A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.
Assess your competition. Understanding your competition is an essential component to understanding any business environment. Whatever the business you are looking to establish, you will always have competition in varying degrees. Perhaps you want to open a restaurant in an area that is already saturated with eateries; you then need to think about what is the unique selling point of your restaurant. Or maybe you have found a niche in the market, why is that? In order to make your business a success you should look to your competitors to see how they are managing their business or areas where they could improve. You also need to assess whether you can compete effectively with the existing businesses and how you plan to do so.
The business goals may be defined both for non-profit or for-profit organizations. For-profit business plans typically focus on financial goals, such as profit or creation of wealth. Non-profit, as well as government agency business plans tend to focus on the "organizational mission" which is the basis for their governmental status or their non-profit, tax-exempt status, respectively—although non-profits may also focus on optimizing revenue.
Once you have done all this you should have a complete and detailed professional business plan. The most important thing to remember when developing the plan is to see it as a living document and include specifics regarding dates and specific responsibilities. Your plan will need constant reviews and updates and things change so expect it to be a work in process for a good stretch of time. It will all be worth it in the end, a well-written plan will help ensure that the business is fully focused on what is required to achieve the company's goal.
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