I encounter a lot of business owners who quickly get overwhelmed when preparing their business plans. When looking at the business plan process as a whole, it does appear arduous. Impossible to many! But if you simply break the business planning process down into unproblematic steps, a building block process, it becomes much easier. I will go so far as to say it is enjoyable! This article has some great tips to get you going on your business plan.
You should put together a solid business planning process upfront. It is essential! The quality and scope of the process will localise the quality and effectiveness of the plan. Design it in parts and implement it in step by step sections, which build on one another. I like to start with the Company Section, then move on Management, then to Products and Services, then to the Marketing Plan, then the Strategic Plan, and finally the Financials, the Appendix, and last, the Executive Summary. This way the business plan builds on each section logically and incrementally, devising the process much more accomplishable, effective and efficient. Once you have the various business plan sections laid out and the order of their development, then come up with the questions and requirements for each section. There are a ton of books and resources on the internet to help you brainstorm these, and then apply this information to your business. My Business Plan Book contains a prescribed and proven business planning process, along with all the requisite questions and requirements on a section by section basis.
Steady consistency is what it takes to successfully complete a business plan. So you don’t get burned out and really enjoy the planning process, I suggest working on the plan a couple hours a day. Work on the plan first thing in the morning before you get busy with your business day. This way you have fresh mentation, and you get it done for the day (i.e. it is not weighing on your mind all day). If you can work 3 hours a day on the weekends, it will be worth the effort. However, taking one day off a week from the planning to take a step back and recharge is also preferable. Do what you can but don’t try to do it overnight. Consistency is what gets a plan done. Consistently work on it daily for shortest periods of time, and your plan will be done in a timely manner. Inconsistency brings disaster in a business plan process.
A Comprehensive Business Plan will typically be over 50 pages and can be upwards of 100+ pages. This is highly dependent on the size, background and sophistication of the business, venture or project. From the Comprehensive Plan it is a simple task to form your Ancillary Plans, such as a Funding Business Plan. Ancillary Plans typically are no more than 30 pages with 20-25 pages being the goal. Ancillary Plan brevity forces you to decide what is most important and all important(p) for the type of plan and the intended audience.