Having a plan in place as you run your business is essential. Your business plan is a management tool that is designed to help structure the needs of your business. There is not a one-size-fits all or a set formula that you need to follow. The flexibility to design your own business plan might feel daunting at first. But, there are several different reasons why it’s important to establish a business plan. It will help you to set goals, objectives, and assess whether or not they are being achieved. It will also create and communicate a clear path so employees and clients have a good understanding of where you’re headed. Today, we are going to share why preparing a new business plan in 2021 is important, and how you can go about it.
Preparing A New Business Plan
1. Identifying The Purpose
There can be many different reasons as to why you would want to have a business plan as you begin the new year. Depending on your industry, your goals, and the budget you have these reasons can vary. It helps to begin by identifying the purpose of your business plan so you aren’t grasping for straws in the dark. Also, figuring out the purpose might help you choose the structure in which you will write your plan. For example, you’re likely to focus differently if your plan is intended as an internal document for management to refer to. Or, you might be raising finances from an external source and that would change the purpose and execution of the plan.
2. Writing Your Business Plan
Keep your business plan as short and simple as possible. Use easy to understand language, bullet points and tables if this makes ideas easier to read or understand. Present your facts and information so that they flow logically. Make sure that the information presented in all varying sections supports each other well. You don’t want to showcase information that raises questions about the accuracy of your plan. Start by writing down points and ideas underneath headings that you plan to include. Then, you can sort these ideas so that there is a flow to your thoughts. Look for any gaps, weaknesses or oversights and fill them in with necessary research. If you need help collecting data, why not consider HubDoc? Turn paperwork into data you can use quickly to help you with the information you need. You can check them out here.
3. Don’t Give In To Temptation
Whatever you do, don’t give into the temptation to overstate the truth. Keep in mind that the figures that you present will need to be backed up in words within your business plan. Make sure you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to keep integrity high. This will help trust to be built with potential clients, donors and employees alike. Check out our 6 Small Business Accounting Best Practices to make sure you’re on the up and up as you build your plan.
4. Writing Your Executive Summary
Your executive summary is a very important part of your business plan. It is the first section people will read and provides a brief and complete overview of your entire plan. It should be less than three pages, simply written, and straight to the point. Your executive summary should have an emphasis on the key issues of your business plan. Plus, it should focus on the areas that will make your business successful in a competitive market. It is also a good idea to end your executive summary with a short statement about why your business is poised to be a success!
5. Table Of Contents
The table of contents will appear before or after the executive summary. It is a list of headings with page number references that help your reader locate specific information in your plan. The numbering of the headings in your table of contents is one of the last things you will do when finalizing your business plan.
6. Presenting Your Business Plan
Once you finish, it could be time to present your business plan! Keep in mind, there is a good chance that this will be the first impression to others of your business. Make sure to include a cover page and to bind your business plan with a cardboard or plastic front and back cover so that it is professionally presented. Spending extra time to number pages and add final touches can be really important. First impressions are a big deal and you want to make sure you make a positive one that lasts!
Lastly, your business plan does not need to be approved or verified by anyone, but it is a good idea to let a few people read your draft before you finish and print it out. Paying to have your business plan professionally proof read will ensure that it is free of embarrassing spelling and grammatical errors. Asking your accountant and a few business acquaintances or mentors to read through your plan will also help to identify any inconsistencies or gaps in the information.
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