Cover all bases. Before embarking on your plan it is a good idea to undertake some research in to what a professional business plan should include. You can then use this as a check list to make sure you have covered all the relevant areas. Sections of the business plan should include information on the company, the product/service market, competition in the field, management team, marketing strategy, operations and financials.
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.
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.
Business plans are decision-making tools. The content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience. For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization’s mission. Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization’s ability to repay the loan. Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.
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