The first time I thought about writing a business plan was when a friend asked for my help writing his. I could imagine the stress he had gone through before asking for my help.
Many times, the subject of a business plan comes up when one wants to start a business, and for the majority of people, it almost always seems like some special type of document that only gurus write.
A large number of Nigerian startups fail to understand the true significance of this one document. This fact has made many Nigerian business startups botch the preparation of their business plans by focusing totally on the wrong things.
Good plans prune your projections into realistic thresholds and consider as many parameters as are available to you.
Before we move on to how to write a business plan, we need to define and establish what a business plan is or what it should be.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a document describing a business, its products or services, how it earns (or will earn) money, its leadership and staffing, its financing, its operations model, and many other details essential to its success.
A well-written business plan should be able to prove to just about anyone who reads it how feasible your goals are, including potential investors.
How to Write A Business Plan (Template for Nigerian Businesses)
Writing a business plan may seem daunting and complicated, but with a systematic approach, you can easily achieve this task with the right guidance.
Below are strategies to help you narrow it down to easily actionable bits.
Know the purpose of the plan
When an entity’s purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable, and often this tendency is not effectively maximising such.
Before unknowingly wasting precious time writing a plan that wouldn’t fit its purpose, you must know who exactly is going to be reading your plan before taking any steps.
For example, a simple plan written to attract investors would always differ from one written for internal use only.
Furthermore, before writing any part of your plan, even in the search for investors, you should consider especially who your readers are and try as much to cater to their particular expectations without losing track of your initial road map.
You should also aim to make your plan adaptable, editing it as the situation demands.
Draft an executive summary
A good executive summary is a key section of your plan—it’s also the last section you should write.
The executive summary’s purpose is to briefly describe the other parts of your plan. It usually is the part of your plan that convinces the reader if they want to know more about your business.
It’s also an overview of your business that persuades investors to read further. This is why you mustn’t make mistakes here.
While writing, keep in mind that it’s a summary, so make sure to highlight the key points you’ve uncovered
Whatever summary you end up putting on the plan would serve as the façade, the doorway into your plan.
Be as brief as you can. Be passionate.
Describe your company
This section of your business plan is the simplest part of the whole process. It caters for two fundamental questions: who are you, and what do you plan to do? Answering these questions introduces why you’re in business, why you’re different, what you have going for you, and why you’re a good investment bet.
Starting from a proper description of your company, you must share all the relevant information that connects to form your typical brand business plan.
These include market or industry analysis, organisation and management, service or product line, marketing and sales, your operations plan and your financial projections.
Make sure to present as detailed a description as possible using whatever medium can portray your ideas the best – tables, charts, verified industry statistics etc.
Read Also: How to Choose a Business Name in Nigeria
Do a thorough research
It doesn’t matter if you ever intend for anyone else to read it.
To write the most functional and perfect business plan, you need to know many things, which means research. It’s also called “doing a market analysis.”
It should include an overview of how big your estimate of the market is for your products, an analysis of your business’ position in the market, and a general overview of the competitive landscape.
It’s considered a safe bet to spend twice as much time researching as you would drafting the actual business plan.
This is because entrepreneurs need to know their market sphere, customers, and product and services very intimately to draw any plan of relevance.
Doing thorough research must include reading everything you can afford to read, talking to people, and seeking professional counsel. You should also check out videos on YouTube on what you are about. Scour the internet.
Finally, as a business owner, you’ll have to eventually make it into a habit and constantly inform yourself whenever the chance presents itself.
After doing a market analysis, the next thing you should add to your business plan is a competitive analysis, i.e., you need to know who your competitors are. You cannot do this effectively if you do not take the time to study them. A good reason an investor would choose your business is if you have been able to study your competition and find a means to produce your services and products that are unique, better, and distinguishable.
Take note of actual and estimated figures
When you are starting a business and using expected figures, you need to communicate that properly so as not to mislead investors. Of course, you should have actual figures if you are already running your business.
Service or product plan
This section should explain your service’s life cycle and what you sell. Explain how this benefits your customers. Share plans of intellectual property filings and research on your product or service. Also, describe the problem you are solving and how you plan to solve it. Of course, you have to talk about the competition as well.
Outline management and organisation
Your business plan’s management and organisation section should tell readers about who’s running your company. Detail the legal structure of your business. Communicate whether you’ll incorporate your business as a corporation or create a limited partnership or sole proprietorship.
If you have a management team, use an organisational chart to show your company’s internal structure, including the roles, responsibilities, and relationships between people in your chart.
Communicate how each person will contribute to the success of your startup. If you do not have enough hands to produce the desired result, have a plan to hire capable people to fill in the gap.
You can add documents (resumes, permits, leases, product pictures, letters of reference, etc.) to support your business plan; however, this is optional.
As you write a business plan that serves its purpose, remember that your words should persuade the reader and convince them as it convinced you.
Adedokun Boluwatife is a content, Ghostwriter, and Medical student.
She uses storytelling to write compelling articles and books. Writing is the greatest instrument to share what she knows with the world. Proficiency is a skill she always wields.
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