Core Elements Of A Business Plan

You may have a billion-naira idea in your head, a grand vision of building a successful venture, and a big dream of how to kick-start it. However, without a clearly articulated business plan, you cannot make it happen. Writing a good business plan, one that will sketch your ideas and serve as a roadmap to achieving your dreams, requires careful considerations.

Here are the core elements of a winning business plan:

Executive Summary

This is the summary or overview of your entire business plan. It should be crisp, short and straight to the point, as it is the first section in your business plan. An executive summary represents the synopsis of your overall business model. Perfect executive summaries are crafted after the business plan has been written, so that it can capture all the business ideas.

Business Description

One of the core elements of a business plan is the business description section which may include the market opportunity, the company profile, the founders, the capital required to start (or scale up), the corporate structure and so on. The section also describes the mission and vision of the business. This section is like the face of your business plan. It’s everything the investors want to see in a business plan. Make it thorough, straight-to-the-point and clear.

Market Analysis

This is one of the core elements of a business plan because it tells the investors that you have actually conducted market research and positioned your business idea differently. Here, you need to:

Assess your competition by understanding their business model and finding innovative ways to position your business from theirs.
Understand who your target customers are and how you should appeal to them. You can consider doing a summary of profiled target customers in this section, stating their age, location, demography, hobbies, etc. It will help validate your business idea.

Management Summary

Who are the principal owners of this business and how are they going to manage this new venture? You need to state who will manage the venture and their roles in the organization. If you choose to seek funding, investors need to know that there are capable hands behind the venture.

Sales Strategies

How are you going to sell your products or services and make profit? This section details your selling point against competition, the sales goals you want to achieve, costing, marketing and distribution activities and so on. These are key elements that should be included in this section.

Financial Plan

The financial plan sets out the inputs and general parameters that form the basis of the financial appraisal as well as the resulting financial forecasts, which demonstrates the viability of your business. The financial plan covers a forecast period (average of 3 years) and in general, provides a basis for investment appraisal by prospective investors. Some elements of a financial plan include operating cost analysis, funding assumptions, revenue streams, sales forecast, cash flow analysis, revenue projection and so on.

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