Planning a Business in Nigeria
No entrepreneur plans to fail, not to break even, not to meet up with his or her plan and not to meet up with his or her target market at the point of entering into business. All these are what happen when there is no plan. Planning a business is simply strategizing a business you are about to start. You need to have a business plan and work with it by engaging your action plan.
Everyday do something that takes you a step closer to your business goals. A business plan is a written documentation of your business future. It is the compass that will navigate your business right from the starting point through the channel or the right route you want the business to take. It is therefore, a plan stating your business objectives, goals and strategies for achieving the set business goals. A blue print of your business is what business plan is! Sometimes, a background information about the business maybe fused in. It put into consideration customers’ perception and opinions about the business brand!
Regardless of the size of business you set to embark on, planning a business is an important step for you to take as an entrepreneur. A business plan should be inherently strategic! It must state your objectives, target audience, starting resources, cash flow management and how you plan to navigate your way to the set goals within a stipulated period with the resources you have and the profit that will be gained. It is a good way if you start your business plan defining the problem the business will solve or stating its benefits to your target audience. This then, tells you that before you come up with your business plan, you must know your target audience and do your research as regards the feasibility study.
For a successful business to be realized, a business plan is one of the keys that must be adhered to with all seriousness. This leads you to think of why you should write a business plan? Can you skip a business plan? How long can your business plan be effective? What must you not ignore in writing business plan? How do you update a business plan if you already have one? When should you write a business plan? It is not until you have all the resources needed to kick start the business before you put your pen to paper trying to draft out a business plan. The above should follow a business plan. Once you have an idea of a business you want or a need to render service in your community or anywhere, then, a business plan should follow immediately. It will serve as a tool that will help you understand how to get your business together. This will help you see into the business with foresight even though it hasn’t been born in reality. Therefore, a business plan should proceed immediately you have a business idea.
Why should you write a business plan? Writing a business plan helps to define and focus your objectives using the appropriate route that’s most profitable. You can also use written business plan as a selling tool in relating with investors or banks for loan. Lastly, your business plan helps you to uncover weaknesses or shortcomings that might surface when running the business thereby, unveiling problems you might likely face. This will give you enough time and strategically plan how to overcome such pot holes.
Definitely, to have a proper evaluation of how your business will start, run, break even and then profit making. You cannot skip the processes of writing a business plan.
How long can your business plan be effective? As long as your business plan is not faced with contrary opinion from customers or clients on how to improve the services you render to them or you have observed that the rate of return (i.e. profit) is declining, once any of the aforementioned starts, you need to revisit your business plan to make adjustment.
What must you not ignore in writing your business plan? The vision statement of your business must align with the purpose and goals of the business. Then, your business goals and action plans. This will span the scheme of your intended business and your strategy in actualizing the plans. Your target audience shouldn’t be left out as well. An economic assessment must not be left out in your business plan. Economic assessment is an analysis of the economic environment i.e. your chosen location for the business and how your business will add to the present economy. Your cash flow! How do you intend getting money into your company’s account? Profit Maximization and how you plan using profit for expansion, employee’s salary and probably investing. Your market plan is also pivotal. What plan have you put in place, if it fails what are the alternative strategies to fall on? All these are what investors look out for in business plans and you must not leave them out when writing a business plan.
How do you update your business plan? You must be aware business is dynamic and you must be up to date. Avoid being laid off from the competitive market. You must have a business plan to at least update your market plan annually, i.e. update your plans thoroughly once in a year. Revisit the business plan to check if it can withstand the contemporary business market. Talk to your customers or clients to know if you are meeting their demands. Are you aligning your progress with the set objectives in your business plan? How can you improve in your delivery? Are there any other needs from the customers that you can attend to? With genuine answers to all these questions, you definitely agree with me that a business plan needs updating.
Have a vision statement: what is the primary aim of your business? Have a sound business concept. Focus on this vision statement and from it set goals i.e. the specifics of your business. What will it do, where, how and who will it benefit? Then, proceed to gathering of data from the set location. You need to have a thorough feasibility study which must be specific on your market and a good understanding of your market.
Management: set plans of how you want to manage your business. Both the human management (employees) and resources in terms of cash flow.
A business plan does not necessarily need to be long, complex or compounded with ambiguous words before it delivers what you want to communicate. You have the power to decide how you want it to be, make it simple and straight to the point. Business plan is a decision making tool and its content and format is influenced by its goals and the target audience.
Therefore, you must be prepared to tackle areas like managing the finance, human resources, intellectual properties management, supply chain management, operation management, and so on. A properly drafted business plan will help you to make a good business credible, understandable, simple but delivering the needed information and attractive to the potential investors.
Writing a good business plan goes a long way towards reducing the odds of business failures.
Serial Entrepreneur - International Business Planning Consultant - Speaker - Trainer - Author - Blogger - Network Marketing professional
- Fellow, Inspire Africa Train-the-Trainer sponsored by US Consulate Lagos
- Fellow, Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme
- Top 50 Innovative Entrepreneurs, BET5 by Diamond Bank
He is an alumnus of Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan-Atlantic University (PAU). Through his training, mentoring, speaking and coaching programmes, he has empowered many young people over the years to start and grow their own business, build wealth, create multiple streams of income and achieve financial independence.