A good business plan can help you define your goals, establish your strategy and persuade potential investors and partners of the value of your business. The idea is to demonstrate the potential of your business idea and its strength in its environment and over time.
Here are the five key steps to creating a convincing business plan:
1. Presentation of your business project
This first introductory part is your opportunity to clearly and concisely present your company, its products or services, its target market, its competition, its management team, its financial forecasts and its growth plan. This introduction is crucial to demonstrate that you have a clear vision of your entrepreneurial project, today and in the future.
2. Conduct a market analysis
The first step in creating a business plan is to conduct a thorough market analysis. This involves understanding your target market, market trends and competitors. You must be able to describe your market clearly and precisely, identifying potential opportunities and threats. To do this, you will need to ask yourself several questions:
- In which market(s) will your business operate?
- Who will be your customers or users (the customer, the one who pays, is not necessarily the user)?
- What is the geographic dimension of the market(s) you wish to target?
- What are the market developments in value and volume?
- Who are the players in the market you are targeting?
- Who are my competitors? What is the added value of my brand in comparison?
3. Define your value proposition
The value proposition is what sets your business apart from the competition. This is a clear, concise statement that describes the unique benefits your business brings to its customers. The value proposition should be well defined and easy to understand. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What exactly are you selling and who exactly are you selling it to?
- What are the characteristics of your offer?
- How can we ensure that customers will clearly perceive the value of the offer?
4. Establish your business model
The business model describes how your business will generate revenue and make a profit. It's important to explain how your business will generate revenue and how you plan to increase it in the future. This may include information on revenue sources, costs and profit margins. The business model can be used to convince a bank to lend you money, in the event that you need to take out a bank loan to develop or establish your entrepreneurial activity. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How to convey the product value proposition to potential customers?
- How to retain acquired customers?
- How to communicate with customers?
- What is the architecture of the product and brand value proposition? How to develop this proposal and transmit it to the relevant audiences?
- What profitability for the company (and questioning the forecast turnover, costs and capital employed)?
5. Establish a marketing strategy
The marketing strategy is a key element of your business plan. It once again describes the target clientele and the actions put in place to target these consumers. Here are some key steps in your marketing strategy:
- Conduct an analysis of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Establish customer profile
- Set clear goals.
- Evaluate the “four Ps” of marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion)
- Choose your communication channels (social networks, website, etc.)
- Establish an advertising budget
Finally, it will be important to evaluate and monitor your business plan. This step aims to assess the viability of the business plan and monitor the progress of the business. It includes key performance indicators (ROI, KPI), a risk management plan and regular analysis of financial results.
What to do after making a Business Plan?
Once you have written your business plan, it is time to move on to the next step, which is implementing your business plan. First of all, you will certainly need to find funding. Indeed, like many other entrepreneurs, if you do not have enough capital to launch your business, you will need to find investors or bank loans to finance your operations. You can also consider turning to participatory financing or crowdlending/crowdfunding via platforms like KissKissBankBank or Ulule.
Next, you will need to register your business with the government. Depending on the type of business you are going to start, you may need to register with your local or state government. This may involve obtaining a tax identification number, a SIRET/SIREN number, an operating permit or other licenses and authorizations.
What is a SIRET number?
A SIRET number is a unique 14-digit identifier assigned to each company or organization in France. It is used to identify and track companies in their transactions with public authorities and business partners. The SIRET number is used for various administrative formalities, such as company registration, tax and social declaration, social security registration, etc. It is important to ensure that the SIRET number is correct and up to date as this may have consequences for transactions with public authorities, customers and suppliers.
Finally, you will need to set up your infrastructure, for example by finding a place to work, hiring staff and setting up your IT and communications systems. Make sure you have everything you need to get up and running!
Bravo, you have all the keys in hand to launch your business! It's time to launch your marketing campaign to attract customers and raise awareness of your business.