▷ How to make your business plan: the essential steps

As part of the takeover or creation of a business, the business plan must be put in place to present your project in detail. This business plan summarizes your action plan, your strategy as well as the expected development of the activity and the company in the years after its takeover or creation. It should definitely be presented to your potential partners, investors and funding institutions to get their help…

What steps should you take before creating your business plan?

Your document must first of all:

  • Introduce your team: the people who take care of the management should be introduced first;
  • Define the environment and the context of the activity;
  • State the expected king;
  • Talk about the target’s needs with a detailed description of the latter;
  • Show the proposed development plan;
  • Present the general strategy;
  • Discuss the method of financing the project detailing your financing needs and your vision of the profitability of your project.

Since the business plan summarizes the project, you must execute it after defining the business model and after completing the market research. Before drafting it, you must also choose the legal status of the company and then develop the operational and commercial strategy.

The business model

The business model is part of the business plan. Although different, these two terms are thus related. In French, business model means “economic model” and denotes the technique used by the company to increase its profits. It also makes it possible to determine the way in which it positions itself with its partners, its suppliers, its customers or in its market.

Market research

Long before starting a business or selling a new product, you should always conduct market research to gather and analyze various information related to your future business. You need to know the number of future competitors, the services and products they offer that compete with yours. Also, take the time to learn more about your customers, including their needs, characteristics, behaviors.

Thanks to this analysis, you will master the market you have to establish yourself in and will be able to develop your options or your strategy. It is thus one of the elements to convince potential investors.

How do you succeed with your business plan?

The business plan is essential to convince business partners, distributors or financiers in particular, and it is used to better organize you to develop your business. It is also useful for retaining original forecasts to determine deviations from them.

Take the time to take care of its form, which must be clear and concise, because your financing needs must be expressed with transparency. This document should prove that you are reliable and give a better understanding of your vision.

Both fluid and comprehensive, this document is divided into three parts: the descriptive part, the operational summary and the financing requirement.

The descriptive part

Although no model is mandated, this document must nevertheless include various essential steps to explain and prove the potential of the project.

Integrate these different elements

In the description, you must include:

  • Detailed information about your competitors, while specifying the element(s) that differentiate you: technologies, products, marketing, etc.;
  • The context: explain the issues and how you can achieve interesting benefits;
  • Your solution: Present your solution by explaining how it can solve the problem, the angle you will take to apply it and why it can help customers;
  • Your achievements to demonstrate customer satisfaction and your success;
  • The size of your market;
  • Your strategy in the short and medium term;
  • A personal conclusion.

Highlight your team

Show that the founding team has the necessary skills to carry out your project, i.e. skills related to the profession, their knowledge of the market, their background, their education, etc. Specify the role of each individual, especially future partners and co-founders, as well as the names of the manager and the company’s legal representative.

Talk about project values

Show the values ​​in the project that are the source of your motivation and that drive the managers. They can be defined by their social impact, expertise in a field or sense of service. This element is essential to encourage partners and investors to support your project.

Expose the product’s added value to the customer

In general, consumers buy a service or product for the pleasure it gives them or because it fulfills their needs. Show that you know your target well and that the market research conducted is reliable.

Report on your market research

The market research you have done should be reflected in your business plan. Report on:

  • Demand: analyze your target by finding out in particular their expectations, their average budget, their spending habits;
  • The offer: after identifying the number of competitors in the market, determine the prices used and their different offers. Also determine the offer available in the market and ensure a better understanding of your competitors’ operational and commercial strategy for better management;
  • Identifying needs not met by competitors: This step allows you to define the competitive advantages that your company can exploit.

Explain the communication strategy

The communication strategy needed to implement your business plan aims to:

  • Market your business : choose the tools most suitable to make it known: advertising in transport, in newspapers, on TV, on social networks, on flyers, creating a website, etc.;
  • Improve your company’s image thanks to its own identity. It is defined by your sales figure using keywords used to drive sales. This element also depends on its graphic charter, especially its colors, its logo.

Discuss business strategy

Your business strategy can be explained based on the Marketing Mix or the 4P method:

  • Place or distribution : To properly define the distribution strategy, determine the channels through which the company will market its services or products. In particular, it can sell them online, in physical stores, through distributors or with the help of other intermediaries, for example;
  • Price or price : display the proposed formulas, a list of the range of services and/or products of your company, various details about the prices, such as the falling prices, or the price list.
  • Promotion or communication which is defined by your communication strategy;
  • Product or product : all your services and/or products must be listed in a catalog including their features, promotional offers, packages offered, e.g.

The operational summary

The operating overview or Summary is the introduction to your business plan. It is generally used to present and sell your project orally. To convince your interlocutor, this essential part presents the overall vision for your project. With a maximum of two pages, it should be brief while summarizing the main points of your business plan.

The summary presents the managers, the target group, the name of the company, the history of the project, the values, the nature of the activity, the typology of the market with the opportunities, the size and the competitors.

The financial aspect

The financial part sets out your vision for your company for the next 5 years. It shows the financial profitability of your project using two tables:

  • The table regarding the financing plan : stay realistic by effectively anticipating your financial needs. There is no need to voluntarily reduce these to obtain funding. Your financing plan must present your internal resources as well as all the essential needs to start your activity;
  • The table of the expected minimum turnover with the number of sales that can be made per day, as well as the costs generated by the operation, the creation of the company. Other forecast data must also be specified: personnel costs, fixed costs, depreciation, investments, gross profits, etc.

Also state in this section:

  • The Anglo-Saxon Income Statement;
  • Month by month financing plan for the first year;
  • All charges with an estimate thereof;
  • Estimated revenues based on reasonable and consistent assumptions;
  • The cash low;
  • The financing plan with monthly details for the first year;

Conclusion

To effectively create a business plan, include a descriptive section, a summary, and a financial section. As the name suggests, the descriptive part presents, among other things, the management team, the company’s values, the results of the market research, the communication strategy and the commercial strategy. The summary is used as an introduction to summarize the document. Finally, in the financial part, specify all your expenses and all your financial needs to show your ability to anticipate your interlocutors.

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