Business Plan Deal Breaker Factors

Executive Summary
It all comes down to a few words. Get it right! How much money do you need and how you will protect the interest of your investors?
Why you need to know your business competitors…and make yourself stand apart from them.
What will your market penetration be?
What is the exit strategy for your business?
The ownership and form of your business: What investors will want to know.
Know your customers: Why you need to know who your customers are for the sake of your business.
How will your business protect the interest of your investors?
How will investors make money with your business?
How much money does your company need? Why you need an exact figure before you approach investors.
How easily can you be copied?
Does your business plan explain how your customers will get to know about your products and services?

Strategic
What are the factors that may hold your business back or make it thrive. How to show investors that your strategy is sound.
Identifying the key milestones for your business.
How will you measure the success of your business?
Your business lifeline: What are the 10% to 20% of activities that could account for 80% to 90% of your business success?
What key relationships do you need to sustain to help your business to survive and thrive?
Outlining the long-term and short-term goals of your business.
Identifying and targeting the factors that may hold your business back and prevent you from achieving your business goals.
How can you leverage key activities for your business to produce greater results?
How are you qualified to run your business?
Explaining the organizational strengths of your company.
Discussing the factors meaningful to your customers – How to show investors that you know your customers.
Business values to guide your company.
Assessing your resources – why you need to know the current status of your company’s resources.

Business Model
What business you are in? How you will make money? What threats and opportunities exist to your survival?
Why you need to establish your track record to impress investors.
Why do you need the money, anyway? – Explaining how investor funding will be used to achieve your company’s goals.
What business you are in? Why you need to know and how you can find out!
Preparing your business the right way: Picking the right business structure for the right reasons.
Making your business venture appealing to investors.
Establishing your long-term objective for setting up and expanding your business.

Products and Services
Why will your customers buy from you? How will you show investors that you stand out among your competitors?
Your Customers: Explaining why your customers will buy from you.
What is it about your products and services? What your business plan needs to explain about the products and services you offer.
Pricing Policies: What investors will want to know about how you’re pricing your products and services.
Keeping your customers.
How are you different? Showing your Investors that you stand out among competitors.

Industry Analysis
What are the barriers to entry into your business?
The Face of the Competition: Knowing your competitors, direct and indirect.
Protecting Your Business: What you need to consider about trademarking, copyrighting, and patenting.
Knowing your market and which factors are important to customers, clients, and partners.
How large is the industry that your business competes, or plans to compete in?
Finding your unique selling point.
Explaining the factors that affect your target industry.
Explaining government regulations that affect your industry – points your business plan should cover.
Business Planning: Barriers to Entry.
Assessing your business competition: How many companies are expected to enter your industry in the future?
Assessing the long-term security of your business – How long will it take an existing competitor or new entrant to overcome your business model’s advantages for stakeholders?

Market Analysis
Knowing your target markets and identifying them for investors.
Your market development timeframe and why it is important.
What investors want to know about your market: Is your market growing?
What are the sales trends in your market for the last 5 yrs?
What are the growth prospects of your market and what are the future sales trends in your market for the next 5 yrs?
Validating your business plan: what investors want to know about the research you have done to develop your business idea.
Specifying your markets: explaining to investors where you are going to be doing business.
Searching for untapped markets: Why you should do business with the customers everyone else ignores.
Purchase Values: What are your estimates?
Planning Your Business: How to assess the annualized market size in 2-4 years.
Knowing your target markets (and identifying them for investors).
Identifying key prospective purchasers.
How much of your target market do you intend to capture with your business?
Distribution, Promotional Methods, and Marketing Expenditure levels.
Describing historical shifts in your industry: key points for investors.
Assessing the seasonal aspect of your market.
Assessing the resilience of your business: Is the industry cyclical with the economy?
Assessing regulatory and structural restrictions on trade.

Competitive Analysis
Knowing whether your market is fragmented and why it matters to investors.
Who are the top three competitors for your business?
What are your competitors’ marketing strategies?
What are your competitors’ channels of distribution and why do they matter?
Knowing whether your market is fragmented and why it matters to investors.
Improving upon your competitors’ product offerings.
How do your competitors promote their business and why investors want to know.
How are your competitors competing? Recognizing the most important factors for your business.
Establishing your ‘market share goals’: how much of the market do you intend to capture and how fast?
Developing your pricing strategy: how to make sure the pricing of your goods or services is competitive.
Assessing the size and strength of your competitors.

