Elements of Good PlanningThis is a long business planning document so be prepared to scroll a long way down the page to read all this important information and advice, you will need to set up your eBusiness, or Business.
A plan should be continually updated. Even successful, growing Businesses should maintain a current business plan.
As a business owner, you have to know everything you can about your products or services in order to persuade someone to buy them. In this discussion, you are the salesperson and your products represent your business. Your customers are potential investors and employees. Since you want your customers to believe in you, you must be able to convince them that you know what you are talking about when it comes to your business planning.
To become an expert (or to fine-tune your knowledge if you already believe you are one), you must be willing to roll up your sleeves and begin digging through information. Since not all information that you gather will be relevant to the development of your business, it will help you to know what you are looking for before you get started. In order to help you with this process, we have developed an outline of the essential elements of a good business plan.
Every successful plan should include something about each of the following areas, since these are what make up the essentials of good business planning:
The Executive Summary
The executive summary should be the last section you write. After you have worked out all the details of your plan, you will be in a better position to summarize it - and it should be a summary (i.e., no more than 4pages).
Contents of the Executive Summary
Banking relationships and information regarding investorsSummary of company growth including financial or market highlights (e.g. your company doubled its worth in 12-month period; you became the first company in your industry to provide a certain service)
Summary of management's future plans. With the exception of the mission statement, all ofthe information in the Executive Summary should be highlighted in a brief, even bulleted, fashion. Remember, these facts are laid out in-depth further along in the plan.
If you are just starting an ebusiness, or business, you will not have a lot of information to plug into the areas mentioned above. Instead, focus on your experience and background as well as the decisions that led you to start this particular enterprise. include information about the problems your target market has and what solutions you provide. Show how the expertise you have will allow you to make significant inroads into the market.Tell your reader what you are going to do differently or better. Convince the reader that there is a need for your service or product, then go ahead and address your (the company) business planning needs
To assist the reader inlocating specific sections in your ebusiness, or business plan, include a table of contents directly following the executive summary. Make sure that the content titles are very broad; in other words, avoid detailed descriptions in your table of contents.
Part 2: Market Analysis
This section should include:
Industry Description and OutlookThis overview section should include: a description of your primary industry, the current size of the industry as well as its historic growth rate, trends and characteristics related to the industry as a whole (i.e., What life cycle stage is the industry in? What is its projected growth rate?), and the major customer groups within the industry (i.e., businesses, governments, consumers, etc).
When including information about any of the market tests you have completed for your ebusiness, or business plan, be sure to focus only on the results of these tests. Any specific details should be included in the appendix. Business planning market test results might include: the potential customers who were contacted, any information or demonstrations that were given to prospective customers, how important it is to satisfy the target market's needs, and the target market's desire to purchase your ebusiness, or business products or services at varying prices.
Lead time is the amount of time between when a customer places an order and when the product or service is actually delivered. When you are researching this information, determine what your lead time will be for the initial order, reorders, and volume purchases.
When doing a competitive analysis, you need to identify your competition by product line or service as well as by market segment; assess their strengths and weaknesses, determine how important your target market is to your competitors, and identify any barriers which may hinder you as you are entering the market.
Be sure to identify all of your key competitors for each of your products or services. For each key competitor, determine what their market share is, then try to estimate how long it will take before new competitors will enter into the marketplace. In other words, what is your window of opportunity? Finally, identify any indirect or secondary competitors which may have an impact on your ebusiness' success.
Key personnelWeaknesses are simply the flip side of strengths. In other words, in your business planning analyze the same areas as you did before to determine what your competitors' weaknesses are. Are they unable to satisfy their customers' needs? Do they have poor market penetration? Is their track record or reputation not up to par? Do they have limited financial resources? Can they not retain good people? All of these can be red flags for any ebusiness, or business.If you find weak areas in your competition, be sure to find out why they are having problems. This way, you can avoid the same mistakes they have made.
