Objective of the business plan
It is always important to start-off your business plan with the objective of the proposal, i.e. what is the end goal for both parties – your business and the stakeholder. If it is your customer, your objective can be to provide top quality service to the customer. If the stakeholder you are targeting is your investors, your objective can be to provide the best returns on investment to them. The key here is to let your stakeholders know why they should continue reading your business plan and what is in it for them.
When planning your business objectives, always make sure that these objectives are SMART – specific, measureable, actionable, relevant and time-bound. This will allow you to set goals and targets that are not overly ambitious and less achievable.
Market Data and Analysis
By obtaining and analysing data relevant to your business, you will be able to support the points put forward in your business proposal. This further provides evidence to your stakeholders that you have done sufficient research to understand their objectives and understand the key focus to achieve these objectives. Market data and analysis also provides a basis for you to support your business’ key financial information and show why you have an advantage over other market players.
Together with market analysis, you should also perform further research on what your competitors are doing and how you can perform better than they can. These could be strong points to validate your business strengths and key strategies.
Key Financial Information
Under this section, you would want to present your Company’s latest financial results, key ratios and plans for the future. Readers of your business plan will usually look at the main financial information like profitability, revenue, outstanding loan balances, current cash flows and forecasted cash flow or financial results, before going into other ratios and statistics. Hence, it would be good to highlight these key financial data and do a simple analysis on these numbers. This will help stakeholders better understand your business and whether it is in line with the objectives of the business plan.
In some business proposals, we observe that companies refrain from disclosing certain financial data or information, especially when these data or information reflects badly on the Company. Please keep in mind that your stakeholders always have the ability to perform further due diligence on your Company, hence it is always good to be straightforward and upcoming in your business proposal and show all financial data, good or bad. Stakeholders will understand that no one Company is perfect and it is up to them if the adverse data or information will affect their potential partnership with your business.
Unique Selling Point
As mentioned above, using market data can allow you to derive the unique selling point of your business, or your key competencies. You will want to further build on these points and analyse how your company will differentiate itself from competitors and provide better value to the stakeholders. For example, for customers, you would want to talk about lower costs and hence lower prices, which will be beneficial for both you and the customers. As for lenders, you can derive the expected return on investment. With a rate of return that is better compared to other companies in the same industry, you will definitely be able to secure funding from parties who are looking to enter the particular market segment.
Lastly, you should have a summary that highlights the key points of your business plan. An executive summary should only be one or two pages long and is what you want stakeholders to know about your business without going through the full and detailed proposal. The executive summary should include the following: objectives of the plan/proposal, key financial data relevant to the stakeholder that can help with their decision-making, key points on why they
should support your business and a conclusion. It is up to you to decide where to insert this executive summary – either at the front or back of the business proposal.
A business plan might seem complicated as first, but it is part and parcel of all businesses, especially in today’s corporate world. After preparing several rounds of proposals, you will get the hang of it. Even though your business plan must be specifically tailored to each stakeholder, most of the contents are similar across the different stakeholders. We hope this article has helped you understand how to write a better business plan or proposal.
If you need further assistance preparing business proposals, feel free to contact Rockwell Global Solution and our consultants will be in touch.
Published by : Leanne Chong - Marketing Counselor of Rockwell Global Solution
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