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Writing a Business Plan in Today’s Uncertain Times

by Olufisayo
Writing a Business Plan

Are you looking to start a new business? If so, as you probably know, you need to start with a business plan.

Dave Lavinsky, President of Growthink, has been writing business plans since 1999. He’s written plans during uncertain economic times like after 9/11, during the credit crisis, and most recently during the COVID pandemic.

According to Lavinsky, “many great businesses are started during challenging times. Importantly, because it takes time to launch your venture, oftentimes the actual launch date comes after the challenging time passes.” So, he says, “start your planning now so that when things return to normal, you’re ready to go.”

The key to a successful business plan is to make sure you complete each of the parts of a business plan (included below) and answer the question of “why are you uniquely qualified to succeed.” By figuring out why you are uniquely qualified or how you will become uniquely qualified, you can create a successful, lasting business.

The 10 key sections you must include in your plan are as follows:

       
  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Overview
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Customer Analysis
  5. Competitive Analysis
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Operations Plan
  8. Management Team
  9. Financial Plan
  10. Appendix

Research is also very important in developing your plan. For example, it’s important to understand how large your market size is to ensure it’s big enough to support your growth. Competitive analysis is important in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and ensuring you can create competitive advantage. And performing customer research is key to really understanding your target market and their wants and needs. The more you understand your customers, the better you will be able to attract them and the more cost-effective your marketing efforts will be.

Also, when developing your business plan, be sure to think about the best possible strategies within each section. For example, in your Industry Analysis section, think about if your strategy is in line with any industry trends.

In your Customer Analysis section, make sure you identify your customers’ wants and needs, and that your products and services truly satisfy them. In your Competitive Analysis section, think about whether you have, or how you can build, competitive advantage.

In your Marketing Plan, strategize the best promotional strategies to use to cost-effectively reach your customers. In your Operations Plan, think through the best ways to deliver your products and services; how can you offer better customer service and quality at a lower cost?

And in your Management Team section, determine who, if anyone, you’ll need to hire to effectively execute on your business plan. And think about what the ideal qualifications of such hires are and where you can find them.

       

The bottom line is that if you have a good business idea, now’s the time to start working on your plan so you can launch now or when the pandemic is over. So, do your research, strategize, and then document and execute on your winning business plan.

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

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