By Roni Lubwama
Congratulations, you have made the decision to start your business. But where and how do you start?
You have probably visualised what product or service you will offer. But why should your potential clients buy your product or service?
By the way did you know that Mr. X is also offering the same product, but had to close after a month in operations? More questions than answers.
Thatâ€™s where planning comes into effect. More specifically, your business plan.
There is a great deal of material currently available on how to draft a business plan, however, the form and format your plan will take will depend on your vision as the sponsor or champion of the venture.
You will need to crystallise your vision for the business before you put pen to paper drafting a business plan.
Some questions like,what business you will we be in and what you want from the business, the size of business, will come to mind. Now we move to your business plan.
Normally the mention of the word business plan evokes visions of volumes of paper in illegible print. This need not be the case. The idea is to keep it as precise and concise as possible.
Of course it will depend on the type of venture for which you are drawing up the business plan.
If you are planning to sink an oil well then you will have a thesis as a business plan given the content that has to go into it.
The other variable could be the audience for the business plan. If you are preparing the plan for your financiers or sponsors then you have to make it as detailed without losing meaning.
A key benefit of the business plan is to stimulate your thought processes on different and disparate aspects of your business. This process is probably more important than the drafting of the plan itself.
When you start the above thought processes, then things like market research, turnover, margins, sales, profitability, capitalisation, and many more, come into focus.
More importantly, you will see the value of contingency planning in your business.
You do not have to get answers at the time you draw up the plan but you need to, at the bare minimum, have given thought to unforeseen events that may handicap your business.
Also note that in business planning, there is no â€˜one size that fits allâ€™.
What may work for you may not work for a similar business, even within the same sector or industry. All businesses are unique in their own ways in terms of structure, location, ownership and philosophy.
Your business plan should be custom-made for your business.
Remember, this is your vision and it cannot be easily duplicated.
Likewise, you can plagiarise someone elseâ€™s business plan but you cannot plagiarise the vision they have for their business.
And that applies to their business ethics and philosophy.
So, go on and draft your business plan and make it a constant reference point when you start your business.
Business plans are not set in stone, they are supposed to be your guiding light, like a lighthouse so you can change course if circumstances get fluid.
Focus on the substance over the form when drafting your business plan. Donâ€™t be fooled, all successful business people have business plans of some sort. Donâ€™t think your business has too much potential or is too good to need one.
If you are in doubt about the role of a business plan in your business, you have to remember: failing to plan is planning to fail.
The writer works with APX Resources Ltd
Planning is vital for new businesses