How To Set Out A Business Plan

In the following sections, we discuss the preparation of a strategic plan and present ideas for preparing the outline of a business plan and writing up the detail.A short strategic plan (2-3 pages) can provide a very useful foundation on which to base a much more detailed and comprehensive business plan.So, even if you don't need a formal plan, think carefully about going through the planning process.

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Anticipate many weeks of hard work and several drafts of the emerging plan to get the job right.

A clearly written and attractively packaged business plan will make it easier to interest possible supporters, investors etc.

Nonetheless, most plans follow a well-tried and tested structure and general advice on preparing a plan is universally applicable.

A business plan should be a realistic view of the expectations and long-term objectives for an established business or new venture.

If you don't have a sensible strategic plan, how can you realistically write a sensible business plan?

Use a short strategic plan as the foundation for a more comprehensive business plan.If you are developing, or have invented, a new product or service, it may be beneficial to start the business planning process by reviewing the sections of Getting New Business Ideas covering Assessing Ideas and Next Steps.This will guide you on groundwork to be done before starting to write a comprehensive plan.As the prelude to developing a strategic plan, it is desirable to clearly identify the current status, objectives and strategies of an existing business or the latest thinking in respect of a new venture.Correctly defined, these can be used as the basis for a critical examination to probe existing or perceived strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.For an established business it demonstrates that careful consideration has been given to the business's development, and for a startup it shows that the entrepreneur has done his or her homework.A formal business plan is just as important for an established business, irrespective of its size, as it is for a startup.It serves four critical functions as follows: Just as no two businesses are alike, so also with business plans.As some issues in a plan will be more relevant to some businesses than to others, it is important to tailor a plan's contents to suit individual circumstances.Preparation of a comprehensive plan will not guarantee success in raising funds or mobilizing support, but lack of a sound plan will, almost certainly, ensure failure.Preparing a satisfactory business plan is a painful but essential exercise.

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