What is a business plan?
A business plan is a written document detailing how a business, most commonly a new business will attain its objectives. It outlines a course of action from a marketing, financial and operational perspective.
A business plan can also be created for an existing business that is changing its focus and direction. What many people forget is that a business plan is vital for running a business and should therefore be used by existing businesses too. Existing businesses should prepare, maintain and update their business plans to reflect changes in the marketplace and possible opportunities to be considered.
A useful metaphor is that of a road map, as a business plan is a guide that illustrates a company’s goals and objectives and details how the company intends to achieve them. In the most basic terms, a business plan explains how your business functions and how you will ensure it succeeds.
However, it is understandable why many people approach the writing of a business plan with immense trepidation and anxiety. After all, it’s a very important document and often makes the difference between securing finance and being refused financing.
It is for this reason that the Lawn Business Success Course is one of the most vital tools to help you actualize your dreams and make your intentions a reality. The course discusses strategy, business practices, financials, marketing, planning, everything that one requires in order to create the ideal business plan for their lawn care business.
A successful business plan begins with an executive summary followed by a detailed description of the business, its products and or services and explains how the business aims to reach its objectives. An analysis of the specific industry should be incorporated into the business plan, as well as how it will differentiate itself from existing and potential competitors, furthered outlined in the marketing plan section.
Lawn Marketing 101 that comes with the Lawn Business Success Course will provide you with all the information to include in your marketing plan, like marketing strategies, analysis, target market & many other crucial components.
Financial projections relating to the business are essential components of a business plan. These financial statements are often referred to as ‘pro-formas’.
They incorporate the overall budget, current financing, projected financing, market analysis and comprehensive marketing strategy and plan. The business owner forecasts revenues and expenses for a given period of time and outlines the operational activity and costs associated with the business.
Why do you need a business plan?
The purpose of a business plan is to illustrate to owners a realistic depiction of possible costs and negative aspects of particular business decisions in order for them to be able to amend aspects before executing these initiatives. It also provides owners with a clear directive as to the type of financing necessary to establish the business and make it operational.
For a new business the need for a business plan becomes evident immediately. Questions such as how much money is necessary? When will this money be required? What are the projected sales, costs, expenses that the business will incur? The business plan outlines what the company is going to do, how it will attain its objectives and why the business owners are the correct people to actualize the vision.
Investors, banks and lending institutions expect to see a sound business plan before considering investing in or lending money for a new business. It’s a common notion that investors invest in people, not merely ideas.
It is for this reason that the business plan incorporates information pertaining to the person/people responsible for the business. It is recommended to include biographies of the key people and how their background, experience and knowledge will help to make the company successful.
Format and length of a business plan
The number of pages that appear in a business plan can be approximated between 15 and 20 pages. However, it’s important to remember that each business plan is different, as each business is different, so the exact length of the business plan will fluctuate.
Supporting documents and more evidentiary materials should be referenced and included in the appendices instead of being placed in the main section of the business plan. Points of difference that distinguish the business should be emphasized and utilized in order to attract financing.
A business plan is a living and evolving document, so as the business develops and evolves, so should the business plan. Reviewing the business plan and maintaining a critical eye ensures that the business owner remains pragmatic and can accurately assess the company’s progress and when necessary shortcomings too.
A business plan should address additional details about the organization and legal requirements of your business. To run your business legally, there are certain federal and state licenses and permits you will need to obtain. Additionally, insurance is another aspect that needs to be addressed, in order to protect your business and employees.
When writing your plan, you will need to address legal issues such as who will actually run the business, how it will be organized, what its structure will be. (For example, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation). The US Small Business Administration website has a great section on choosing the appropriate structure for your business.
The Lawn Company Secrets Revealed, is an invaluable tool that will provide you with countless tips on how to structure your business plan and include specific facts that only people in the lawn care business can share.
The business plan should be divided into the following sections:
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Market Analysis
- Products and Services
- Target Market
- Marketing & Sales Plan
- Milestones and Metrics
- Management Team
- Financial Plan
- Financing request