Although the term "business plan" conjures many negative images in the eyes of some business owners, taking a step-by-step approach will prove that creating a business plan is much less daunting than one might imagine. Although no two plans are exactly the same (the necessary details of the plan can vary between companies), the contents of a typical business plan include the following topics : Executive Summary - Sell your business to your reader!; Business Overview - Giving a general summary of the business; Market & Competitive Analysis - What environment are you competing in?; Marketing & Sales Strategy - How will you "win" in your market?; Organization Plan - How is your organization structured?; Financial Projections - Current status and future outlook; Funding Sought (if required); Key Milestones - What are your specific & achievable goals?; Critical Risks - What keeps you awake at night?; Appendix/Attachments.
Moreover, while unpredictable issues will certainly always arise, effective business planning will not only help you to navigate the predictable operations, but will also take these unpredictable situations into account. This will help you to deal with these issues with a level of comfort and ease, knowing that you have thought through and planned for such events.
This is a much better plan indeed. However, a superior plan would take all of these ideas to the next level by planning for "what if": what will I do if I get a flat tire, if I run out of gas, if someone gets sick, or if I lose my wallet? You can see how the superior plan is clearly the best in most situations in that it allows for flexibility, plans for the expected and the unexpected, and allows you to spend more time enjoying the trip, knowing that you have all of your bases covered.
It also needs to be written in formal format and style. You have to remember that a business plan is something that you may have to present to your business partners, financial firms and banks. So if you can, refrain from using slang in any part of your plan.
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