How to Write An Effective Business Plan

A good business plan doesn’t have anything to do with length, or the information covered in the plan. It’s all about the process of figuring out what your goals are and the specifics of how you’ll achieve them. If you want to know how to write a business plan, here’s some advice – keep it simple, specific, and realistic so that you can actually achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Every small business needs a good business plan to get started. If you don’t have a clue where to begin, search for a business plan template to get the ball rolling. A business plan template provides an outline for a basic business plan so all you have to do is fill in the blanks, so to speak. When running a small business, it can be difficult to put all the information together – for most people using a business plan template takes some of the guesswork out of how to write a business plan, and speeds up the process. There’s no good reason not to use a business plan template if you want to.

So what are the elements of a well-written business plan? A simple plan is always best. Can you take action on everything you have planned, or are you being too unrealistic? To help your small business grow and flourish, it’s important to understand how to write a business plan that serves as a decent reflection of what you can actually accomplish if you implement the steps outlined in the plan.

Is the plan full of specifics? You need to lay down facts and concrete objectives to make sure you know exactly what steps to take to achieve your business goals. Knowing how to write a business plan is one thing, but if you want to write a plan for your small business that won’t let you down, it’s important to take the time to seriously set down a real plan of action.

A sample plan, many of which you can find online, can help make the process easier. With a sample plan to guide you along the way, it’s possible to get the job done more quickly than if you were doing everything from scratch, without any extra guidance. Or, purchase software designed to put together a proper business plan. Business plan software is easy to use, and guides you by the hand, step-by-step, to complete the process.

A good business plan should always have a specific budget included in the financial section. This is important if you plan to ask investors or a bank for loan money, but even if this isn’t the case, it’s helpful for your own sake. Setting up a budget and planning how you’re going to take care of the financial aspect of your business will help you turn your dreams into a reality. And that’s the whole point of starting a business and writing a business plan – you want to start or continue to run a business in the best way possible, to provide a service to the public and enjoy what you do.

The exact points you include in a business plan can vary depending on your needs and your specific situation, however, there are a few main sections that should always be included in a business plan. The finances section is a must, as well as a vision statement. Of course, every business plan is different, so you have to follow your own needs when putting together a business plan for your company.

5 Reasons Why Writing a Strategic Business Plan Dramatically Improves Your Business

Writing a strategic business plan is a critical business management skill that unfortunately in small business is often neglected or ignored. Various studies show that only one in ten businesses have an up to date written business plan. Many businesses do a plan at some stage but 90% do not have an up to date consistent and competent planning process.

As a business coach, I create 90 day action plans every 90 days for all of my clients and the direct result is motivation, direction, focus and better results.

So what are the benefits of writing a strategic business plan? Well here are 5 main reasons why writing a strategic business plan equals maximum business success.

1.Better Management Results

Business planning has long been recognized as one of the first and critical functions of superior management. When planning is not done it is so much harder to lead effectively, to organize key staff, to know which marketing strategy to implement and to know how to grow your enterprise effectively.

2.Keeps your business on track and in better control

There is a proven link between effective leadership control and planning. Why? A business moving towards a set of pre-determined goals and targets, with specific strategies, has against this, a set of measurements and tracking to control if it is effective or not. With this crucial information, a business can therefore make better decisions enabling a better chance of success.

3.Integrate personal and business goals effectively

By focusing on a mix of personal and business goals creates a more realistic feeling going forward. After all, business and personal are always entwined. We all want to achieve more in our work or career so that our personal live is more effective.

A great idea is to put into every plan your three top five year goals for your company. Then your top three personal goals (only if you are the leader or owner).

Then deviate to the short term. Write down your three top one year business goals and personal goals. Have the courage to do this and put it in writing. Review it weekly and look at the possibility of changing your plan every 90 days. Follow this formula for the best chance of long term success.

4.Focus on goals and directions

Goal orientated companies generally out perform those without goals. A big statement but a truism as far as I am concerned. Are your business goals written down and clear?

