Friday, 23 August 2013

Business Proposals: Plan For The Long Term

Business Plan
Solid business plans don't guarantee success, but they certainly help.

Not only is a plan an effective guide for the short and long term direction of a company, it can also remind you of your initial goals when starting out - thus helping you to avoid straying too much from your original motivation.

A good plan accomplishes three important tasks - first it aligns the management team to a common set of goals, then it helps to find ways in which to achieve them and finally it acts as a sort of sales document to attract potential clients and investment - after all, having a clear plan suggests confidence.

The best way to put your plan together is step by step and in manageable chunks.


Summarise

Remember - less is more so don't worry about going into minute details but do ask yourself the following questions to help form an effective summary of your company.

What does your company do? How can consumers benefit? Why will it be successful? Do you have a unique selling point?


How are your customers?

Now is the time to focus on detail - imagine your target customers. Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they like/dislike? What type of products do they buy? What is their income?

And now that you can clearly see the consumers who will be buying your product or using your service, go back to your business description and ensure it matches your market.


Know your competitors

So you know your customer, but do you know your competitors? This is also an important aspect to include in your business plan, even if you feel you have a unique product and selling point.

Knowing your rivals - so to speak - will help you further carve out a niche and find out what their customers are not happy with so you can provide it. In addition, it can help you to price your product or service accordingly.


The nitty gritty

Of course, one of the most important aspects of any proposal is considering the financial side of your business.

While this may seem like the most daunting part, there are plenty of guides online that can help you to make sure your plan is airtight and takes all eventualities into consideration.

Your plan should cover at least a three-year period, with the most detail given for the first year. Creating a spreadsheet is a handy way to see projections clearly and to easily keep track of your finances.

Include all outgoings - no matter how small or insignificant - and a sales forecast detailing how much revenue you expect to gain. In terms of overheads, remember to think very carefully about technology, as adopting the right systems early on can help to make savings in the future.

Forking out for cloud computing for example, may seem like an unnecessary extravagance, but this type of technology allows a greater deal of flexibility - meaning later down the line you could offer remote working to employees. This is turn will reduce overheads associated with desk space, an IT department and more.

Similarly, adopting free conference call technology as a way in which to communicate with colleagues and clients, is both inexpensive and allows for greater degrees of flexibility as well as room for growth should your business be looking to expand into overseas markets.


Did you find this article helpful? Please let me know by leaving me your valued comments in the comments section below.

Related articles:
Most Important Steps To Draft Your Business Plan

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