Business Planning & Requirements

Business Planning & Requirements2023-09-22T10:42:29-04:00

Once you understand the requirements for starting a business, the next step to achieve success is creating a business plan. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, your business plan serves as a roadmap for the direction of your company. To get started, you need to conduct a thorough analysis and realistically forecast the future of your business. Business planning involves making informed predictions about where your business is headed.

Regulations, Licenses and Permits

Business Planning Resources

Sample business plans and templates can help you develop a professional document that will serve as an in-depth marketing tool to convince others of your venture’s potential for success. However, creating your own plan can be a complex process, and you may need the assistance of a professional (like an accountant) depending on the type of business you have (or want to run), and what you are seeking in terms of investment.

You could also start with the Business Model Canvas. The Business Model Canvas is a model commonly used to help define the components of your business. It was originally developed by Alex Osterwalder and the version we use at the Business Advisory Centre Durham was adapted by the Startup Equation. It offers an interactive way to look at your business idea as well as a way to test your idea and its validity.

Writing your business plan

The key to success is having a business plan in place. Whether you’re about to launch a start-up or you’ve been in business for years, the direction of your business is guided by your business plan. To begin the planning process, you’ll need to do some critical analysis; business planning is about realistically forecasting where your business is going.

A business plan is a written document that describes your business, its goals & objectives, your target market, and financial requirements. A business plan helps you map out your mission and vision for your business. The process of preparing a business plan helps you develop clarity and focus on how to operate your new business and give it the best chance for success. A business plan is most often expected when applying for loans or grants.

The easiest way to start writing a business plan is to use a template. (We have one)

Start by defining your business objectives; keeping in mind who is going to read the plan. Your business goals help you decide how much emphasis to put on various sections of your plan. You will want to do some research to find out more about your industry, potential customers, competitors, sales, and costs of doing business. A business plan is only as good as the research that went into producing it.

A traditional business plan will have eight key sections, including:

  • Executive Summary
    Complete this section last. The Executive Summary includes the key highlights of your plan including your target market, high level financials, key dates and if you are looking for financing.
  • Identify Opportunities
    Describe the unique selling points (USPs) of the product or service and your vision for the business. Provide context to your description as the reader will not know you therefore write clearly and concisely without acronyms and jargon.
  • Market Research
    Outline who your customers are, who your competitors are, and any current or future trends which will affect your market. Analyze your Primary and Secondary Research Data that you have conducted. Include information on the expected demand for your product or service, explaining how and why you have come to those assumptions.
  • Marketing and Sales
    Outline how you plan to reach out and sell to your target market. What are the strategies you will use and the budget / forecast for Marketing and Sales
  • Your Team
    Include biographies of key people in your business, a brief organizational chart and job description.
  • Financial Forecasts
    Include cash flow statements, profit and loss forecasts, and sales forecasts.
  • Implementation Plan
    List estimated dates of completion for different aspects of your business plan with targets for your business and milestones.

Attend our FREE Business Fundamentals Business Planning session.

Email to get your business plan template

Business Planning Success
Most likely, you quantify success in many ways. It might not be difficult to envision what you want from your business, but figuring out how to achieve it might be. There are many tried-and-true steps you can take — and some missteps you should avoid — on your path to prosperity.

Our certified Business Advisors can help you write your business plan, review it and make recommendations on creating the best business plan for you. Schedule your meeting with an advisor now!

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