Setting up an efficient business plan for your startup

Getting a new business off the ground can be daunting. The first step to creating your new business is to set up an efficient business plan. Such a document not only allows outsiders to get a better idea of your business, but it also allows you to get a clear overview of your own vision. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when setting up your start-up’s business plan:

  • Do your homework.

Before setting up your business plan, know: the product/service you want to provide, which business sector your business falls under, the location and team members you want to involve, as well as available local business consultants.

  • Know the elements of a business plan.

Make sure that you have a very clear idea of the elements that make up a business plan. Incorporating the following elements can give your business plan a strong and logical structure: overview, executive summary, general company description, identified opportunity, industry and market, strategy, the team, marketing plan, operational plan, financial plan, and an appendix.

  • Define your speciality.

Make sure that your reader understands exactly what makes your start-up unique. This requires being clear about what your company offers in terms of products, services, unique skill sets, and experience. This in turn will help your business idea stand out from the crowd, and encourage others to take note.

  • Make a great first impression.

Any business plan should be professional and utilise the latest techniques and technologies to ensure that your format, layout, etc. is exceptional. Proofreading and copyediting is vital.

  • Keep it simple.

Your business plan should be concise and summarised, rather than elaborate and longwinded. You can also work under the assumption that your reader is well versed in business jargon, so any over-explaining can become tedious.

  • Don’t forget your personal touch.

Your business plan should reflect your personality while remaining professional. Allow your reader to get to know you as well as your business.

  • Don’t leave your finished business plan untouched.

A business plan is not static – it is fluid and dynamic, and should constantly be reviewed and revised. Be aware of any internal or external elements that may influence these changes.

  • Don’t lose your determination.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” The old adage applies to business plans as well – make use of any unsuccessful business pitches by consulting the uninterested investor as to where your business plan fell short. This information may be invaluable in future.
Pieter Scholtz is the Co-Master Franchisor in Southern Africa for ActionCOACH, the fastest growing and largest business coaching company globally. Pieter and his partner Harry Welby-Cooke developed ActionCOACH across Southern Africa, which now boasts over 40 franchisees. He is also a certified, leading business and executive coach. He has successfully assisted countless business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. www.actioncoach.co.za / 012 665 1015