If you're a start-up business, an entrepreneur looking to get off the ground, an SME, or even a global corporation, you'll need an effective, workable and up to date business plan.
For many, the prospect of devising the business plan is daunting. After all, in the space of a few documents, you need to lay out the fundamentals of your business, define its growth, marketing and sales plans, project figures accurately and describe how you will gain or retain competitive advantage to maximise your success within a target marketplace. Creating a business plan requires skill - not simply the knowledge of your business and where it's going, but the ability to express both vision and hard data for a variety of audiences.
Consider the stakeholders that will need to read your business plan and use it as a basis for decision making; bankers or investors, staff, suppliers, partners, the media and a variety of other interested individuals. Your plan must strike a balance between being informative and drowning your audience in unnecessary detail. It may contain sub plans and detailed spread sheets to offer supporting information and figures where necessary. It will also need to be written in a way that is compelling and meaningful, particularly if it's going to be used to pitch for custom, funding or partnering.
So how do you create this perfect business plan? Certainly not by yourself. Even a sole trader needs business plan help to get their plan off the ground. Whether it's an early doors plan to garner initial funding or access a grant source, or a complex plan to describe a new product launch, the benefit of sharing it with a trusted adviser is incalculable.
That is the key; seeking business plan help from the right person. You'll be sharing complex and confidential business information with a third party, so you need to be sure that they will treat it in confidence and ideally act as your champion. The ideal person to provide business plan help is a coach or mentor, sometimes also known as business angels if they have an investment interest in your business. A good coach or mentor will provide slightly different services, but effectively they will be using their superior experience to develop your own skills to a point where you are operating at greater levels of competency and knowledge. All the best people have coaches - the best sports people could never succeed without the right coach and the same applies in business.
So where you do you find this source of advice and help? Well, there are various regional bodies set up to link businesses with practical support, advice, courses and services that will help them grow. These are often bodies set up through local economic partnerships (LEPs) and will have grants and funding from government bodies as well as private corporates. Get in touch with your local business support provider and they will link you up with an adviser who can understand where you need help and assistance and advise on services accordingly. As well as coaching or mentoring, these services may include specific training, funding or grant support, overseas trading advice, events and networking. So don't delay, make contact and start developing that business plan today!