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.
Perhaps unconventional, but I start with a mindmap & then add to it as ideas present themselves. I find it the best way to organise & give structure to thoughts.
Ask yourself where you are, where you want to get to, how you are going to get there and what resources you need to get there.
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.
You really need to begin be research, see how far this business can take you, and how far you can go with it.
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.
First thing is understanding your goals and objectives, knowledge of your market and then define what do you need to achieve those goal (funding, Team). I have done it many times for all sizes of businesses.
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.
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.
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.