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How to write a winning business plan - part 1

11 march 201311 march 2013

So you've decided to take the plunge and now you need a plan. Good on you, I'm really excited! Now let's talk business…

A business plan is basically a detailed blueprint (think: architect) of your business. It explains the overall concept and theme, your goals for the future and how you are going to achieve them - in a very specific and thorough way. How is your business practical and sustainable? It's important to outline your budget too.

I bet Michelangelo didn't just jump out of bed one morning and shout, "That's it; I've got it! I'm going to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and it will be marvellous!"

Well, it's unlikely. My bet is that it was planned, and in a lot of detail. Nor do I think he palmed the hard and boring bits to someone else. Take ownership of your ideas and put in the hard work and you'll be rewarded with a beautiful Sistine Chapel of your own – or at least see your dream come to life.

It might seem hard or boring, but seriously, if you're going to bother setting up a business you may as well do it right. After all, no one plans to fail do they? Good, glad we agree. I've said it before and I'll say it again, getting the business plan right will help set you up for success. So no cutting corners, okay?

Chances are, unless you own a Greek island or something, your business plan needs to impress your stakeholders. And who might these be, I hear you ask? We thought we'd give you a hand and pull together a list for you, considering you've got so much to think about as it is.

Financiers – How you will source finance for your project.

Investors – People you would like to help financially back your project in return for ownership of a small portion of the business. In general, investors expect a business plan to cover 3 to 5 years of planning, so they are able to gauge an estimate of their return.

Partners – Any people you are partnering with to set up your business.

Employees – The staff you will be employing to help run your business.

Customers – The people you are trying to attract to your business.

Suppliers – Where you will get your materials from, e.g. equipment, ingredients, etc.

Community – People in the surrounding area of your business' location. They could be customers, other businesses or your competition.

Media – A way for you to promote your business but remember, word of mouth and reviews can make or break a company before they have even been open a week!

Make sure that you are thinking about each and every one of these groups when you're developing your plan. What sort of questions would they ask? Try to answer them as best you can.

Don't forget to click on our next post 'How to write a winning business plan - part 2' for more details on what to include and a template on how to set it out.  


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