What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a written record of the functional and operational objectives of any business. It lays out a detailed framework of the business and provides a roadmap, enabling a clearer perspective of the goals to be accomplished and the strategic tools to be implemented to ensure their successful attainment over a defined period.
Why You Need a Business Plan
Simply put, a business plan is the blueprint of any business- be it a startup or a multinational business giant. Writing out a business plan is never a one-time activity. As your business evolves over time, you will have to modify your business plan accordingly. While at the early stages, you need a business plan to check the feasibility of your ideas, over the years, having a well-defined business plan will help you in effective planning and decision making. Moreover, investors and financers are more likely to rely on written facts and figures while they consider funding any business.
3 Basic Questions That Your Business Plan Should Answer
Among many other questions and factors on which a business plan must be based, the following are the 3 basic questions that it should answer.
1. What Would Be Your Competitive Advantage?
Competitive advantage refers to the edge you have over your competitors when you provide greater value to your consumers. This value can be in terms of lower prices or greater benefits and excellent customer services offered at a reasonable price. Irrespective of what your forte is, it should always be unique and difficult to replicate. Some of the factors that can give your business a competitive advantage include, among others:
- A pool of highly skilled labor
- Exclusive access to valuable natural resources
- A strategic geographic location
- Patent to advanced, revolutionary technology
- Ability to minimize production costs
- Thriving online media presence
2. Is Your Business Located in a Growth Market?
Agrowth market is essentially one that is growing at a higher than average rate. The driving force behind a growing market is not an increase in current market share or an increase in population. Instead, such a market is propelled by increased demand for new services or products, which results in the acquisition of new customers. Your business will only be as successful as the market in which it exists. Therefore it is essential to draft a business plan that clearly outlines:
- Your point of entry into the market (that is how you will enter the market, whether through new or enhanced products/services)
- Potential application of the available assets to utilize every opportunity presented by the growing market
- The steps undertaken to be an active participant in the market expansion
3. How Will You Staff Your Business?
To make sure that your business is adequately staffed, you need to create a chart that clearly defines each job function that must be performed to operate your business effectively. At the early stages of your business, a few employees can carry out multiple functions. However, as your business grows, you should look out for signs of declining efficiency, productivity, or quality of products and services due to insufficient staffing. Moreover,to cut costs, you can automate your recruitment and hiring processes.
To achieve long-term results in your business endeavors, you need to plan realistically. A well-drafted business plan will go a long way in keeping your eyes on the goal at hand while reminding you of the resources you have. Do you need help growing your business? At Business Forward Ventura County, we help businesses connect with the information, tools, and resources needed to keep them moving forward. For more information on getting started, contact us today.