Just the thought of launching and building your own company from scratch can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. There’s a lot to think about – and even more to do – but even when you’re surrounded by never-ending to-do lists and you’re being bombarded by a barrage of emails marked ‘high priority’, you know all your hard work, late nights, and early starts will be worth it in the end. To help you a) calm down and b) get organised, we’re going to have a little talk about business plans and the most important points yours needs to address if you want to give yourself the best chance at success.
Introduction and background information
Start things off with a summary of your business idea, together with any experience and qualifications you have that’ll help the enterprise not only get off the ground, but thrive in the long run. Here, you want to put your best foot forward and demonstrate that you can handle the scope and pressures of such a massive undertaking; explain your business model . Nobody knows your idea better than you – so present it with confidence. You’ve got this.
Why does the market need your product or service?
Is there an existing need your product/service can meet, or a gap in the market that your business is addressing? Here, you’ll outline what inspired you to set up your budding operation. The more evidence of a need or gap in the market that you can include, the better. This can come in the form of anything from surveys to national statistics and existing studies on the market – if it helps you make the case for your business idea, it’s worth mentioning.
Core values and mission statement
To be truly successful, your business needs to mean more than money. Today’s intelligent consumer – and the kind of talent you’d be keen to hire – seeks out brands that share the same values as they do. From environmental sustainability to giving back to local communities, investing in innovations that’ll help people live better lives, and global charity initiatives, it’s absolutely essential to show that at your core, you’re a positive force in the business world, and not some kind of soulless corporation. What’s your message? What do you stand for? If your business was human, what kind of person would it be?
SWOT and competitor analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and is a tried-and-tested model for making an objective assessment of your business, product, or service. It’s a major part of analysing your competition (locally or otherwise) and understanding what you need to do to get to the front of the pack, so take your time researching and exploring this stage.
Strategy for growth and internationalisation
What’s your long-term plan? Potential investors need to know that you have a strategy that’ll help you manage your company’s growth and scale your business operations accordingly. If your business has the potential to go international some day, outline how you’d handle it and how you’d keep your brand strong and standards high while replicating your efforts in other parts of the world.
No matter how fabulous your idea is, it all comes down to euros and cents. The launch and long-term success of your business hinges on money; from investment sustainability and how much you need to get up and running to the cost of manufacturing your product, training people to deliver the kind of service you want, day-to-day operations, and what kind of ROI you need to hit to stand the test of time. You’ll also want to make some educated comments on the potential impact this project could have on the local economy.
Translation: don’t skimp on the financial details. Be as transparent as possible about your projected costs and profit margins – there’s nothing worse than a nasty, expensive surprise later down the line.
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