There are practically tons of business plan guides you can find on the internet and other resources. Each of the financial bodies and institutions readily available for grant and loan disposal has their own set of guidelines and rules to follow. While there are similarities between them, they many not be exactly the same, depending on the organization. So it is important for you to know what information each financial institution wants and requires from your business plan.
Below is a business writing plan guideline from MARA (Majlis Amanah Rakyat), translated from MARA original website. The Business Plan is more widely known as RP, or Rancangan Perniagaan.
Introduction to the Business Plan
A Business Plan is a document that underlines in details the important elements of a business that cover initial plan, market study, capital needs, marketing strategies, sales and profit projection and so on. Apart from recording all the key information in one place for future reference, a business plan is also needed when an entrepreneur plans to obtain financial help from financial institutions when the need to expand the business arises.
In short, the use of a business plan, amongst others, are:
- To allow the entrepreneur evaluate and assess his or her business viability from various aspects, especially the technical and financial parts
- To become a blueprint, or guide after the business is successfully launched
- To study the market condition, trend and competition, and conclude if the business will have a good prospect to prosper, or otherwise
- To be used during negotiation with financial bodies, in order to obtain loan or expansion capital
What you need to have in your Business Plan
1. Content page
Outline the topics and segments of your Business Plan so that you (or the reader) will have an easy access to different scopes of the Business Plan. Each topic in the Business Plan must be written in such a way that the reader can skip any part of the earlier section and come back to it later.
2. Executive summary/synopsis & introduction
Explain, in summary, about the business you are planning to venture, and what are the important elements the reader can discover from reading your business plan. Name the company, type of business, products/services offered concisely.
3. The purpose of the business plan
State clearly the purpose of the business plan writing. Is it a submission for financial loan from specific institution? Is it a plan for a start up operation, or an expansion plan for an existing business? Is it a blueprint or a plan for the entrepreneur’s future reference? Or is there any other objectives?
4. Company (owner) profile/background
This is where the details of the company profile and background are discussed. Where is the business based on and operating? Who is the contact person and where are the other contact/corresponding details? How long has the company been operating? Is the company a sole propriety, partnership or a limited liability (Sdn Bhd)? Take note that there are differences in those 3 types of business/company structure. What is the company’s registration number?
What is the total paid capital? List down the shareholders/owners of the company, including the details covering full name, telephone number, academic qualification and experience.
5. Management and organizational structure
What is the company’s vision and mission? Who are in the management team and what are the qualification and credentials? How is the organizational structure of the company? List down the key person who will be handling different scope of work e.g. operation, marketing, finance, sales and so on. State the salary and remuneration package for each employee involved, if any.
6. Marketing plans and strategies
A very important aspect of a Business Plan. In fact, many loans are rejected due to lack of effective marketing plans and strategies in the Business plan. Embark on a very detailed analysis of the market condition so that you will be able to make accurate and sensible sales projection.
A good Business Plan will take account the aspects of products/services to be offered – prospects and customers, benefits and advantages, ease of availability, location, advertising & promotion and competition.
How does your product differ from what is currently being offered in the market? Is it the same? Are you selling your product at a competitive price, lower price, or higher price? What about the distribution and supply chain element? Are you appointing authorized dealers and agents, or you will be selling directly to the customers? What are the medium of advertising & promotion you will be using – distributing flyers, internet, newspaper, radio, television and so on (do not overlook the cost associated with each of the promotional method)?
7. Operation/production plan
If your business is product-based, how many quantities you will be producing in, let’s say, 1 month? If the product will undergo a manufacturing cycle, draw a clear flow diagram or chart of the complete process for the readers to see. How does the inventory works? How is the maintenance of the machinery is carried out?
8. Financial plan
Also another critical aspect of a Business Plan, as to ensure that the figures and numbers of your cost, sales, revenue, profit and others are realistic. The financial plan consist of the following aspect:
- Cost and capital expenditure
- Financial sources e.g. your own contribution, bank loan, hire purchase etc
- Cash flow analysis – monthly, yearly, 3 years and so on
- Income statement – yearly, 3 years and so on
- Break even analysis – how long your business will be operating before covering all the cost incurred during the start up