Even if you have already applied the business model canvas or similar methods in order to formulate your business model – it is still worth the effort to scrutinize the business plan. The business plan actually serves several purposes at once when you set up a company.
The business plan is intended to help you sum up your vision in concrete terms and define your company’s direction. If you know where you are heading, it is easier to estimate what it will take to get there. Include your goals for the next three to five years in the business plan. This also gives investors an idea of the company’s prospects.
The business plan is based on facts and figures. Its objective is to examine the commercial potential and outline the means by which the business idea is to be implemented. Always revisit and question your assumptions and numbers. First and foremost, the business plan is intended as a basis for investors and potential business partners to decide in favour of a commitment or not.
Even if you have already subjected your business model to an opportunities and risks analysis, you should do the same with your business plan. A business plan without a detailed breakdown of potential risks will come across as implausible. Forming a general picture of the risks and opportunities of a company is a particular priority for investors – and these are the people you need to convince.
The business plan is anything but a rigid instrument. Especially in the initial phase, things can get turbulent. Clinging firmly to a defined 5-year plan would certainly not produce the desired results. You should think of your business plan more as a control mechanism that allows you to scrutinize existing objectives and directions and adapt them to changing circumstances. This ensures that current investors are also informed about any changes in direction. You can also use an updated business plan to win over new investors as this will clearly show that you are continually responding to developments affecting your company.
More tips plus a template for drawing up a business plan are available on the Swiss government SME portal.