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The success of a Business Plan is evident on how well an organization fares; this single document is responsible for creating a ‘make or break’ situation for a business of any magnitude – from a local dairy producer (whose plan may not be formally documented) to a large conglomerate with a global footprint. As daunting a task it may be, every business requires one and depends on the skill of business plan writers to present the winning formulae for guaranteed success. Here are ten insights on how you can develop a step-by-step business plan for your organization.

1. Understanding your Market Helps:

In any organization, facts are the big ticket. Understand your market thoroughly. This will be the underlying base on which you build all your business strategies. You may want to draw in foreign investors; those who aren’t familiar with your territory will base their decision to invest or not on your key findings. You might consider employing a research company, depending on your budgets or go about to ascertain facts that you think would be key. For example, you would need to understand the type of consumer, their preferences, demographic details, and the size of the market, for a start.

2. Competitor Knowledge and Stance:

You need to compare yourself with the leaders and contenders in your market – find out what they are doing well and understand how you can be better. What are their prices like? How long have they been in business? How do they get their product to the market? These are questions you need to analyze in developing long-term plans for your business.

3. Management Buy-In:

You can develop a world-class business plan, but it will be of no use if the management has no belief in it. Inspire the leaders of your organization to contribute with their insights, advice, input, and even be open for heated discussions. Listening to them does not mean you have to implement everything, it’s best to make them feel heard so that there is collective buy-in; this creates synergy amongst every tier and department of the organization. The more people are informed of it and believe in it, the more willingness they will have in implementing it.

4. Writing Style and Presentation:

Your writing style and data presentation are just as vital as the information gathered. Now that you understand your market and competition, apply a professional tone in detailing your plans. Watch out for grammatical errors that will put off the reader. Have attention to detail and present the business plan for the reader’s point of view. For example, include statements like, ‘you will benefit…’ or ‘investors will…’ that are more engaging. Avoid superlatives like ‘amazing’, ‘terrific’ or ‘fantastic’ in your content.

5. Identify the Organization’s Uniqueness:

Every product or organization works towards creating a niche for themselves, based on the uniqueness of their product or service. You may be speaking to people who are aware of the business’ Unique Selling Proposition, but there is also the segment of stakeholders who may not – remind them why your business can achieve the business plan. Boast about the existing resources of award winning teams, location, or product that can complement it.

6. Be Logical and Conservative with Numbers:

What’s worse than not having a business plan is having one that is not realistic. You must remember that your business is subject to volatile external conditions, and may not always work the way you planned no matter how well it has been established. Therefore, be conservative with timelines, ROI, marketing spend, and revenue flow.  

7. Include Why it will Win:

List your argument on why this business plan will work. As you have already listed the background, having clear goals and a mission to accomplish them will be easily translated amongst those concerned. For example, departments will understand what they must do in order to accomplish it.

8. Include Stakeholder Benefits:

No plan will be endorsed without stakeholders understanding what their benefit is. Even if they are internal customers, include what their gain will be.

9. Review, Review, Review:

Have you covered all the areas in the plan? Have you spoken about the marketing initiatives? Have you listed details of the business operation? Triple check if all areas are covered in your business plan. If you have colleagues you can run it by, do so and ask for their feedback. It’s best to leave a day or two for ideas to brew before you do a final run through. Your mind will be less accustomed to omissions and errors and can pick it up after a quick break.

10. Include an Executive Summary:

A summary of the entire plan is usually added in the beginning. This has to be the reason why a reader would delve any further and will set the tone for the plan.

 

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