Whether you wish to set up a new company or start a new project within an existing company, preparing a business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.
What is the point of the business plan ?
This stage becomes even more important if you want to prepare for negotiations with external financers such as private investors, banks, or even public institutions. You would be ill-advised to treat this step as an administrative approach among others.
In short, the process of developing the business plan will allow you to demonstrate the quality of the business opportunity, identify the main risks, define the strategy, and set clear and measurable targets. This will all be particularly useful for convincing potential partners, and will also be a precious reference for you once the project is launched. You will have the option of taking stock at any time in terms of the targets and, if necessary, you can adjust elements.
What should the business plan contain ?
- a company description (a high-level review of the different elements of your business),
- a service or product line section in which you describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits to potential and current customers,
- a market analysis that illustrates your industry and market knowledge as well as any of your research findings and conclusions,
- a description of the human and financial resources i.e your company's organizational structure, details about the ownership of your company, profiles of your management team, and the qualifications of your board of directors.
Perhaps you feel able to manage this project alone. But if not, it is important to recognize one’s limits. There is nothing shameful in this, and seeking good advice is not as wasteful and expensive as one might think.
The 10 essential points that must be covered in a business plan
Regardless of the order and headings, these 10 essential points must be covered in every good business plan :
- The management team
- The commercial offer and its suitability to market needs
- The current state and likely evolution of the market and the environment
- The long-term vision and targets
- The sales and marketing strategy
- The way the company will deliver its products or services
- The administrative organisation
- The financial plan and financing methods
- Missing resources: team, partners, money, etc.
- The key factors for success
Download a business plan template
The business plan template we offer guides you step by step through the different sections of your business plan.
Get help with writing the business plan
Some consultants may prepare your business plan for you, others will provide support with certain sections. This is typically the case for the market study and the financial plan in particular.