How to create a business plan from analysis to strategy

A business plan will give your idea of a new company a concrete form. It will help you not only in finding investors, but also in starting the business itself. Read on to find out what the plan should look like.

What is a business plan?

A business plan, or business plan, summarises the basic facts about an emerging business. It also outlines your future plans for each area of the business. A good business plan includes not only the specific goals of the business, but also a proposal of strategies to achieve them.

Creating a business plan is not mandatory, but it will provide you with a valuable foundation for the right direction when starting your business. In addition, it will be useful when dealing with potential investors or the bank if you are going to apply for a business loan.

A business plan usually addresses the following areas - we will discuss each of these in more detail below.

Situational analysis Competitor and market research, identifying interest in the planned product/service
Project description Vision, mission and goals of the business, business model
Financial plan Financing method, budget and cash flow estimation
Marketing plan Target group definition and product, pricing, distribution and promotion strategy
Other strategies Production plan, securing employees, suppliers, etc.
Timetable Task plan, deadlines, assignment of responsibility for tasks

Analysis is the basis

At the beginning of every business is an idea. But before you invest a lifetime of savings in it, it's worth considering whether it has a chance of succeeding. The reality is that there are thousands of good ideas. However, most new businesses fail within the first few years of their existence - according to Eurostat, less than half survive the initial 5 years.

When creating a business plan, it is therefore important to know what you are up against at the outset. A so-called situation analysis or environmental analysis can help you with this. Methods of situational analysis include, for example, competitor analysis, PESTLE analysis or the popular SWOT matrix. Use these to determine who your customer is, what the competition looks like and the overall market situation.

Also think about what specific product (or service) you intend to offer your customers. What will be the added value for them? And will there be any demand for it?

Project description, vision and goals

An essential element of a business plan is a summary of your business idea. What will be the focus of the business? What will the organizational structure of the business look like? What is your vision for the future - where do you want to take the business?

The business model is also an important point. How will you generate profit? Will you have multiple sources of income, or will you focus on just one product or service?

Once you have your ideas in place, translate them into concrete goals that will help you with the initial direction of the business. This is where the outputs from the earlier analysis will come in handy.

We recommend that you develop your goals using the SMART method. This means that they should ideally be specific, measurable, realistic and time-bound. It is also advisable to identify the person responsible for meeting them.

Plan the strategy

Once you know where you want to get to, this is the time to decide how to get there. There is no single template for the strategy/design section of the document - always elaborate on the areas that are key to your business. For some it may be a production plan, for others it may be how to recruit employees. Most often these two strategies appear in a business plan:

Financial plan

Starting a business costs money. Therefore, a business plan must not lack a plan for how you will finance the company and how you will monetize your idea. The financial plan should take the form of a framework budget that includes, at a minimum, cost and revenue estimates.

An indicative cash flow statement may also be useful to help you keep an eye on the cash in your account. Remember also to indicate how you will pay for your investment. Will you be applying for a loan? Or will you finance everything out of your own pocket?

Try to keep your feet firmly on the ground when making your financial plan. Ideal scenarios may not always work out - so try to allow for inconveniences. More than one version of the plan can be useful - optimistic, pessimistic and a 'happy medium'.

Marketing plan

Getting your first customers is crucial to your success. Even the best products and services can fail if no one buys them. To make sure this doesn't happen, plan how you will get your offer in front of people.

Planning usually takes place in four areas (sometimes called the marketing mix or the 4Ps):

  • product - the specific form of the product (or service), its benefit to the customer, service and ancillary services;
  • price - margin and pricing, discount policy, etc;
  • promotion - the communication tools (advertising, social networks, etc.) you plan to use;
  • distribution - sales channels and all logistics.

The definition of the target group (i.e. your typical customer) is also part of the marketing plan. Because every product has a different one - and despite popular myths , no product is for everyone. Find out what your ideal customer's wants, needs, expectations and fears are, which media they follow and so on. This will help you speak to the right people in the right places in your marketing.

Timeline

You know what you want to achieve, and what steps are ahead of you along the way. All that's left is to plan when you'll get what done. Here too, it pays to think realistically and take into account potential risks. Therefore, include sufficient time reserves in your plan in case things don't go smoothly.

Do you have a clear plan? Turn it into reality

The first step is to formally set up your business. It will take time, money and effort - but you won't be on your own. We'll be happy to guide you through the process.

Read how to set up an LLC, or contact our consultants who will handle all the paperwork for you. Just leave us a message in the form below.

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