“Business Plan”, these two words scare many creators who consider this exercise boring, even useless. And still! This document is essential. It allows formalize the project in writing, to test different hypotheses, to structure its objectives and to estimate the economic and financial feasibility of the future company. It is often considered as a key to finding money from bankers or partners.
A business plan is actually so much more! It’s a guide that allows the creator to see things more clearly as they get started and a reference tool for lead the company in the medium and long term. “The business plan is a clue: it serves to move from idea to action. It allows you to write what you do and to do what you have written. says Julien Colin, advisor within the BGE network.
Summarize your reflection on two pages
Every good business plan begins with a summary of no more than two pages summarizing the project. This ” Executive Summary is generally intended for financial partners, bankers and investors who, when reading, must be convinced of the relevance of the project. But it also has a need for the creator. “This exercise allows you to gain height because it highlights conclusions. It is a reflection work and a complete analysis of the project. This last task – it can only be performed when the business plan is complete – forces the creator to focus on the essentials.” , explains Julien Colin.
By synthesizing his thoughts in this way, the business creator builds better visibility and sets concrete goals. At the end of his “Executive Summary”, Bruno Perthuis made sure to report some indicators dear to him: ”The expected turnover, my remuneration for years 1, 2 and 3. It is psychologically important to keep this in mind and to write it down in black and white from the first pages. It’s a kind of common thread », adds the founder of O Comtois Gourmand, a company that sells local produce.
Details of the whole creative process
Although each business plan is unique, all follow a common structure. Must be in canvasa presentation of the creator, a description of the product or service, a market analysis, the commercial strategy, marketing elements, the economic outlook…. “You have to build it up like a book with distinct and orderly chapters that you eventually finish. It’s like a story we unfold, recommends Julien Colin.
This process allows you to see things more clearly and build a global strategy step by step. “If I had not made a business plan, I do not think I would have completed the project, witnesses Helene Jeandotthe creator of the jewelry brand Moon Safari. Going into detail and digging into all the aspects allowed me to understand how to do it. Almost every day I open my business plan, for example, I consult the calendar of marketing operations, which I imagined in the communication section. This is my memory aid. »
Make realistic financial assumptions
Financing plan, income statement, cash plan… The transposition of the project to financial tables is a delicate but significant step. “You should start with real hypotheses and above all avoid calculating your numbers according to your expenses”, insists Julien Colin. The elements of the market research get all their significance here: their analysis makes it possible to build realistic forecasts.
Bruno Perthuis did not do it in any other way when he had to calculate his estimated revenue. “I established an average basket based on the results of consumer surveys conducted by INSEE. I then compiled figures for the opening days of my store, the number of customers I expect on a daily basis. Eventually, I arrived at a basis for annual revenue, which I fell month by month according to the seasonal nature of the products. “ This method today allows him to keep monthly dashboards and know where he is, almost permanently.
Analyze your deviations and correct your assumptions
The business plan becomes another tool management from the first months of activity. It makes it possible to measure the gap between the initial goals and the first results obtained. “Then we have to adjust and correct. For example, one should try to understand why the turnover is 30,000 euros lower than expected. Is it because of the situation? When does a competitor arrive? Were your goals too ambitious? Was the commercial effort sufficient? », warns Julien Colin.
Corrective action must then be taken: either by revising the pricing policy or by reducing investment or by reducing costs … All the work done upstream, with the creation of dashboards, will make your work easier, and above all will you respond. quickly.
Classify and archive the appendices
Press articles, photos, plans, customer questionnaires … All the documents used to make your business plan must be gathered in appendices. “It is the whole thought process, all that made it possible to build the business plan. They must be preserved: they make it possible to trace the history and basis of the project ”. recommends Julien Colin.
In case of doubt or question, they allow you to dive back into one market data forgotten or to check a price. However, beware of unnecessary fills: Save only the documents that are of interest. If you really have a lot of appendices, do not hesitate to classify them and make a summary. You will find the information you are looking for much faster.