Have you heard of a Business Plan? Making a plan is nothing more than anticipating situations and creating strategies to deal with them.
Increasingly, digital ventures are proving to be excellent ways to circumvent the crisis and work with creativity and innovation!
If you are thinking of venturing into opening a new digital business, you must be prepared to face challenges and, most importantly, overcome them.
The best way to do this is to prepare a Business Plan. This document will get you ready to better understand the market, project stocks, seek investors and get your hands dirty!
But don’t worry, this elaboration process doesn’t have to be scary. In this article we will see how to make a simple business plan that will get you ready to get your idea off the ground and turn it into a successful venture!
Table of Contents
What is a Business Plan?
The Business Plan is a planning document that will describe your business, its objectives and the steps that must be taken to achieve them.
In it, it is possible to demonstrate the viability of your enterprise from different points of view – strategic, marketing, operational and financial, for example.
Basically, your Business Plan will be the map on which the paths to be followed for your company to work will be represented.
But be careful! A Business Plan is not just a set of ideas and speculations!
It is a document that must be written based on market research and analysis, with real information and data that will assist you when creating the venture.
Do you want to know why this plan is so important to your company’s success?
What is the Importance of a Business Plan?
Every successful project starts with a good plan. A company’s business plan is just that kick-off.
Think about the following: If you have an idea, have already gone through the opportunity identification process and decided that it is time to run the project,
it is better to know if the project is viable or not viable before you need to close the doors and lose your investment, right?
It is exactly in this aspect that the business plan will help you.
Like this planning tool, you will have a prior idea of how the company will operate within the logic of the market,
the technical issues necessary for its operation, investment and projection of financial return and many other aspects!
See other advantages of writing a Business Plan:
- Simulation of favorable and unfavorable scenarios
- Be prepared for adversity! Knowing which problems might be possible is already a huge step towards solving them.
- Organization and alignment of information between partners.
- Comparative follow-up.
- By having a clear business plan, it is possible to compare what was foreseen in it with what is being accomplished. This makes it easier to identify and correct deviations.
- Obtaining financing
- If you have verified the need for investment by third parties, a good Business Plan facilitates the presentation of your project and, consequently, the raising of financing.
Now that you already know what a Business Plan is and its importance in setting up a successful enterprise, it is time to know the steps for preparing one!
How to Make a Business Plan?
Now that you understand the importance of the business plan for your company, it’s time to really understand the step by step to make yours.
To make a business plan for your company, you must go through 6 steps: Executive Summary, Market Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operational Plan, Financial Plan and Analysis.
Check the step by step of each one and what information should be contained in each part:
The executive summary is the first part of your Business Plan. In it, you will summarize the most important information.
You must include:
- Description of your enterprise and its differential in the market.
- Your business mission .
- Description of the profile of the entrepreneurs and employees – if you are still recruiting, this will help you in the selection processes!
- What will be the products, services and main benefits.
- Who are your company’s customers.
- Location – if there is a physical seat.
- What will be the total investment.
- Legal form.
- Tax framework
Don’t worry, there is no need to write an extensive summary! It should be clear, but brief.
Also, be creative! It is through it that you will capture the attention and arouse the interest of the reader, but don’t forget, your executive summary should convey professionalism and seriousness as well.
Important tip! The Executive Summary is the first part of your Business Plan, but leave it at the end of planning!
Because it is a summary, you will have more clarity about what you should and should not include after completing the writing.
In the Market analysis, you will seek to better understand who your customers are, how the competition is doing and how to work with suppliers.
This is one of the fundamental parts of your planning and research, as it will help you to better understand the important aspects of the market in which you will operate.
You will need to review these three topics:
This is certainly one of the most important steps in your plan, because without customers there is no sales, right?
Customers are those who will consume your product or service, and to reach them you need to know who they are and what their buying habits are.
To better understand these aspects, you can think of some questions:
- Are my clients natural or legal?
- What is their age, gender, education and marital status?
- How often do they buy my type of product or service?
- Where do they buy?
- What drives them to look for that product or service?
If you conclude that your business will have a large number of customers whose purchasing power fits your price, you have already taken a big step towards understanding whether this business is viable or not viable!
But remember , as stated earlier, the Business Plan is not a speculative document, so research!
You can answer these questions through questionnaire applications, interviews or through competitor analysis, which is our next topic.
If you’re still not sure who your customer is, check out our article on market segmentation and start planning to sell more!
Competitors are those who operate in the same industry as you and, in the case of physical establishments, in a location close to yours. It is extremely important to keep an eye on them!
By observing the competitors, you will learn valuable lessons for your business, both for the “what to do” side and for the “what not to do” side.
The first step in performing the competition analysis is to check some strengths and weaknesses and make comparisons with what is planned for your venture.
Here are some topics that can help you:
- What is the quality of my competitor’s product or service?
- How’s the price?
- How is the service provided?
- Think about payment terms, opening hours or service, delivery services, customer service, discounts, etc.
