In the “Marketing Plan” section of your business plan, you will discuss how you plan to carry out your marketing. It’s important to be clear about this and present a detailed marketing plan that explains exactly how you hope you achieve each of your marketing objectives.
This plan may include:
- Specific marketing methods used for each segment of “target marketing”
- Specific actions you’re taking in order to reach each segment
- An estimated timeframe for each of your marketing activities
- List of people who are going to carry out the tasks
- Estimated costs of undertaking marketing activities, i.e. budget
- Information on how you will monitor and review your business’ progress
- Information on how you will handle response to your marketing
It is important that you identify and explain how you plan to manage your overall marketing. You should include information on budget management, result monitoring, and also how you will implement new tactics if need be.
The “Sales Targets and Objectives” section of your business plan will discuss what your sales targets are and how you plan to achieve them. This section needs to clearly deal with the task of implementing your marketing plan and converting it into sales revenue. You should discuss sales of different products, by volume or value; Sales from different groups of customers; Sales from various distribution channels.
“Operational Requirements” is the next section your business plan will discuss. You will cover exactly what it is you need to do in order to turn your operational plans into action. These details are essential, and should be outlined carefully, including various aspects of your business. You should cover:
- The initial layout of your business
- Equipment you will be using
- Staff you will hire and their role
- Suppliers you’ll use
- Licensing you have/need
- Compliance issues and how you expect to meet health and safety regulations
- Insurance and how well you’re covered, as well as policy details
The next section “Current Financial Requirements and Financial Forecast” covers the money you’re seeking, and for what purpose you’re seeking it. Your business plan needs to thoroughly break down your finances, covering what you need from investors and what you’re willing to put in yourself.
The aspects to be covered here include:
- Business startup costs
- Personal budget
- Personal financial details
- Previously secured financial details
- Additional finance details
- A table illustrating how you plan to spend the finances
- A table showing how and when you expect to break even
- A cash-flow forecast that illustrates funding you estimate to be available at any given month
- A profit-and-loss forecast to estimate when your business will generate a profit
- A balance sheet forecast that provides an estimate of your business’ trading position and what your business will owe at a particular point in the future
The next section will be the “Training Needs” section, where you will thoroughly illustrate the training courses you have attended and those that your employees have or will need in the future.
In the “Business Risks” section of your business plan, you need to cover every potential risk you forecast for your business. Illustrate what can go wrong and how you plan to keep your head above water if it does. Examine all risks and demonstrate how you will minimize their effects on your business. You should include every conceivable risk you can think of, including: A lack of management experience; Economic turmoil or uncertainties; Over or under-reliance on key staff, suppliers, customer base; Partnership difficulties; Competition increase; Lack of resources; Compromised security, etc.
The last two sections of your business plan should be the “PEST” and “SWOT” analysis. PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological. This provides a framework for reviewing your business. Demonstrate to investors that you consider the future of your business by covering the four topics of a PEST analysis.
A SWOT analysis covers Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You should include a section that deals with ample coverage of these four topics, explaining threats to your business, how you will seize opportunity, and thoroughly discussing your business’ strengths and weaknesses. You should break each of the four sections into a graph and deliver key points of each topic.
Creating a business plan is a very crucial step in the development of your business. If you need help in this area, there are software programs available to help, or you can hire someone well-versed in formulating compelling and thorough business plans. The main thing to remember is never to neglect your business plan. Be as thorough as possible.