What is a business plan ?
A business plan is a must-have working tool for any entrepreneur. When starting your company, the business plan is used as a presentation and referral document. It allows you to precisely define your strategy to achieve your objectives by obtaining external funding.
What is the point of the business plan ?
A business plan is a tool to help you earn the support of financial partners. It is useful to approach banks, public / private partners or business angels. This financial document has to best reflect the outlines of your project, your ambitions and future prospects.
How to write it ?
Do you want to start a business ? Writing a business plan is a key stage for this project.
Your business plan should be a balance sheet*, an inventory of your situation at the dawn of starting a business.
It is based on key questions that you have about the lead in your business should take that you are going to write this business plan :
- What legal structures to create ?
- What are my financial needs ?
- Which associates, partners to choose ?
- What business strategy ? What communication strategy ?
- What business model ?
- What are my performance expectations ? What are my financial projections ?
A business plan is made in several steps.
The step-by-step writing of a business plan
A business plan can be tailored. However, it must be made up of some mandatory sections in order to define it and make it more understandable. We suggest doing a 7-step plan :
- Writing the Executive Summary : for this stage, you must summarize the main subject of your business plan in a synthetic way in order to give a global vision of your entrepreneurial project.
- Introducing the project initiators : it is essential to make a brief presentation of all the project initiators. Indeed, highlighting all of your skills will make it easier to convince potential sources of funding. Setting forth the values that drive your team will also add value.
- Introducing the products or services you have chosen to sell: this stage is essential because it allows the realization of the project.
- Carrying out market research and defining your strategy : after identifying your products and services, you must precisely analyze the supply, demand and identify the needs within the target market to later define a marketing strategy. Moreover, it is essential to carefully study this point, both on the commercial aspect and on the communication approach of your company.
- Establishing the business model : you must clarify your financing plan through your financial projections which include your needs but also your investments and the expected performances.
- Choosing the appropriate legal status : you must choose between sole proprietorship or company and carefully look at which legal status has the most advantages with minimum risks for your situation.Sole proprietorship : You are one with your business. Thus, your professional and personal assets are legally combined.Company : you create a legal entity that is legally distinct from you. In this case, your company has its own assets.Starting out on your own allows you to create :
- A classic sole proprietorship
- An ultra-simplified sole proprietorship : self-employed
- A Limited liability single-member company (EURL) or Simplified single-person joint-stock company (SASU)
Starting out with partners requires to create a multi-partner company such as :
- Limited liability company (SARL)
- General partnership (SNC)
- Simplified joint-stock company (SAS)
- Limited company (SA)
As a business manager and in order to project yourself more easily, it will be essential to decide on the most suited legal status for your project.
- Finding financing : it is necessary during this step to explain the external financing solutions. These can come from :
- Loans on honor : loans without interest or guarantees to be repaid “on honor”
- Public subsidies : financial aid paid by a public entity (State, local authority, etc.) on a one-time or renewable basis: NACRE, ARCE, ADIE, CNCCE, BPI
- Bank loans : money loans granted by a bank (creditor) to natural or legal persons (debtor or borrower)
- Crowd funding : exchange of funds between individuals allowing to finance a project through an online platform
Our advices :
- Make sure you pay attention to the style of your business plan so that it is as convincing and striking as possible. It must remain consistent, even if your goal is to show that the profitability of the project is highly possible.
- Since the business plan is a decisive and key document for the success of your project, we recommend to involve an accounting firm such as CF Henderson US to draft a quality document.
Did you know …? A CPA can certify your business plan. A guarantee to acquire credibility in your future procedures.