For any organization, various functional plans-marketing, financial, human resources, production-have to be laid down, even though all the functional plans serve different purposes and all theses plans provide guidance and structure to the successful running of the business.
I teach that you should seek to learn from competitors; obviously never copy another business's idea or what they are doing, but you can absolutely learn from their mistakes or see what they are doing and discover ways to improve it. All of that analysis belongs in your business plan: make sure you have your competitors under the microscope and make sure that is a solid chunk of your plan. That is some of the best research and information you will gather about what will make your business successful in future.
The business plan serves several purposes: Enables the entrepreneur to think through the business in a logical and structured way and to set out the stage in the achievement of the business objectives ; Enables the entrepreneur to plot progress against the plan ; Ensures that the resources needed to carry out the strategy and the times when they are required are both identified ; Preparing the business plan ensures that the entrepreneur has thought through the crucial aspects of the venture ; It is a means for making all employees aware of the business direction ; It is an important document for discussion with prospective investors and lenders of finance ; It links into the derailed, short-term, one-year budget.
So it is crucial that every time you mention financials in your business plan, to really give them the correct context. When I have worked with clients in developing business plans, there has been a budget or amount set aside for example to be spent on marketing, which has been decided a bit arbitrarily. I mean with no real research, no understanding of what that amount needs to be spent on, and what that budget will truly achieve.
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