What is a business plan really good for?, Creating a business plan

“Business plan”, these two words scare many creators who consider this exercise boring, even useless. And still! This document is essential. It allows for formalize the project in writing, to test different hypotheses, to structure its objectives and to estimate the economic and financial feasibility of the future business. It is often considered 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 that manage 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

Any good business plan begins with an executive summary of no more than two pages summarizing the project. This ” Executive Summary is generally intended for financial partners, bankers and investors who, after reading it, must be convinced of the relevance of the project. But it also has a use for the creator. “This exercise allows you to gain height because it highlights conclusions. It is a work of reflection and a complete analysis of the project. This last task – it can only be done when the business plan is finished – 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 revenue, my remuneration for years 1, 2 and 3. It is psychologically important to keep that in mind and to write it down in black and white from the first pages. It is a common thread of sorts », adds the founder of O Comtois Gourmand, a company that sells local products.

Details of the entire creative process

Although each business plan is unique, they 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 financial outlook…. “You have to build it up like a book with distinct and ordered chapters that you finish as you go. 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 hadn’t made a business plan, I don’t 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 marketing operations calendar that I imagined in the communication section. This is my memory aid. »

the business plan must track the creativity process.
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Make realistic financial assumptions

Financing plan, income statement, cash plan… The transposition of the project to financial tables is a delicate but essential step. “You must start from real hypotheses and above all avoid calculating your figures according to your expenses”, insists Julien Colin. The elements of market research take on all their importance here: their analysis makes it possible to build realistic forecasts.

Bruno Perthuis didn’t do it any other way when he had to calculate his estimated turnover. “I established an average basket based on the results of consumer surveys carried out by INSEE. I then worked out figures according to the opening days of my shop, the number of customers I expect on a daily basis. Finally, I arrived at a base of annual turnover which I decreased 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 a tool for management from the first months of activity. It makes it possible to measure the gap between the original goals and the first results achieved. “Then we have to readjust and correct. For example, one must try to understand why the turnover is 30,000 euros lower than expected. Is it because of the situation? When will a competitor arrive? Were your goals too ambitious? Was the commercial effort sufficient? », warn Julien Colin.

Corrective actions must then be taken: either by revising the pricing policy or by reducing investments or by reducing expenses… All the work done upstream, with the creation of dashboards, will make your task easier and above all will you react quickly.

The business plan contains financial tables.
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Classify and file the attachments

Press articles, photos, plans, customer questionnaires… All the documents used to create your business plan must be collected in appendices. “It’s the whole thought process, everything 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 filling: save only the documents that are of interest. If you really have a lot of attachments, don’t hesitate to classify them and make a summary. You will find the information you are looking for much faster.

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