A Collection of Articles For Creating a Business Plan That Stands Out!
How To Write a Business Plan
There are many ways to write a business plan. It can be highly detailed or a simple document. Writing a business plan can be completed in one session if you have all the information.
Still, more than likely, it will take some time and multiple sessions because you need to gather information, organize it and present it professionally. Take some time to go over the issues you will want to consider before you get started.
In this article, you’ll find many matters to consider before you start writing your business plan.
It only takes a few minutes to go over all the points. You’ll also find links to articles written by various authors to give you an overall understanding to help you create a business plan that stands out and shines.
You’ll also want to spend some time on the resource section containing valuable information you can use any time you need it.
Your business plan has multiple purposes. Here are a few that come to mind:
- It allows you to identify and stick to your core values.
- When you review it periodically, it can keep you on track.
- It allows you to see the big picture.
- It acts as the road map for your business.
- You’ll need it when applying for a business loan.
- More to follow in the resource section of this post.
A few points about writing your business plan:
- You can write it yourself or hire someone to create one.
- You can use a template and adjust the sections to match your business.
- You can use the software as a step-by-step guide for writing your plan.
- More resources to follow below.
What to Include in Your Business Plan:
There are a few sections in a traditional business plan, for example:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Organization and Management
- Service or Product Line
- Marketing and Sales
- Funding Request
- Financial Projections
There will be some sections where you need to provide a lot of details. Some sections will require a lot less information, allowing you to add a summary.
Before You Begin Writing Your Business Plan:
Before you begin, determine the purpose of your business plan.
- Is it to keep you on track?
- Do you want to attract investors?
- Will your business plan help you get partners?
- Is your business plan designed to get funding?
Business Plan Writing Styles
Another step before writing your business plan is to determine the writing style. A business plan is a formal document, and the writing style expected is professional.
Even though it’s a professional document, it doesn’t have to be boring. One idea is to incorporate a storyline in the plan. It makes your business plan stand out and engages the reader. You could write about how you got the business idea, where you came up with the products and services, etc. It’s up to you to incorporate a storyline or stick to the traditional style.
Sections of a Business Plan
This section summarizes the plan and gives the reader an overview. I would use this section for the highlights from the sections below.
If you leave the executive summary until the end, you can choose the essential parts from the sections below to include them in your executive summary. Once you have all the highlights, you can polish up your writing. As mentioned above, you can add a storyline as an introduction to the executive summary.
Business Plan Executive Summary Examples
When you begin writing the company description section, describe your target audience: consumers, organizations, or other businesses.
Include what makes your business successful. Cover any advantages you have over the competition. Your advantages may be a unique marketing approach, an exclusive dealership, or servicing an underserved market.
List all that apply. It doesn’t have to be one advantage. It could also be a combination of issues in one big plan.
This section allows you to showcase your business. Don’t be shy or arrogant. Once you’re finished, rephrase to tone down the arrogance.
The purpose of first writing in an arrogant tone is to allow you to focus on how good your business is in certain areas. When you rewrite it, you offer a style to show off your strengths without including the arrogant tone.
Business Plan Executive Summary Examples
Your business plan’s marketing analysis section must include market research for your business and industry.
Include what successful competitors do, what works, and what doesn’t. Include possibilities where you can do better. If you find anything missing in the marketplace that you can serve effectively, include that point.
Naturally, before you start writing the section, you must research. You may be able to find reports that you can purchase or do the competitive research yourself.
For more on writing your Marketing analysis section, see the following articles:
Organization and Management
In the organization and management section, give details about your company. You want to introduce the people in charge to the reader, plus an overview of your company’s setup.
You can include resumes for the people in charge, which offer an overview of your team’s qualifications. If you’re the only one running the business, you can provide background about your business experience.
Describe the legal structure of your business. Let the reader know whether your company is registered as a C or an S corporation, a limited liability corporation LLC, a limited liability partnership, or a sole proprietorship.
Service or Product Line
In the service or product line section, you should tell the writer about your products and services. Be specific and include any copyright or patent filings. Include research and development for your product line in this section if you have conducted research and development.
Suppose you don’t have anything unique about your products. Let’s say the products you supply may be available from various sources. Then, describe how you provide the products. For example, you may have an exclusive dealership for your city, where you can set your focus.
Marketing and Sales
In your business plan’s marketing and sales section, describe your sales and marketing strategies.
Suppose you have an eCommerce site. Describe the complete process. For example, when someone searches on Google, we are currently on the first page for our best-selling product. Once a customer enters the site, they view the product page. We display a message, “Limited Quantities In Stock,” and show how much we have left in stock on each product page.
If the customer is about to leave the page without making a purchase, a popup states that quantities are limited and that if they want their product in the next 24 hours, they must buy now. The pop-up also offers a 10% discount on their next purchase.
Now that you have outlined the purchase process, show your sales trends and statistics for this technique.
Include Marketing Strategies in This Section
Include your most important marketing strategies in detail. List other forms of marketing that you use. For example, if your number one strategy is Search engine optimization, go into detail for that strategy.
For other strategies, you can list them in bullet point form. For example:
Other Marketing Strategies Include
- We offer tips and product promotions through our Twitter account, resulting in .5% of sales – We have 25,000 followers.
- We post on our Facebook page, resulting in 1% of sales.
- Our weekly newsletter results in 1 sale per 100 emails sent. We currently have 45,000 email subscribers.
For more on the Marketing and sales section of your business plan, see the articles below.
If you require funding for your business, then this is where you’ll outline your financial requirements.
Explain how much money you’ll need and how you will use these funds. If you’re starting, you don’t want to only focus on the amount of money you need to open your business. You need funds to keep your business running until revenues support operations and all expenses.
Include a section to outline how you will use the money. For example, if you need equipment, employees, advertising, etc., explain how much each of the expenditures will cost and how the investment will benefit your business.
You need to include your current financial snapshot, including your current debt, assets, equity, etc. In addition to a summary of your current finances, provide your strategy for paying off your debts while keeping your business open and running strong.
This section shows your company’s financial stability. If your business is up and running, then you’ll want to include your income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements for the past five years. If you have only been a business for less than five years, then include everything you have to date.
The reader will be expecting your forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, etc.
You can include charts and graphs to give the reader a quick view of the business’s financial health.
Not everyone is an expert in creating income statements, cash flow analysis, and overall financial snapshots. You can get your accountant’s help to assist you.
In the appendix section of your business plan, you can add supporting documentation such as:
- Credit History
- Employee Resumes
- Product Information
- Relevant Photos
- Relevant Documentation