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How to Write a Business Plan

You have an idea of what your business is and how it would operate, however now it’s time to formalize it. Creating a business plan will help accomplish that. A business plan is designed to help guide small business owners through the stages of starting and managing their business. This plan can outline your business goals, strategies, and how you plan to achieve them. It also serves as a valuable tool for investors, or even other service providers responsible for understanding your business.  Once created, a business plan should be updated regularly to reflect changes in your business. Taking the time to write a well-organized and articulated business plan can increase your chances of success.

Types of Business Plans:

According to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), while there is no right or wrong way to create a business plan, most business plans fall into one of two categories: traditional or lean startup.

  • Traditional Business Plans: Use a standard structure and encourage detail in each section.  This style of business plan typically is many pages in length and sometimes requires significant upfront work from the small business owner.
  • Lean Startup Business Plans: Use a standard structure but focus on summarizing the most important points of your plan.  They can take as little as one hour to make and are usually one page in length.
Steps to Write a Business Plan:
  1. Executive Summary: Typically consists of a one-page overview of your business plan. This summary should include critical components of your plan, such as your business goals, strategies, and financial projections.
  2. Company Description: Provides an overview of your business, including its products, services, and target market.
  3. Products and/or Services: Overviews of products and/or services your business offers. This section should include core information about the features and benefits of your products or services.
  4. Market Analysis: Provides context around the market for products or services similar to what your business provides. This section would include information or data researched about the size of the market and the competitive environment.
  5. Marketing and Sales Strategy:  Outlines your business strategy for reaching and acquiring customers.
  6. Operations Plan: Describes how your business will operate and include information about your production process, your inventory management system, and your customer service strategy.
  7. Management Team: Introduces the key members of your management team, including information about their experience, skills, and qualifications.
  8. Financial Projections: Provides financial projections for your business, such as revenue, expenses, and cash flow.

Summary:

A well-written business plan can help you:
  • Focus Your Efforts: When a clear business plan is in place, the business owner is more likely to focus on efforts to effectively grow the business.
  • Attract Investors: Without a fortified business plan in place, investors are less likely to consider working with that business.
  • Get Funding: Banks and other lenders are more likely to provide capital to owners with a well-documented business plan.
  • Succeed and Grow:  An effective business plan could help better guide goals and output to drive near and longer-term success. 

Get your business on track by creating a business plan today!

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