A to Z of Launching a Startup in Pakistan

How to write a business plan

A business plan is essential to gain investment and support for any business idea. A well designed and thought through plan is essential in seeking financing and also in developing business growth. A certain number of steps are involved in writing a business plan, let’s reflect on them.

1- Executive Summary
The executive summary is a brief explanation of the business idea and basic information about the company and the main goal of the document. This could also include any long-term goals or growth strategies. It could also have financial information and details regarding any funding that the business needs for expansion.

2- Company Description
This section should mainly discuss the problem you have identified and how your product or service is going to solve that through your business idea. This section could further describe your product and then explain the business model you are adopting for your company. This section could also talk about all the stakeholders involved. For example, anyone who is directly or indirectly involved in your business is a stakeholder.

3- Market Analysis
A business plan should always talk about the competitive landscape in which the business is operating. The direct competitors, if any exist in the market, it is important to see their skills and how your business can operate in the similar industry. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your business idea as compared to similar businesses is very important to understand the market better.

4- Target Market
It is paramount for a business to understand its target market. Setting up a pen profile for the target individual who will be the final customer will help define the product much better. A pen profile makes you determine who the final customer is, what is his age, his income and his general interests. This profiling will also help in a later stage to where and how to promote the products to the target market.

5- Organizational Structure

A business plan should mention the legal structure the company will have. For example, will it operate as a sole proprietorship or as a private limited company or a partnership. The business plan should lay out an organizational chart that explains who is in charge of what and how many management teams will operate for the business processes. The structure also explains hoe each role will contribute to the success of the business.

6- Service or product line
The business plan needs to paint a clear picture in terms of any patents or copyrights the business needs to get done. It is important to lay out the process for it and why it is important to get it done.

7- Marketing and Sales
In this section the business plan should depict how to attract new customers and how to retain existing ones. What marketing platforms will be used and why the chosen platforms will help expand the business. The cost that marketing will have and the financial projections should show the budget required for this section.

8- Financial Budgeting and prospecting
This is the most important section if you are looking to further fund your business or looking for investment. The financial projections should reflect that the business is profitable. If the business already exists then having a three-to-five-year income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement will also add value to the financial books. The financial projections can be quarterly and should reflect the return on investment because that is what investors are most interested in and financing decisions are based on it.

9- Appendix
The business plan can have an appendix section to further display any patents, reports, letters of reference, product pictures and legal documents that you might use in the business plan.

How to pitch your idea

Business Ideas can be pitched in multiple ways; they just have to be creative and crisp. Some individuals like to use the question approach. In this type of pitching the presenter asks a question which forces the listener into thinking and stimulating a thought process. This prompts

interaction and interest. Another approach that individuals use is a counter-intuitive approach that displays reasons to not support a business idea. This shifts the conversation to a collaborative approach rather than a one-sided talk. This also grows listeners’ interest in the business proposal.

How to raise funds from family, friends and investor

Raising Funds for a business are the only ways to launch a startup. Without capital it is pretty much impossible to fuel up a business. The easiest way to go about it is to take a loan from a family and friends. Another approach is to contact banks but bank loans usually go against collateral depending on bank policies. Another possibility to get venture capitalist funding for your project. Seed funding and angel investors are also a proposition depending on the kind of investment you are looking for.  

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