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How to create a business plan for your small business

It’s very unlikely that your business will go anywhere unless you have a plan or a series of plans to execute. As a budding entrepreneur, you need a business plan to address all the critical components that are necessary before starting a business as it plays a huge role in determining the extent of your success or failure in this endeavour.

Business plans will also let you stay on track of your goals, attract funding from established investors and firms, and act as a roadmap for the success of your business.

Components of an effective plan

A business plan can range in size from just a few sentences to more than 100 pages, containing a title page, table of contents, and many formal sections. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, a typical small or medium scale start-up has an average of 15 to 20 page worth of a business plan.

Some of the components that would be included in this document are the following:

- Summary of the plan

- Business description

- Competition analysis

- Market strategies

- Design and development

- Financial information

- Operations and management

Is having a business plan a must?

Even though business plans are often considered to be an option-they are of vital importance to every entrepreneur. Many aspiring entrepreneurs and even those who are experienced, fail to recognize the importance of having a plan. They think of it like an optional component of a business that should be prepared only if necessary.

However, the saying “I have everything in my head” in the context of starting a business could indicate a lack of clarity. The idea of keeping everything in your mind makes it very easy to forget major and minor details of your business and very hard to revisit ideas that you once may have thought of, for putting into action later.

Having a business plan will let you document what you already know and have the permanent impact of having something written down as a reference for later times. So, it’s pretty safe to say that having a plan definitely helps a business grow to its real potential.

How to write a business plan?

Forget about lengthy and complicated business plans covering 100 pages; if you’re a small business owner, you can make an effective business plan in just one page. Some of the questions that your business plan should answer the following:

1. State it in details what your business is all about

2. Describe what products or service you want to provide

3. Who are your ideal customers/clients?

4. How you plan to deliver your products and services to your customers/clients

5. What is the policy of your pricing?

6. What are the risks factors you can see for the business?

7. Who are your current competitors?

8. How many employees do you plan to have in your company?

9. If you have a product, make a list of all the major suppliers

Even though there can be hundreds and thousands of questions based on the size and scope of the company, these are the nine questions you must have an answer to if you plan on starting a business from scratch and scale it as you deem fit.

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