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January 2021 edition

Entrepreneurs, it all starts with a plan

Written by Allison Cooper

A solid business plan is one of the most important aspects of starting your own business. Vuk’uzenzele speaks to Nedbank and Absa to get some tips on how to go about it.

“Before starting your business plan, have a solid understanding of the end-to-end business value chain and everything related to the business,” says Nirmala Reddy, Nedbank’s Senior Manager of Enterprise Development.

Know your weaknesses, learn more about the things you know little about and think about your objectives. “If you struggle to picture any aspect of your business, you are not ready. Go back to the drawing board,” says Reddy.

You can use a business plan template for your framework, but you must customise it for your business. Many templates are free on the internet.

“Flesh out the key facets of the business plan. You need to know what you are selling; who you are selling to; how you will sell it; who is selling something similar; who your team will be; how much funding you need and where to get it from; and what sales you think you will make.

Achieving goals

“There are various important aspects an entrepreneur needs to think about before starting a business. The business plan is a roadmap that sets out how the business aims to achieve its goals,” says Tina Playne, the Managing Executive: Sectors and Segments, Relationship Banking at Absa Retail and Business Bank.

“It should provide potential investors with sufficient insight to make informed decisions about the viability of the planned venture and the entrepreneur’s ability to make it a success. It should detail the strategic, operational, customer, financial, marketing and people plans of the business,” she adds.

The plan should describe the products or services the business will offer; the operational plan describes production; the target market describes potential customers; the financial plan includes goals, the budget and funding; the marketing plan defines how the product or service will be positioned in the market; and the people plan describes the skills and capability needed to deliver on the strategy.