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How to Write a Business Plan
Create a business plan before starting your business.

Author:
Franchise Finder

Starting your own business can be very stressful and sometimes we do not spend enough time on the important starting points. It is of utmost importance to have an effective and functional business plan when starting your own business.

Every business plan will be unique depending on the nature of the business, but below you can find a general layout/template of a business plan that you can make use of.  

Each business plan should include the following:

Front cover
The front cover of your business plan should include:

  • Company name
  • Contact details
  • Email address & website address
  • Company logo (if you already have one)

Table of contents / index page
The table of contents page of your business plan should include a breakdown of all the sections or pages to follow. This will assist money lenders and possible investors to easily find and refer to the different sections that your business plan presents. Your table of contents should include the sections below.

Executive Summary
The executive summary is a very important part of the business plan. This part of the business plan is where you are to capture the attention of and intrigue your investors and money lenders.

Many people choose to write the executive summary after they have completed the entire business plan as this acts as a summary to what the investors and money lenders will be presented with. This is really your selling point!

The executive summary should include the following:

  • Overview of your business plan in its entirety.
  • Breakdown of the highlights touched on in your business plan

Business summary and strategic outline

  • Description of your business and its assumed nature.
  • Plan of action for sales.
  • How you plan to run daily operations.

Business background and description
This section should include:

  • Experience you and your members have in the chosen field.
  • Breakdown of relevant qualifications obtained by members. Include copies of certificates and diplomas.
  • Positive description on how your previous work experience and studies will assist you to make a success of your business venture.

Product and services break down
This section should include:

  • Description of your products and services.
  • Describe your suppliers, how established they are and at what rate they will be providing your products.
  • Possible break down on what you plan to charge.
  • Indication of what formula you have used to calculate your selling price or service fee.
  • List of your products.
  • Catalogue or brochure detailing your products along with images.

Competition and market research
Knowing the market you are entering is of utmost importance. You will need to show that you understand this and leave no room for surprises. This section should include the following info:

  • Market research you may have done in order to show a demand or desire for your product.
  • Detailed list of your competitors.
  • Suggestions on something new you will be bringing to the market that your competition is not yet doing.
  • Realistic analysis of pros and cons in the industry and how you plan to make the most of the pros and find solutions for the cons.
  • Comparison of your products, price, value for money, stability and reputation with two of your top competitors (this is often best done in table form).

Proposed marketing strategy
Marketing your business effectively is going to be of the utmost importance. Make sure to include the following in this section:

  • List of marketing opportunities and avenues available to you.
  • Your website URL and its stats for the last couple of months (this will show growing interest in your products).
  • Outline of advertising campaigns you may have already started with.
  • Artwork of your logo and possible brochures and flyers you would like to have designed.
  • Breakdowns of team brain storming sessions.

Financial projections
This section should include:

  • Cash flow projections:
    I f your business runs short on cash flow early on in the game, possibilities of it failing are high. It is important to always have cash available for the daily running of your business. This is why the cash flow projection is of utmost importance. You are basically letting the investors and money lenders know how you plan to put their funds to good use. Good financial management is a key element in the running of any successful business. In order to project your cash flow you will need to make a list of all your assumed expenses. These will need to include regular (monthly) expenses and expected irregular expenses such as TAX. All operating and running expenses need to be taken into account. Document when you assume you will receive funds and income in order to show how your cash flow will be positively affected by this.
  • Income statements:
    Make sure your income statements agree with your projections.
  • Balance sheets:
    Balance sheets are used for financial management and reporting and are of key importance in the running of any business. By looking at a balance sheet you will be able to determine the net worth of a business via a schematic presentation of its assets, equity and liabilities.
  • Profit and loss forecasts:
    This should be completed on a spreadsheet. Document your calculations for cost of goods sold, general expenses and possible monthly profits over a 12 month period.
  • List your capital requirements and motivate these requirements. What will you do with the capital and how will you distribute it in your company

Personal Information
This section should include:

  • CV’s of members and owners of the business. This will help to show credibility and provide financial institutions and investors with some sort of history on the business members

While this template serves to help business owners create their own business plan, it is advised that you seek the assistance of a book keeper or accountant to assist you with your financial projections should you need guidance.

Author: Franchise Finder, Online Directory of Franchises and Business Opportunities in South Africa

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