Where do I begin when developing a business plan for an existing business?
I need to develop a business plan for an already established business. I am looking to relocate and expand the current services that I offer.
Tammy, what is the purpose of writing your business plan? Is it to obtain financing or provide a road-map to your plan over the next few years.
I have helped many companies raise money or presented them to different investors and critical components along this path include having a section on management expertise, a succinct and accurate product description including features and benefits, identification of target market. (Note this should not be the market is 100 M and I expect to achieve 2% of the market, huge mistake). Your sales strategy and how you plan to achieve Revenue is critical. It must be tangible and actionable and align with industry info and dynamics you provide. It should also highlight your competitive differentiation. This must all tie together in accurate financial projections that take into account different sensitivities (sometimes a best case, expected case, and worst case) is helpful. If it is for external investors then it is helpful to include a financial model.
I would abstain from using templates or generic kits, as every business is different.
In the case of writing a plan as part of your strategy, you would emphasize different factors because, you don't need to sell your ideas to someone else. In this case, focus on your sales strategy, competition, and realistic financial model (which will prove invaluable for forecasting and budgeting and allow you to change critical assumptions). A flexible financial model is an investment in time or money that I cannot emphasize enough.
Please feel free to give us at EPIC Corporate Finance. We have done business plans for $50k businesses up to $2 Billion, as guidelines for your own success or to help raise capital.
Rob Szold, CFA
Managing Director, EPIC Corporate Finance
If you want to do it yourself you can download free templates. Good ones are not just a template for you to complete but for each section asks a series of questions to ensure you consider all the issues.
If you can afford it having a coach may help you identity where you want to go and your priorities which helps you identify what to focus on in the business plan.
First of all complete a mind map/Brain dump or any other diagram you like to use of what you want your business to look like, this could be sales targets, or where you want your business to be in 1,2,5 years as an example then follow the advice outlined below.
I usually start with a 'lean' model, a one page plan to flush out the overarching information. I use LeanStack for this. Once I have the one page model finished I do a deeper dive if needed. It helps to organize my thoughts and make me think through the system.
You start with a Strategic Planning process. This will determine the "What" you want to be when you grow up, looking at trends and differentiation of your services/products 3-5 years out. Then develop a short-term plan for one year that move you along that line. I have done over 200 Business Plans and created a Strategic Planning kit with all the tools and processes. Of course you also need the talent with creative expertise and domain experience and market research in your industry, See the kit here: http://www.airtightmgt.com/products
Bob Norton, CEO Coach
Personally, I would not use the software packages unless your business is exactly like one that the software uses.
Since you are in PA, check SCORE.org for the local SCORE chapter in your area. SCORE provided business counseling services for people wishing to start a small business. If you are a veteran, contact the Veterans Business Outreach Center for your region. You can also talk to the SBA office and the Small Business Development Center for your state. Most of these services are free.
The main thing is to get your ideas written down.
What you need is a financial projection so you can estimate the cost of the relocation and expansion and then play with the revenues to see what is necessary to -re-cover your intentions. See PlanMagic's software selection to see which business specific program fits your business.
Asking that question is a great start. If you don't want to pay for an MBA to do it for you there's lots of software out there to help you. Sifting through all the different options of hundreds of apps can be daunting. I was impressed with one and gave it a 30 day free trial. After the trial period I purchased and continue to use Stratpad for a multitude of reasons. Our VP with the MBA likes it too!
check with your local Score chapter.
they'll have templates to work with.
in addition, a free/confidential mentor can critique as you develop it.
If you are expanding current services i would suggest starting with matching your products with the correct target market in that area.. templates are available at your local score, but they will ask you the same question- who will buy this product/service from you in this market?