Why a Business Plan?

What's in the bag? Business of Software 2010

Business plans are not only for
entrepreneurs starting a new
business wanting to obtain
funding. Business plans can
also be very useful for existing
businesses as it can be used as
a management tool to focus
on the organisations vision,
mission and objectives.
At the beginning of a new
year, it may be very useful to
haul out the ‘old’ business
plan to consider whether the
organisation is still on track
and ready for the challenges of
the new year. The business
plan is an effective management tool which can be used
to compare actual results
against targeted performance.
It can therefore be used to
evaluate the organization’s
performance.
A business plan may also be
used for the following purposes:
 Obtain bank financing and/
or investment funds
 Arrange strategic alliances
 Obtain large contracts
 Attract key employees
 Motivate & focus management team
The business plan should consider the business environment including the business
itself, the market environment
and the macro-environment.

source

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The Basics of a Business Plan: Women24

Real Estate Business Planning by Diane Flannigan

If 2012 is the year you plan to start your own, then be sure that you have a good business plan in place. Here’s why.

A comprehensive business plan can mean the difference between seeing your new business flourish and having it fail before it’s even really started.

A business plan has two core functions. The first is well-known: it serves as a proposal to banks, leasers and investors when starting a business. The second purpose is to act as an operational document – a preset guideline – for when the business starts its operations. In both cases, a business plan is an essential and very useful document, and it is vital that you write one for your new business venture.

What is a business plan?

Essentially, a business plan is a document that explains and promotes a new or prospective business. Its goal is to explain what the business will achieve, why this product or service is needed and how the owner and stakeholders will operate the business. It acts very much like a jobseeker’s CV: it highlights the benefits, advantages and necessity of the venture, while outlining its future potential. A business plan should be concise, should only include relevant information and should highlight the benefits of the new business.

The parts of a business plan

·    Preliminary materials: Your title page, executive summary and project introduction.
·    Product or service: Describe what your new business is planning to offer the market.
·    Marketing and sales strategy: Describe why the product is necessary and important, and how you plan to market it to the public.
·    Organisational structure and personnel: Describe the form your business will take (for example, partnership or close corporation) and outline which skills and people you will need.
·    Legal requirements: Outline the laws and regulations your business needs to comply with.
·    Financial plan: Lay out the business’s budget, costs and other financial matters, like investment needs.
·    Risk strategy: Describe the biggest risks to your business and outline how you plan to mitigate or eliminate them.

Business plan as proposal 

A business plan used as a proposal should promote the new venture or idea to potential investors, banks and lenders, as well as to prospective business partners. It should emphasise the need and uniqueness of the product being proposed, and should chart the realistic future growth of the business. Keep the tone positive and promotional, but do not over-exaggerate the potential or financial returns of the business – it is better to underestimate and have bigger returns than to disappoint investors.

Business plan as operational document

A business plan used as an operational document should outline in relative detail the goals, intentions and milestones that the business aims to reach. It should serve as a roadmap for the business’s daily operations, in order to keep the operations on track and in line with the original purpose. Businesses run the risk of losing their focus as day-to-day upkeep overtakes the bigger picture: the operational business plan is a reminder of what the company wants to achieve, and how it plans to get there. Aspects such as the marketing strategy, future growth plans, legal requirements and the risk strategy are especially useful for this purpose.

The part-time University of Cape Town (Law@Work) Start and Manage a Small Business course starts on 13 February 2012. Call Nikita on 021 447 7565 or visit www.GetSmarter.co.za for more information about the course.

via The Basics of a Business Plan: Women24: Work And Money: At Work

Submit your SMME biz plan and win

Map of the Western Cape province of South Afri...

A national business plan competition, Seda Small Business Stars, with a unique focus on entrepreneurial education at a provincial level, has been launched in the Western Cape by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

Seda hopes that this will encourage more entrepreneurial development within the Western Cape, which, it says, is one of the most entrepreneurially dynamic provinces in the country, yet still contributes just 14.4% to the country’s gross domestic product.

This, says Seda, is partly due to the lack of entrepreneurial education and infrastructure in the region.

Small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) account for approximately 40% of South Africa’s gross domestic product, and employ more than half of the private sector workforce. However, 80% of small businesses fail within their first five years, and according to the most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study South Africa lags far behind many developing nations in terms of its entrepreneurial activity levels.

The competition which runs until April 11 next year aims to drive sustainable venture creation by providing small business owners – who often struggle to survive after launching into business unprepared – with a more systematic approach to business planning.

“Traditionally, business competitions receive thousands of entries, but only end up benefiting the few who ultimately take home the top prize,” said Seda’s CEO, Hlonela Lupuwana.

“Our aim with Seda Small Business Stars is to provide real value for the entire entrant base, all of whom will receive access to free specialised training, designed to strengthen their knowledge of sound business principles, which they can then apply to their business plans going forward.”

via Submit your SMME biz plan and win | The New Age Online

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