John Robert Wooden, American basketball player and coach.
One comment we often hear when first meeting with someone looking to start a new venture is: “I know I need a business plan, but what do I need to put in it?”
The short answer is everything related to the business and operations. The long answer is more detailed.
Quite often business plans are considered an exercise in writing with the goal of getting someone to “buy in” to the idea or to gain financing. This is one important goal. But not only is the business plan necessary to gain financing if required, it is also the operations plan for this new venture.
The details are what is required. More often than not, we see draft business plans with plenty of information on how the business has benefits and solutions to problems and explains how passionate the entrepreneur is and what he or she brings to the table. This is important, however, we need more than just passion.
Now going back to the question…what do you need to put in the business plan?
When reviewing the final draft of a comprehensive business plan, the keyword is “comprehensive”. By this we mean that every aspect of business operations should be addressed in detail. The details are things such as:
- who will do the task?
- when will it be done?
- how will it be measured?
- what will happen when these goals or objectives are not met?
Think of it this way. If you were to disappear tomorrow and someone else took over your business the next day, would your business plan provide them with everything they need to know to operate the venture?. In other words, details, details, details. This may seem obvious; however, it’s easy to omit the details when they are all safely stored in your head. The goal is to get these details on paper in our business plan.
In summary, business plans should provide the reader with details on how this business will operate. The business plan will then become a useful document for both internal and external readers, but will also help the you, the owner stay focused on setting and meeting goals rather than just selling the idea.
At the Halton Region Small Business Centre, we are here to help you get your business off the ground. Check out our Business Plan template and other online resources, as well as our upcoming seminars such as “Your business plan.” For more information, call us at 311,1-866-442-5866,visit us online at www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca or in person at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.