One of the major reasons for business failures in Nigeria is the lack of proper business plan. Some entrepreneurs believes it’s more important to get started and make corrections along the way. But there are those who just think as long as they know what they want to do, it’s okay.
Imagine if an architect says, let me start the building and make corrections along the way. What kind of a building would that be? If the plan is not perfect, the building wont be perfect. Remember, If you want to see how your business would be in the next one, two, or even 10 years, what to look at is your business plan.
A business plan is to an entrepreneur what a building plan is to an architect. You can’t build a successful business without a proper business plan. Even if you don’t know how to write a business plan, outsource it to a consultant.
Don’t just buy a business plan off the internet. It wasn’t written for you in particular, even if it’s written for your kind of business. Although, there’s no law that says you must write a business plan. But write one for your business, even if you have to hire someone else to do it for you.
However, it’s wrong to apply another business prescription to your own business problems. It doesn’t always fit. You are the soul of your business, anything that’s disjointed from your particular goals won’t help your business grow. Your input in a business plan for your business is important.
What’s A Business Plan?
A business plan gives you a proper roadmap to help you navigate the affairs of your business profitably. It also helps you put a measurement to what the business can do, those that are going to help you achieve its goals, how you intends to achieve them, what’s required for you to do so, when you expects to achieve measurable milestones, and how to deal with foreseeable risks that may try to limits your operations.
Entrepreneur magazine helped to define it in a more subtle way: a business is also a road map that provides directions so a business can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road.
You see why it’s important to prepare a business plan before starting a business in Nigeria. Here are the key guide in preparing a perfect plan.
- Dedicate adequate time to prepare a plan for your business
- Be thorough and accurate with data
- And constantly keep your plan up to date
Note that the time you spend preparing your business plan is an investment that pays huge dividend both in the short and long term. And the success of your business is as good as the data it depends on.
How Business Plan Works
Now that you want to write a business plan, you have to plan what is going to be in your plan. Although, there are conventional template for writing a plan, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just a template. Your primary goal should be to plan how best to make your business a success.
Moreover, explore every possibilities that can help you achieve your business goals. You need to gather useful and verified data about your niche that would help you make better decisions. But never work with assumptions.
Here are things you should consider in your business plan:
- Let it conveys your business goals clearly and in a simple way
- Outline the strategies you intend to use to meet those goals
- Identify potential problems that may confront your business and outline counter measures to solve them
- Structure your business and assign titles and responsibilities to the roles anyone would play in the organization
- Calculate the amount of capital required to finance your business
- And pitch options where you are going to get the money from
It’s not complex to write a business plan. What you need is the right information about your business and structure your writing to explain how you are going to use that information to make your business profitable.
What’s Business Plan Used For?
In Nigeria, the only reason most entrepreneurs write a business plan is to get funding from banks or private investors. But there are several other good uses for the plan. A perfect business plan is like the business operating manual.
Also, imagine all of the things a plan can help your business achieve if only you know and do write a plan for your business. Here’s my list of purposes:
- It helps you show seriousness
- It helps to attract the right investors
- It helps you access bank finance
- It helps you to understand your market better
- For better risk assessment, reduction, and prevention from pursuing the wrong opportunity
- To understand and attract the best team to work with
- To position your brand in the market rightly
- To understand, plan and document the best marketing plan
- It’s helps you discover new opportunities within your niche
- It helps to define your focus and priorities
- To formulate the best strategies
- To set milestone goals
- It helps you to better understand your business
- It helps you to better understand your customers
- To verify the feasibility of your business idea
- Helps you to clear doubts or assumptions, and to replace them with facts
- Helps to explain your revenue model
- To determine and justify your financial needs
- And to better understand your competition
Types Of Business Plan
Do you know that a business plan is not only used when starting a new business? Here are list of the different types of business plan you can write.
- Startup business plan
- Feasibility business plan
- Operations business plan
- Strategic business plan
- Internal business plan
- Growth business plan
So, when next you want to write a business plan, you can better define the type of pan you want to write.
Steps to Writing A Business Plan
In writing your business plan, it’s up to you to decide what you want in your plan, how you want to structure it, who you are addressing it to, without missing out how long you need to achieve your goals.
By writing a plan you decide the length of your business. You also equip yourself with vital industry information you wouldn’t have known if you didn’t research for your business plan.
Interestingly, writing a business plan is like finding answers to set questions, but in this case the examiner is also you. Here’s how to start preparation to write a business plan.
