If you're planning on starting a business in Singapore, you're in good company - almost 62,000 businesses were formed in the region during 2017. However, it's an unfortunate fact that a large proportion of these ventures will fail; research has found that around 70% of businesses don't make it to ten years.
In order to give your business the greatest chance at making it long-term, you need to ensure you're working on a solid foundation. This is why it's so important to write a carefully-crafted business plan. It not only helps you to attract funding, but also to determine whether your idea is actually viable and if there are any potential problems with what you're proposing.
Before you put pen to paper (or more accurately fingers to keyboard), you need to establish your USP. Do you have something that makes your business or product stand out from the crowd? What makes you different to your competitors? Business is tough, and many markets are incredibly crowded, so without a great selling point you'll find your whole business plan becomes obsolete.
Once you've figured out exactly what your USP is, focus on that point while writing your business plan - show that you have an idea that's exciting and not just a rehash of old ideas.
Now it's time to get writing. It may seem like a daunting process, but thankfully the plan is broken down into several sections, which makes it much more manageable. Here is what you need to include in each of the steps:
This is basically just an overview of what's in your plan. It will probably be easiest to get this done last, as by then you'll know exactly what your plan contains. It should be around one or two pages long and should include these components:
Overview - One or two sentences describing your company; what you sell (and who to), and where you're based (or will be).
Company Profile - Give details about how your company is structured and the key people involved, and how they're knowledge and experience will help drive the business.
Products - What are you going to sell, what is it's USP and what problem does it solve for customers in your niche?
Target Market - Who are your target customers, how large is the market? How much competition do you have, and who are your main rivals?
Financials - What funding will you have? What will your profit margins and expenses be? What are your projected sales figures?
Here is where you can describe your company in more detail. Explain the structure, mission statement, ownership, brand image, and location(s). It's also important to include the market you're entering, and how your products meet a demand in it.
This is one of the most important aspects of your plan, as having a good picture of your target market will show whether or not your business model is likely to be successful. In this section, you need to include who your target customers are (be as specific as possible), how big that market is, and why they're likely to choose you over the competition.
Here is where you'll also need to include research on your competitors, aka a competitive analysis. This needs to be more in-depth than just stating how many similar companies there are; you need to establish what share of the market they have and what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can leverage the latter to your advantage.
As well as using your own research, you'll also need to include some from outside sources. Global Database's business intelligence platform allows you to gain a complete picture of your target market through comprehensive company insights such as size, activity type, years in operation, financials, and digital insights including web traffic and technologies used.
All of the companies listed in the database can be easily filtered using factors such as location, industry, activity type, size and more, so you can find those who'll be your direct competition. You can also use it to learn more about the different market segments you'll be targeting; discover their likely pain points and needs, and establish how you'll use these to target them.
Use this section to explain in more detail what your products and/or services are, and how they solve a problem for your customers, or provide value to them. After you've gone into detail about how your product fills a gap and how it benefits your target audience, it's time to describe your competition. What other companies are providing solutions for this issue, and how is your offering different to theirs?
You can use Global Database's digital insights to form a comparison between your competitors based on factors such as web traffic, traffic sources and Alexa ranking.
In this section you should outline your marketing and sales strategy to show how you and your team will drive sales of your product or service. It's vital that you have a deep understanding of your ideal buyers before you come to this section, so you're able to determine the best ways to target them.
Include details such as the methods and platforms you'll use to reach out to your audience, the ways you'll engage them, and your pricing plans and strategy. You also need to include information about your branding, including the packaging etc if applicable.
Having a substantial amount of data to back up your ideas is crucial to forming a solid sales and marketing strategy. Global Database's Singapore B2B directory provides accurate and regularly-updated business information that can not only be used to contact prospects directly, but also to gain a deep understanding of your market and how your competitors are targeting customers.
The last main section of your business plan should detail your business' financials. It needs to include the following elements:
Start up costs - This should outline all of the expenses involved in setting up your business. For example, things like office space, computers and other equipment, employees, etc...
Sales forecasts - How much are you expecting to sell? Include a monthly breakdown for the first year, then projections for the next three to five years.
Income statement - AKA profit and loss statement, this is where your expenses are taken from the amount earned to show whether you'll have a profit or a loss.
Exit strategy - This doesn't need to be too detailed but just needs to show that you've thought about the options for selling your business further down the line. Who would be interested in buying it, and importantly, would any investors you have get a return on their investment?
You can get a good idea of the turnover for similar companies in your market by using Global Database's financial insights. This information will not only help you establish the types of figures you need to have in order to compete in this arena, they'll also help when estimating your own projections.
Just some of the financial information offered in the Global Database platform
This isn't an essential part of the business plan but is useful if you have further information that you haven't had a chance to include in the main body. This might include things like definitions, charts and tables, resumes, legal notes or patents.
There are some best practices to note when writing your business plan, in order to make it as efficient and informative as possible. Here are our top tips:
Try to be keep your page count under 40 pages. This not only makes it more appealing to anyone else who needs to read you plan, but also for your own benefit; your business plan should be your go-to guide for how to manage your business, so making it more succinct makes it easier for you to refer back to it.
Use charts, graphs and tables to make your facts and figures easier to understand. You can add them to the corresponding sections to break up the text, or include them in the appendix to make them easy to find.
When you're writing your plan, keep in mind the people who are going to read it. Is it targeted towards potential investors, or just for internal use? Bear in mind the specific needs of these different readers and what they'll want to know.
Having to write a business plan can seem like a gargantuan challenge, but provided you take it a section at a time and conduct all of the necessary research beforehand, you'll find it much more manageable. Remember that your plan isn't finite; it will change and evolve as your business grows, so coming back to it every now and again is important for keeping your business running smoothly.
To gain immediate access to high-quality data for your business plan, visit us at www.GlobalDatabase.com