The first real stage of writing your business plan concerns describing and articulating your business and what it hopes to achieve. This stage requires you to explain, as clearly as possible, what your business does.
It serves the purpose of outlining your personal vision for your business. So you will not only be explaining what it does, but also what you do and what your business is going to offer to the market.
Your first step is to put together an overview of your business. Firstly, you must be able to state when you started trading or are planning to begin trading. You also have to make sure that you include details of the progress you have made to date.
Then explain the kind of business you are running or are intending to run. This section must be as clear as possible so that your readers – whether they are potential investors or future employees or partners – can understand exactly what it is you do. If you can clarify what sector it is in – e.g. retail, manufacturing etc. – then this will make the picture clearer for the reader too.
Your next job is to outline any history that is important to the business you propose to run. For example, if you bought the business off someone else, it will obviously be important that the business plan shows some details of this transaction, as well as information on the seller of the business.
You must then outline the current legal structure of the business. This means ownership, the structure of the company as it stands in law, and so on.
Finish up the overview by articulating your vision for the future. This means thinking about the plans you have for the business as regards growth. It also means creating a picture of what your company will look like in the future.
After the overview, you then have to describe your product or service in detail. To get this section right, you must explain what makes it different to other products and services in the same sector, as well as the benefits it offers to the customer. To interest investors – or just to keep you on the right path as developments occur – you then have to outline what developments you are going to bring to your product or service. If you are going to run a cafe for example, you may plan to add another story in the future, to add value.
If you hold any patents or design rights, now is the time to declare them. And to finish up, describe the key features of your industry, in such a way that your product or service has a recognisable role in it.
At all times, make sure that you don’t throw in too much jargon, or industry specific terminology. If you are going to use the business plan as a means of acquiring investment, the last thing an investor wants is vocabulary they cannot understand.
So that is a detailed outline of the section of your business plan where you describe your business opportunity. This is often the most difficult section to complete. Be confident, follow the steps above and you will then be on your way towards completing your plan.