A business plan is essential for every entrepreneur and is the mainstay to the success of a business. A business plan is a roadmap of how a particular business wants to achieve its goals, and should include its operational, financial and marketing strategies.

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A good business plan should answer the following questions:
  • What type of business do I want to run - will I be selling products, services, or both?
  • What products or services will I be selling?
  • Will the business be manufacturing products or buying them from a manufacturer?
  • Will I be in business by myself or in a partnership?
  • How will the business be funded?
  • What market will the business be serving - in other words, who are my customers?
  • Who are my competitors and how will I overcome competition to succeed?
You can use a standard format to draft a business plan:
  • Business details - include the name of the business and/or trading name as well as the physical address
  • Business overview - describe what your business is all about
  • Business operations - state what you sell as well as how and who you will sell to
  • Business environment - describe factors that will impact  your business, like; sales, customers and debtors
  • Sales and customers - describe in detail your sales projections, the number of customers you want to attract and their locations
  • Debtors - state how you will deal with customers when it comes to credit
  • Creditors/Suppliers - describe how you will relate with suppliers when it comes to payment and deliveries
  • Competitors - identify your key competitors and describe your competitive advantage over them
  • Financial review - for a start-up this may not apply but for established businesses include your financial reports, your business’s current financial position and your financial plans going forward

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