You have an idea for a business: what is the structure of a business plan?

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Continuing the theme related to building a business plan, I will now give you a general and universal business plan structure that you can use to plan your business. You don’t have to write 100 pages of text and do all the analysis. It’s up to you what you use and fill it with content. I advise you to think about all the points, but more or less describe them, depending on what kind of business you are planning.

When considering the possibility of running your business, you should think about some of the problems you need to solve. A reasonably thorough plan for these will give a comprehensive picture. Therefore, a business plan, drawn up by Jan Nowak, should include:

  • formal data about the company to be established, namely,
  • the legal form of the business to be conducted, i.e. the choice between an individual business and a partnership or commercial company,
  • the planned date for starting the business,
  • a fair statement of the qualifications, skills and education to run the planned company; Jan Nowak, before starting in the market, must be aware of what he can do and whether he might need the help of someone else,

The reason why you want to set up the company, thus

  • the company’s mission, which, like a person’s life mission, clearly illuminates the expected success in the future,
  • the goals to be achieved for the coming year and the goals that can be achieved in 3 or 5 years covering both expected revenue and position in society or customer satisfaction,

A marketing plan, which includes information on

  • what to sell and for whom,
  • how to do it best, how to reach customers, whether to hire sales representatives or perhaps use distribution through supermarkets,
  • at what price to sell or provide services, so that you soon start earning more than the usual bank interest on your savings,
  • and, finally, how to notify customers about the company and how to encourage them to buy the products and services offered,

A description of the situation in the market in which the company is to operate, i.e.

  • what competitors exist, whether it is easy to find suppliers, what the preferences of the company’s customers are, and whether there are already products that can perform similar functions,
  • a description of those activities of the government, major equipment manufacturers, the work of parliament, public sentiment that will help or hinder the company in the future,

You will have employees or associates, this includes the organization of the company, such as:

  • the number of employees or associates, their education, responsibilities, past business success,
  • ways of contacting associates, a schedule of joint meetings and division into teams,
  • the amount of wages and the possibility of bonuses for the best employees,

A financial plan for the venture for at least the coming year, including

  • the source of funding until the business becomes profitable,
  • the amount of revenue, i.e. what you can earn by running your business,
  • costs resulting from purchasing materials and equipment, paying taxes, Social Security, salaries, renting premises, phone calls and all other situations in which the company spends the money it earns,
  • economic indicators, showing if and when the invested capital will be returned and if the company will grow,

SWOT analysis, which sounds corny, but means

  • that after drawing up a description of all the above points, you should reliably assess the strengths and weaknesses of the planned business,
  • as well as opportunities and threats from competitors, taxes, relevant laws, customer preferences and from other sides.

When building your company’s business plan, you can still add matters important to him that will positively or negatively affect the development of his business idea. Do not avoid difficult questions here, which can be triggered by simple pronouns like: who, how, for how much, why, when. It would be a good idea to write out a schedule of tasks for yourself and possible partners that clearly spells out who will do what and when until the business is in full swing. 

Portuguese entrepreneurs say – the plan is there to be changed. Also, a business plan should not be a paralyzing skeleton that specifies activities that at some point are completely useless. If you want to start a small one-person business with his own savings, it doesn’t even have to be in writing. What is important, however, is that it should be a reference point, a sound assessment of the business idea and at the same time a glimpse into the future.