Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business. If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, this guide on how to write a business plan is a good place to start.
You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan. Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.
Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis. On the other hand, it is better to avoid too much detail.
The style of your business writing is also of great importance. It should be formal, demonstrate your awareness, confidence, and authority. Each business plan is unique, so any recommendations and guidelines turn out to be not very helpful. Besides, it also depends on your experience. One should spend years to learn all the secrets and peculiarities of business plan writing. Successful entrepreneurs know that in most cases it is wiser to take an advantage of professional business plan writing services.
The most important thing is to find a really high-quality service which you can rely on. Get Business plan writing help and reach your goals You may wonder: Who can write my academic business plan for me? If you need a really good business plan, use our professional business plan writing service. Here you can find real business consultants who will provide you with a reliable assistance at any time. What are they trying to achieve? What marketing strategies do they use? Look at their advertising, public relations, etc.
How can you take market share away from their business? How will they respond when you enter the market? While these questions may seem like a lot of work to answer, in reality the process should be fairly easy. You should already have a feel for the competition's strengths and weaknesses To gather information, you can also: Check out their websites and marketing materials. Most of the information you need about products, services, prices, and company objectives should be readily available.
If that information is not available, you may have identified a weakness. Visit their locations. Take a look around. Check out sales materials and promotional literature. Have friends stop in or call to ask for information. Evaluate their marketing and advertising campaigns. How a company advertises creates a great opportunity to uncover the objectives and strategies of that business. Advertising should help you quickly determine how a company positions itself, who it markets to, and what strategies it employs to reach potential customers.
Search the Internet for news, public relations, and other mentions of your competition. Search blogs and Twitter feeds as well as review and recommendation sites. While most of the information you find will be anecdotal and based on the opinion of just a few people, you may at least get a sense of how some consumers perceive your competition.
Plus you may also get advance warning about expansion plans, new markets they intend to enter, or changes in management. Keep in mind competitive analysis does more than help you understand your competition. Learn from competitor strengths, take advantage of competitor's weaknesses, and apply the same analysis to your own business plan.
You might be surprised by what you can learn about your business by evaluating other businesses. For starters, regularly search for news on your industry, your products, your services, and your target market. But there are other ways to predict when competition may follow you into a market. Other people may see the same opportunity you see. Think about your business and your industry, and if the following conditions exist, you may face competition does the road: The industry enjoys relatively high profit margins Entering the market is relatively easy and inexpensive The market is growing--the more rapidly it is growing the greater the risk of competition Supply and demand is off--supply is low and demand is high Very little competition exists, so there is plenty of "room" for others to enter the market In general terms, if serving your market seems easy you can safely assume competitors will enter your market.
A good business plan anticipates and accounts for new competitors. Now distill what you've learned by answering these questions in your business plan: Who are my current competitors? What is their market share? How successful are they? What market do current competitors target? Do they focus on a specific customer type, on serving the mass market, or on a particular niche? Are competing businesses growing or scaling back their operations?
What does that mean for your business? How will your company be different from the competition? What competitor weaknesses can you exploit? What competitor strengths will you need to overcome to be successful? What will you do if competitors drop out of the marketplace? What will you do to take advantage of the opportunity? What will you do if new competitors enter the marketplace? How will you react to and overcome new challenges? Our next closest competitor is located over miles away.
The in-town bike shops will be strong competitors. They are established businesses with excellent reputations. On the other hand, they offer inferior-quality equipment and their location is significantly less convenient.
Secondary Competitors We do not plan to sell bicycles for at least the first two years of operation. However, sellers of new equipment do indirectly compete with our business since a customer who buys equipment no longer needs to rent equipment. Later, when we add new equipment sales to our operation, we will face competition from online retailers.
We will compete with new equipment retailers through personalized service and targeted marketing to our existing customer base, especially through online initiatives. Opportunities By offering mid- to high-end quality equipment, we provide customers the opportunity to "try out" bikes they may wish to purchase at a later date, providing additional incentive besides cost savings to use our service. Offering drive-up, express rental return services will be seen as a much more attractive option compared to the hassle of renting bikes in Harrisonburg and transporting them to intended take-off points for rides.
Online initiatives like online renewals and online reservations enhances customer convenience and positions us as a cutting-edge supplier in a market largely populated, especially in the cycling segment, by customers who tend to be early technology adapters. Risks Renting bikes and cycling equipment may be perceived by some of our target market as a commodity transaction.
If we do not differentiate ourselves in terms of quality, convenience, and service, we could face additional competition from other entrants to the market. One of the bike shops in Harrisonburg is a subsidiary of a larger corporation with significant financial assets. If we, as hoped, carve out a significant market share, the corporation may use those assets to increase service, improve equipment quality, or cut prices.
A common mistake made by entrepreneurs is assuming they will simply "do it better" than any competition. Experienced businesspeople know you will face stiff competition: showing you understand your competition, understand your strengths and weaknesses relative to that competition, and that you understand you will have to adapt and change based on that competition, is critical.
And, even if you do not ever plan to seek financing or bring in investors, you absolutely must know your competition. Your ops plan should detail strategies for managing, staffing, manufacturing, fulfillment, inventory Fortunately, most entrepreneurs have a better handle on their operations plan than on any other aspect of their business.
Plan writing Once our research is complete, we'll write the body of your business plan and provide you with a draft to review. Financial modeling We'll turn your financial assumptions into forecasts that include everything lenders and investors need to see. Design and review You'll get a polished business plan with a design that matches your brand. You can then print the plan or share it online with a unique and private link.Writing Customers can extend the rental term online without visiting the store. A grace period of two hours will be applied to all rentals; customers who return equipment within that two-hour period will not be charged plan additional fee. Competition Blue Mountain Cycle Rentals will have clear advantages over its primary competitors, the bike shops located in Harrisonburg, VA: Newer equipment inventory with higher perceived quality Fink 2003 reflective writing essays points 15 percent business the competition Online renewals offering greater convenience A liberal return grace period that will reinforce our reputation as a customer-friendly rental experience Future Products Expansion will allow us help move product offerings into professional equipment sales. We will also explore maintenance and fitting services, leveraging our existing maintenance staff get provide value-added services at a premium price. And so on
Other people may see the same opportunity you see.