ESSENTIAL INFORMATION FOR A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PLAN

A Business plan can be seen as an informative resource or a story telling document where you tell the reader about a future your business. Every business plan in its sincere intention look a bit like fiction. The information in the business plan should serve to portray a story of how your business starts in the present and build up for a better future. It must look like a projection base summary of your sincere intention and how to get there.

As a promising entrepreneur, you will need to have a variety of way to present your business’ story in terms of time and space and make them available to suit your different audience. You must have a range of presentation to suit your audience. When you have only a moment to talk, your vision statement or a tagline that you have developed is the best way to go. When you have more time and space to present your business, then longer and longer presentations might be needed. These range from a two-sentence concept all the way to a 40-pages business plan.

For a successful business plan, there are five basic types of business planning sections and presentations: They include vision statements, mission statements, elevator pitches, executive summaries, and appendices.


The Vision Statement

The Business or company's vision statement is perhaps its most important single idea and it must be a single concept. The vision statement is a very simple 5-10 word sentence or tagline that expresses the fundamental concepts, idea or goal of your business.

A good feature of a business plan is that it vision must be inspiring, motivating, overarching, and long term. History tells us that when Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft as teenagers, their vision was "a computer on every desk running Microsoft software." With the way Microsoft went on to become one of the most successful companies the world has ever seen shows how visionary their vision statement was. A very unique vision produce continuous fixed focus over the years that eventually bring the company to limelight.

 

A very unique way to present a vision statement is by the use of taglines or slogans or what can be term a unique selling proposition (USP). This is because an effective tagline is brief and memorable, and essentially project the company major vision. Sometimes tagline could also serve as the company's vision statement.  A few examples of good taglines encompassing the firm's vision statement are given below:

·     Abuja Leasing Company Limited (ALC)

To be the most resourceful and reliable one stop leasing company in Nigeria

 ·     APWA (Nigeria) Plc

To be the most efficient and profitable paint manufacturing company in Nigeria.

·     BMW

Designed for Driving Pleasure

The Mission Statement

Though closely related to the vision statement, the Mission statement takes the vision statement's description of the business goal and adds the competitive advantage information developed as part of the company's strategy.

Typically a mission statement talks in terms of what will make a difference for the customer/client or the industry. It rarely discusses profits, but it often mentions the entry wedge that follows from the firm's strategy. A few more examples of mission statements from small firms are:

 §  Nigeria LNG

To market, produce and deliver Liquefied Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids to buyers safely, reliably and profitably, growing our company and its people to their full potential, and being a trusted partner with all our stakeholders in the sustainable development of Nigeria’s gas industry and of NLNG’s host communities.

§  Berger Paints Nigeria Plc

To manufacture and market Nigeria’s leading quality paints, other surface coatings, allied products and services which meet the needs and expectation of discerning customers. We employ creative and highly motivated people supported by modern technology to spearhead product and process innovations, achieve market dominance and maximize shareholders value, while contributing to Nigeria’s economic and social development.

·     Saturn Ventures Ltd

To be one of the leading providers of quality manpower resources to the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria and to be recognized as a manpower provider of first choice by clients in the Oil/Gas industry


Mission statements can sometimes get so long. Since they are usually oriented toward those inside the company’s or to formal investors, mission statements tend to cover everything that is truly important. This might include the major competitive advantages of the firm, its position in the industry and its attitudes toward customers, competitors, and the environment.

The Elevator Pitch – Description of Your Business

An elevator pitch is an action-oriented description of your business and this is somewhat longer than a vision statement or tagline. It is designed to give in-depth information of your business or company in such a way that someone can relate them to another person.

This form of description should describe the entire components in a one-on-one business setting and when someone asks for more details, it can be offered to him. Just like politicians develop sound oratory skills during campaign, a good phrase can make a product look good. Having a high-quality concept or elevator pitch for your business is more important than ever. Consider the elevator pitch below:

CellTunes: You hear it, you got it! Ever wanted to buy a tune you heard on the radio but missed the name? Well, CellTunes is the instant gratification music ordering service. CellTunes lets you buy the songs you hear on your favorite FM radio, AM radio, or Internet radio station with a single cell phone call.

CellTunes tracks the songs playing on your favorite stations and can download the song to you or to your account at services like iTunes or PressPlay. CellTunes is demonstrating its technology and seeking seed investors. CellTunes makes song ordering faster and easier than ever before-you hear it, you got it!

The above elevator pitch directly hit on the frustration people have felt at not being able to recall a song or find it to buy. It follows up with the purpose of the service, helping people obtain the song. Because this pitch is for a new type of service, it gives the listener more details about how it works than may otherwise appear in an elevator pitch.

For a familiar type of business, you might talk instead about what makes your business or company unique or superior to the competitors. The pitch ends with where the business is now-seeking money from seed investors. This is about 100 words and would take about a minute to say.

Note that a lot of it sounds like a sales pitch, and that is intentional. Listeners might be customers or investors, but either way, the goal is to sell them on the idea and their need for it.

Your Business elevator pitch must be written in line with your delivery in any marketing or sales promo. You will need to be fully conversant in your delivery. Remember, the elevator pitch is often the first real insight people have about your business, so it is essential to have a pitch that flows and sells for you.

The Executive Summary

An Executive summary is the key component of a well written business plan because it is the one focus element that almost everyone will like to read first when they receive a business plan.

An executive summary should be within one to two pages and containing about 250–500 words overview of your business, your business model, market, your expectations, and your immediate goals. Typically, executive summaries are conspicuously written and they remain the most popular item to send to people who ask about your business.

An executive summary is the core of a business plan presentation and form the basis for additional discussion when someone asks for more in-depth information. Executive summaries should be written in a formal style, suitable for investors, lawyers, and bankers to read and understand. They give much more details about the business in non-technical terms than the vision or mission statements or elevator pitch.

Executive summaries are usually organized in a series of short paragraphs (three or four sentences), each with a particular topics.  These topics are:

§  Product: Describes the product or service and how it is used.

§  Market: Describes the size and characteristics of the customer group and how it will buy the product or service (e.g., in person, online, catalog).

§  Competitive advantages: Explains what makes the product or service unique, often in terms of an entry wedge.

§  Management: Describes the entrepreneur and start-up team in terms of expertise and track record.

§  Business: Describes the current stage of the business and when major milestones of starting, sales, or profitability will be met.

§  Finance: Describes the deal being offered investors and the schedule for payouts.

The order for the topics in an executive summary should not be stereotype or fixed, although most experienced readers will be looking for the same items-markets, advantages, and management. The summary is probably the single most important written part of the business plan for two reasons. First, it is the single most widely distributed written description of the business. Second, all readers of a business plan typically start with the executive summary of the plan, and then go on to the section of the plan that is applicable to them or where they can best apply their expertise if they are professionals. For example, accountants typically go to the financial projections after reading the executive summary.

Numerical data are also needed in the executive summary. Such numerical information includes industry size, customer base, number of employees, or projected sales.

However it is important to make sure that the numbers can be supported by a trustworthy source. Examples of such sources include the government, industry associations, and major commercial sources or association in the location or country of residence where the company is located. The sources may be included in the executive summary or made available to readers in footnotes.

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