Questions your business plan should answer
The business planning process for start-ups can be formal or informal. You can do it in a weekend or it can take several months. What is important is that you consider, and can answer, the following questions:
Do I understand the process of business planning?
Am I the right person to set up and run a business?
Have I got a feasible idea?
What formalities should I complete before I start my business?
What sales do I expect and how will I generate them?
How and with what resources will I meet my planned sales?
Can I describe the people I will need and how will I organise them?
How will I fund my business?
Have I got a business plan that does justice to my research and planning?
As your business grows, it is useful to revisit your business plan and change it as the business changes and develops. A good business plan has many functions and uses for an entrepreneur. The main uses are:
Establishes the viability of a project if start up/ongoing development is already established;
Documents the plan for the business;
Allows you to measure progress against plans;
Allows communication of your plans with outsiders – especially those you want to invest in the business.
Usually plans are written for:
Potential business partners,
Private investors or venture capitalists,
Each reader will be looking for slightly different information. You need to make a change in emphasis only – not the core elements of the plan or the direction the business is taking. That’s why I suggested you write the Executive Summary last. Think about what each reader will want from the business and what is important to them. Tailor your plan to meet these needs by emphasising in the Executive Summary what they will be looking for. For example, if presenting to an Enterprise Board, you should include the numbers employed and by when, while an investor will be looking for growth potential and value of the business. Depending on who you are presenting to, the summary should be adapted accordingly.
Anyone considering starting their own business should contact their local Enterprise Board and avail of free advisory sessions and materials on the whole business planning process. These resources are also available online. Our Business Management Programme is designed around completing a detailed and robust plan for both start-ups and growing businesses. For more information, contact the Galway County & City Enterprise Board on 091-565269 or log onto to http://www.galwayenterprise.ie.