As a Chatswood accountant firm, we deal with a number of small businesses across many industries.
One thing that helps the more successful businesses to stand out is simple but helpful; their business plan.
If you have never come across this term, take a look at what a business plan is, why it is important and how to write yours.
What is a business plan?
A business plan breaks down the essentials of your business. Writing one will help you get crystal clear on what you sell, how you sell it and why you’re different from the competition.
There are different ways to write a business plan but they all include at least a few paragraphs about the way your business is structured and how you plan to make a profit.
Your business plan can be a word document, a powerpoint presentation or uploaded to a spreadsheet. You can have it created by a graphic designer once you know the wording or keep it simple.
Your business plan doesn’t have to be tens of thousands of words. Depending on the format, you can probably keep it to under five pages.
Why have a business plan?
At our Chatswood accountant firm, we like to work closely with our clients and ask lots of questions so we can understand their business and help them make the right decisions.
Often, having a clear business plan makes it easy to find the answers to these questions.
Your accountant will appreciate seeing your business plan. It can also be helpful to share your plan with:
- Your team so they understand your vision and goals
- Potential business partners
- Prospective buyers of your business
You can refer to your business when you are trying to make a decision about sales, marketing or even the overall direction of your business. If the decision matches the direction of your plan, it’s an easier one to make.
How to write a business plan
Here is a rundown of what to include in your business plan:
- The name of your business and your ABN if you already have one
- An outline of your products or services, g. We work on high-end residential construction projects
- The main problem (or problems) your customers are looking to solve
- How you solve this problem
- Your delivery model g. We offer planning, design and construction services or We teach yoga in person and online, as well as selling mini-courses via an app
- Your target audience; the people most likely to buy from you
- Your biggest competitors (these can be on a global or local scale)
- The ‘threats’ to your business, g. the rise of automated software solutions
- Your ‘USP’; the Unique Selling Point that sets you apart and makes people choose your business g. Additional tertiary qualifications, a more cost-effective delivery model or a cash-back guarantee
- Your marketing strategy (list three to five top level plans for marketing)
- How you will sell g. online, via phone, face to face or via tender
- Team structure (how many people will you need and what will they do)
- Current weaknesses in your business
- Revenue minimums so you know what your break even will be
- Your business goals for
- Other e.g. Raising money for charity / building a reputation
You may wish to write down some long or short term goals.
As we mentioned, you don’t need chapters of information for each. An overview is great and it will get things out of your head and onto paper.
And even if your business is a couple of years old, it helps to create a business plan if you have never done one. Working on this document will help you spot areas which may need more immediate attention, for example finding ways to be different from your nearest competitors.
You might also want to add an outline of the following:
- Growth strategy
- ‘Talent advantage’ e.g. why would people want to work for your business
The business plan you create doesn’t have to be set in stone. It may be very short to begin with and your goals may need updating as you tick them off and look to the next phase.
Here are some more tips from our Chatswood accountant firm to help you create a business plan.
- Spend some time researching the competition
- If you can, speak with potential target customers to understand what they want
- Add additional sales, marketing and financial plans (you can link to them from your business plan)
- Make it a team effort and set aside time to work on a business plan with your partners or most important staff (don’t forget to loop in your accountant)
- Don’t be shy about numbers; write down realistic revenue expectations as well as your ‘big hairy audacious goals’ for the future
- Create timelines for your goals
Once you have a business plan, you can take the next step and create action points. Working on a 90-day action cycle will help you to tick things off your list and watch your business plan become reality.
At Imagine Accounting, we want to help you build a financially secure future.
Want advice on creating an effective business plan that lays the foundation for a successful business? Talk to our Chatswood accountant firm today.