Researching a business plan, formulating it and ensuring the business plan is realistic and workable are just some of the key criteria when commencing a new business.
When such a business plan is presented as supporting evidence to immigration authorities its importance becomes even more valid.
A business plan is a written document that describes the business, the business objectives, strategies, market segment, forecasts and financial resources.
The functions of a business plan are many but include:
- Providing a template from which to run your business
- Measuring the success of your business
- Setting out financial goals – short and long term
- Quantifying expansion plans
- Raising capital
- Supporting immigration applications
- A review document
- Attracting investors, shareholders and business networking
What should a Business Plan include?
A business plan is a written statement of the journey your business is going to take. It should provide details of how you intend to develop the business, who is going to play a role in this business and how the financial side of the business will be managed.
Clarity on these issues is particularly important if you’re looking for finance, investment or using the business plan to support an immigration application. Your plan should at least include:
- An executive summaryThis is an overview of the business you want to start. This is essential – first impressions count! Many people will be influenced by how well the summary is presented based on the first few pages of your plan.
- Short description of the business opportunityThis details who you are, what product or service you will supply and why, who you will supply the product to and how.
- OperationsIncluding such things as manpower, premises, IT infrastructure, future expansion.
- Marketing and sales strategyWho will buy your service or product and why. How will you promote the service in terms of product, placement and pricing.
- FinancialsOne of the most important aspects of the business plan. These documents and tables translate everything form the business plan into figures.
Is a Business Plan for My Benefit or Others?
Often there is a misconception that the formation of a business plan is a once off exercise. All the research and effort that has gone in it is therefore in vain. Your business plan should always be the first document you review your success with, measure your financial achievements with and ensure you are staying on track.
Economic, social and personal circumstances change and your business plan may need adapting to ensure that it is still in line with your strengths. Your business may need to develop new strategies to strengthen weaknesses, exploit opportunities and develop counter measures against threats.
The process of building a business plan focuses the mind on how the business will need to operate to give it the best chance of success.
in South Africa.