By Shingirayi Kondongwe CONTRIBUTOR (Opinions expressed by YOH contributors are their own.)
Looking at how competitive is the job market these days; you might want to start your own business. Yes, it is possible to start your own business but you will need a business plan. What is a business plan? A business plan is a document or guide that outlines your business goals and how you will achieve them. In other words, it is a roadmap that guides your business to achieve its intended bottom-line.
A business plan does not have to follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Contrary to popular opinion, a business plan is not only used for a loan application or first-time start-ups. It is a flexible guide that is outlined as follows:
1. Executive Summary – This is where you summarize everything that you will include in your business plan. An executive plan is written last.
2. Introduction – Give an overview, vision statement, mission statement, and objectives of your business.
3. Product or Service – Outline your product or service in-depth.
4. Market Analysis – Show your deep understanding of the industry or sector in which your business is operating. You can do this by stating the size of the market, major players, size of the market, growth potential just to name a few.
5. Competition – State your direct and indirect major competitors and the products they offer. Why your product or service is better?
6. SWOT Analysis – State your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
7. Operations Plan – State all the pre-requisites you need to run your business, for example, material resources, permits, or licenses.
8. Marketing Plan – State how you will take your product or to the market. What are the strategies that you will employ to promote your product or service?
9. Management – What are the functions that you need to run your business successfully? What expertise do you need? Whom are you going to employ? What is the organizational structure?
10. Financial plan – Give key assumptions, cost estimations, and projections, financing, revenue projections.
11. Appendices – Place any additional information to support your business plan, which may include images, graphs, and charts.
How long should your business plan be? Well, it all depends on the information that you are willing to put, but I recommend a shorter and concise business plan.
SHINGIRAYI KONDONGWE is an African Union Scholar, United Nations Graduate Programme Fellow, and A Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneur. He writes in his capacity and does not represent the views of any organization. He can be contacted at the following email: email@example.com
Shingirayi hail from Harare, Zimbabwe
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