- Find out all the data regarding your niche
- Find your purpose for wanting a plan
- Give your company the best profile
- Outline all aspect of the business
- Come up with the most strategic marketing plan
- Define how your plan address the problem of your target market
- Explain your real motive
12 Questions Your Business plan Should Answer
A business plan is designed to help you explain your business idea, model and solution to interested parties. To help you achieve that you should seek to answer twelve key questions of a business plan. Below is a list of them…
- What is the problem?
- What is your business solution to the problem?
- What is your business model?
- What is your business underlying technology or strategy?
- What is your business marketing strategy?
- What is your business sales strategy?
- Who are your competitors?
- Who are your team members and how are they qualified to solve the problems your business is designed for?
- What is your business financial forecast?
- How much capital will your business require?
- What the business exit strategy?
- What are the business risk factors?
However, The Small Business Association (SBA), an American organization in charge os small businesses outlined a simple guide to follow when writing a business plan.
- Start with brainstorming sessions alone or with a selected team
- Use ideas collected during the session to start research findings
- Ensure to present your thoughts and finding in a captivating way
- Define the problem your business is setup to solve
- Detail your solution as precise as possible
- Give an outline of your plan
- While you edit, proofread and make corrections to the copy
How To Write Perfect Marketing Plan
Your marketing is the most important part of your business plan. Prospective investors or partners would quickly check your marketing plan, once they agree with your business idea. They need to see how you plan to market the idea profitably. So, you have to careful plan your marketing with realistic data.
Here are key things to consider:
- Describe how your current company marketing strategy works
- Take a closer look at your target audience by market demography
- Set your new marketing goals with feasible projections
- List what your new marketing goals should be
- Identify the best tactics to help you achieve those projections
- Define your budget with return on investment
However, whatever you do in your marketing, branding should be your long term plan.
How To Create Your Operational Plan
For a small business, your operational plan is a key component of your business success. How you do what you do, who does what and, with what, are all you should articulate in your operational plan. Your prospective investors and partner’s consider this as essential to the success of your business.
Here is what you should be considering when preparing your business operational plan:
- Plan around your company vision
- Make your goals and strategy clear to your team
- Have a corresponding plan for every activity
- Define the responsibilities and assign them properly
- Setup measuring instruments and make adjustments when necessary
How One Page Business Plan Works
What is a one page business plan? And what is it used for? The first thing to notice is that it has only one page. That tells a lot about the volume of content you can put into it and what you can possibly do with it.
It’s not every Investor that’s interested to read the bulky business plan. It’s like your summarized plan in a knot shell. So, the idea is to help prospects quickly see your business idea and to make quick decision.
How to Structure One Page Business Plan
Furthermore, the right way to use a one page business is to present proposal about your business. It’s not every time an investor request for your company goals you should present your full business plan. It’s important to have a one page plan handy at all times.
Your one page plan is a brief version of your full plan. With a one page plan you only needed to show the investor key details in a brief format. Here’s what your one page plan should be like:
- It should START with a compelling title that summarizes the whole plan
- Then you explain your WHY, in a brief overview
- The next is your WHAT – a brief idea of your scope
- Here you show HOW you intend to deliver on your scope
- Followed by your WHEN – it’s important to have realistic timelines
- What follows next Should be HOW MUCH it’s going to cost?
- You will need to EXPLAIN your terms of agreement for who maybe interested
- Finally, you need to end it with WHO to contact
What Business Plan Example Fits Yours?
Sometimes, it’s easy to take a look at some examples to have an idea of what is relevant in your kind of business. However, you should avoid stereotype plan. But don’t just copy what’s there without a clear idea on how it’s going to be implemented better in your business.
Here are few examples you can search out to model your plan, depending on the niche your idea belong to:
- Restaurant plan
- Farm business plan
- Manufacturing plan
- Travel business plan
- Hospitality business plan
- Energy and Gas Plan
- Retail industry plan
- Service industry plan
- eCommerce plan
- Retirement plan
- Entertainment industry plan
And the list goes on and on. You can help fill up the list with what I might have missed out.
Do you know a business plan is like a building plan? So, without it you shouldn’t start a business. It would amount to building without the proper structure or guide on how best to make it successful.
Anyone can start a business but not everyone can make it successful without a proper business plan. The success of your business is not entirely dependent on that piece of document, but it will help create a road map that you can easily navigate to reach your goals.
Finally, you don’t even have to write your business plan yourself. You can hire consultants to do it. But your input is necessary throughout the stages of the plan. However, if you have any trouble writing your business plan, just reach out to me. Cheers!