How to write a business plan
When you’re ready to start your own business, it’s important to develop a strategy for success. Doing so will help you navigate the process of setting up your company, developing your product or service, marketing it, selling it, and remaining financially responsible.
When you create your plan, it’s important to include some specific information to develop the best plan possible. As you create your own business plan, include the seven sections described below to help ensure your future success.
Your executive summary presents a broad overview of your company, describing your mission statement, goals, company structure, management team, products and services, target market and your marketing strategy, and financial plans and projections. This section summarizes all the information presented in the rest of the document.
When you write this section, it is important to remember that this is the first information many people will have about your company, so you want to make sure you present your company’s potential to achieve future success and create interest in your business.
In this section, provide a full description of your company’s history, mission and values. In addition, describe its structure. For example, are you opening a retail store, food service establishment, or manufacturing facility? Is it a sole proprietorship, corporation, or limited liability company?
Products and services
Next, write a full description of your products and services. Talk about how the products or services you provide meet an existing need and go over the benefits and advantages of using your products/services.
Here, you’ll describe the existing industry and discuss how your product or service fits into that industry. Discuss the state of the industry, including current markets and anticipated growth. You’ll also describe your target market here and explain why your product meets the needs of that market.
Marketing and sales
In this section, you’ll set out your marketing and sales strategy. Go into further detail about how you’ll make your product desirable to your target market and how you’ll reach members of that market, including advertising and social media efforts. In addition, discuss your sales strategy, including how you will sell your product or service, what the product/service will cost, distribution considerations, and any pricing promotions you’ll use to build your client base.
Operations and management
This section should include a full description of your company’s operations, including facilities, assets, and other resources. It should also describe the personnel needed and your organizational structure.
This section lays out the responsibilities of each department, the resources each department needs, and any other requirements needed to run a successful business. Present information on your management team, including the backgrounds and experience of each person to show how their expertise will help your company grow and succeed.
In this final section, you’ll present your company’s financial plan and a plan for future growth. Most of the time, these sections should include cash flow statements, income statements, and balance sheets.
You should also provide monthly projections for the first year, annual projections for the next three to five years, sales forecasts, and operating budgets (including salaries and benefits). It can be helpful to provide a brief narrative description of each statement before presenting the statements themselves.
Creating a business plan doesn’t have to be hard. Remember to include the information listed above, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a business plan that will show how you plan to grow your company.