When it comes to buying a business, a good business plan is crucial. It’s an invaluable guide to listing your objectives and aims in detail. It’s a good source for information and analysis of your aims, targets, customers and prospects. All in all, it’s a great resource to refer back to time and time again. By setting up the business plan, you will have a better chance of success because you have listed everything down in your head on paper.
The vendor of the available business will need to see this in order to ascertain whether you are right to buy. It will demonstrate whether you have the correct business acumen required and whether you are serious about the business. It will also be useful when it comes to the financial side of things, but more on this in a minute.
By making a business plan, you can pick out any potential flaws that might hinder you. It’s a good chance to find any problems or issues that may arise, and then deal with them accordingly before you get caught up in the business. Also, outside parties can cast a fresh eye over the plan, and may pick out something that you may not have spotted.
It’s also important to show the business plan to the vendor or bank manager. If your business needs financing at the beginning, then you need to turn to one of these sources for financial assistance. With that in mind, you need to produce a detailed business plan that shows that your business is credible and also has potential for making money. Not only does the plan prove that you are serious about the business, it also shows that you have a sound business mind and a good grasp of what needs to be done in order to achieve good profits.
So what should you include in your business plan? Well, at the start, it should list the concept of the business. What is the business all about? What are its aims? What sort of returns do you aim to get?
With regard to the aims, you should set these out in bullet point form and alongside these, list sound, realistic ways of achieving them. It’s also worth noting any potential problems that may come your way, and producing effective solutions to combat these. Not only will you be prepared for these problems, the vendor or bank manager will see that you can deal with any pitfalls.
On the subject of finance, you need to produce realistic financial details. How much money will the business require? What are the expenses required? How much tax will you need to pay? What are the profit margins? Do you stand a good chance of achieving these sums, and how? Finance plans should include income statements, cash-flow statements, balance sheets and profit analysis. This should form a big part of your business plan, in order to convince the vendor or bank manager of your credibility.
You should also be aware of what NOT to put in your business plan. The issue of future forecasts is a contentious one. While it’s all very well attempting to make future forecasts, it’s difficult to predict too far ahead. What you need is to look to the short-term future and then produce your plan accordingly. As the business plan then continues, you can modify the content as and when it’s necessary. Long-term planning, however, will only prove to be a pointless exercise.
Another point of contention is how optimistic you should make your business plan. The problem with making over-optimistic predictions and plans is that these plans could well go wrong. Unforeseen circumstances can always put a spanner in the works. Therefore, it’s wise to err on the side of caution when it comes to devising your business plan. Indeed, it’s wise to predict conservatively and prudently when it comes to assessing the possibilities of future targets, sales and profits. A worst-case scenario will always prove to be less of a shock than one that raises expectations too high.
Another point to bear in mind is that you need to keep the business plan relatively simple. Don’t use fancy business jargon or clichés, since this will only cloud the important issues. In particular, if you are presenting the plan to a vendor or bank manager, you will need to keep the plan on point and free of over-fussy language and business speak. Present the facts in a concise, straightforward manner, and this will result in a plan that’s both accessible and plausible.
On average, a good business plan will be about 15 to 20 pages. Keep it concise but detailed. A good business plan will pay dividends both in the short and long terms. An investor and/or bank manager will see this and if the plan holds up well, then this will bring you the business that you seek. And from a personal point of view, a great business plan is something that you can return to time and again as a good reference point – something that you can draw upon in the future.