What is a good business plan, and at what point do I need to write one?

A good business plan will cover a critical and comprehensive analysis of the key components in a business.

This includes areas such as vision/ strategy, finance, operations, market, competition and sales & marketing.

The key is making the business plan clear, succinct and relevant according to the business in question.

Focus on the important areas most applicable to your business, and use it to put your thoughts on paper on how you want your business to run, now and into the future.

Some businesses do not write a business plan at all, but wait until it is required by a third party, such as a bank or an investor. However, it is strongly recommended that a business plan is written by any businesses that is starting up.

This will provide an opportunity to understand, challenge and improve on the business model, and provide an understanding of each of the various parts of the business and how they will work.

By writing the business plan, any inconsistencies in the business model may show up and can be addressed there and then.

Going forward, the business plan should be continually updated throughout the life of a business – which will provide a very useful management tool for the directors/ owners of the business to run the business effectively.

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