How to Write a Business Plan in Nigeria
There is a popular saying which I am quite sure you’ll be familiar with. I am almost certain you have heard it up to, if not more than, 10 times while growing up. If you have schooled in Nigeria at any level (secondary schools especially), you must have heard this statement before: “Failure to plan is planning to fail”. Back then, they used that phrase to tell us that if you didn’t read your books, it should be naturally expected that you wouldn’t pass your exams. That was very true because some of us actually tested it, and we found it to be very true (lol).
The bigger truth we later went on to find in our lives as we grew up is, that statement wasn’t true for our academics alone; it is actually true in every facet of our lives, and in almost any other thing we’re involved with, that statement which our teachers used to taunt or frustrate us (or so we thought) back in the school days, has proven to be a force that seems to travel with us almost every other place we went in our lives!
One of the most important places many people have come to face up with the reality of that statement is in business. Planning in business is key, and without it, you’ll end up losing everything you may seem to have gathered over a period of time. It is very true that if you fail to plan your business, you have actually planned to fail. Whether it is a small-scale business or a multinational, one truth that has been proven over and over again is that in starting a business, one must carry out a lot of planning, and explore ways on how to maximize the opportunity of a business idea. Doing this, and the various levels of activities involved is what gives birth to a business plan. A business plan is a document that proves to be a roadmap and a strategy paper that is created for business success. It most times presents the details of for the first 3-5 years of the company and how it intends to achieve success.
Why is it important to learn how to write a business plan in Nigeria? When you are planning to start a business in Nigeria or any part of the world, you need direction, focus, and set goals so you can follow a track that leads to success. 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, and the only documents that provide such information at a glance is the business plan. This is a key reason why it is important to know how to write a business plan in Nigeria. A business plan also helps you to have a clear picture of what your product and services are (or should be) all about, where you are taking your business and how you will achieve set business goals.
So, the question is, have you been thinking of how to write a business plan for your business in Nigeria? Do you feel overwhelmed by the whole idea of writing a business plan that can pull your business through? Do not worry. Part of my goal in the article is to simplify the whole idea of writing a business plan for you as much as possible. Now, before you write a business plan that will get the job done as we have said earlier, there are a few important things to have at the back of your mind and step to follow to come up with a business plan that will do just what you want. Here are some of them.
Understand the purpose of a business plan
When thinking about how to write a business plan in Nigeria, knowing “why?” is key. If you do not know the purpose of a thing, abuse is inevitable they say. Many people actually believe that a business plan is only needed for the purpose of seeking funds – and I can bet, over 70% of the people seeking to write a business plan are doing so because of this reason. But there are other reasons a business should have a plan. Below are some of the benefits of a business plan. I will only list them because I’m sure the implications of each of the points below are obvious:
- Evaluation and validation of your business ideas
- To conduct market research
- To attract quality employees and management team members
- It helps you attracts investors easily
- It makes seeking collaborations and partnerships with bigger brands easy
- For pitching and competitions
- For tracking the progress of your business
- It helps you understand your competition
- Helps you to distinguish yourself from the competitors
- Helps you to map out your operations
- Makes sourcing for funding easy
- Helps you understand your customers and their needs
- Helps you to project required staff strength
- Helps you foresee or forecast new opportunities
- Helps you concentrate on your area of strength
- It shows stakeholders that you are serious about your business
- It helps brings “hidden” or “subtle” assumptions (which could be dangerous) to the surface for more realistic checks and analysis
- Helps you to clearly recognize how you will make money ahead of time
- It helps you determine your actual financial needs and takes it out of the realm of assumptions and guesswork
- It reduces your risk of pursuing the wrong ‘opportunities’ and ideas
- It forces you to really “know and understand your market” through research that it inevitably requires
Ensure your plan has the following attributes
- Simple and clear
- Concise and precise
- Sequential and logical
- Avoid unrealistic promises that are based on unfounded assumptions
- Use figures where necessary
- Be original in your ideas and concept – avoid copycat and plagiarism of someone else’s ideas
- Write it with a specific audience(s) in mind – communicate and use words as if you are talking to those set of audience(s)
- A good business plan will depend on the quality of your research about the subject you’re writing on, so do your research well.
Write your business plan following this simple format:
A business plan is usually structured to contain the following major topics and subheadings, you can use them as a guide to writing your award-winning business plan.
1.0 Executive summary
- Vision and mission statements
- Legal status
- Location and facilities,
- Production plan
- Business strategy
- Key success factors
- Nature and size
- Target market
- Key competitors and players
- Service delivery
- Quality assurance
- Demand/supply analysis
- Competitive edge
4.0 Marketing Plan
- Promotion and distribution strategy
- Market positioning
5.0 Organizational structure
- Shareholders and directors
- Management team
- External support
- Personnel plan
- Value and norms of the company.
6.0 Legal, regulatory, social and environmental issues
- Legal issues
- Regulatory issues
- Social issues
- Environmental issues
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7.0 Financial Plan
- Forecast of sales
- Estimate of costs
- Working capital projection
- Startup capital required
- Proposed financial structure
- Loan repayment and interest payment schedule
- Projected profit and loss account
- Cash ow projection
- Projected balance sheet
- Financial analysis
8.0 Risk Analysis, Contingency Plan and Exit Strategy
- Risk analysis and mitigants
- Contingency plan
- Photocopy of certificate of incorporation
- Assumptions behind the figures
More often than not, depending on your type of business, some of the elements I have presented above may need to be changed or stated in a slightly different way to suit your purpose and your business type when thinking of how to write a business plan in Nigeria. One thing to bear in mind is that, business plan writing is a skill and can be learnt by anyone – and just like any skill that is learned, the more you do it, the better you get at it. So, why not make an attempt to write your first business plan today? If you run into any serious issues (which is not likely if you carefully follow the plan above), we will always be here to provide you with the needed support at www.dayoadetiloye.com, if you reach out, we will be here to assist. Call or WhatsApp us now on 081 0563 6015, 080 7635 9735, 08113205312 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will solve any of your business plan problems.
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Call or WhatsApp us now on 081 0563 6015, 080 7635 9735, 08113205312 or send an email to email@example.com and we will solve any of your business problems.
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