“Business plan”, these two words scare off many creators who find this exercise tedious, even useless. Still! This document is essential. It makes it possible to formalize the project in writing, to test different hypotheses, structure its objectives and estimate the economic and financial viability of the future company. It is often considered a key to finding money from bankers or partners.
A business plan is actually so much more! It’s a guide to help the creator see things more clearly when getting started and a reference tool for: manage the business in the medium and long term. “The business plan provides a common thread: it serves to move from idea to action. It allows you to write what you do and do what you have written. says Julien Colin, advisor within the BGE network.
Summarize your reflection in two pages
Any good business plan starts with a summary of no more than two pages that summarizes the project. This one ” Management summary is usually intended for financial partners, bankers and investors who need to be convinced of the relevance of the project after reading. But it also has a use for the maker. “This exercise allows you to gain height because it emphasizes conclusions. It is a work of reflection and a complete analysis of the project. This last task – it can only be done when the business plan is complete – forces the creator to to focus on the essence”, explains Julien Colin.
By synthesizing his thoughts in this way, the entrepreneur builds better visibility and sets concrete goals. At the end of his “Executive Summary”, Bruno Perthuis made sure to report some indicators dear to him: “the expected turnover, my reward for years 1, 2 and 3. It is psychologically important to have that in mind and to write this down in black and white from the first pages. It’s kind of a common thread », adds the founder of O Comtois Gourmand, a company that sells local produce.
Detail of the whole creative process
Even if each business plan is unique, they all follow a common structure. Must be in the canvasa presentation of the maker, a description of the product or service, a market analysis, the commercial strategy, marketing elements, the financial prospects…. “You have to build it up like a book with clear and ordered chapters that you complete along the way. It’s like a story we unfold, recommends Julien Colin.
This process allows you to see things more clearly and build a global strategy step by step. “If I hadn’t made a business plan, I don’t think I would have completed the project, testify Helene Jeandotcreator of the jewelry brand Moon Safari. By going into detail and digging into all aspects, I understood how I was going to do it. Almost every day I open my business plan, for example I consult the calendar of marketing activities that I imagined in the communication section. This is my mnemonic. »
Making realistic financial assumptions
Financing plan, income statement, money plan… The conversion of the project into financial tables is a delicate but essential step. “You have to start from real hypotheses and above all avoid calculating your figures based on your expenses”, Julien Colin insists. The elements of the market study all get their importance here: their analysis makes it possible to build realistic forecasts.
Bruno Perthuis did it no different when he had to calculate his own estimated turnover. “Based on the results of consumer surveys conducted by INSEE, I have drawn up an average basket. Then I compiled numbers based on the opening days of my store, the number of customers I expect daily. In the end I arrived at an annual turnover basis, which I decreased month after month based on the seasonal influences of the products. » With this method, he can now maintain monthly dashboards and know where he is almost permanently.
Analyze your deviations and correct your assumptions
The business plan becomes a tool for management from the first months of activity. It makes it possible to measure the gap between the original objectives and the first results achieved. “Then we have to adjust and correct. For example, you should try to understand why the turnover is 30,000 euros lower than expected. Does it depend on the situation? When will there be a competitor? Were your goals too ambitious? Was the commercial effort sufficient? », warn Julien Colin.
Corrective actions must then be taken: either by revising the pricing policy, or by reducing investments, or by reducing costs… All the work done upstream, with the creation of dashboards, will make your task easier and most importantly you will respond quickly.
Classify and archive the attachments
Press articles, photos, plans, customer questionnaires… All documents used to prepare your business plan should be grouped in attachments. “It’s the whole thinking process, everything that made it possible to draw up the business plan. They must be preserved: they make it possible to trace the history and foundations of the project.” recommends Julien Colin.
In case of doubt or questions, you can go back to a market data forgot or to check a price. However, beware of unnecessary filling: only keep the documents that are important. If you really have a lot of attachments, don’t hesitate to classify them and make a summary. You will find the information you are looking for much faster.