If not, consider a 5 year view, a 1 year view and a 90 day view of your business and personal goals that are written down and smart tested. Smart tested stands for Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and have a Time-frame.

5.Improve the efficiency of your systems and overall business performance

Policies and procedures are a vital part of your business improvement so writing a strategic business plan must outline what procedures you intend to improve over the next ninety days and beyond. A practical step depending on the size of your organization is to take one system or procedure every one to two weeks and write it down, look at it’s process and involve your team (if applicable) in improving it and document it further.

Imagine the difference in your business if twenty six policies and procedures were focused on and ultimately improved each year. Now that is continuous improvement at its greatest. Writing a strategic business plan with the planned procedures is an important bridge between thinking and implementation.

Writing a strategic business plan need not be a complicated, drawn out process. It can be motivating, enlightening, empowering and reflect the true feelings of leaders and others to achieve outstanding success. If you are serious about getting business success you must have a strategic business plan. Otherwise where you want your business to go and where you want it to be might not be where it finishes. Business failure and the lack of planning go hand in hand. The statistics tell us this. You need a plan to give yourself the best possible chance of outstanding success.

If you would like to learn how to write a strategic business plan with some of the world’s best planning resources, then you must check this program out. Best Business Planning Resources It’s guaranteed and thousands have got the results to prove it! Write a Strategic Business Plan

More than Words – Creating a Useful Business Plan

You’ve heard it a million times: you must have a business plan to succeed. It’s a no-brainer in the world of small business. A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your company’s resume.

But more than that, your business plan should have a way for you to track progress and to identify tactical steps to that your plan is more than just words on paper, it is actually a document that is a part of your living, breathing business.

Sure, it might seem like a boring exercise to define the business you are in. But actually, many owners have gone broke because they never answered that question. Or, they never quite knew why they should or how to develop a business plan.

Let’s start with the basics. A business plan is a tool with three basic purposes: communication, management, and planning. As a communication tool, it is used to attract investment capital, secure loans, convince workers to join and assist in attracting strategic business partners. A complete business plan shows whether or not a business has the potential to make a profit. It requires an honest look at almost every phase of business and allows you to show that you have worked out all the problems and decided on potential alternatives before actually launching your business.

As a management tool, the business plan helps you track, monitor, and evaluate your progress. The business plan is a living document that you will modify as you gain knowledge and experience. By using your business plan to establish timelines and milestones, you can track your progress and compare your projections to actual achievements.

As a planning tool, the business plan guides you through the various phases of your business. A thoughtful plan will help identify obstacles so that you can avoid them and establish alternatives. Many business owners share their business plans with their employees to cultivate a broader understanding of where the business is going.

All three of those purposes are important, but be sure to particularly remember the management and planning aspect. That ensures that you are actively involved with executing your business plan and tracking the goals you’ve set out to achieve.

In Focus: The Useful Business Plan
In order to be a truly usable tool, a business plan should be a work-in-progress. Even successful, growing businesses should maintain a current business plan. It doesn’t need to be fancy, complicated or difficult, it just needs to be clear and manageable.

Remember, your goals are to show your expertise in your business, to “sell” your business to prospective customers (such as investors and employees), and to design a management tool that works for you.

Every successful business plan should include something about each of the following areas:

1. Executive Summary

2. Market Analysis

3. Company Description

4. Organization and Management

5. Marketing and Sales Management

6. Products and Services

7. Financials

8. Appendix

A solid business plan is more than just a few paragraphs on what you want your business to be, it is a step by step plan for how to get there. Start by brainstorming and recording everything you know for each of these areas of your business. Then, identify where you need more information in order to complete the sections.

Finally, include a checklist or table at the end of each section that highlights the main components of the section and allows you to track how you’re performing in each area. Commit to reviewing the plan monthly – either on your own or with other management employees – to track your progress.

For more information on developing your business plan, visit: http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/plan/writeabusinessplan/index.html