5 steps to making a business plan

Having good planning can make a difference in the success of your company. See how to make yours!

When it comes to getting a business off the ground, many entrepreneurs end up experiencing difficulties. This is common, even among those who already have a business, and happens, in many cases, due to the lack of planning. It is no wonder that the vast majority of companies (80%) close their doors in the first five years, according to Sebrae.

For a company to succeed and achieve good results, the first step is to plan. This includes detailing costs, risks, and target audience, among other relevant information. And the right tool to structure all this is the business plan.

 

What is a business plan?

It is nothing more than a document that contains all the company’s planning. In it, you will describe your business, what are the goals and the steps that need to be taken to achieve them. In other words, it is a kind of map for the success of your company that contains the path to be followed.

A super important point is that it helps to validate the viability of your venture – so it must be prepared based on research, market analysis, and real information. There are several advantages to creating your business plan, including:

  • Better preparation for adversities, mapping possible problems and solutions;
  • Work with favorable and unfavorable scenarios;
  • Possibility of making a comparative follow-up between what is on paper and what is done, correcting what is necessary along the way.

How to prepare a business plan?

There are different models of plans that can be adapted according to the scenario of each company. Below, you will learn about a basic structure that may be suitable for your business, with the possibility of adding more sections, if relevant:

 

·         Executive Summary

It is the starting point and should contain the main information about your company, such as:

  • Description of what exactly your business is and it’s market differential;
  • Business mission;
  • Description of the entrepreneurs’ profile;
  • Employee profile description (this will help in future hiring processes);
  • The customer profile or target audience;
  • Products, services and main benefits;
  • Location –
  • Total investment to open the business;
  • Legal form;
  • Tax framework.

·         Market analysis

The next step is to understand the market, that is, your potential customers, competition, and also suppliers. This information is essential, as it will help you understand strategic points for your performance. Between them:

  • Customer Segmentation: No customers, no sales. To succeed, you need to become an expert on trends in consumption habits, preferences, desires, and motivators. To better understand all this, be sure to list points such as: whether they are individuals or companies, age group, gender, education, frequency of purchase, and where they look for the products and services you offer, among others.
  • Competitors: it’s time to map businesses in the same industry. Keeping an eye on the competition, you can learn what to do and what not to do, how pricing works, possible gaps you can fill, and what makes your business different, among others.
  • Suppliers: they are responsible for providing raw materials, equipment or other items necessary to make your company work. To fill in this item, make a list of what you need to start the business, who are the possible partners, and what are the delivery times, among others.

 

·         Marketing plan

The time has come to describe all the products or services you intend to offer in a very detailed way in the detail of all items. After that, list the following points: adequacy of price to quality and competition, factors that highlight your portfolio, points of sale where it will be possible to make products or services available and, mainly, strategies for the customer to know that your brand exists.

·         Operational plan

Basically, it will serve to describe how your business works. In it, you must punctuate the necessary steps for the sale or for the provision of service. Here, the following factors must be considered: delivery or execution time, distribution capacity, supplier deadlines, etc.

·         Financial plan

The financial plan, as the name suggests, is related to your company’s money. This is where you should put everything that involves expenses, investments, cash flow, working capital, contributions, etc.

Do not forget to list points that you have already mapped out in the previous items, such as raw materials, equipment, salaries, hosting online platforms, and investment in marketing, among others.

Don’t worry about coming up with exact numbers. Here, you will work with estimates, but never forget to be realistic in your projections.

 

Use the business plan to ensure your success

Undoubtedly, a business plan is essential to organize all the actions of your company. Thus, you have more security for decision-making, making more assertive choices to obtain good results.

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