How To Start Writing A Business Plan – We’ve created a series of unique business plan templates, described below, that you can download and customize for any business.
Writing a business plan is the first step in building a foundation for your business. While many entrepreneurs write their plans to inform and appeal to investors, a business plan is a useful asset to have no matter how you secure funding. Creating a comprehensive plan ensures that you are entering a growing market and the plan to do so.
How To Start Writing A Business Plan
Some things to consider in your plan include your legal structure, accounting, marketing and exit strategy. When writing the fine print, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel because you can follow templates.
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Writing a thorough and detailed business plan before jumping into your business endeavor will help you build a plan for your company. It allows you to plan for different financial scenarios, organize your management team and create a cohesive brand strategy. Below we have listed some of the many benefits of writing a detailed business plan.
Instead of writing your business plan from scratch, there are many business plan templates available for different types of startups. By using a template, you can cover all your bases and mimic the format of what businesses in your industry are already doing.
Templates also help ensure that you don’t miss important details in each section and consider every aspect of business planning. It leaves much less guesswork when it comes to creating a thorough business plan for your company. Some additional benefits of using a business plan template include:
When you have a pattern, it can seem overwhelming. You may not know what to fill in each section or whether certain sections even apply to you. We have detailed each section of a business plan below.
Business Plan: How To Write The Perfect Business Plans For Your Business
The first part of your business plan, after the title page and table of contents, is the executive summary. It is usually written last, although it is what represents your business and the plan for it. The overview of your business should be as engaging as the first page of a book. You need to grab the reader’s attention to keep them reading.
The information in your executive summary includes your mission, business size, location, management, ownership, and your product or service. You also want to give the reader a sneak peek of the target market and how you meet the market’s needs.
Additionally, you should also include what kind of competition you are facing, how you will gain market share and financial requirements and projections.
Similar to the executive summary, the company description will also represent your business. First and foremost, you should describe the industry you are entering and how you differentiate yourself from the competition. Present your business, how it fits into different market areas, and how your products or services meet the needs and wants of the customer.
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Also known as market analysis, industry analysis takes an in-depth look at the market you are entering, how competitive it is and how it justifies your spending.
This is where you can show investors that you’ve done your research and that you’re entering a growing market with a definite target audience. It would help if you also show a demand for the product or service you offer.
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is the perfect way to incorporate all these factors in an organized manner. Be sure to include market size, sales volume and value, as well as barriers to entry, if any.
The competitive analysis builds on the industry analysis by identifying specific competitors for your business. You should cover three things in this section: direct competitors, indirect competitors, and your competitive advantage.
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Direct competitors are the companies that solve the same customer problem as you do with a similar solution. Once you have identified the companies, be sure to include their name, overview, products or services, pricing and market segmentation. It will also help to conduct a SWOT analysis of each competitor.
Indirect competitors solve the same customer problem with a different solution. You want to include similar points as for direct competitors.
After you’ve identified your competitors, you want to show how you have a competitive advantage – what sets you apart from the competition, and what insights can you draw from your competitors’ weaknesses? Knowing that you have a strategy to compete with your competitors will show investors that you have a detailed game plan.
In this section you focus on your target market customers and what their needs are. Two things you need to know to complete this section are who your target customers are and what they want. Based on this, you will develop how your company solves the customer’s problem or meets their needs.
How To Write A Business Plan: The Complete Step By Step Guide
An excellent way to organize this information is an environmental analysis with market segmentation. There are various demographic segmentation of the target market, such as age, income, gender, location, value and many other characteristics that you can use to create your customer profile.
One of the most important parts of your business plan is your marketing strategy. This section details your products or services, pricing and promotion.
You should list all your key products or services, descriptions and prices in the Products or Services subcategory. You should discuss how you plan to attract new customers and what marketing channels (email marketing, content marketing, etc.) you will use for your promotional campaign.
The operating plan for your business is essential because it uses the daily processes of your company and the key milestones to measure the growth of your company.
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Key operational processes are your company’s daily actions to serve customers such as marketing, product development, customer service, manufacturing and administration.
Once these are in place, you can set milestones for your company’s growth, such as your launch date, revenue milestones or when you plan to introduce new products or services.
This part of the business plan answers the “who” question: Who will own and maintain your business value? This section should detail your legal structure (limited liability company, sole proprietorship, etc.), your management and your staffing requirements.
As a result, you ensure that you have their positions, roles and salary in order when it comes time to hire employees.
Business Plan: What It Is, What’s Included, And How To Write One
The financial aspect of your business plan is the most important part for investors or lenders, as it shows whether your business will be profitable and grow.
The revenue model shows how your company benefits, for example through product sales or a monthly subscription fee from customers. The financial highlights include a financial forecast with a five-year projected income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements. You’ll also want to include a breakeven analysis to show investors how much you need to make a profit after the start-up costs are paid.
The financing requirements will detail where the money borrowed or invested in your business will go. How much will go into product development? Marketing? Staff? Showing lenders where their money is going will give them more confidence in you.
Finally, you will want to plan an exit strategy if you are looking to seek equity capital and eventually sell your business. It helps to do some market research on how companies in the same industry have priced and for how much. Investors want to know how much they will get back if you decide to pay. Even if you don’t plan to sell your business, you never know what will happen, so preparing an exit strategy is a proactive way to plan.
The Step By Step Guide For Writing A Business Plan
The last section of the business plan can present all the detailed information that supports the previous sections of the plan. It should also include the full financial statements of the financial planning department. Some items to include in this section are credit histories for business owners, charts and market research, mortgage documents, references and links to your business website.
Now that you are familiar with the different sections in each business plan template, we present to you a number of free downloadable business plan templates that you can use based on your needs. Whether you are starting an online home business or a local small business, below are business plans and examples for different types of businesses.
Starting with a simple business plan template is an excellent way to start planning your business. It contains all the sections listed above and what is included in each section. The business plan can be used to secure financing or to have it on hand when you need it.
Startups are a unique type of business, typically founded by one or more entrepreneurs. Because their budget is usually quite small, the first order of business is getting investors and funding for their product idea or service. This makes a concrete and comprehensive business plan a must-have.
How Long Does It Take To Write A Business Plan?
This startup business plan template has all the necessary components of a business plan that would appeal to investors, with a detailed financial plan section. This is critical to selling your idea.
Creative industries such as graphic design, marketing, web design and art allow for more artistic expression in their business design. Illustrations and visual elements complement the information and help bring your business to life.
This creative business