Business Planning Tips for Your Startup Company

When you create a Salesforce business plan, the initial purpose may be to impress possible investors. However, it is much more. It is the foundation of a strategic plan that helps ensure you have gathered the information needed to get your business off the ground. With the business plan, you will have set goals and milestones. This information will help you track the progress you have (or have not) made.

Some believe they know what to do to write a business plan. Even if you have a basic understanding of the process, getting advice and tips from others is still highly recommended. Here you can find some effective and practical tips to create an effective business plan for your startup company.

Business Planning Tips for Your Startup Company

Get Started

Just like a book report, your business plan will begin with a rough draft. Everything is going to start here. If you are like many other business owners, and you don’t develop a clear plan, if you don’t take time to see what the competition is up to, and if you don’t know your income potential, what are you doing?  Having no plan can result in even the business concept failing.

You don’t need a business plan just to get started, either, which means it’s not something you are going to write just once. It needs to be a living and growing document that will apply to your business at any time during the course of its life and growth. Creating the first draft is an essential first step in creating a business plan, but it is far from being the last. There are far too many situations where a business plan is created and then left, gathering dust.

Format the Plan 

There is no correct or right way to format your business plan. While this is true, there are typically expected and accepted ways to organize the plan. This is particularly important when you are trying to get funding for the business. 

When you go to a lender for funding, they don’t want to have to try to decipher your unorganized musings. Instead, you need to organize your ideas and create an outline that shows your plans to a possible lender.

According to information from the SBA, the following sections should be included in the business plan you create:

  •       Business executive summary
  •       Description of the company
  •       Market analysis
  •       Management and organization
  •       Product line or service
  •       Marketing and sales
  •       Request for funding
  •       Financial projections
  •       Appendix

Use a Business Plan Template

The use of a business plan template can help ensure you have included the needed elements in the business plan. However, for most templates, the first item will be the executive summary. Even if this shows up first, fill it out last. The executive summary is where you sum up your entire business in just a few paragraphs. You need to create the rest of the plan first, and then create the summary so you can include everything.

If you want to use one of the templates mentioned above, you can find them online. Some will require a small fee, but there are options for free.

Clearly Outline the Structure of Your Company                     

How is your company organized? What about the structure? All this will impact how you operate your business, making it vitally important.

Lenders and banks want to see a sensible and clear structure for the company and management when reviewing the plan you have created. If the company structure is vaguely or poorly organized, it will not inspire confidence in the lenders. If you don’t have strong and clear ideas or a structure that is clearly defined and outlined, it may reduce your odds of financing approval.

Remain Realistic

There’s no question that you have to aim high when you are building a business. While this is important, you need to look at the more realistic side of things, too. Make sure to be conservative with your estimates and then aim high when practicing. It is a good idea to exceed expectations instead of failing to meet them.

Try not to make statements that you are unable to substantiate and don’t use too many adjectives. By using a large number of facts, you can test the idea for your business in real-time. There is some risk involved anytime you start a new business. While this is true, if you are able to determine what these risks are and you have facts that back this information, you will know if you have developed a business idea that has merit.

Get to Know the Market and Your Competition  

You have to put time and effort into finding the facts. By conducting your due diligence, you will know what you should expect out of the business you are trying to create. Make sure that you put time into researching the market you are entering into, the existing competition you have, and then determine what business income potential you have.

The market analysis process requires you to gather information about your market within an industry. You want to figure out the market and customers and this information gathering session will help you do just that. Some of the questions your market analysis should address include:

  •       What are the weaknesses and strengths of your competition?
  •       Do you know what potential customers you should target?
  •       What competition does your business have?
  •       How much will your customers pay for the product or service you offer?
  •       How large is the target market?

Your competitor analysis and market analysis are an essential part of any business plan. One of the main reasons is because it demonstrates to a lender that you fully understand this industry landscape, which will determine where and how your new business venture can grow.

Create Your Own Customized Business Plan

It doesn’t matter if your business plan isn’t nice to look at or if it isn’t phrased perfectly. Once you have created it, you can have someone else (perhaps someone in the business plan writing business) polish and edit it later. 

The essence of your business plan needs to be your ideas, your research, and your unique way of thinking. If you are using a consultant to advise and to guide the process, be sure you are still the main driving force behind the plan you create. The result should be actionable and something you truly believe in.

Keep it Short and Concise

You need to achieve a balance that includes all the important facts but avoiding creating a document that is too complex and long. If it gets to be “too much”, no one, probably not even you, will want to go through it. 

If you are able to say what needs to be said with just a few words, then don’t try to stretch it out to take up an entire paragraph just because it seems like that is what you should do. When writing a business plan, be sure to get to the point as quickly as possible.

Keep the plan short and concise 

Flesh Out Your Company Projections and Financials

If you have never tried to budget for any business before, it is a good idea to hire an accountant to help you draw up a paper that includes all your financial projections. To do this, you will need to answer these questions:

  •       What is it going to cost to get the business off the ground?
  •       Get to know your costs?
  •       Where are you going to get the financing needed to initially launch your business?
  •       How can you earn income?
  •       Are you going to require a small business loan to keep your business running financially?

There are several parts of the business plan that include information about the financial side of things. This needs to include a budget that is going to show how your company is going to use the capital the lender has invested, and it should include a longer-term financial strategy.

It is also necessary to have some type of contingency plan in place, so your business does not falter if a prediction you make does not quite come true. You might be able to determine times when you may require additional funding and with the ability to see this, you will be able to plan ahead.

Another important part of the financial section of your business plan is to outline the cost structure. This provides a top-level model that includes the cost of the business, organization, or industry model. When you are trying to figure out cost structure, you will categorize the various costs, the size of each of the categories, and the description of fixed and variable costs.

What happens if your costs exceed the revenue you have earned? In this case, there are three basic options: you can increase your revenue, reduce your costs, or do both. If this isn’t possible, it may be best to start over.

Creating a Viable and Actionable Business Plan

Creating a business plan may seem challenging, but when you use the tips and information here, you will discover that you can get the funding you need and have a solid foundation for the business you want to create. 

Dorian Koci

Dr. Dorian Koçi is a historian, Director of National Historical Museum of Albania and lecturer in Tirana State University, Faculty of History and Philology and New York University of Tirana.