Writing a business plan

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Writing a business plan will help you determine if your business idea is viable and it will set out a step-by-step path towards success. A good business plan may also be required to get a business loan or investment from others. It will also help you identify potential opportunities and threats to your business.

Not everything will go according to your business plan, but at least you'll have a solid start and firm direction for your business. Your business plan should continue to grow and evolve as your business does.

Sections of a business plan

Your business plan should include the following sections:

  • Executive summary  (write this last!) - this is a summary of your entire business plan and what you expect to achieve
  • About your business - including your personal capabilities, goals and vision for the direction of your business
  • Your business products and services - a description of the products and services you'll provide
  • SWOT analysis  - a list of your businesses Strengths, Weaknesses (and how you will deal with them), the Opportunities that your business will take advantage of, and Threats that you have identified (and how you will deal with them)
  • Financial forecast - a detailed forecast of expected sales and business expenses
  • Operations plan - a detailed description of all equipment and processes required to operate the business on a day-to-day basis including the hours of operation and contingency plans in case something goes wrong 
  • Human resource plan - write a job description for the staff you will require plus the services of contractors and suppliers
  • Marketing plan - this requires as much or even more effort to prepare than the rest of the business report and it should include market research, identify your target market and how you will market your products and services to them

Links

Business Victoria - Marketing Plan
A guide to writing a business and marketing plan and it also provides an example business plan.