Do you have dreams of being the next Sir Richard Branson or Bill Gates? Having an idea is one thing but having the entrepreneurial skills to execute it is another. Setting up a business is no easy feat, especially because the rules vary from country to country, which is why you have to get it right from the outset.
So what exactly is a business plan? It’s a description of the business you hope to start. It shows why your business idea is workable. It sets out how your business will operate, and it predicts what money you will need to invest and what you will earn.
Spend months or even years planning your business. Do your research and prepare everything. Ideas are rarely unique and even though you might not be able to find anything similar, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Study the market to see where your business will fit in – are you filling a gap or creating something completely new? New ideas can be hard to sell, so don’t be afraid of doing something similar to what is out there already.
You don’t have to sit down and write your plan in one day. In fact it is better not to, because banks and investors will know it has been hastily put together. The longer you spend on it the more ideas will come to you. Outline exactly what the business will do. What will it sell? What needs does the product or service fill? What’s your competition? Why aren’t other businesses meeting the needs of your potential buyers?
An efficient business plan cannot be written in five pages. It should be a lengthy document that should not leave any questions unanswered. Think about how much money you will need to get started. How much income will you need for the first couple of years? Will you be paying anyone? Who will manage your business finances? What accounting system will you use and most importantly, where will your start-up money come from?
Also include the reasons why you are establishing your business, the aims of the business and how you expect it to grow in the future.
Get it looked at
Yes, you want the plan to be sophisticated enough to convince investors it is worth the risk, but it must appeal to all, so ask a friend to read it for you. You need a clear and concise report, so ask someone you trust whether your plan achieves this. They are likely to find errors in it and may advise you on how to best achieve the business you want.
Starting Your Own Business: How to Plan, Build and Manage, by Jim Green, available from www.amazon.co.uk
How to Set Up Your Own Small Business, by Max Fallek, available from www. amazon.co.uk – there are various versions available
How to Set Up and Run Your Own Business (Create Success), by The Daily Telegraph, available at www.amazon.com
Get a flying start