Starting up a business is an exciting time, but writing a business plan can seem daunting initially. However, being able to write a good business plan is an essential skill to have for any entrepreneur or new business looking to increase their chance of survival.
Identify your audience. A good business plan should be written from the prospective of the audience. First, you need to decide on the purpose the plan. Are you trying to persuade an investor to take on your project or communicate the future plans for the company? The purpose of the business plan will affect the style and content so make sure you are clear on this before beginning. A good business plan needs to be tailored to the specific requirements of the target audience in order to be engaging.
Internally focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, the refurbishing of a factory or a restructuring of the organization. An internal business plan is often developed in conjunction with a balanced scorecard or a list of critical success factors. This allows success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures. Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called strategic plans.
Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. Business plans can help decision makers see how specific projects relate to the organization's strategic plan.