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January 2010 Archives

So, you have a solid idea for a business and you are wondering how to turn it into a real business.

Try following these steps:

  1. Clarify your business idea in terms of what you will offer customers. See getting new business ideas.

  2. Conduct market analysis and research (desk and/or field). See profiling target markets.

  3. Refine your business idea and flesh it out so that you can prepare a relatively comprehensive description and market positioning statement (as regards price, features etc.). See product/service descriptions.

  4. Compile a short strategic plan to give you an overview of your idea from a "total" business perspective. See developing a strategic plan and online strategic planner.

  5. Write a business plan with projections AND include an action plan. This plan can range from an eight-page informal document (for your eyes only) to a 40-plan comprehensive plan (for raising external finance etc.). See how to write a business plan and get insights into a business plan. For projections, look into using financial projection software

  6. Use your plans to help mobilise resources. These could cover pilot operations, raising finance, prototyping, R&D, creating networks, recruiting staff, locating premises/equipment and so on.

  7. Update your business plan and related action plan (especially if #6 takes time).

  8. Start executing your business and action plans.

  9. Revise your action plan and key financial projections (especially short/medium term cashflow forecasts) in light of initial results.

 

 

Length of a Business Plan

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What is the ideal page length of a business plan? Well, what is the length of a piece of string? The answer really depends on the purpose and scope of the plan - are we talking about a basic or comprehensive plan.

Analysis of findings from an ongoing survey about business plans by PlanWare indicates that the main parts (i.e. the body of plan excluding appendices etc.) of many basic plans are under ten pages long whereas comprehensive plans are often 10-25 pages long. More specifically, the analysis found that almost half of all comprehensive plans were at least 26 pages long as compared with just one-tenth of basic plans (see Fig 3 below).

image003

When budgeting your plan's length, go for the shortest possible plan consistent with your business's scale, objective of the plan etc. - aim for quality rather than quantity! Bear in mind that the overall length of the plan is likely to increase as writing progresses. If your plan gets too long, do some ruthless editing and redrafting. If it is any consolation, it should be much easier to shorten a long plan than to lengthen a short one!

Based on the suggested section lengths in our Business Plan Guide, the length of a comprehensive plan could range between 27 to 47 pages (excluding cover, contents list and appendices). This works out at a minimum of about two pages for each main section within the plan. Obviously, this length should be scaled back to about ten pages or so for a new or established business (of almost any size) preparing a basic plan by excluding sections and scaling back the length of remaining sections.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2009 is the previous archive.

February 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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Financial
Projection
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