Even I don’t like templates especially when it comes to the business plan, still, I like to have some basic business plan template that will lead me to the answers on most important questions related to the work that will need to be done.
On such a way, I can simply have something that will need to follow and make all required tweaks and changes related to the practical work in the time working with the clients on their business plan.
This ultimate guide to building your basic business plan template is the second part of the series of posts related to this subject. The first part of this guide you can read here.
Now, let’s continue with the fifth sections of these basic business plan template and what it will need to contain.
5. Risk Management
I want to use this special heading when I develop business plans because it gives me the possibility to think more about possible risks with which my company or my client’s company will be faced in the future.
You don’t need the whole risk analysis science for your basic business plan template, but you will need to think and list the following elements:
- Risk areas. This is all areas inside and outside your small business where you will expect possible risks. In your business plan, you will need to list several most important risk areas that will require your attention to effectively manage risks in them. The question you will need to answer here is: Where is the biggest risk for your company?
- Risk indicators. All listed risk area can have specific indicators that will tell you something about the risk in that area. The question you will need to answer here is: What will be the risk in this specific area?
- How we can follow risk indicators. When you know the biggest risk areas and possible risk indicators, you can simply implement different monitoring strategies that you will use in the risk management process. The question you will need to answer here is: How and when I can measure each of the listed indicators?
- Activities. It is important for you to prepare yourself for different activities that you can implement based on specific risk indicators and results from your measurement process. In this part, you can answer the following question: What can I do in order to eliminate or reduce the effect of risk indicator for my company?
- Monitoring. Another thing you will need is to monitor the implementation of the activities. The main question you will need to answer here is: Whether we have taken the right measures to fight with the possible risk?
- Revision. The last thing you need to implement in the heading of risk management in your basic business plan template is about the revision of your risk management process. As you already know, everything can be improved, and the same is for your risk management process. The question you will need to answer here is: Can we improve something and is there a need for new indicators?
When you finish designing your risk management process you can simply create the table with six columns where you will put all these elements of your process.
You can read a more detailed guide for this in the post titled as „Risk Management as a Part of Your Business Plan”.
Now, we come to the sixth heading in your basic business plan template and it is about strategies that your company will use in the future.
I want to divide this heading into three important subheadings or strategies in order to stress the high importance of online strategy, marketing strategy, and sales strategy.
Let’s start with the online strategy.
Before you start creating your online strategy as a part of your basic business plan template, you will need to answer the following questions:
- What your competitors or potential competitors are already doing in this field?
- What are the online activities of your current or potential competitors?
- Where are online your potential customers?
- What your potential customers search on the internet?
- How my online presence can be better and more recognized by my competitors?
- Do I need the only static web page for my products and services, or something more dynamic and interactive as the business blog?
- What will be the purpose of my online presence?
- What goals will need to be achieved with my online strategy?
- What achievements we can say that are successful for my business?
With these answers, you can already see your online strategy. What you need to do next is to start translating your answers into possible action steps that will help you in achieving your goals.
Start your marketing strategy subheading with the short summary and what will be in this subheading. At the end of this subheading, you will need to have a plan with the specific tasks.
What this subheading will need to contain?
- Your marketing goals. What do you want to achieve through your marketing activities? Start with your general business goals and translate them into the marketing goals. Simply answer the question about how marketing can help you in achieving your business goals? For example, if your business goal is increasing profit for 25% in the next two years, your marketing goals can be something like this:
- Increase the number of potential customers who will become a part of your sales funnel.
- Maintaining the sales funnel to be always full.
- Increasing the conversion rate in your sales funnel.
- Increase your brand awareness.
- Target market. In this part, you will need to describe your target market. Be as much as possible specific when you are describing your target market.
- Competitive advantage. In this part, you will need to answer the following questions:
- Why someone will choose your business instead of competition?
- What are the biggest differences between you and your competitors in terms of customer’s benefits?
- What are the differences in the features of products and services between you and your competitors?
- What you have for your potential customers that your competitors don’t have?
- Pricing strategy. In this part, you will need to describe your pricing strategy that will be used and explain why you will use them.
- Promotion. In this part, you will need to describe all promotion tactics that will be used from your company.
- To-Do list. Now, because you already have everything that you need for your marketing strategy, you can simply start creating your to-do list, or what you will need to do in order to achieve your marketing goals.
Sales strategy is an important strategy to ensure the sustainability of your company in this uncertain environment in which it operates.
Again, as always start this subheading with the short summary about what will be covered in this part of your business plan.
Your sales strategy subheading as a part of this basic business plan template will need to cover the following topics:
- Sales forecast. As a first thing, you will need to start with demand forecasting and then based on it to create sales forecasting. For this purpose, you can use the sales forecast template that I have created.
- Sales tactics. The sales tactics will need to correspond with your sales funnel. You can use the following sales funnel planning template and define all possible tactics that your company will implement to succeed in sales.
- To-Do list. The last part of your sales strategy will include to-do list or what you need to do if you want all optimistic predictions in your forecasting to become true.
The next part of your ultimate guide to building a basic business plan template in which I will cover topics about management, finances, and annexes will follow.