After you have put in the time to understand the BOP theory and community, you can start to think about how you can create a business-based solution to meet one of the community’s unmet needs or unleash its untapped potential. The result of this analytical process will be your business plan, in which you can record your idea as well as specific plans on how to act on that idea.
A business plan serves as a road map for your team, investors, and partners to follow as you grow your enterprise. By crafting and then continually referring back to a business plan, you can ensure that day-to-day decisions are aligned with your organization’s mission and achieve your desired result. In other words, a business plan describes what your business is, where you want to be, and how you will get there.
Furthermore, a business plan serves as a fundraising tool as you approach different investors, corporations, individuals for support and resources. A solid, realistic business plan demonstrates your capacity as an entrepreneur and the potential value and success your business can offer.
Some key components in the business plan include:
- Executive summary
This 2-page summary is your 30-second selling pitch that attracts your audience to read more. Within the first few lines, describe your product and/or services, your unique value proposition, how revenue will be generated, and why customers would be willing to pay for your product or service. Within these 2 pages, persuade your audience why your business will succeed.
- Company Overview
This overview presents the identity of your business – your mission statement, vision, and company objectives. Provide your audience a strategic overview that demonstrates your company’s ability to turn vision into action: What is your business’ core competency? What does your business model look like? Do you have a strategic plan? Any existing strategic relations that you can include can further strengthen your business case.
- Service and Product Line
So what is it exactly are you selling? Here is where you talk about the product or service that you are offering to your users. Describe the benefits of your product—how it will fulfill your customers’ needs and therefore improve their quality of life. Be sure to also include information about your product or service’s life cycle, manufacturing process, and suppliers. If you expect to develop any new product lines in the future, make sure you include information on those as well.
- Market analysis
This section details the market segment your enterprise will target. Provide supporting evidence to illustrate the market opportunity you want to capture: How big is your target market? How much market share can you gain? What is your pricing structure? No market is risk-free, so take the time to analyze market threats and your competitors. Address key questions such as, what is my unique selling proposition? How can I win against my competitors?
- Implementation strategy
After painting the big picture, it is time to provide some specific details on implementation. What marketing and sales strategy will you employ to reach your target market and influence them to buy your product or service? How do you make your product or service accessible to your consumers? What promotion tactics work best with your target consumers? In this section, include a sales forecast or other measurable targets. These quantifiable goals are important as they will guide your daily options and alert you if adjustments are necessary.
- Management Team
Next, introduce the people behind your business. Your team’s talents, experiences, and knowledge affect day-to-day business decisions and contribute significantly to the success of the business. Hence, a concise and powerful description of who they are, their qualifications, their roles and responsibilities, and their passion for the business proves that your team is poised to succeed.
- Financial projection
Finally, a financial projection answers the burning question: How much money can your business make? Include here projected profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the next three years. In addition, you should provide a break-even analysis to demonstrate how much revenue you need to cover your initial investment.
The collection of such a large amount of information can seem overwhelming at first. Break it down step by step, and take your time. You do not need to write the business plan in the order as described above, but rather you should piece it together in the order that fits your own logic and process. We recommend that you start with describing your product or service, then conduct your market analysis to ensure you have addressed the market threats and competition. Then, take the time to develop your business identity because it is how you display the heart and soul of your business. Once you’ve got all the big pieces, move on to work on the details—the implementation strategy, management team, financial projection, etc. Compose your executive summary after you have put all the other pieces in place.
For more information, check out the YESxBOP Library Resource Bank.