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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Practical Tips to Writing a bankable business Plan in Nigeria

What is a business plan? It is a document akin to a sailor’s map on voyage or a torch light for someone trying to find his/her way through a dark street. When you arm yourself with one you are no longer walking aimlessly but with purpose and a clear destination in mind.

Are you looking for a comprehensive business plan guide to lead you in your quest for writing a well written business plan for whatever purpose – raising startup capital, as a working document guide or both? When it comes to writing a business plan that serves the Nigerian environment from my experience I have discovered that several factors affect the choice of an individual or corporate organisation to use a professional business plan writer. For instance someone may want to expand his/her business and approaches a bank for a loan, the bank may present them with a business plan format but the skill of putting ideas into words that can be read and properly understood is their main challenge. On the other hand they may be able to write but just don’t have the time nor are they willing to see it through even if they had the time. On the other hand, some people may want not have access to a professionally written business plan and so have no choice than to outsource it to a professional business plan writer to do it for them. 

Nigerian Business Plan Guide: the 5 questions you must answer to write a quality business plan
When you are ready to start writing a quality business plan, the type financiers and partners are willing to relate to you should be able to pass a simple acid test – 5 questions that will ensure that you have what it takes to write your dream business plan. Let’s start with question #1 below;

What is a business Plan and of what use is it?
A business plan is a well thought out document that details how a business opportunity can be converted into a viable business venture and how long it would take for that business to become; profitable, grow and capture a market share. It is a write-up which tells a banker, an investor or a potential partner on what is required to start a business, what the promoters of that business are going to do to make that business achieve its goals and how much they should expect from it if they put their money into the business. To answer the second part of the question of what use is it? – it is the best way to describe a business opportunity and show in facts and figures whether or not that business opportunity is worth anyone’s time. So if you have an idea which only you understands but need cash to turn that idea into a wealth and job creator you need a business plan to convince a bank, family and friends that you can

Who needs a Business Plan?

  • Investors: They would like to know how much they’ll get when they invest their money into a business. What is the prospect for the company’s growth, what would be their market place against the competition, what exit plan is there in the event that the business doesn’t succeed among other things mentioned in the business plan.  
  • Banks and other financial institutions: Obviously no bank of financial institution would give a loan to a first time business without requesting for a business plan. Even if your business has been in existence but the bank has limited relationship with you, your request for a loan to expand will come with conditions one of which is a bankable business plan. The bank has financial analysts who are experts at assessing business plans and opportunities, they would give you a nod to your request depending on whether your business plan is viable or not.
  • Entrepreneurs: as an intending business owner, you’ll need a business plan to guide you so that you know what goals to set for yourself, what management structure you should employ, ompany objectives
  • Government and Developmental Organisations giving Grants: there are many development agencies and government institutions which give grants to small scale entrepreneurs and business people to either start a business venture that will employ other people or expand their existing business.

How can I get a professionally written business plan?
There are several ways to write a professionally business plan that will attract the kind of attention you need such as;

Option #1 - Hire a professional to write one for you

You can hire a professional business plan writer to do the work for you. This is a more expensive approach at face value because you pay a fee usually a hefty one to an expert to do the research, analysis and writing for you. However if you are to do this research yourself it may take you longer, you may do a shoddy job and still spend more money on field research, buying materials, consulting experts etc all of which may frustrate your efforts at getting your job well done.

Option #2 - Purchase a sample business plan template online

There are companies that sell business plans online. Although these business plans are complete the disadvantage is that they are mostly written for a foreign market such as the US or UK with no consideration for people living in Africa especially Nigeria. So this business plans may not be tailored to your specific needs

Option #3 - Write the Business Plan yourself

Writing the business plan yourself is the third and final option which most entrepreneurs with plenty of time to spare opt for. It may come as a surprise to many that writing a business plan is not so difficult but writing it well in a professional and persuasive way is the difficult part. However a very savvy and articulate business owner/entrepreneur should be able to write a very good business plan by merely following an outline either given to him by a bank or one he found online or through another means.    

What should go into a well written Business Plan?

The following parts are essential in a business plan. If you must write a business plan and omit anything

  • Executive Summary: A summary of the entire business plan in as few as 2 pages or even less
  • Industry and Market data Analysis: statistical analysis of facts and data from relevant industry associations, government agencies and media outfits give investors clues about the economic direction and whether or not to invest in a sector
  • Market Overview: is a situation analysis of micro and macro-economic analysis, projected industry/sub-sector, projected GDP growth, market size existing government policies etc
  • Potential market size, growth and trends: what is the population of people likely to buy your product or service within your defined target market region? How much do they spend collectively, what is the trend of 5 year sales like, what are key buying factors in the past, present and possibly future?
  • SWOT Analysis: What are the opportunities and threats to your business? How can you overcome them?
  • Managing Risks and Control factors: every business has risks, what are the likely risks you’ll face in your business
  • Financial goals and Projections: what are the short, medium and long term financial goals and projections? What would be the
  • Operational plan – what would be the company’s operations, operating hours and days in a year, which employees will handle what operations etc
  • Management Plan – organizational structure, management team and employment policy plan
  • Appendix – this would consist of references and addendum

How long should a well written business plan take?

There is no defined period for this but it depends on the kind of business and how much information is available. If you have 90% of available industry data and other necessary information about the business you could have the business plan ready in 24 hours for a small business or over a week for a large business, however when research and financial analysis is needed with little information you should be looking at 10 or more working days.
Are you in Nigeria and need a professionally written business plan tailored to your specific needs? Then you should contact me either on: 0803 206 4106 or 0817 142, 9969 or email me at: paulonwueme@gmail.com