What exactly is a business plan?
So, you’re looking to start a business – that’s great! However, writing a business plan can be more complex than simply typing your ideas into a Word document. A business plan is a presentation of your business idea and a roadmap of your business goals, vision, and mission. In simple words, a business plan is a document that describes details about your business and how you plan to make it grow and become successful.
Components of a Business Plan
A formal business plan can have the following components. However, the components of a business plan may vary as per your business purpose and audience. The typical components of a business plan include:
- Executive Summary
- Business Overview
- Product/Service details
- Market Analysis
- Marketing Plan
- Management Overview
- Financial Plan, Indicators, and Projections
Business Plan Length
There is no fixed rule of how long a business plan should be; it depends on the business’s purpose, audience, and nature. It is worth discussing your business plan needs with a professional business plan writer, who can advise how long the business plan should be for your given purpose. A business plan writer can also advise on what should be included in your specific business plan to ensure all the requirements are met. Often, a business plan for a specific purpose, such as a PNP Business Plan, has a page limit or suggested word limit. It is best to advise your business plan professional on the purpose of your business plan so they can follow the guideline. Some of the reasons are bank loans, investor funding, government grant, etc.
Business Plan Updates
Business planning is a life-long process; a business plan is not a document for life. As the business evolves, financial indicators and KPIs change. To ensure your business plan is relevant, you need to update it once the set goals are achieved. If a strategy or business model changes, the business plans must be revisited and revised accordingly.
Engage your Audience
In your business plan, you need to understand your audience and what language style is appropriate for them. Next, you need to understand your business plan’s purpose and write it in a way that engages your audience. In many cases, it is best to be written in laymen’s terms so the audience can fully understand the business plan’s contents. On the other hand, writing a business plan for a government grant would need to be written more formally.
Purpose of Business Planning
Most people assume business planning consists of lengthy reports or documents with charts or graphs. However, there is much more to it, and a business plan is a crucial component where you set out a clear layout for your business idea. The plan needs to clearly outline how the business will do and how it will grow in the future with relevant market data and research. A business plan should cover the points below so the audience has all the relevant information they need about the business:
- A clear outline of business goals
- Set out financial projections
- Market Gap and industry analysis
- Marketing Plan
Type of Business Plans
Depending on your business’s purpose, there are many different types of business plans, and it is essential to have the right one to highlight your business to meet its objective. Here are some types of business plans that I often get contacted by my clients:
A start-up business plan is needed initially to attract potential investors or lenders. It is a comprehensive game plan including a business overview, goals, financials, industry analysis, marketing plan, etc.
A strategic business plan comprises the company’s strategies, mission, KPIs, and implementation guidelines. Strategic plans are usually internal documents to facilitate management in making an organization’s policies and help set out business strategies for decision-making.
A one-page plan is also known as a quick overview business pitch. It consists of the most vital business details, including its operations, management, values, and mission, and summary charts of projections.
This plan is needed when a business wants to enter joint ventures, financial investments, or new acquisitions. It provides complete details of essential information about the company and its projections with proper market research.
An operational plan focuses on the daily operations and how they contribute to the business’s overall success. It contains objectives for the company with timelines, deadlines, and measures to track progress.
Feasibility plans are for those companies that plan to introduce a new product to the current market or an existing product in a new market. This plan includes market patterns, competitor analysis, consumer behaviour, and market research (both secondary and primary).
PNP Business Plan
The PNP Business Plan must meet the immigration requirements of the Canadian government. The government of Canada asks that the following essentials are included in your PNP Business Plan:
- Must clarify the type of business being purchased/established.
- Demonstrate detailed financial projections for the business.
- Must demonstrate how the business will benefit the local economy.