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You may be tempted to think of a business plan as an unnecessary formality or something you must submit to authorities. However, the person who will derive the most value out of making a business plan is you. When you do your research and set down what you have planned in a document, you may be able to see flaws and generate ideas that you did not before. When written well, it will help you gain valuable investment and funding. If you are wondering how to write a business plan, read on.
You can make your business plan as unique to you as you desire. But, the basic template of a business plan generally stays the same. The sections are:
Even if the exact section names in your report differ, these are the essential aspects of a business that you should plan.
A business plan should contain all the important details about the company
The executive summary is the overall summary of what your business is or will be about. It should summarise the other sections of the report. This section should be helpful for a person who wants all the aspects of the business succinctly presented. You can go into more detail about each of the section headings later in the report.
This section of the report should
If you find it challenging to be brief in this section, work on the detailed sections first. It will be easier to extract the highlights from those sections for this summary.
The description of your business in this section is the most vital part of the business plan. When an investor or financial institution is impressed by this section, they will be more inclined to explore the rest of the report. Take the time to put your passion and belief in your business idea into words. This part of the report aims to create interest and excitement in the person who reads it.
Your company description should tell the reader in detail about what the business does or will do. Use this opportunity to explain what sets your business apart from others. Detail the business ownership structure (proprietorship, company etc.). Describe the target customers and why your offering is ideal for the described customer demographic. Tell the reader about where you will set up operations and the company’s mission statement.
It is vital to understand the market that the business will operate in. Study the market and describe the following:
When you do the research for this section diligently, it will equip you to better compete with the others in the market. It will also tell the reader that you are aware of the competition and have a plan on how to fit into the market or capture market share from the competition.
The organizational structure of the business is described here. It will usually be one of the following:
Instead of merely stating the chosen company structure, tell the reader why you believe this is the best choice of organizational structure for your business. If there is scope for the business structure changing over time, state and explain it in this section.
The key members of management should also be listed here. List the people in the highest levels of management and detail their profiles. If you have enlisted people, describe the key employees. Detail the positions that are yet to be filled, if any.
This section should in detail tell the reader about:
This section describes the product or service that your business will sell. Most businesspeople find this section very easy to write. The products and services are the business factor that most entrepreneurs are the most excited about. This section will also detail what differentiates the product or service from the rest of the competition. The introduction to this topic was already set out in the market analysis section. This section of the report should tell the reader:
No matter how good your product or service is, people need to know that it exists. You need to have good marketing and sales plan to capture potential customers’ attention. All the effort put into product development will be wasted if the marketing and sales aspect of the business plan is ignored.
Explain in detail what your marketing strategy is. List the different media streams that you plan to use. Describe the online and offline marketing plans. This section should convince the reader that you have a good marketing and sales plan to grow the business. You should describe:
Once a person is convinced of how sound and attractive your business idea and plan is, they will read about the financials. This section of the business plan is vital to approaching investors and funding institutions for funding. A potential investor will judge the pros and cons of investing in your business based on your financial planning. They would need to know how safe their money will be and how you plan to repay a loan if any.
The details required for the funding section are:
This section should demonstrate to potential investors and lenders how much money you need and for what. It should assure them that you have a solid repayment plan.
Financial projections tell the reader how you plan to budget and manage the finances of the business. It may be tempting to overestimate your business revenue but be as realistic as possible. If available, use historical data to sup[port your projections. You should also describe your alternative plan if you fail to achieve your financial projections.
Your financial projection should detail
Once you have the sections of your business plan outlined it is easy to edit and bring it all together. Here are a few more tips on how to write a business plan to impress.
A great business plan will communicate your goals and convince the readers that your business idea and plan is sound in all aspects. It should be able to impress investors and financial institutions so that you can quickly secure funding for your venture.
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