TEN RULES TO WRITE A KILLER BUSINESS OR FARMING PLAN

January 25, 2018 Hansie Britz

                                     

A Business Plan or Farming Plan is a selling document; a succinct breakdown of how, where, and why your business will generate a profit. Your business plan must convince potential investors – be they bankers, venture capitalists or private investors – to throw money your way. If you can convince them via your business plan or farming plan that they will realize a profit over time, you’re well on your way.

If you are setting up a farming business then it is prudent for you to put pen to paper in a farming business plan. If you want money for your farming operation this will help you with it and even if you are fortunate to have sufficient capital to start-up your own farming operation then a farming business plan will support you in your farming business strategy. This will increase the chances of your business being a triumph, which cannot be a bad thing.

Here are ten rules to write a killer business plan or farming business plan:

Know your reader. Always remember who you’re addressing. Financiers are hard-nosed capitalists, so they want firm facts and figures and sold details as how your idea will generate profit.

Research your potential market. The more you know about competitors and your customer base, the more you will be able to impress your potential backer. Your business plan or farming business plan must provide credible data about the size of your potential customer base, its needs, and trends affecting it. You must also show the respective strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, their market share and how your product or service matches up to theirs.

Follow the format. Business plans and Farming Business Plans are about facts and figures, not creative genius. There are definite rules for compiling one. A professional business plan or farming plan should have (but not limited to):

  • An Executive Summary;
  • An explanation of the business idea;
  • A Management review;
  • A Marketing strategy;
  • Operations Plan;
  • A Risk Assessment;
  • Financial projections covering cash flow, balance sheet and profit.

Keep the type size and line spacing generous and the margins wide so that the document is easy to read. Keep your language simple with minimal technical jargon. Don’t waffle. Get straight to the point.

Drive home the USP. The essence of your business idea is its “unique selling proposition” or USP. Your USP must separate your product or service from the competition; make it unique, something the public will buy because it meets a definite need. Use your USP as a point of reference throughout your plan and make all your research and financial  data support this selling proposition.

Make your executive summary sing. The first thing a financier will read in your business plan or farming business plan is the “executive summary”. It must, in a couple of pages, describe the entire business plan or farming business plan in a zippy, exciting way. You have to capture and retain the reader’s interest. Imagine you are making a thirty- second commercial of your entire plan; that limits you to mentioning only the really important elements from each section. Write it with the USP in mind and distil all the important information to highlight your competitive edge.

Punt your expertise. Let the reader know your history and skills relevant to the business idea. Describe the expertise of your associates too, even if they are outsourced strategic partners. It is common these days for small companies to use established businesses to handle certain areas of the business, like accounting and distribution.

Show marketing savvy. Venture capitalists will look very closely at how you intend to bring your product or service to the market. Innovative marketing ideas go a long way swaying financiers. Describe in detail how you intend to gain market share, how much, and in what time period. Explain how your competitors reach their market and describe how you intend to outflank them.

Be realistic in your financials and roll-out schedule. There’s always a temptation to paint a rosy picture for your potential backer i.e. juicy returns in double- quick time. Be conservative in your predictions of how much and how quickly you will sell. Remember, your backer will hold you to your promises.

Know your numbers. Crucial to getting the capital you need is knowing how much to ask for and what kind of financing you need. Your financial projections and roll out schedule will illustrate your financing requirements, but, you must state what kind of arrangement you want to enter into with your potential backer, be it a loan (carrying repayable interest) or equity (offering a slice of future profits). Declaring exactly what kind of financial assistance you need will inspire confidence in your potential backer.

Seek advice. There are several organizations in South Africa willing to offer advice and information on critical areas around the plan. A great business idea and a tight business plan or farming business plan will get you a hearing with potential backers.

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP IN THIS AREA OR A FARMING PLAN CONTACT US NOW AT: money@global.co.za or 0845833143

BEWARE OF CHEAP LOW COST OR GENERIC TYPE OF BUSINESS OR FARMING BUSINESS PLANS. THEY WILL NOT FLY WITH ANY INVESTOR.

                                  

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