Sales and Marketing Plan
Launching your business into your target market: how to prepare an initial market entry and development strategy.
Forecasting your marketing and sales expenses.
Developing a contingency plan for sales.
Creating a pricing model.
Building your sales team.
Building your marketing team.
Budgeting your sales and marketing.
Breaking down your marketing and sales budget.
Applying the 80-20 rule for profitability.

Management and Talent
Identifying your weaknesses and convincing investors you can compensate for them. Highlighting your talent acquisition strategy.
What is it you do? Why and how you should explain your role in your business.
Outlining the strengths and weaknesses of your management team.
Identifying your weaknesses and convincing investors you can compensate for them.
Creating your management team.
Building your business: how many employees do you need?

Risk Management Contingencies
Planning for the worst-case scenario: How will you mitigate any setbacks, delays, or unforeseen delays to your execution strategy?
What is your “plan B” if you cannot execute your business plan?
What are the inherent and perceived risks to your business?
What are the final projections for the first year of your business?
Planning for the worst-case scenario: How will you mitigate any setbacks, delays, or unforeseen delays to your execution strategy?

Exit Strategy
Planning for the best and worst case scenario: what are the possible outcomes for your business?
Show me the money: assessing how much of a return your investors can expect.
Planning for the best and worst case scenario: what are the possible outcomes for your business?
How organized are you with your financial data?

Enhance Your Efficiency – Do You Have a Business Plan?

Starting a business, whether big or small, is all about direction and planning. Developing your home based business plan ought to be the first thing you do when you decide to start an online business-or any business for that matter. The plan lays the foundation and guides everything else that will follow. This is because, in order to get anywhere with your business, you have to know what you want from the business and how to achieve it.

That is why setting your goals is usually the first step towards getting where you want with your business. Every entrepreneur should have their goals in mind when starting a business, and even established business owners would do well to regularly revisit their goals so as to stay focused on their purpose. The goals-or objectives-are a part of what is generally referred to as the business plan.

The plan defines the business, its goals, whom it will cater for, as well as what and what activities need to performed at clearly stated times in the life of the business. This step will set your home business on the path to success. It surely shows you as organized, responsible and committed to what you have set out to do.

And should you need additional funding from external sources (including even close friends and family members) your business plan impresses it on onlookers that you aren’t going to throw away the funds.

But to get the best out of your business plan, you have to do it right. This naturally begs the question: What exactly is a business plan? And what goes into it?

To begin with, any business plan must serve as a guideline and as an outline of goals that need to be executed for the success of the business. It is a document that allows you and any observer to easily see the direction of your home business, and the processes through which things are done. A plan also helps you to understand at any point in time the progress of the business and its future.

Now this may sound a bit too official. But just bear in mind that the mere fact that you are now working from home does not remove the need to imbibe several of the tried and tested strategies that help medium and large-scale businesses to succeed. Second only to inadequate capital, the absence of any clear plan for their businesses has been identified as a major cause of the high failure rate among home business owners-less than 30% of those surveyed admit to having developed any realistic business plan for their business at the outset.

Having a plan includes setting and assigning responsibilities for the objectives you want to achieve, as well as setting the target dates for achieving them. If your home business has grown to an extent when you cannot possibly perform all tasks, assign a person to take charge of each action, but you should be the one to determine when that action should be completed.

It is also important that you follow through on your plans and assigned duties. Otherwise you would’ve wasted your time planning! Build some sort of checkpoints into your schedules to help you monitor your progress on a regular basis.

Having a clear plan to guide you as you run your home business is the surest way to stay focused on your business goals. It also increases efficiency by keeping you away from non-essential tasks that rob you of your time and money.

Advantages Of A Good Business Plan

Planning is a vital ingredient in the success of any business. Developing a business plan is not just a requirement, but a basic necessity for building one’s business nowadays. It is an honest truth that every business needs a plan, starting from large corporations to entrepreneurs. Developing a business plan will help one build a framework that would push his business to his actual destination. The business plan helps one develop work guidelines, map out strategies, understand one’s target market, measure performance, monitor progress, make future plans and raise additional capital either for expansion or to boost operations.

Quite often, the thought on the mind of most business owners or investors is failure. The only way to overcome this failure is to address the common reasons why businesses fail up front. Presently, the world is facing though economic challenges, global economic meltdown, high cost of commodities, high rate of foreclosure and difficulties in obtaining credit from banks, stiff competition, complicated tax laws and high operational costs, etc.. All these challenges faced by businesses today, even make it more challenging for start-up businesses to survive. In today’s world, both small and large-scale businesses have come to realize the need to evaluate their business potentials and formulate strategies for the future.

