This mind-map helps with the generation of a business plan.
Fred"s Special Sprockets
What the business is all about in general terms? What industry is it in? What is the key benefit, rather than the product or service that you are going to provide? What are the products or services, who buys them, and a general statement as to where the business will be in two to five years and how this will be achieved.
Give a brief explanation as to what the product(s) or service(s) are and the outline features that are going to give you the edge in the marketplace. State clearly what you are actually going to sell.
Outline what market the product or service is going to be aimed at and why. What research is there to support your business expectations?
Make a broad statement of the marketing plan and the tools to be used.
List your Key Objectives. There will only be a few at this summary level but they will be the ones that are essential for you to achieve. For example: Achieve Sales in the first year of $X at a Gross Margin of $Y. Achieve a Net Profit Before Tax in the first year of $X.
Explain the basic financial needs of the new business, starting with the initial capital and your expected cash needs to run the business.
describe each key manager
person1, Name, Contact Details, Summary
You should list your objectives or goals for the first year of operation. It is important to separate your objectives/goals under the operating sections of your business such as Sales & Marketing, Production, Finance, etc. They should be succinct and must be both quantifiable and measurable. For example: Sales & Marketing: To achieve sales in the first quarter of $ To achieve sales in the second quarter of $Y. To achieve X% market share. Finance: To achieve a maximum debtor days of X. To reduce the overdraft from $X to $Y
Market Analysis It is essential to show that there is a sound customer base for the business. You should: Explain who will buy your products or services. What is the geographical area? Is the market growing or declining? Is the market segmented and if so how? What influences will affect the market? How are you going to reach your customers? Are there seasonal trends? What is the pricing sensitivity? What competitive edge do you have? Explain how you have carried out your customer and market research - where have you found out the information. Customers are usually uninterested in product or service features. They want to know what the benefits are of the product or service features. This is particularly so with a new product. Why should the customer buy your product rather then somebody else"s?
Describe the product(s) or service(s) you are going to offer. Discuss the branding, the packaging (where applicable), ongoing product development, etc. An analysis should be done of the features and their benefits and they should be compared to the major competitors.
How do you compare to your competitors on pricing, product, promotion and distribution? How are you going to position your product or service against them? Tabulate a list that shows your features against theirs and what gives you a competitive edge. Do not ignore the negatives if there are any, as you must address them.
competitor1, name, location, strengths, weaknesses
A good Marketing Strategy is vital to the success of a business. Customers must know about the product(s) or service(s) to be exposed to buying them. List in detail the key strategies and explain how they will work and dovetail together if relevant. The strategies might include: Pricing - how is this to be used? Promotion - what type, where and how often. Literature - what type and how used Customer Service - what benefits? Advertising - what and where and the outline cost. Product or Service launch plan Etc Show what your total marketing spend will be for the first and second year.
website plan, impact, e-commerce
action1, Month, Method, Expected Outcome, Cost, Person Responsible, Done?
You should spell out how the product(s) or services(s) are to be produced and costed. For example is there a manufacturing process or is it a bought in item. The outline cost and price basis should be listed i.e. what proportion is material, labour and overhead recovery, all related to the selling price. If it is a service then who provides it and on what basis is the cost charged out?
A SWOT analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses within the business and identifies opportunities and threats in the external business environment. This is a very important analysis: Strengths are those that the company can exploit. Weaknesses are areas of the business that need to be addressed. Opportunities show the market place areas that can be built on. Threats are those issues that could affect the business. Not only should you list each of the Strengths, Weaknesses, etc., but also you should assess what each means to the shape, direction, and tactical running of the business.
There are many options as to how a new business can be structured. For example, is it going to be as a Sole Trader; a Partnership; a Limited Partnership or a Proprietary Company? Are there Trade Marks or Patents and will the company trade under a Business name or a Company name. You should provide a clear description on the proposed ownership structure and why it is being chosen. type of legal entity physical premises facility required location distribution methods compliance requirements customer service policies hours of operation staff
Customer Service Policies
Hours Of Operation
Staff, person1, Name, Job Description
Describe the background of the key persons in the business and what other staff or contractors will be required. What level of remuneration is either expected or anticipated. Briefly list any issues that might be pertinent with the employment of staff.
person1, Contact Details, Skills Possessed, Additional Skills Needed, Personal Goals, Short Term, Long Term
There are a number of key financial items that need to be prepared to show the progress and health of the business.
It is vital to assess the total funds required to set up the business and cover its operating costs until it becomes profitable. These should be listed and totalled. They should be split between pre-business costs and initial costs of operating.
item1, Description, Cost To Buy, Value Of Existing
Profit And Loss
The projected cash flow will show how much money is required to set up and commence the operation of the business. You need to explain where this money is coming from and where, if necessary, future additional finance might be available, for say, expansion. This is critically important if the Business Plan is going to be used to obtain finance.
A break-even analysis is a calculation to show the level of sales or services required to pay for all the overheads of the business and at least come out even. This should be calculated over a 12 months period and can easily be constructed from the Profit & Loss and Cash Flow Statements. A simple commentary with the numbers is all that is required to explain what the break-even picture is.
Personal money tied up in the business is an investment. If it was not tied up in the business it would, presumably, be earning interest in some other form of investment. Will the business provide a return on the investment, if so what return and by when and as to whether this is an issue?
You"ll need to work out how you will support yourself while you are establishing and running the business. Will you have another job to give you money? Do you have savings to last for some time while you are getting your business into a profit situation?
Funds Required, personal living cost, drawing from business
The Business Plan has got to be used to manage the business. If it is not then it is a waste of time having written it. To ensure that it does serve the purpose of guiding your business development it is important to now set down the specific tasks that have to be done to achieve the Objectives/Goals set. You do this by preparing an Action Plan. This should be done in a tabular form by the operating sections of the business. The items should not be too detailed or else they become unworkable. The purpose of the Action Plan is to act as a checklist of the key actionable items and the time they have to be done by and who is to do them. A simple example is shown below.
Nowhere does Murphy"s Law apply more harshly than in business. Before making any commitment to your business, you need to think through all the things that can possibly go wrong, and consider the possible options for dealing with these scenarios.
Some events need to take place outdoors. Inclement weather can turn away paying customers and waste staging expenses.
have marquis on standby
hotel meeting room
List here any key people and companies who have an important role in the success of the business