The final area that you shouldlook at as you're researching this section is regulatory restrictions. This includes information related to current customer or governmental regulatory requirements as well as any changes that may be upcoming. Specific details that you need to find out include: the methods for meeting any of the requirements which will effect your ebusiness, or business, the timing involved (i.e., How long do you have to comply? When do the requirements go into effect?), and the costs involved.
eBusiness, or Company Description
Without going into detail, this section should include a high level look at how all of the different elements of your business fit together. The company description section should include information about the nature of your ebusiness, or business as well as list the primary factors that you believe will make it a success.
When defining the nature of your ebusiness, or business (or why you're in business), be sure to list the marketplace needs that you are trying to satisfy; include the ways in which you plan to satisfy these needs using your products or services. Finally, list the specific individuals and/or organizations that you have identified as having these needs.
Primary success factors might include a superior ability to satisfy your customers' needs, highly efficient methods of delivering your product or service, outstanding personnel, or a key location. Each of these would give your ebusiness, or business planning a competitive advantage.
Organization & Management
This section should include who is on the board (if you have an advisory board) and how you intend to keep them there. What kind of salary and benefits package do you have for your people? What incentives are you offering? How about promotions? Reassure your reader that the people you have on staff are more than just names on a letterhead.
A simple but effective way to lay out the structure of your company is to create an organizational chart with a narrative description. This will prove that you're leaving nothing to chance, you've thought out exactly who is doing what, and there is someone in charge of every function of your ebusiness, or business. Nothing will fall through the cracks, and nothing will be done three or four times over. To a potential investor or employee, that is very important.
This section should also include the legal structure with your business planning along with the subsequent ownership information it relates to. Have you incorporated your ebusiness, or business? If so, is it a C or S corporation? Or perhaps you have formed a partnership with someone. If so, is it a general or limited partnership? Or maybe you are a sole proprietor.
Also highlight how the people surrounding you complement your own skills. If you're just starting out in your e-business, or business, show how each person's unique experience will contribute to the success of your venture.
Board of Directors' Qualifications
The major benefit of an unpaid advisory board is that it can provide expertise that your company cannot otherwise afford. A list of well-known, successful business owners/managers can go a long way toward enhancing your company's credibility and perception of management expertise.
Strategy for growing your business. This growth strategy might include: an internal strategy such as how to increase your human resources, an acquisition strategy such as buying another ebusiness, or business and a franchise strategy for branching out, a horizontal strategy where you would provide the same type of products to different users, or a vertical strategy where you would continue providing the same products but would offer them at different levels of the distribution chain.
Channels of distribution strategy. Choices for distribution channels couldinclude: original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), an internal salesforce, distributors, or retailers.
Communication strategy. How are you going to reach your customers? Usually some combination of the following works the best: promotions, advertising, public relations, personal selling, and printed materials such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, etc.
Once you have defined your marketing strategy, you can then define your sales strategy. How do you plan to actually sell your product?
Your Overall Sales Strategy should include:
A sales force strategy. If you are going to have a sales force, do youplan to use internal or independent representatives? How manysalespeople will you recruit for your sales force? What type ofrecruitment strategies will you use? How will you train your salesforce? What about compensation for your sales force?
Your sales activities. When you are defining your sales strategy, it is important that you break it down into activities. For instance, you need to identify your prospects. Once you have made a list of your prospects, you need to prioritize it. Next, identify the number of sales calls you will make over a certain period of time. From there, you need to determine the average number of sales calls you will need to make per sale, the average dollar size per sale, and the average dollar size per vendor.
The document is an overall description of the requirements for submitting a business plan. You will have to change the information depending on the type of business you are about to launch.
I hope that this information will help you to construct a solid plan for your eBusiness/Business.
Good business planning is essential when starting an online or offline business no shortcuts can be even considered when investing time, money effort and your dreams into a new venture. So take your time and plan it well it will repay you a thousand fold.
We have two free ebooks for you to download, as a bonus." "Choosing Your Niche" and a sixty five page ebook."A Brief Guide to Starting a Homebased Business."
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