Writing a business plan is a useful exercise for several reasons. For a new practice to succeed, one needs to know where they are going and how they will get there. Creating a business plan forces the setting of goals, determining the resources needed to carry out goals, and anticipating problems that might otherwise derail the work.
If the business plan is not being used to solicit financing, an informal plan can be created to serve as a planning tool and a device to stay on track. An informal plan can also be used to show to potential partners during recruitment.
There are several online resources and software that can support the formulation of a business plan. The key elements usually include:
1. Introduction: provides an outline of the business plan and an executive summary, which is a snapshot of the practice setup, philosophy, and viability.
2. Business Description: provides the practice’s vision, and includes information about who the practice is, what it will offer, what market needs the practice will address, and why the business idea is viable.
3. Market Description: provides an interpretation and research of the existing trends and conditions in the area in which the practice will be located. This can form the basis for marketing and financial plans for the practice.
4. Development and Production: provides a description of the current state of the practice and the plan for continuing or completing its development (eg, hiring staff, buying equipment, leasing space).
5. Sales and Marketing: provides a road map of the strategies and resources that will be employed to generate practice growth.
6. Management: describes the team that will be gathered to manage the practice, including specific strengths, qualifications, and responsibilities of each team member.
7. Financials: documents the viability of the business idea and its soundness as an investment, using specific financial information and risk assessment.