By Delinda C
So, what are the most important elements of a great business plan? I found that when I started my business, I needed to know what my first steps were. It was mostly financial at first. I had to figure out how much it would cost to purchase the assets of the business that I planned to take over. I had to go through a lot of paperwork and review assets, receivables, expenses, and of course since it was a franchise there were fees involved as well. I had to go through all my financials to come up with how I was going to be able to pay for everything. I was also required to make a plan to show that I had enough working capital along with the daily operations expenses and receivables that would be on a monthly basis. I was told that I needed to have at least one year’s worth of capital to get me through because it was not likely that I would make much, if any, profit in the first 2 years of owning my business.
I also had to have business goals that included: goals for services; who was my target market; how would I reach my target market or in other words, have a detailed marketing plan. A really great resource for writing a really awesome business plan is the Small Business Administration website found at sba.gov. They break-down the business plan in the following sections: Executive Summary, Company Description, Market Analysis, Organization & Management, Service of Product Line, Marketing & Sales, Financing Request and Financial Projections. This is a wonderful way to get you started in the right direction.
Your business plan will not only help you keep your goals on track it is a great tool for seeking out business partners or potential banks to loan you money. This is an awesome way to show potential partners that you know what you are doing and it gives them more confidence in you and your business if you can show them a solid plan of action. A business plan will also help define who you really are. Sometimes businesses try to be all things to all people and they lose their identity and eventually their market. By defining who your target market is you can more easily cater your products and services to those you are seeking to be your clients. It is impossible to reach everyone but you can decide your niche and make a strong presence to the clients in your target market. This is a much stronger position to be in. It also helps with your focus. Think of a bulls-eye, when you play darts, you have to focus on where you want the dart to land, if you don’t focus, your dart won’t go where you want it to go, the only way you would hit the bulls-eye would be by accident! This is not going to get you anywhere, you are just aimlessly throwing darts that are not getting you anywhere, BUT, if you focus and always aim for your bulls-eye (or target market in the case of your business) you are more likely to be successful in hitting your target. Focus is key, aim for your target market but if you don’t have a plan defining your target market you will find you are just throwing darts. Having strong restaurant accounting & bookkeeping service are essential for loan compliance and business plan development