5 "Must Haves" For Your Business Plan

If you are serious about business, and are thinking of applying for a business loan, you need to have a solid business plan.

A business plan, like any other plan, is a detailed guide for and about your business. A business plan can be as long or as short as you like, but it should be an appropriate length to explain your business sufficiently.

When you're formulating your business plan, don't expect to complete it in one sitting; it may take more than a few drafts to get it right.

Here are some ‘must haves' for your business plan:

  1. Mission statement — When you are putting down the reason for starting your business, this reason becomes your business' mission statement. The mission statement does not have to be long; it can be brief, but it should describe your business philosophy and include your target market.

  2. Description of business — In this section you describe all aspects of the business. From the business and product USP (unique selling point) to your location (online or brick and mortar). You should also describe in detail your product or service.

  3. Goals — In this section, you should describe your long term and short-term goals. Short-term goals are those goals that you want to realize or achieve in the next 12 to 18 months. Long-term goals are those that can take up to 5 years to be achieved. The goals section is especially important when you present your business plan to lenders and investors.

  4. Customers — This section requires thorough market research. After you've done your research, you will know who your customers are going to be, what they are looking for, what they expect out of your product. It is very important to do a thorough market survey and research before getting into any business. Potential investors will also want to know what market segment you have targeted and why.

  5. Competition — In this section, you need to demonstrate that you understand and have thoroughly analyzed your competition. List all your competitors - these can be based on either geographics or product/service. Understand what your competitors are offering and try and be as different and unique from them as possible. If you have a similar product to those of your competitors, you must explain how you will overcome the competition.

Writing a business plan isn't easy, but by focusing on the 5 sections above, you'll have a good start!