Writing a Business Plan does not have to be a hassle it should be easy and with the right guidance, it might be fun as well. Your business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them providing a road map for the business’s next three to five years.
Not every business launches with a business plan, but many founders, while running their business, find value in taking time to step back, research their idea and understand the scope and the strategy behind their tactics. That’s where writing a business plan comes in.
With this step-by-step guide, learn how to write a well-written professional business plan that can help you successfully start your business, share it with potential investors and apply for funding, and grow.
Before writing you need to pick the most suitable format for your case. And yes, nowadays business plans also have multiple formats. There is the traditional plan; with all the available data to suit various scenarios, this is the one we will discuss now. Or a lean startup plan which details your business only at the highest level. This is most appropriate for businesses that are likely to change quickly or are on a very, very short timeline.
How to Write a Traditional Business Plan?
1- Create an Executive Summary
It is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. Most people write it last, though. Your executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan.
Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).
Check this article for writing the ideal executive summary.
2- Describe Your Products/Services
It includes information about the problem that you’re solving, your solution, and how your product or service fits into the existing competitive landscape.
Start by describing the problem that you are solving for your customers and what your solution is. This is a description of your product or service. Next, outline your competition; they are providing solutions for the same pain points of your customers and what are their competitive edge. If you happen to have any competitive advantages, it is your great chance to mention them here.
Finally, review your milestones and metrics. This is an overview of the next steps that you need to accomplish, and If you’ve already achieved some key milestones, discuss that here.
3- Market Analysis
Here is your suitable opportunity to showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You’ll cover your target market and try to be specific as possible, with a solid target in mind your marketing activities will be easier, as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry.
Next, provide any market analysis and market research that you have. You’ll want to explain how your market is growing over time and how your business is positioned to take advantage of expected changes in your industry.
4- Marketing and Sales Plan
This section will illustrate how you plan to reach your target market segments and sell to them, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.
Some businesses that distribute their products and reach their customers through stores and other retail outlets should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles that the business may have to overcome.
5- Organization and Management Team
If you are planning to get investors or funding opportunity take special care with this section, Investors look for great teams in addition to great ideas. Describe your current team and who you need to hire.
You will also provide a quick overview of your legal structure, location, and history if you’re already up and running. Include brief bios that highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member.
It’s important here to make the case for why the team is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. And remember to include a summary of your company’s current business structure.
6- Make a Financial Plan
No matter how great your idea is, and regardless of the effort, time, and money you invest, a business lives or dies based on its financial health. That’s why most entrepreneurs find it really daunting, but it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it seems. Business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think. A typical financial plan will include:
- Sales and revenue projections
- Profit and loss statement
- Cash flow statement
- Balance sheet
7- Compile an Appendix
This is not a required chapter, but it is a useful place to stick any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that either felt too long or too out-of-place to include elsewhere in your business plan.
For more details about what you can include in this section Check this article out.
My advice to you is to have a clear goal before start working on your business plan and to invest your time in research to create a killing one. And remember to check our highly recommended articles from here: