Have you been thinking of how to write a business plan for your business here in Nigeria?
Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of writing a business plan that is of standard?
Don’t be agitated. Writing a business plan is not as difficult as you think.
You can make it as simple and less cumbersome as possible without missing out any important details.
When you start a business in Nigeria or any part of the world, you need direction, focus, and set goals so you can follow a tract and succeed. You need to know what your business entails and how you will go about meeting your goals and objectives.
You also need funding to grow your business. Any serious investor would want to know the feasibility of your business before putting their money in it.
In all these, a business plan is the answer. It helps you to have a clear picture of what your product and services is all about, where you are taking your business and how you will achieve set business goals.
But what exactly is a business plan?
According to The Balance Small Business
“A business plan is a document that summarizes the operational and financial objectives of a business and contains the detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized. It is the road map to the success of your business”.
Shopify defines a business plan in more instructive terms: It is “A document describing a business, its products or services, how it earns (or will earn) money, its leadership and staffing, its financing, its operations model, and many other details essential to its success”.
Many new business owners believe that business plans are mainly used for seeking fund. But there are other reasons a business should have a plan. Below are some of the benefits of a business plan:
- To evaluate your business ideas:
How many people will buy my products and services? How much money will I spend to hit the ground running? What resources will I need? How much time will I spend on my business?
These are important questions any serious minded business would have to find answers to before going ahead with any business. A well written business plan should address these questions for you.
If you have more than one business idea in your head, by the time you do a rough business plan for each of them, you should be able to know which of them is really worth your effort, time and money.
- To carry out market research
According to Oberlo.com
Market research is a systematic process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information about a target market, consumers, competitors and the industry as a whole.
Market research is the foundation of any successful company and it can be used for a number of different purposes – from identifying a new market to launching a new business.
The data you collect from a market research should find answers to questions such as: Will people actually buy my products and services? How many of them can buy my product? What are their financial status? What are their alternatives? Who are your competitors in the market? And other vital pieces of information.
These findings will shape your business plan and then use the data you gather in making strategic decisions.
If you do not want to write a business plan, you may not want to do a market research. So writing a business plan helps you do the needful – carry out a market research.
- For new Hires
A business plan is the best way you can easily communicate your business vision and mission to your new hires or team member.
Before a new hire gets on board, they need to be on the same page with other team members, knowing the goals, mission and vision of the business and how to contribute their own quota to achieving it. Without such plan, they may loose focus.
- For Collaborations and partnerships
Like new hires, potential partners and collaborators on the same page with the company. They need to know your target market; the size of the market, your business goals and vision and strategies for growth.
With these pieces of information readily available in a business plans, it becomes easier for other organizations to identify the possibility of collaborating and partnering with your business.
- For Pitching Competition
Techpoint Africa organizes a monthly pitching competition where startup ideas are presented to an audience who would judge their pitches.
If you don’t have a great business plan to start with, you cannot produce a great pitch.
Tony Elumelu Foundation competition is another business plan competition in Nigeria and Africa
which you can only apply for and even win with a well written business plan following all stated criteria.
Now that we have we have gone through the uses of a business plan, it is time to write a winning business plan for your business.
How to Write a Business Plan in Nigeria – Simple Format
Before you write a business plan that will fly, there are a few important information you need to have at the back of your mind throughout this process. Let’s quickly run through it.
- Simple is the new cool
We cannot emphasize enough the need for your business plan to be simple. An effective business plan must be very simple, straight to the point yet contain necessary detail. Provide as much information as needed by your readers in the simplest form possible, especially in the executive summary section of the plan.
Keep your business plan as coincide as possible. No one will ever read 20 pages of a business plan. People are getting increasingly busy and more so, the longer your plan gets, the boring it becomes. So keep it very simple!
- Write With an audience in mind
Who is reading your business plan? Who is it not meant for?
When writing your business plan, write it with particular reader(s) in mind. This will help you to provide the required specific information and omit unnecessary details. You can have variations of your audience-target business plan. But this should be according to request so you don’t overburden yourself.
- Research research research!