However, inadequate planning has been the reason so many businesses fail, and the rate at which they fail is overwhelming. It is usually believed that most businesses fail in their first year of operation and among those that fail, 80% of them do not have a well researched plan. It has been observed that business failure is not only connected with small businesses alone which I chose not mention here, go down too. Though the rate of failure is highly significant in small businesses, and it is the main reason why a good business plan is needed. Probably for raising additional cash and to provide potential investors and lenders with the information required to make investment decisions. This makes developing a business plan extremely important. One’s business plan has to stand out and his projection has to be firm due to higher competition in attracting funding for his business. Investors no longer risk their money on businesses that do not prove to have great potentials for them.

A business plan is like a road map, it shows one the route to take, the pitfalls to avoid in order to reach his destination, For instance, if one decides to travel by road from one place to another, he would first need a road map that shows him the route to take. He will need to determine the distance and how much gas his car will need to take him to his destination. Moreover, he will need to calculate how much the journey will cost him, if he intends to raise money, if he’s borrowing, how he intends to refund the money. Putting all this into consideration, he now has a traveling plan that will take him to his destination. In the same vein, that’s what a business plan provides one with, the strategies, the route, and a road map to success.

Incidentally, the idea of working with a business plan is for one to keep focus on his set goals. Statistics has it that many businesses fail due to inadequate planning. If one doesn’t know where he’s heading to, any route seems to be the right one. Most people make great mistakes by jumping into business without adequate preparation and planning. A good business plan helps one maintain focus on his goals and execute the strategies that the plan assisted him in creating. Just like a road, one’s business plan has to be consulted to make maintain his focus and not running business in a layman’s way.

Working with a business plan, it will prevent one from entering unfamiliar territory. The plan becomes a working map for him and his organization. I t spells out the things to do and things not to do, the functions and how everyone and every department should operate. It helps one become more efficient, reduce waste and redundancy, channeling one’s resources to rightful place and being a guide to the successful running of his business.

As a performance tool, it measures the progression of goals in one’s business by tracking, monitoring, as well as evaluating, and can also be used as checkpoints in measuring performance. The world today, is so dynamic that what applied today might not apply tomorrow, and as a result of this dynamism, a good business plan needs to be setup in order to protect one against risks associated with business.

In addition to a performance tool, perfect business plan should contain other necessary tools in its system, which really make it a perfect plan. It must have a human resource tool, a marketing and strategy tool, financial tool, communication tool, and most importantly, an investor’s guide. A well-defined business plan attracts others to be part of the vision. It has to have a well-defined goal and objective that will set the stage to bring others into the business. It should inspire teamwork and creativity among its people and ensures everyone understands the goals and objectives.

However, a good business plan defines one’s target market, the class of people he intends to sell his products to, how to reach them, promote his products, in addition, defines one’s market mix- people, place, product and price. People- this defines the people involved in the promotion one’s goods and services. Product- this defines what one’s goods and services are. Place- defines the location which also includes the means of delivering the goods and services. Price- defines how much one’s products and services are worth in the market which will enable him analyze and evaluate his return on investment (ROI). A marketing and strategy tool defines one’s business strength, his weakness, his opportunities and threats. It plots a graph that helps one reduce cost while maximizing profit.

A financial tool in a good business plan enables one understand his business financial position, develops his budget and determine how his finances will be allocated. It also calculates one’s return on return on investment, analyzes his income statement, cash-flow, balance sheet, break-even point i.e. the analysis that tells one how much sales needed in order to cover expenses, which gives the basis for pricing his products and services, and at the same time calculates how much that is needed to finance one’s business which helps in making his financial needs clear.

A good business plan communicates one’s ideas to people, communicates his mission, objectives, management approach, responsibilities and demonstrates how one’s strategy will increase profitability and performance, identifying his audience without overreacting his aims and objectives of his business plan. A business communicates in two ways- Internal communication and External communication. Internal communication includes communication of corporate vision, shared value, strategies, guiding principles and employee motivation. External communication includes branding, customer relation, marketing, advertising, media and public relations etc..

A good business plan is used to attract funding from investors. Most investors will look at a business plan as a decision-making tool. There are certain things investors look out for in a business. These include one’s management team, every investor will want to know a business owner’s managerial skills, passion, and his dedication to his business. A comprehensive description of how one’s products or services should be discharged, his customer base, his market and financial analysis. A business plan should have a realistic financial forecast. Every investor will always like to see his business associate’s return of investment, cash-flow and break-even analysis. Hence, a well prepared business plan is the key to attracting investors.