Structure of a Business Plan
The very first formal step you need to take before deciding to start a new venture or diversify into a new line of business, is to define your vision and mission, followed by the goals. At this stage you are assessing the innovation content in the products and/or services you want to get into, and justifying why you zeroed in on this. Obviously, the product-service mix you want to get into is itself driven by your vision, mission and goals.
Having decided on the product-service mix, you are now ready for answering the question on how to write a business plan. Your next steps in this process will include market research and competition analysis, in order to determine the demand for your mix, and what strategies your competitors have adopted. This brings you to the business model for your own plan. The business model you adopt will determine the classic Product-Promotion-Price-Place mix (the 4 P’s of Marketing), which will then lead to your marketing plan along with the revenue forecasts, the sales manpower plan and the promotion plan necessary to achieve the revenue forecast.
The next two elements in the business plan structure include the manpower plan, which will define your management team and the other support staff required. Putting all these together, you will also then need to define what assets you will invest in to start with, and how you will augment those assets – the capital expenditure Plan. Once you have gone through all these above steps, you are now ready to superimpose the administrative and general expenses, and on that basis prepare the financial projections which should include, ideally a 3-year projected profit & loss statement, balance sheet, and the cash flow statements.