- What makes customers buy from them? What makes customers stop buying?
- What is the difference of my business? What will make customers buy from me and not from competitors?
Tip! Here, it is time to imagine and plan for some unfavorable scenarios. Think about how the competition will react to the opening of your company, research if they will have financial and human resources to react and be prepared if it happens!
The third and final part of the market analysis is the study of suppliers. Your suppliers will be those who will provide raw materials, equipment and other goods necessary for the operation of your business.
Search for contacts on the internet, catalogs or unions and always keep an updated and diversified list of suppliers, so you can make comparisons and decide which will be the best cost-benefit for your company.
You can think of the following points:
- What do I need and who are the suppliers?
- Which are offering the best price and payment terms?
- What are the minimum order quantities for each of them and how does this fit into my plan?
- What is the deadline?
- Where are suppliers located?
Tip! Even after choosing the best suppliers, keep in touch with at least one more. This way, you reduce the risk of your business running compromised if your main supplier encounters problems.
Also, think about the quality of the products provided! Good raw materials make good end products.
The marketing plan will describe all products in detail. You must describe everything! Information such as colors, sizes, quality, flavors, labels, brands and everything else that applies to your product.
In addition, you must present the sales strategy for these products and how you plan to get them to customers. Try to answer the following questions:
- What is my product or service and how can I describe it?
- Is the price adequate for the quality?
- How does it stand out from the competition?
- Which sector does my company fit into and what is my distribution plan?
- What is my customer’s buying behavior?
- How will my product reach him?
- Will I sell in physical store or online? Will there be delivery?
- Most importantly, how will the customer know that my product exists?
A good marketing plan will already give you an overview of what sales will be like and what you can do to boost them. Take the opportunity to learn about how Digital Marketing can help you sell more!
The operational plan is the section of your Business Plan that will describe how your business works.
In it, you will demonstrate the necessary steps to sell your product or to provide service to your company.
Basically, you must answer the following question: How much can I sell in a given period?
To do this, think about the following points:
- Time required to complete the sales process or provide services.
- Number and qualification of employees.
- Productivity of the necessary equipment and materials.
- Distribution and storage capacity.
- Availability and deadlines of suppliers.
Also add which positions will be and which employees will occupy them or which is the most suitable profile for each one.
In addition, if you are going to open a physical store, you must include the spatial layout of your office or store.
Establish the distribution of employees, sectors and offices. In the case of businesses, include distribution of gondolas and departments.
Tip! Place a plan or drawing of the physical layout! Images are always easier to understand and visualize. If it fits your budget, hire a professional – designer or architect – to assist in this task.
Now that you have analyzed whether your venture will have market share, it is time to think about the last part of your Business Plan: the financial plan.
In it, you will put on the tip of the pencil everything that involves money, expenses, investments and working capital in all the actions planned in the Plan. I don’t even have to say how important this step is, right?
To write the financial plan, think about the cost of everything you’ve written so far: Raw materials, suppliers, equipment, physical establishments, domains and hosting of online stores, salaries, marketing, etc.
The result of all this, presented in numbers, will be your Financial Plan. With it, you will have a sense of the total investment of your enterprise.
The total investment is divided into three parts:
- Fixed investments: The goods you must purchase for your business to function properly, such as equipment, machinery, utensils and furniture
- Working capital: Working capital encompasses the amount of money needed to make the business run smoothly. All of this already considering the purchase of goods for initial stock, payment of suppliers and financing of sales.
- Pre-operating investments: These are all necessary expenses before the business starts. Comprises property reforms, payment of company registration fees, website hosting and others.
But do not worry! Remember that at this point, you will be working with estimates.
Try to be as close as possible to real numbers, but don’t worry if something deviates from the description.
Include an income statement. In it, you will place income and expenses side by side and you will be able to better understand how income, profits and, more importantly, how long it will take for the return on initial investment.
Now that you have an idea – in numbers – of how much the initial investment for your venture would be, you can assess whether that amount will come from your own resources or from third parties, such as investors and banks.
If it is necessary to search for investors or loans, having the Business Plan in hand will be essential for the presentation of the project.
Analysis of Scenarios and Evaluation of the Business Plan
Ready! Now that your Business Plan is structured, work a little on speculating different scenarios. Create simulations of contexts in which your company is doing well and not so well.
Thus, it will be possible to prepare better for adverse situations, creating concrete plans to face them if they occur.
Think of ways to enhance positive scenarios and reduce costs in case of negative scenarios.
Before finalizing, make an assessment of your Business Plan. Think about if it is complete, if the information is clear and if your business is ready to face the changes in the market.
Think that your Plan aims to answer the following question: Is it worth taking a risk and opening this business? If the answer is yes, invest!
Entrepreneurship is always a risk, but don’t give up! Be creative, innovative and always be prepared.
Research and understand your market, your customers and your competitors and you are ready to be at the forefront of a successful venture.
Now that you have learned the step by step to make a business plan for your company, how about learning about another important step for those who want to start a new business? Click here to read more