How do I elaborate a successful business plan?

The business plan is a formal plan that will help you to formalise the model of your future business and to detail your action and development plan.

What are the questions you need to address in a good business plan?

Before going into the figures, it is important that you define your future economic model.

Six big topics need to be addressed in a good business plan:

1. Your current situation and your personal goals

  • What is your current situation (family situation, professional status: employed or unemployed…)?
  • What is your education?
  • What are your skills and what expertise is important for your project?
  • Did you start a training or do you plan to start a training?
  • What experience do you have? What knowledge acquired during your career can be usefull for your future project?
  • What personal goals would you like to achieve through this project: create your own job, be your own boss, manage your own time, organise your private and professional life, realise a personal fulfillment, build up your personal assets…?
  • What’s your family’s position on this project? Are they aware about the impact?

Before determining where you go, it is important to know where you come from!

  • How would you describe your future activity?
  • What are the characteristics of your offer that you want to highlight?
  • What are your offer’s benefits to the clients?
  • What is the innovative character of your offer?
  • What are the particular strengths of your offer? What are your competitive advantages over your direct rivals? What differentiates your products / services from others in the market?
  • What is your price positioning? Where do you see your offer between the different product and service ranges?
  • What level of margin do you plan to apply?
  • What additional services do you offer?
  • Is there a specific regulation that applies to your future products or services?
  • Do you have a good knowledge of the market and industry you plan to start in?
  • What is your target clientele?
  • How many clients do you think your target customer base counts?
  • What trends in your future clients’ consumption patterns can have an influence on your market in the short, medium and long term?
  • In what sales territory do you plan to sell your products or services?
  • Who are your current and future competitors?
  • What is their price positioning?
  • How are their products/services positioned in comparison to yours?
  • Is there place in the market for the entry of new competitors?
  • What adjustments do you consider to face the current and future competition?

4.1. Your business development strategy

  • How do you want to sell your products or services?
  • What commercial prospection strategy are you going to implement?
  • What investments are necessary to implement this strategy?
  • What distribution model did you think of for the sale of your products or services?
  • Do you want to sell them yourself or did you think of having them sold by someone else?

4.2. Your production

  • What is your production model?
  • What are the costs associated with this model (e.g. investment in production machines, acquisition of premises, buying of a cash register…)?
  • What kind of suppliers do you need?
  • What business partners do you need?
  • What needs are associated with each one of your business partners and suppliers?
  • What type of remuneration did you think of for your distributors / business providers?
  • What production are you going to do internally, what production may potentially be done externally (possible subcontractors, …)?

4.3. Your partners

  • What partners do you need for your activity? From the personal (family, friends) and professional perspective (suppliers, advisors, specialised organisations)?
  • What role do you see for each partner: participation in the operations, technical support, financial participation,…?

5.1. Your activity and cost forecast

  • What is your activity outlook for the next three years?
  • What means do you plan to use to reach these goals?
  • Is your business seasonal?
  • Have you already fixed your sales price?
  • What terms of payment did you think of for your clients?
  • What are your future company’s costs? How did you calculate these? Did you determine the human means you will need for your production? Did you already think of a recruiting plan?
  • What income do you wish to draw from your activity, in the short and medium term? What is the minimum income that you need?

5.2. Your operating procedures

  • What suppliers and what subcontractors will be associated with each product / service you will sell?
  • What kind of products or services will you buy?
  • Did you calculate your purchases?
  • What payment terms did you think of or did you negotiate with your future suppliers and subcontractors?

5.3. Your financial investments and financing requirements

  • What are your financing requirements to start your business and to develop it later on? What investments are necessary (norms, conformity, environmental policy, …)?
  • What are your short term (0 to 6 months), medium term (6 to 18 months) and long term investments?
  • What resources do you dispose of (personal input for example)?
  • What additional financial resources do you need to seek from financial partners?
  • Are you already in touch with possible investors?

5.4. Your future legal structure

  • Do you already have a business structure in mind? If so, which one and why?
  • What are the goals with respect to your personal situation, your assets, your social status, your health, …?
  • Did you already set a date for the start?
  • Did you draw up a timetable for the launch of your project?

Don't leave these questions unanswered!

Do not avoid the difficult issues! Once you’ve answered all these questions and finalised your business plan, it will be much easier to work with your accountant on your forecast and financing plan.

FIDUCIAL guides you!

With FIDUCIAL’s assistance, you will dispose of a personalised working paper that will allow to structure your thoughts, win time and present your project in a professional way to your financial partners.

This document will be a very good introduction to your project for your financial partners.

A good forecast for obtaining funding easier

To find financing, you will need a forecast in figures. All your financial partners will ask this.

All excited about your project, you may not always imagine the gap between the expenses incurred and the collection of the receivables that can be longer than expected. This gap might cause cash flow problems, or, worse, a situation of suspension of payments.

So it is primordial that you make a hypothesis that is realistic given your industry and market. To avoid bad surprises, do not hesitate to ask advice from people around you that have a good knowledge of your sector.