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.
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.
Operations : This section is important for including details on how the business will operate on a daily basis. Information that should be mentioned here includes location, administration, employees and equipment. Set out a plan of attack for catering an event. Outline some of the problems that you will be facing and offer some solutions.
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.