To write an effective business plan, you need to spend time on your research. The research is basically geared toward your market and competition analysis. The rest of the plan revolves around your own ideas about your business so you can find a way around it. But for your market analysis and competition, you need facts and figure which you can only get through research.
Getting the right facts and figures from your research is useful. It will save you from wasting time, money and effort if the market is too small or not profitable.
Without further ado, below is a simple Business Plan Format that you can follow when writing your own your no matter the industry In Nigeria.
How to Write a Business Plan in Nigeria – Simple Format
Generally, a standard business plan has an average of six sections:
- Executive summary
- Company overview
- Market analysis
- Product and services
- Marketing plan
- Financial plan
Now let’s quickly go through the information that should be contained in each of the six business plan segments outlined above.
- Executive Summary
The Executive Summary section as the name suggests, is the summary of the rest of your Business Plan. It is expected to contain a brief of what to see in the other sections of your plan. And this is why experts will advise you to write it last when you must have completed the other sections.
This part of your plan must be very brief and persuasive. Chances are your target readers don’t have the luxury of time to go through the rest of your plan. Upon reading your executive summary, they should be able to have a good understanding of what your business is all about and be persuaded to learn more.
Your business plan readers must be able to have an overview of your plan with the executive summary. So this section is one of the most important, if not the most important section.
Basically, your executive summary should contain the following information:
Problem Statement: Here, you briefly describe the problem you are providing a solution for. Why does your business need to exit? What need does it meet?
Solution Statement: Give a brief summary of the solution you are providing. Why your solution is the best to meet the problem you have stated earlier. This should be very short as you will go into details later in the plan.
Market: Who is your target market? What is your market segment? Give brief information about this as you will provide detail later on in your plan.
Competition: You surely have competitions that you are up against. Who are they? Which of your competitions do your customers prefer?
Why we win: Here, you give a brief overview of why your team is the most suitable to build the winning business idea. What are some of the qualifications and experiences of your team members that give you an edge over others?
Marketing and sales: What are the strategies you will use to get people to know about your products –marketing and buy your products – sales? Will you use digital marketing or traditional motar and pestle approach? State clearly how you plan to get the word out there about your business. Again, be very brief.
Operations: How will your business operate? Is it from a physical location like an office, a shop or a store? Or will you operate online? What equipment or machines do you use? Which will you need? How much space would you need and what space do you currently have? If you will need any technology i.e. website to carry out your business, here is when to state it.
Financial projection: What’s the projected revenue you foresee in say two to three years? What’s the mathematics behind your projection?
Funding: Exactly how much funding are you seeking and how do you plan to executive the funds?
Milestones: Investors like to see that your business is already gaining traction or making some form of sales or acceptance from potential customers. If your potential customers are already showing any form of interest in your business is, here is where you briefly state it.
Key metrics: What does your business success mean to you? And how will you identify it when you see it. See a breakdown of the Key Metrics in a Business Plan to better understand.
How to Write a Business Plan in Nigeria – Simple Format
- Company Overview
This is the part of a business plan I love most. Why? It’s almost the easiest section of the plan. if you truly own your business, you should find this section of the plan easy as well.
In this section, you give details about your company and the human beings behind it. This section of your business plan should contain the following components:
Overview: Here, you give details about who owns the company. Are you a sole owner? Do you have a co-founder? Or are you more than two? What is the stake of each one?
You will also answer important questions about how your business is structured legally i.e. are you a sole proprietorship or partnership? If it’s a partnership, is it a LLC or LLP or are you a non for profit? Here are all the different structures of businesses you should know
Team: Now, it’s time to give an overview of you and your team.
How many are you in the company? Who are the people? What educational backgrounds, skills and experiences are they bringing to the table? Who is missing in the team that you intend to hire when you must have secured some funding? What will they be doing for the company when they come on board?
Also, do you have a board of directors? – Your board of directors could be made up of people who have the skills, experiences, network or expertise to contribute to the growth of your company.
They might be your friends or a family member; former colleagues, a former lecturer etc. If you have such ones on a board of directors, state them in this section of your business plan.
