Business plan: The 60 questions you need to ask yourself to develop it

To start your business you need money. To find one, you will need to convince your banker or investors by presenting them with a credible business plan. Not a simple collection of numbers, but the summary of your reflection, which testifies to your preparation and your ability to take up the challenge. To establish it, you need to ask yourself the right questions. Define the market in which you want to operate. Analyze your offer, assess your competitive environment, determine the resources you need to achieve your goals. Our checklist, established with the help of KPMG experts, will help you evaluate your project.

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Know your market

1. What is the size of your market? Is it local, national, global?

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2. How many customers can you expect?

3. Is there a shortage or a surplus in this market?

4. Can new actors appear in the short term?

5. Is your activity B to B (business to business) – business customers – or B to C (business to consumer) – in direct relation to the end consumer?

6. Is your offer in line with market expectations?

7. What are your customers’ purchasing criteria? Are they loyal and captive?

8. What are the customer benefits of your product or service?

9. Are you in competition, frontal or partial, with an existing offer?

10. Can you easily differentiate yourself and find a “niche” position?

11. How many years of industry experience does it take to be credible to your customers?

12. Who are your competitors?

13. Does your know-how give you a real advantage?

14. Where is the added value created in the sector?

15. What is the weight of the various actors (customers, suppliers, subcontractors, regulators, etc.)?

16. How do prices change?

17. Is it likely that regulatory changes and standards will make it more complex and expensive to start and run your business?

18. Who are your suppliers? Are they many? concentrates?

19. Is it easy to change that?

20. Do they want the power to influence the quality and cost of your offer?

Are you ready to take the next step?

> Green light for next step. Your know-how, the originality of your offer, its compliance with customers’ (new) expectations should allow you to quickly impose yourself on a local or even national level. Even if you do not master all the settings, get started!

> Red light for next step. Enthusiastic about the success of some, you want to emulate them. Going to a very competitive market where supply is inflated and prices are falling is a bad idea. You want a lot to lose and a little to gain.

Get the right profile and support from your loved ones

21. Have you ever run a business or a profit center?

22. Are you trained in management?

23. Can your family environment facilitate the realization of your project? Do you have the support of your spouse?

24. How many “activatable” contacts does your professional and personal address book contain?

25. Do you know someone with whom you can regularly check the progress of your project?

26. Have you met an association of creators and supporters?

27. Are you ready to make financial sacrifices in relation to your current salary?

28. What will be your financial needs in the coming years (loans, children’s schooling, etc.)?

Are you ready to take the next step?

> Green light for next step. You have taken training in business creation. You know how to quickly decide, choose a course and stick to it. You are willing to work (a lot) more and earn less (at least in the beginning). You have a source of additional income to support your family (spouse’s salary, income from wealth), get started!

>Red light for next step. Difficult issues at the end of the month worry you have never led a team. You want weekends and holidays. Get paid! To become a boss, you need to know how to take risks.

Form a team

29. Can you trust a “close”, complementary, experienced team?

30. Are the key competencies for the success of your project represented?

31. If not successful, can you count on external partners?

32. Are your goals understood and shared by all?

33. Have you planned and organized the retention of your “key people”?

Are you ready to take the next step?

> Green light for next step. You have a motivated, competent team, ready to try the adventure, a entourage that accepts the risks (including financial). With the know-how (technicians, sales representatives, managers) that is crucial for the start of the project. This collective gives credibility to your project. Get started!

> Orange light for next step. You are alone with your idea. You have not yet found the complementary skills you need. Warning. If your project does not attract the support of your loved ones, it may not be ripe yet.

Protect your marketing and sales strategy

34. Do you know what types of customers you want to address?

35. Is your market segmented?

36. Have you defined priority goals?

37. Do you want to meet a network of active prescribers?

38. What are the commercial means to be implemented to achieve your revenue target?

39. Is your marketing process defined?

40. How will you organize your sales force?

41. Have you planned a forecasting and reporting system?

42. Do you need a marketing function?

43. Have you calculated your communication budget?

44. What communication tools do you have?

Are you ready to take the next step?

>Green light for the next step. You know your customers’ profile. You have defined the number of sales representatives you need, their status, quantified your communication budget, defined the goals, the means to be implemented. You have understood that sales is the key concept on which the success of your business depends. Get started!

>Red light for next step. You are an ingenious technician, a computer or biotechnology genius. But you have no idea how you want to market your product or whether it is salable. Give up or find a partner who will know how to put your success on track.

Protection of its know-how and its product

45. Can your technological know-how be subject to legal protection?

46. Can your solution establish itself as an industry standard?

47. Do you need to convince other technology players?

48. Is your innovation in danger of becoming obsolete quickly?

49. Have you quantified your research and development needs?

50. Will your first production tool be adequately “calibrated”?

51. Do you know how to mediate between own production and outsourcing?

Are you ready to take the next step?

>Green light for the next step. You have filed patents to protect your invention. Your ability to innovate and find technological partners strengthens the operational dimension of your project. Get started!

>Red light for next step. Your invention can be easily copied, improved. Drop! You can never convince a banker to follow you into this minefield.

Find financing

52. What is your overall financial need?

53. With what distribution between equity and debt?

54. Does your business generate or consume cash?

55. What will your cash need be in the first year of activity?

56. What will be the pick-up time for the customers? Do you want to be able to get payment terms from suppliers?

57. After how many months will your cash flow be constantly positive?

58. What is the expected amount of your cumulative financing needs before you reach the cash-breakeven point?

59. When do you expect to break-even?

60. Is the generated profitability over a three to five year horizon sufficient?

Are you ready to take the next step?

>Green light for the next step. Your business requires a small start-up investment and will immediately generate recurring revenue cash. You have the equity for your capital and your current account. You will find additional funding once your activity is launched. Get started!

>Red light for next step. You are counting on the first euro of receipts over several months, you do not have enough equity to create the business and finance your cash flow needs until then. You will have a hard time finding the money you need. Think about it!

Take stock of your motivations

You want to be your own boss … Before you take the plunge, you need to take stock. First about your motivations. We create our company to earn more, to satisfy a passion by making it our job, to defend an ideal or achieve social recognition. But no project is ever 100% passionate, socially or financially.

Consider the future. Describe your one-, three-year, long-term project to set your course. Then return regularly to this roadmap to check that the correct options have been taken and respected, if necessary to correct the route. Measure exactly the risks you want to take.

Dossier prepared with KPMG experts.

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“How long do I have to wait before I get paid my first salary? Can I afford not to be paid for three months, six months? What equity investment am I willing to make on my personal or family assets?” It is up to you to draw the white line that should not be crossed. Too many project managers who do not know how to stop at the right time are then unable to return.

Dossier prepared with KPMG experts.


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