The business plan, also called business plan, is an essential tool for the creation of a business project. It is a document in which the business opportunity has to be identified, described and investigated; Analyze the economic, technical, market and financial feasibility of the same, plan the planned financial and commercial strategy and detail the first steps that will be necessary to start the business. Its time horizon is normally between 3 and 5 years.
The business plan should be done in an objective way, reflecting both the strong and weak aspects of the project, and trying to express as best as possible the business idea of its promoters. Its presentation should be clear and attractive, and in its structuring it must be flexible to adapt to the characteristics of each company. For this, there is a wide variety of formats for the elaboration of a business plan. In general, the standard script to follow is as follows:
Description of the general characteristics of the business project. It is about presenting the idea and defining the mission of the company. In this first stage the project will be defined, including the products or services that can be offered, the market scope and the singularities of the company, as well as the motivations and expectations of the promoter team.
Know the environment, the scenario in which entrepreneurs are going to act, the market and the competition to find out the real possibilities of the company and determine the viability of the project. This analysis of the external situation must be made from the most generic, general environment of the company, to the closest to it, through a sector analysis that determines the competitive situation of the company in it:
- Macro-environment: socio-economic, cultural context, legislation, trends, target population, cultural preferences, technological, etc.
- Micro-environment: analysis of the sector in which the activity is to be developed, barriers to entry and exit, target public, potential suppliers, competition, potential partners, distribution channels, bargaining power, substitute products, etc.
Analyze the capacities of the entrepreneurial team to cover the identified market gap. This stage is an internal reflection to identify the strengths of entrepreneurship. It should be a critical analysis and focused on the weaknesses of the project to determine the limits of the company's ability to achieve its objectives. Internal factors can be divided into functional areas, for example: production, marketing, organization and personnel, finance and accounting.
It is the balance of the situation as a whole that results from the external and internal analysis carried out. Its objective is to help us to outline the basic lines of action and the strategic objectives of entrepreneurship and is to analyze the weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats involved in the implementation of the project.
The DAFO analysis is an instrument of business management that in a summary way allows us to have a very clear and quick idea about the internal situation of the business project and the environment in which we will develop our activity. The opportunities and threats correspond to external situations of the company and that affect all the companies of the sector of activity. Strengths and weaknesses are internal characteristics of the business project.
A complementary analysis to the DAFO is to establish the key factors of success in the sector and to assess to what extent the business project has these critical factors. In addition, strategic alternatives that can be put in place to seize opportunities, strengthen strengths, correct weaknesses and face the threats presented should be considered.
- Strategic lines and objectives.
It corresponds to the decision making based on the conclusions drawn from the SWOT and is based on an estimate of income, costs and expenses. It is about adopting a set of decisions for the company, which will be translated into actions, clear and concrete, quantified with a time horizon of several years and establishing action plans against possible contingencies.
- Plans of action.
It is the tactical and operational planning that will allow us to reach the planned goals. The action plan will be divided into the plans of each of the functional areas and should be considered comprehensively. Among these action plans the most common are:
- Marketing Plan: The objective is to define the best strategy to reach the customer and position ourselves in the market. In order to achieve this, clear and precise objectives must be established and an appropriate action plan designed to achieve them. It can be structured on the basis of the following points:
- Market: description of its size, operation, segments and characteristics of the same.
- Product / Service: definition of the basic product of the company and its main characteristics, physical and services.
- Price: definition of the price policy of the company and the system of determination of the same based on variables such as cost, profit margins, how much the customer would be willing to pay, what the competition offers, etc.
- Description of the collection system to be used by the company.
- Distribution: choosing the channel from variables such as cost, quality, performance, limitations.
- Business strategy and communication plan: set communication objectives, design the message and choose the most appropriate media and media. Among them, sales promotion, discounts, after-sales service and guarantee, presence in social media, etc.
- Operational Plan: specify how the company is going to create your products or services and what you need for it. Between these:
- Development of the product or service: technical description of the product or service and its essential characteristics and explanation of how it will develop.
- Manufacture of products and services.
- Material resources: facilities, machinery or necessary equipment, materials and other assets.
- Human resources: personnel needs, both quantitative and qualitative (profiles required, description of functions, internal organization, etc.)
- Quality control plans.
- Productive capacity of the company.
- Legal, Fiscal and Labor Plan: to establish the concrete legal form that the company will adopt to develop its activity and define the fiscal regime of the company. The basic characteristics of the main contracts and agreements to be signed should also be studied.
- Organization and Human Resources Plan: The internal organization of the business project is one of the key factors in determining the success of the project. It is important to cover the shortcomings of the promoting team by incorporating personnel with a different profile to compensate for these deficiencies (eg managers with managers, administrative profiles, etc.). It is necessary to define the staffing and profiles of the personnel of each area of the company; The salary policy to be adopted from the outset; etc.
- ICT Plan and presence on the Internet: determine the needs of infrastructure hardware, software, communications and presence on the Internet.
- Economic-Financial Plan: Based on the needs identified above, it is a question of calculating credible estimates that reflect the forecasts of financial results and that approximately determine the financial viability of the project. These estimates are expressed in:
- Investment plan: investments in fixed and current assets.
- Financing plan: own funds, other resources, subsidies or aid.
- Accounting amortization plan for the first years of activity.
- Profit and loss accounts.
- Cash flow or cash flow.
To determine the activities with the highest priority and the date on which they are expected to happen, as well as the person responsible for each activity.
Highlight the most important results to start the project. On the Internet there are multiple tools to develop a good business plan. However, it is essential to have support and advice from the outset. Access to experts with extensive professional experience allows clearing important doubts on specific issues (sources of funding, administrative procedures, intellectual property, communication skills, etc.) and also begin to establish professional contacts.
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