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Writing a business plan

How to start a business plan

❶Keep your business plan realistic. Name and describe the key members on your team.

Next steps: Watch Foundations of Business Planning Webinar

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What to include in a business plan?

It needs to be fluid and flexible, reviewed and revised at regular intervals throughout the year. You can take a side trip or take a different route. But it helps to have something with a destination, to keep you focussed on the goals ahead. This 20 minute webinar will showcase the difference that a business plan could make for your business, and will guide you on how to develop and maintain your plan.

This information is general only and does not constitute any recommendation or advice. It is current at the time of publication, and is subject to change. It has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs.

Because of this you should, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to these matters. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this document, including when considering the finance options for your business.

Skip to main content Skip to main navigation. Business Solutions Starting a business What do I need to start? Writing a business plan. What should be in your business plan? Some key points to focus on are: The Business Outline what your core business will be. The Market Defining your market is important to help focus your marketing strategies.

Are you looking to focus on your area, region, Australia-wide or go international? Consider your products and services closely. What is the benefit you are selling? What makes you stand out in the market? How are you going to promote your business? Who is your target market? Where your customers and much do you know about them? SWOT Analysis — this is where you look at the Strengths and Weaknesses internal to your business and the Opportunities and Threats coming from outside of your business.

Your competitors — who are they and how are they performing? Advertising and sales — what marketing strategies are you going to use? What is your budget for this and how will you measure their success? How are customers going to find you? Consider short and long term strategies and options. The Future Vision and mission statements what you stand for - these will help you and your company stay focussed within its market boundaries and not spread itself too thin. For some businesses, equipment might be as basic as a computers and photocopiers, while for other types of businesses such as restaurants or hair salons, it may include a longer list of items such as stoves and kitchen essentials or hairstyling and barber chairs.

What will your normal trading hours be like? What are the expected peak trading times? An online store would likely be able to trade at all hours, whereas a brick and mortar store might operate from 9 to 5. How will customers be able to contact you when they need assistance or have a complaint? Some options include email, telephone, in store or through hour chat support. What payment types will you accept? Cash, credit card, debit card, cheques, PayPal?

Will customers have the option of paying in instalments? How will you ensure a consistently high standard of products or services? Who will be in charge of quality control? What procedures will be put in place? You should include two types of expenses in your financial plan; one-time start-up costs and regular monthly expenses. One-time start-up costs may include things like your business license and equipment, while regular monthly expenses include things such as salaries, stock replenishment and marketing.

For more information on start-up costing, cash flow statements and financial calculators, check out the downloadable financial templates available at Business. With this in mind, Open Colleges trainer and consultant David Lang has shared some insights on how to use business plan templates and where to get personalised business advice.

David Lang explains that while a template can certainly be useful when writing a business plan, there are a few things that need to be addressed before you get started. When considering what you are going to offer the marketplace you are entering, Lang says the following questions can be a good place to start.

No longer is your business concept an idea in your head or spoken words floating off to the ether; the visions and expectations are documented clearly and concisely as a working concept.

Since you need to be careful about your expenditure early on, Lang suggests looking for free sources of information when you first start putting your plan together. Talking with state and local government agencies that offer advice and guidance for establishing a business can also be a good idea. This gives you access to valuable industry insights, advice and support, and professional services are often offered at a subsidised rate. Even your trusted friends can be a good source of advice.

So here are a few final considerations. Research shows that visuals can improve comprehension, transmit messages faster, and are more likely to stick in our long term memory than written information. In fact, one study found that after three days, 65 percent of visual information was retained compared to just 20 percent of written information. So not only will visuals make your business plan more memorable, but graphs, charts, sketches and photos will also help you avoid lengthy descriptions and get your point across much faster.

For instance, rather than describing the type of food you plan to serve in your restaurant, you could include a menu, and instead of explaining how your product works, you could include a series of images showing what it does.

The market is constantly changing, so your business plan should too. A well thought out business plan is an essential part of being prepared to head into the world of commerce. By downloading this guide you agree to receive the latest careers tips and blog posts from Open Colleges. Here are some of the initial steps to take when writing your business plan. Title page The title page is the first page of your business plan and should include the following: Here are some of the points you may want to include: Relevant owner experience What qualifies you to run this business?

Products or services What services or products will you provide? What is the anticipated demand? Vision statement What are your plans for the future? What are your goals and objectives? Market summary Who are your customers? Finances What is your sales forecast? Business description Along with a brief vision statement that outlines the purpose of your business and what your goals are, this section will provide details about the history, structure and location of your business.

Products and services This section will look at the products and services you intend to provide and should address the following questions: Are your products or services a luxury or necessity? What qualifies you to provide these products or services? Who will your suppliers be? Market analysis The market analysis section is one of the most important parts of your business plan as it will help you gain a better understanding of your industry.

Your marketing plan should include: Your objectives What are your business objectives? A distribution plan How will your customers buy your products? A pricing and positioning strategy How do you want to position yourself in the industry and how will your pricing support this position? Key marketing strategies What strategies will you employ to reach your objectives? Your proposed budget How much of your total budget will you spend on marketing your product or service?

A timeline and schedule What objectives will you aim to reach within the next six months or one year? Management team This section looks at how your business or will be or is currently being managed. Operations The operations section of your business plan will deal with the materials, facilities and processes that are necessary for the running of your business.

Suppliers Who are your main suppliers? Equipment What equipment will you need to get the job done? Trading hours What will your normal trading hours be like? Communications How will customers be able to contact you when they need assistance or have a complaint? Payment and credit policies What payment types will you accept? Quality control How will you ensure a consistently high standard of products or services?

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Tips on how to write a business plan for your new or existing business. Learn about what you need to include to make it as useful as possible. We acknowledge the traditional owners of the country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to them and their cultures and to the elders.

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Write a business plan You might also be interested in. Business planning is essential for the success of any business. A business plan provides direction, keeps you on track and is usually a requirement when you seek melbourne.

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