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How to Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan

articles.bplans.com

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The business plan

A business plan is a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals.

It’s also a management tool that allows you to analyze results, make strategic decisions, and showcase how your business will operate, and grow. 

  • Without a business plan as a baseline, it will be far more difficult to track your progress, make adjustments, and have historical information readily available to reference when making difficult decisions.
  • Investors and loan providers need to know that you ...

  • Keep it short. Business plans should be short and concise. You want your business plan to be read.
  • Accommodate your investors, and keep explanations of your product simple and direct.
  • Test your business idea. Working through...

  • Executive summary: An overview of your business and your plans.
  • Opportunity: What are you actually selling and how are you solving a problem (or “need”) for your market?
  • Execution: How are you going to take your opportunity...

The executive summary of your business plan introduces your company, explains what you do, and lays out what you’re looking for from your readers. Structurally, it is the first chapter of your business plan. And while it’s the first thing that people will read, consider writi...

  • What are your business objectives?
  • What is your target market and how will you position yourself?
  • Who are the key players on your team?
  • What are your expectations for growth and how will you achieve it?
  • What are your fun...

A good business plan will identify the target market segments and then provide some data to indicate how fast each segment is growing.

When identifying target markets, a classic method is to use the TAM, SAM, and SOM breakdown:

  • TAM: Your Total A...

Most business plans include market research and compare their features against their competition using a SWOT analysis. The most important thing to illustrate in this section of your business plan is how your solution is different or better than other offerings that a potential customer m...

The opportunity section of your business plan should provide enough information and data to prove that there is a need for your business and that you understand how to position yourself in a given market.

To help you develop this section, try to answer these questions:

...

The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments (also called target marketing), how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships y...

A business plan is only a document on paper without a real path to get the work done, complete with a schedule, defined roles, and key responsibilities.

Investors will want to see that you understand what needs to happen to make your plans a reality and that you are working on a r...

This section covers the functionality of your business.

To help you develop this section, try to answer these questions:

  • What marketing and operational channels are best for my business?
  • How will my pricing strategy differ from competitors?

The company overview will most likely be the shortest section of your business plan. For a plan that you will share with people outside of your company, this section should include:

  • Mission statement
  • Intellectual property
  • A review of your company’s...

The company overview is meant to help you identify how you will operate, as well as what positions, departments, or other structures you need to implement.

To help you develop this section, try to answer these questions:

  • Who makes up my current team? What ro...

Your financial plan is meant to help you understand what your expenses are, what it will take to be profitable, how much cash you need to keep on hand, and what you will be doing with any funding. You don’t need to have actual financial data at this point.

To help you devel...

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