Subdivide the business plan into 14 sections:
- Executive summary;
- Owners (and/or implementation team);
- SWOT analysis;
- Business preparation process;
- Marketing strategy;
- Resources required;
This article looks at the first six sections:
This should be no longer than two pages and should briefly, but clearly, state what you want to do. This will determine whether the reader goes on to read the complete document.
A summary of the enterprise, its history and its position in the marketplace. The summary must comprise the following:
- Business overview. Where is the enterprise situated or where do you plan to establish it? What are you currently doing and what are you planning to do?
- Vision and mission. The vision is your ‘dream’, your goal. The mission is how you intend to do it.
- Objectives/goals. The production and/or financial objectives specific to the enterprise. There must be no more than five objectives, each complying with the SMART principles (see panel). An objective should be specific, such as growing the client base to 600 by 2019.
S – Specific: An objective must be specific. State what it is what you want to achieve.
M – Measurable: You must be able to measure the objective, otherwise, it is impossible to identify what you have achieved.
A – Achievable: Consider the available or potential resources you need to achieve your objective.
R – Realistic: Do not set unrealistic objectives that you will be unable to achieve. Make sure that your reader can clearly understand your objectives.
T – Timeframe: How long will it take to achieve your objectives?
Note: Each objective should be linked to an expected outcome (for example, how much), and must be thought through thoroughly. It should be in line with what you want to achieve and what you say in the rest of your business plan. Refer back to your vision. Will the objectives have an outcome that will match it?
What form of business will it be? A company, partnership, co-operative or joint venture? Identify everybody involved, as well as those who will help you implement the business plan.
Outline and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your enterprise, the opportunities it has, and threats that it faces. Include ways to build on the positive issues and address the negative issues.
A risk is defined as a factor causing a deviation from the expected outcome. Focus on the different risks involved in starting and then growing the enterprise. Identify and state which are acceptable, as well as those that can be reduced and how to go about reducing them.
The success of the enterprise may depend on specific external circumstances or events. If you think such an event is likely to happen, it would be an assumption. The assumptions must be realistic and relevant to your environment and enterprise.
Source: Directorate Co-operative and Enterprise Development, department of agriculture.