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.
The first point to keep in mind about business plans is... have a business plan! This may seem obvious but is overlooked. Many people start businesses without a plan; sometimes it can come from sheer bravado, thinking "I don't need a plan", or alternatively you might hear "It's all inside my head, that's my business plan".
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.
That is a great thing to make sure you have in your business plan, that your business will be built around those real customer wants. Do not make callous assumptions, or statements like "I know what people want", "People are going to love this", and so on.
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