The main objective of a business plan is for the founders to get a clear perspective of their vision and what lies ahead on the chosen path. Putting down the business objectives, communicating the same to those who might bring in funds or knowledge is where every business begins.
Main contents of a Business Plan
1. Opening Statement and table of Contents:
The first page of the Business plan is the Opening statement, the one line that is the name of the business and a statement expressing the same beneath it. The statement should be concise, crisp and to the point. Be clear in what you express as this creates the first impression and seals the entrepreneurs' fate. The table of contents should come in next; it is the detailed break-up of the pages and its contents along with page numbers in a sequential order.
Narayanan Hariharan, Founder of Effect Works [It is the 1st and one of a kind presentation design company in India] and Co-founder at NFN [a mobile apps development company] says" I became an entrepreneur by accident with Effect works but for the 2nd venture, we had a systematic approach. We started with the business plan. It is a document where you are forced to write facts, anything fictitious and it comes right back to stare at your face. Entrepreneurs should spend time in collecting their thoughts, making a detailed plan, and constantly reviewing and editing it. This starts with the opening line going on to describing the business operations".
2. Expressing the vision:
A strong vision will reflect on the entrepreneurs' ideas, thought process and confidence in the idea. The business plan should contain the vision statement above all else. This will show to the investors that they are ready to take their business out into the world, and scale great heights. Anjana Vivek, the founder and now partner at Venture bean consulting, says " i dint have a business plan when i ventured out on my own, but i do have a personal plan that brings a lot of clarity on the professional front. I teach, i write and i consult, so i put a percentage against each, goals and work towards them. These are reviewed periodically and evaluated, keeping me in line. The first thing i advise my clients is to start with defining their vision subsequent to which we help them put together a strong Business plan.
3. Showcasing the Business model
The primary operations, the resources required, the funding needed and infrastructure are key areas to be covered in this category. This is infact the most important aspect of every Business plan. This is where the investors and Venture Capitalist's focus on, and spend hours analysing, weighing options. The points mentioned should be clear, simple and straight forward. It will therein help the person understand the business vision, and what plans the entrepreneur has for the future. The way the entrepreneur plans on doing their business, the process and system they have in mind should be in sync with the objective and go all the way into the future.
4. Resource Requirements
Starting a new business can be quite daunting, and so the business acts as a messenger in easing a few issues, and bringing relief to the founders. It helps them drive ahead, keeping the goals in mind, risks are taken but with a clear view of what the likely consequences might be, and constantly evolving with time, the knowledge and experience gained is priceless. Vinod Harith, co-founder CMO Axis spoke about how valuable the Business plan is and how it helps drive home the point that "this is our business and we need to do what it takes to keep it going. When i look back, the 4 years has been quite a journey and it all began with a plan, and over the years it has been edited and tweaked but the bottom-line is, we believe in this business and will continue to drive it ahead"
Vinod goes on to say, "A business plan can be in the form of a Presentation too. It need not be pages and pages of content, but a simple show of what the objective is, and why the person believes in it. And yes, it does help if a bit of statistics, charts are incorporated. These will provide the reviewing panel study the whole business model in a glance and understand the passion hidden within. If i were to start a new venture or had i gone into something different, i would have taken this approach, and spent time in drawing up a detailed business plan, one that speaks my language and drives home my confidence in the idea to the investors." A presentation these days could be a infographics or a short story format that takes the investors through the entire business proposal, giving them a sneak peek into the entrepreneur's plans for the business.
All set to get cracking on the Business plan?