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Business Plan

A Business Plan is a formal document that describes the business and states its vision and goals, including financial objectives. A Business Plan is extremely important for several reasons: it is an essential first step for start-up businesses; and it is also beneficial for established businesses for the purpose of business planning. Generally, it is written with a target audience in mind. A Business Plan for internal purposes may be used to keep track of how the company is performing, and one written for an external audience may be used to secure funding from financial institutions such as banks. A Business Plan would be created to:
  • Attract investors such as venture capitalists or angel investors
  • Check the viability of a business idea or concept
  • Promote the growth of an established business
For a business to achieve results, a Business Plan is a vital tool enabling a company to keep itself aligned to its vision, mission, and goals.

Example Business Plan Outline

The key elements of a Business Plan are the:
  • Executive Summary – This is an overview of the Business Plan and includes the business concept, target markets, and highlights from each of the following sections. It should be clear and concise, yet interesting enough to motivate the target audience to read the rest of the plan. However, the Executive Summary will evolve as the rest of the Business Plan is written and finalized. As part of the Executive Summary, a brief overview of the company's history, legal status, product or services offered, and the company's competitive advantage should be given.
  • Management/HR Plan – This section should include how the company will manage employees and forecasts for recruitment and trainings. The management plan should also include an organizational chart and biographies and job descriptions of the key people in the organization.
  • Marketing Strategy – Market research conducted and results, target market, competitors and the strategy you will use to sell the service or product. The marketing strategy should be backed by numbers and facts obtained during the market research.
  • Operations Plan – Implementation strategy for completing the Business Plan within a timeline, dates and budget.
  • Financial Plan – This section includes financial statements and sales forecasts.
  • Risks and Conclusions – As part of this section, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) Analysis should be shown. It helps demonstrate to the target audience that you have considered the opportunities and risks. This section will also show how you will deal with problems as they arise as further proof that your solutions are based on sound decisions.
RBC Royal Bank® has three good business plan examples:

Advice and Tips on Business Plans

A well-written Business Plan can translate a business idea into a vision and/or keep the company aligned with its goals to achieve growth and success. It is a blueprint of your business and in order to gain support for the business concept, it must reflect your enthusiasm and excitement for the business. The key elements of the plan should be clearly written and comprehensive, supported by research and numbers. While writing a Business Plan, you may run into unexpected changes such as new ideas to implement the business concept or a new marketing strategy based on research conducted. This is part of the process in creating a strong business strategy that will help you grow and develop your business. A good example of a business plan can help you get started today!
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