Finally, a business plan should be error - free. This is important because your business plan defines who you are as a business person. If it turned out sloppy, then that does not speak too highly of you.
The most important aspect of business planning (the "What does it all come down to?" part), however, is spending the time to do your research ("due diligence") and critically thinking about these various aspects of your business. Of course, it is impossible to anticipate every detail simply by spending time thinking and writing; it is for this reason that plans are referred to and viewed as "dynamic". However, the more issues and scenarios you are able to come up with ahead of time, the more prepared you will be to handle these as they arise.
Financial Planning : Perhaps one of the most important parts of any business plan is the financial plan. You need to make some forecasts of revenue and expenditure over a period of several years. You can then estimate when you will reach a break even point and how much profit will be possible in the future. Set out anticipated monthly cash flows in a spreadsheet program on your computer. As businesses often don't grow as fast as their owners expect them to you should outline several scenarios. One scenario can show your expected outcome, one can show a more optimistic forecast and the third one can show a worst case scenario.
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.
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