Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 24

START-UP ADVICE

YOUR
BUSINESS
PLAN
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT
THINGS YOU SHOULD THINK
ABOUT WHEN STARTING A NEW
BUSINESS IS AN AREA THAT IS
EQUALLY CRUCIAL AT THE START
OF YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY
AND AT EVERY POINT DURING IT:
YOUR BUSINESS PLAN.
A business plan's value is twofold. It has
value for you, as the company's founder
and owner. You can use it to iron out
every facet of your company. You should
also use your business plan to keep you
in check - ensuring you're achieving
what you set out to do. A long-term goal
could be getting support from third
parties for your business, for example,
whether that's through investment,
funding or gaining new customers.
So what does a business plan look
like? During my years in business, I've
written many and seen many more. The

n Do you or your team have a track
record in the sector or in business?
n What are the costs of the venture and

you know what your competitors do
- both the good and the bad.

what funding is needed?
SALES STRATEGY

one thing I can say with certainty is that
there isn't a golden formula to writing a

THE BACKGROUND

The next section is, in my view, one of the

business plan. It is personal to you, but

Next you need to explain the background

most important areas for any business:

there are certain things you should keep

to your business in depth: what it is, what

sales. How will you market, how will you

in mind when writing one.

it does, what its advantage is, how it will

sell, how will you build sales volume and

stand out, what will make people buy your

what will your profit margins be?

Here are the key points I'd expect and
want to see in any business plan.

product and where you already are with
the business.

YOUR AUDIENCE

Look towards your current or future

You need to answer all of these points.
If you've already got customers or have
customers lined up, mention them here.

Remember, your business plan will be

market. Speak to potential customers

written by and for you but it will be read

about their wants and needs, whether

THE SKILL SET

by others, so keep your audience in

they are being met and if not, why not.

Cover skills, specifically your key skills and

mind when putting one together. A

Clearly define the market analysis and

those of others in your team. If someone

simple test is to try it out on friends who

research you have conducted.

is investing in your business, they're

don't know anything about your

Knowing your market and having

investing in you, and you need to be able

venture. Does it make sense to them or

a strong understanding of the latest

to show you have the right people around

did you have to clarify areas?

trends will not only help save time later

you that will reduce the risk and increase

on, but it will also help to keep your

the chance of success.

Keep the structure simple. I would
suggest starting with an executive

business competitive.
THE PROFIT

summary. Your executive summary
is the first impression you will make

YOUR COMPETITORS

Last but not least: the financials. You need

on a lot of potential supporters and

Now you need to look towards your

to include realistic forecasts regarding

investors, and needs to broadly

competitors. What do they do well and

sales for your business. You also need to

cover the following areas:

what do they not do so well? To get your

include cashflow forecasts, profit-and-loss

n What does your business do and

business to succeed you are going to

forecasts and if possible, projected

need to take customers away from them

balance sheets.

what are the advantages?
n Where are your businesses
opportunities?
n What are your financial projections?

24

any number of things. But make sure

and offer something your competitors

The more you can include, and the more

don't. This could be about cost, customer

well thought-out your projections are, the

service, advancement in the sector...

less financial risk you might face later.



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