Business Plans For Small Business
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to produce business plans for small business (es) when you start up a business or decide to develop an existing one. You need a focused, well thought out, well researched plan that will detail how your business is to be set up, how it will financed, how it will expand and develop. When opening a bank account, or more importantly requesting a business loan or grant, the powers that be will want to see your business plan. Something tangible that shows you haven’t come up with this idea overnight or as a whim. That you are serious about your business and have thought it through and then thought it through again.
The rule of thumb when producing business plans for small business is to develop a document that will span at least 3 years of activity (but no more than 5). And yes this is a starting point from which goalposts will move, time and hindsight will make it necessary to make corrections and adaptations as you go along but you definitely need a starting point!
Think along the lines of Year 1: lose money (but not too much! Year 2: Break even, Year 3: Profit. If you can sensibly produce a realistic plan that breaks even initially or even makes a small profit then fantastic – but I repeat BE REALISTIC! Don’t state facts or figures or make claims that are totally unachievable. In the end you will only be fooling yourself. And if experienced eyes are reading and digesting it then they won’t be fooled either!
My recommendation is to sit yourself down at the kitchen table or office or study desk, armed with either a blank sheet of paper and pen or a blank Word document page on your computer - and brain storm. Write down (type) anything and everything you can think of to do with your proposed or existing business. Include dreams and aspirations, realities, upsides and downsides; the competition, what you need to do, the finances (investment and return, budgets) and equally important – the time frame.
Thoughts exhausted, get up and go make yourself a drink or better still go for a walk. Clear your head. Then come back to your notes and add and/or subtract from what you have written. Now push it to one side. Do something completely different. Take your mind off it. Sleep on it.
Refreshed and clear headed re-read everything you have written and then on a fresh piece of paper crystallise your thoughts into some semblance of order. Then do as before. Make a drink, go for a walk, and sleep on it.
Like decent wine or cheese business plans for small business cannot be rushed. It is impossible to get everything down on paper at the first attempt – never take your first stab at being the final product. If you are doing it right then you should be adding, adjusting and correcting right up to the 11th hour.
Now, thoughts in order, settle yourself down, find a fresh page, have your final notes beside you. Now you are ready to write your business plan.
So what should you write? Click here for three examples how to present a small business plan?
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