A business plan is absolutely vital to your business successful. There is no one size fits all in planning for the growth and success of your business. Yet, how do you determine which business plan you should complete for your goals? Your business plan should define what your company does and how it does it. It should be considered an essential part of your business and it should grow with your business and change as your business changes. So essentially the correct answer will determine what state of growth your business is in, it may be one or as your business grows you may develop every one of these plans at one time or another.
Your business will develop in stages and having a business plan is like having a growth chart. It will show you where you’ve been, where you are, and where you are going. Each business plan should reflect the tone and personality of your business and what you want to say to your customers.
If you are unsure of your product’s potential, or have too many ideas, and you need to narrow your options, a feasibility plan is the way to start. Market research, customer profiles, product options, branding options, here you play with it all. You can test it out and see what your target market would pay the most for, or what you can do better than your competition. This business plan ends with recommendations for either going forward with the idea, benching it, or throwing it out of the game entirely.
Start Up Plan
When you know what you want to do and you have verified with a feasibility plan that it will be profitable, it is time do your start up plan. This is your traditional business plan. The plan you would take to investors, or the bank for a business loan. It has many different parts to it and they are all geared to introducing your business, defining your reason for existence, and then justifying it with projected financial statements.
This plan is for when you are thinking about adding more services or products. It is written for both internal and/or external purposes. If it is for internal purposes only it may include new market research, calculations of costs, implementation of the service or products, things of that nature. If it is for external purposes, such as investors, you will want to add all of the above and company information such as found in your start up plan, including financial projects and company description.
This business plan is intended for your company, the board, partners, and/or employees. It is for an existing business. It may be updated policies, changes in procedures, financial forecasts, or any variation of internal news.
An operations plan is also an internal business plan. It is generally for employees, detailing their responsibilities. It includes job descriptions, expectations, deadlines, and markers for both employees and your company. It is important when you get to the point of hiring employees that you are all on the same page, this is the plan for that.
This is a detailed map of your company's goals and exactly how you will achieve them. There are five elements to a strategic plan: Business vision, mission statement, definition of critical success factors, strategies for achieving objectives, and an implementation schedule.
Your business plan may be very detailed or straight to the point and barebones. The important thing is work the system, follow the steps. Business plans work, they work because they force you to think of the big picture and not only what is in front of you. They are a tool that explores every avenue of your business.