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Monday, July 18, 2016

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7 Essential Parts of a Business Plan

Oyetoke Tobi - Monday, July 18, 2016

Before the inception of any business, it’s important you create a workable business plan. It can be overwhelming jam-packing all your research, thoughts, ideas, and dreams in your brain for months as your make necessary preparation for a new journey as an entrepreneur. What’s more overwhelming is putting them down in writing. 

However, with a business plan, it doesn’t have to be. A business plan is not your everyday bogus notebook or textbook; you don’t need to make it a dozen page long either. In fact, some experts said a Post-it note should be able to contain its content. Whatever the size of your plan, what matters most is that it should be able to give you an insight about what your business will look like, how you will tackle setbacks, and who your target audience will be. 

Keeping it short and simple is key because you don’t want to overthink the details, else, you contact the dreadful analysis paralysis. All you need is enough information to make feedbacks start taking effect. Brevity is more!

Notwithstanding the number of pages you’ve chosen to chart your course in, some key parts of the business plan shouldn’t get missing. Experts suggest you include the following key elements:

1. A general overview of the business: This section should discuss the goal of the business? What product or service is the company going to sell or provide, and what fundamental problem will it solve?

2. The Uniqueness of the business: Take the time to discuss what makes your product or service unique, and what make it different from what other businesses are already offering in the market. What’s the selling point of what you are offering – what will make customers want to opt for your product or service?

3. Market Research: Make a detail of those trying to solve the same problem your business is tackling, and what are offering as a solution? Who is the target audience? How big is the competition, and is there any potential of it growing? Never elude this section because the knowledge of what your competitors are offering is tied to your business success. 

4. The Team: Who are the management of your business, and what makes your management uniquely qualified to carry out their task? As a leader, what do you stand to offer? What does every member of your team stand to contribute? Why should any investor trust you and your team with their money?

5. Sales and Marketing Strategy: What will be your sales and marketing funnel? Will you sell online or is the business going to have a sales force? What methods are you going to adopt to market your product, create awareness, and close deals?

6. Operations: This section will differ depending on your type of business. However, it should give an answer to questions about the type of production systems and equipment that will be needed, and the duration of product production, distribution, and sales. 

7. Financials: The moment when the startup will require funding or loan will come. This section will serve as the forecast tool for you to measure your business progress. Also, explain the steps you would take to cushion the effect of increased competition and consumer or market behavior changes. 

Ten pages or thereabout should cover all the relevant sections. Whenever writing a plan seems scary, have it at the back of your mind that though crafting a detailed plan is paramount, it's now a necessity to start testing your product.



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