Also, highlight the particular skills they have for the benefit of your company?
- Market Analysis
The market analysis section of your business plan as the name hints is dedicated to the size of your market and down to your target market size.
Provide answers to these questions: how big is the market? How is your business positioned in the market? Who are your competitors? What is their share of the market? How many people will buy your products and services? Is it a profitable number going by the pricing you have in mind to sell?
Basically, your market analysis section should contain the following information:
Your customer profile: Demography of your potential customers. Are your target customers, Lagos highland based early teenage girls who are out of secondary schools? Give detailed demography of your customers.
How many are they? What is your target customers’ buying power? Will they be willing to buy your products? Can they afford to buy it?
Industry: What industry do you operate in? what are the current and future trends in the industry? For example, if you target newly graduated teenagers, how many teenagers will graduate in the next few years? What is the growth capacity of the industry in the next few years or will it decline?
To get these facts and figures, here is where research is needed–as stated earlier.
Target market: What type of customers do you target within the market? Do you focus on high income earners or lower income earners? This is similar to your demography but a little different. It looks more toward your interest in the market order than their characteristics.
Other important components of a market analysis section of a business plan are:
- Products and services
Your product or service is at the center of your business, so don’t be surprised that you talk about it almost everywhere business plan.
But the Product and Services section of your plan is an avenue for you to give an in-depth details of what your services and products are all about.
Begin with a description of your products and who are will buy them. Then mention your pricing structure; the benefits of your products, supply chain, as well as why your offering is better than your competitors.
Do you have a patent, trademark or copy right; you’ll provide here is where to provide such information.
To break it down, your Product and Service section should contain the following details:
Product and service description
Give details of your products and services and characteristics that make them stand out. Mention how the product fills your target customers’ needs in the way that competitions do not.
Stage of product
You’ll also need to tell your readers what stage your product is as at the time when you are writing the plan. Tell them if the product is still at the idea stage or it’s ready for the market already.
Please be very sincere and real with the information you provide here. It’s not a crime if your product is still at the ideation phase. The important thing is that you have a plan for growth and expansion which you will equally state.
How to develop the product
How do you plan to fully develop your products to the desired stage?
What research needs to be done to achieve this? What future plans do you have to expand your product line? How do you intend to achieve this? These are the vital questions you answer here.
Provide details here about your intellectual property or patent if you have one.
Do you source materials for your product and services elsewhere? Do you import materials or get them locally elsewhere? Ensure to include the source of your inventory in this section of your business plan.
How to Write a Business Plan in Nigeria – Simple Format
- Marketing and Sales Plan
Now that you’ve completely described your products and services, it’s time to let your readers know the strategies you’ll put in place to make people buy those products. And that’s the real deal.
Before you write this section of your plan, you need to have a good idea of what marketing and sales is in business.
This brings us to the marketing and sales section of the plan.
For the marketing aspect, you need to answer questions such as: what channel of distribution do I want to use? How will I penetrate my market? What are my strategies for growth? How will I communicate with my customer?
While for the sales aspect you need to provide answers to questions such as: who will sell my products? Do I need to hire a sales team to sell my products? Who will they be? How will they be trained?
You should also provide information on how you will sell your products i.e. through call centre or direct meetings in person.
- Financial Projection/Plan
This section of the business plan is the most technical and equally an important aspect of any business plan.
Here, you should provide detailed information about your current financial status and what you want to achieve financially in your business in the nearest future.
If you are not very familiar with the financial world, this guide will help you learn all about financial projection.
You can also see samples of business plan financial projections to come up with one for your business.
So, here we go.
This is a typical simple format business plan for anyone doing business in Nigeria. You can style your own plan after this one adapting it the specific needs of your readers.
Feel free to any question you have about writing a business plan or even about business generally as we are ready to help you out with the necessary information.
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Bukola Owo-Bello is a spirited storyteller, content creator and YouTuber who loves sharing amazing opportunities, inspiration, and ideas with forward-thinking African youths.
Follow her on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram on @BukkiTalks