What is a business plan?A business plan usually covers a time period of around three years, and is around ten to 20 pages for smaller firms. It should feature: ? An executive summary
? Aims and strategy
? Business description
? Operations information
? Organisation and management
? SWOT analysis
? Market description
? Marketing and sales strategies
? Financial information
? Funding requirements Putting this information together can help you think more clearly about your aims and objectives, and how to tackle any challenges.
Don?t get caught outThere are some common mistakes when it comes to creating a business plan. The first is ignoring them altogether ? either by not writing one, or writing one at the start and never looking at it again. It should be a tool to help you grow your business, every step of the way. According to Sharma, some businesses go the other way, and create business plans with reams and reams of pages. ?They?re crammed with too much information and they can be difficult to understand,? he said. ?Others are too short, which makes it look like there isn?t much to say or that the owner hasn?t devoted enough time to writing their business plan. Business plans should read well and look professional throughout. Lastly, all the financials need to be able to withstand close scrutiny. If your numbers don?t add up, the document is at best meaningless, and at worst misleading. If you?re looking for funding, get the numbers right first time. But really, this is just the beginning. For more tips and advice on how to create a truly professional business plan,
take a look at this guide from KPMG Small Business Accounting.
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