I have been in the business of drawing up business plans for over two decades now, I have done very basic and short business plans and very long and complex business plans. I have drawn up business plans for business funding and business plans for project execution. I have done curated business plans and bespoke business plans; most successful business plans have been the bespoke ones which are usually more difficult to produce; they are tailored to fit your business only.
Many people are familiar with business plans basically to source funding for their business. And so many people have equally drawn up so many business plans for their various needs. We write so many business plans and funding proposals daily but still do not get funding. so you wonder “why is my business not getting funding?”
For this discourse, we will be focusing on business plans usually for project/business funding in asking the question; “why am I not getting funding?”. There is a myriad of reasons for not getting funded in your business, some of these we will try to address in this series and the rest in subsequent editions.
- Have a bankable business plan.
For many people, they don’t even have a business plan (written down). Most of their plans are in their head which they basically share with prospects and expect such prospects to provide the funding without scrutinizing their investment proposal. In some cases, this is what happens, but in many cases, no one will give you a dime without a business plan. In some cases, all you need is to provide a simple business model canvas (BMC). The BMC is more like the key framework for the business plan so it will pass too for this. But note that the BMC is not a business plan, neither is a business plan a BMC, but they can go together or individually depending on requirement and use.
Your business plan should be able to walk your financier through the business/project completely. It should answer all key questions and douse all major worries without you being there to defend it. Deviation from this template is usually when there are some key items requested to be addressed only by the financier.
A basic business plan is expected to have the following key items addressed for it to be successful and answer the question “why is my business not getting funding?”
- The idea: what is the idea behind the business, what problems are you solving or what cause are you reaching?
- The people behind the business: who are they and how did he/she/they come about? What were they doing before the business? What qualifies them to do the business? Will they be in the business for the long term? Let’s hear their stories. Note that a business plan could be one business setting up another business.
- What is your mission/vision/core values/business goal & objectives?
- What is your proof of concept. Have you confirmed market acceptability & scalability? How commercially viable is the venture?
- Current state of the business: what is the current and proposed legal status of the business and how will the transitioning (if need be) be done?
- Marketing plan: what is your market entry and expansion plan? Who is your customer and why? How do you plan to reach them? How do you plan to make your sales with them? How do you plan to manage after sales? What is your customer experience plan? What is your advertising plan? What is your branding plan? Who are your competitors and how can you outcompete or collaborate with them? What is your social media plan? What language does your customer speak? What is your Unique Selling Proposition – USP?
- Operations plan: how do you plan to provide your products/services? Who will be your suppliers? Who will be your distributors? How, where, and when will you manufacture your products? In what quantities? What are your storage plans? How do you want to handle product/service delivery logistics? What special equipment and technical people will be required?
- Business management: who are those to run the business with and for you? When will you hire them and how? How will you pay them and sustain the payments? What is the structure for information, communication, and authority flow. What are the possible risks and mitigants in the business. What are the business Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats (SWOT). What is the business cycle? What is the product life cycle?
- Business finance: how will the business be financed. By whom, from where, for how long, in what mode? What is the cash cycle? How will transactions be reported and managed. How will the cash be managed and protected?
- Projections: what is the state of the business today? How will it be in the next 12-24-36-60 months and beyond in terms of revenue and costs? What key indices will determine these projections and what will be done to ensure they occur?
- Exit: how do you plan to exit the business? By exit, I do not necessarily mean physical exit, what I mean is transitioning the business, it could be for seeking additional funding which will dilute current investments, it could be conversion of business type like from sole proprietor (for example) to private limited liability, or from private limited liability to public quotation, and, yes, physical exit by selling the business and moving on.
These and many other questions are what your business plan should answer to guarantee the business/project success.
Embarking on a quest requires a map to provide direction. Embarking on a business is like going on a quest (irrespective of how you got into the business), draw up a business plan to guide your path. Ensure its flexible based on current realities and where you can, engage a management consultant to guide you in setting up your business plan. Coinbox Limited is a management consulting company and has a crop of experts that will assist with your business plan, BMC, business proposals and other project/business documents. Contact them today at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, www.coinboxlimited.com.ng.
I am a management consultant dedicated and committed to your business wellbeing in its 6 cardinal areas.
- Business management
- Human capital
- Information & Communication Technology
- Marketing & sales
- Business finance
- Business operations