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Posted at: Dec 6, 2017, 12:41 AM; last updated: Dec 6, 2017, 12:41 AM (IST)BUILDING BLOCKS: HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Blueprint to win the race

Financial plan

  • A financial plan includes sales forecast, market analysis, cash flow statement and personnel plan. It helps in seeking to fund; a solid financial plan also helps in figuring out how much capital and funding your start-up requires.

Value proposition & product presentation

  • A value proposition consists of benefits, which a vendor promises a customer will receive in return for the customer’s associated payment. Herein detail you intend to develop your product, map the proposed features to the development lifecycle of your product.
Blueprint to win the race

Jappreet Sethi

A business plan acts as a compass helping you to navigate through an uncharted territory. It outlines the goals of your start-up and how you plan to achieve them,  including the milestones to track tasks and what will be your strategy to combat the risk-laden journey of entrepreneurship.

Why write a business plan

A business plan is one of the best tools for making effective decisions, starting the business and eventually making the business successful.

What to include

The formal business plan document includes an executive summary, company overview, products and services rendered, metrics, milestones, sales plan and target market, financial plan, the management team. Let’s look at some of them.

Executive summary of your start-up

It includes the core elements required to grow the business plan organically. It’s the start-up’s calling card, so it provides an overview of your idea, and why it warrants the investor’s attention, it has to be precise and punchy. The most important part of this piece is defining the problem you intend to solve by launching your start-up. If you fail to gather attention in this part, there are high chances that your plan will be in the trash can.

Market definition

How large is your market? Is it growing? Is your market filled with repeat customers? Are their emerging opportunities within that market? By addressing these questions in your business plan, you will not only give yourself and investors an idea of what you are looking at for future sustainability and growth, things that will be key to your business’s success.

Target market/audience

Your venture is solving a real-life problem in the real world it is important to provide details about who your target audience is and whom you are selling to. Understanding the target audience helps in building better marketing campaigns. Explain target customers’ needs and problems, and state how you’ll answer those.

Competitor analysis

Include the things that your competitors have to their advantage in your business plan, elucidate how you are different or how you have the edge over these already-established businesses. This will show your investors that you have a realistic head on your shoulders and can look at the global scenario.

Team members

In this section, present the star-tup team, and its members and how each one of them contributes to the business or is best suited for their role in the startup. Avoid filling in part-timers and too many advisors as it gives a signal that these people don’t have conviction in your idea, and that’s why they are not on board.

Sales plan

The sales plan includes the detailed strategies you can use to reach out to reach you, consumers. It also gives an overview of how the start-up will price the product, promote offerings and have the sales process in place.

Milestones

The significant stages or events in the development of your start-up and how you would keep track of your journey; the key is to define the metrics which will measure your progress.

The average length of a business plan is of about 20-30 pages of text, including market projections, flowcharts, and management resumes. Including graphics like blueprints, logos, product shots in your business plan can add real value. You can use multidimensional figures like pie charts, stacked bars, bar charts to show various things like market shares, market segments, net profit and sales to make it realistic.

— The writer is the Founder & CEO of Yostartups, a global startup Pre Accelerator.

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