s an exploratory process in which you can evaluate your options, test your assumptions about your idea, and even discover new opportunities. It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business before investing too much time or money in them.
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?
Even though the summary will be read first, it is easiest to write it last – providing an overview of the complete business plan. The aim is to draw the reader in, so what you include will depend on your audience. If you are seeking funding you need to really sell your business idea in the summary.
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.
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