Where would a business be without a business plan? A business plan sets the course for the future of the business. It gives the business owner or manager a sense of direction, listing the objectives and goals of the business from the outset.
Writing a business plan requires a lot of time; a successful business plan cannot be a rush job. Once an idea for a business has been developed, researching the many facets of owning and operating a business is the next most important step. Your local county council should be able to assist you with accessing the required information of a legal nature, as should your local business enterprise center.
The rest of the research will be up to you! You will need to research products for your business, at the same time as researching other enterprises that may be in direct competition to you. Furthermore, you need to research the market to determine whether there is a need for your business product or service.
With the research out of the way, sitting down to write a business plan requires focus. Your business plan will become the bible of your business for at least the next 3 to 5 years so it is important to make it clear, concise and comprehensive. Most enterprises will complete a SWOT analysis to determine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business.
Whilst the business is in infancy, brainstorming would be the most accurate way of performing the analysis, as the business would not yet have customers and profitability would not yet have been experienced. However, it is very important to remember that a good business plan is flexible and can be changed as your business experiences growth.
After completing a SWOT analysis, you will need to determine your business name if it has not already been decided (and register it), as well as your vision and values, your business goals and long term mission and how you will achieve all of this when the business is up and running.
Writing every thought down regardless of how minute you feel it is will allow you to collate everything pertinent to your business for easy reference in the future. Who knows, the thought or idea that you have today may well turn into a million dollar idea in a years time! Maintaining good records and following a strong business plan is the key to a successful business!