How To Write A Bankable And Operational Business Plan
WHY YOU MUST HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN
Running our own business is not the same thing as having a career. Business is a way of life. A life that is void of planning is like walking in the desert without a functioning compass.
Business plan is the compass that directs a company in the desert of challenges. Business owners can easily derail if not guided by a plan. One mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make is to focus only on bankable business plan. This is a wrong method that has been a major factor that causes business failure.
The aim of this article is to give you tips on how to write both a financial and operational business plan.
FINANCIAL BUSINESS PLAN
Financial business plan is the kind of business plan written with the sole aim of getting fund/ finance from financial institution. One common mistake that entrepreneurs make is to overly present their business plan in a bright light i.e. making it sound too good to be true. And you know the popular saying; if it sound too good to be true, it probably is. For you to make any headway with your bankable/financial business plan, make it real! There is no real life situation that is perfect, so why presenting a business plan that looks so perfect?
Haven said that; let us now explore the structure and content of a business plan written with that sole aim of raising capital from financial institutions.
A bankable business plan must account for the three “Cs” that every bank/ banker look out for in any business plan. They are; Character, Credit and Collateral. The content of your business plan must provide sufficient information on these three Cs to enable the bank make an informed and viable economic decision.
You must prove that you are a person of trusted character. There are information that when included in your business plan can help the bank or financial institutions deduce your character from that piece of information. Simply stating that you have lived in a particular place for sometime may be enough for the bank to conclude that you are a person of good character (they some times confirm from people in your neighbourhood. You can boost your character score by mentioning the name of your accountant or attorney/ lawyer if they are already established.
Banks cannot give you loans without collateral of some sort. They scale it from the most tangible asset to the less tangible asset. The problem here is that as a business that is just starting up, you may or may not have the required collateral.
So, what do you do in this kind of situation? I am of the opinion that it is easier to get a loan as an individual than to get that same loan as a business. So, you may apply for a personal loan (home equity loan), use that loan to get a home, then show those home in your business plan (this works when you intend to use the home for business, there is nothing bad with using your home as your business space). And make sure you don’t lie about this!!!
A moderate credit history at least is important. The credit history of the partners or the sole owner (proprietor) plays a very important role here. Stakeholders of a company that have missed their mortgage payment consecutively for three or four months will definitely sap the business plan some credibility if the name of such person or people are included in the business plan.
Again, don’t lie in this regard, simply ignore the person- unless you are asked, then say the truth. Your best bet here is to work on your credit score and when improved, proceed with your bankable business plan.
Here is the most popular structure. Though you can tweak it a bit and still be fine.
Indexes: under the index are things like; cover letter, non-disclosure statement, title page and content page.
Summary/ Executive Summary: Stuffs like; Business ideas, prevailing situation (e.g. global economic crisis), critical success factor, financial statements/ forecast etc.
Vision and mission: here, you will include; mission statement, vision statement, core values, milestones, marketing analysis- the overall market, changes in the market, market segments, target market share, customers needs, data mining technique, psychology of customers etc
Competitive analysis: Include data about; industry analysis, degree of competition, waves in the industry, major competition, cutting edge product/ service, opportunities, strengths, weaknesses, risk(treats) etc.
Products/Services: product/service details, potentials of the products/service, SWOT analysis of the product are some things that will be included here.
Sale and marketing: marketing strategy, sales scope, advertising, public relations, trade fair/ trade show, promotions etc are issues that will be addressed here.
Operations: key technical staff, organizational chart, logistics, facilities/ infrastructure etc are among the things that need to be discussed here.
While the financial elements of a business plan helps you get the bank/investors/other financial institutions path with their money, operational element are the real ingredients of a good business plan.
- Business plan- importance and structure
An article that discusses that ABC of business plan
OPERATIONAL BUSINESS PLAN
This aspect of the business plan is the real driving force behind the success or failure of achieving the objective(s) of the business plan. It has to do with the intangible aspect of business plan
For a business plan to be complete, strategies must be in place to take care of the motivational aspect of business planning.
Some elements of challenge must be incorporated in the business plan for it to be complete. Action plans must be clearly mapped out to direct the actions of business stakeholders. This is important to be included in the business plan so as to take care of the stress that comes with implementing business plan. Am sure you know that business world is not a bed of roses so, contingency plans must be in place.
Alternative actions to be taken when workers go on strike, suppliers fail to supply etc must be incorporated into the business plan.
The rate of business failure will be reduced significantly if individuals should just learn how to write both bankable and operational business plan that you have just learnt about.
To be on the safer side, consider picking some of these books displayed on the right side of this article and learn more.
To your new found success in business!