Before you start a business, you need to write a business plan. Your business plan will help you get your business going. It helps to ensure you have the funds to make it happen, and so much more. It’s the outline of your business.
Before You Start Writing Your Business Plan
Business plans need to address specific things, and they need to look a certain way, in a sense. A lengthy business plan that drones on about things that don’t have much to do with your business will quickly get overlooked by investors. You want something that isn’t dozens or hundreds of pages long. You want to make sure you’re keeping it to the point and being concise.
A business plan isn’t just something you use to get backers; it’s also a tool for you and your business. It’s your starting point. It’s a reminder of what you want your business to be. It’s also something you will refine over time, as your business begins and grows. It will help you get things off on the right path, and hopefully, help your business be a successful one.
Target your business plan at your audience. Know who’s going to be reading it and write it in a way that will appeal to them, using the proper language. Know your investors.
Even if this is your first business, there is no reason to be afraid of your business plan. You have to start somewhere, and your business plan is part of your ability to grow as a company.
What Should Be Included in Your Business Plan?
There are some specific things you’ll want to include in your business plan that will let investors know why they should invest in your company. It also makes it a good springboard for you to launch your business and begin your marketing plan. You need this plan to grow, as well.
1. The Executive Summary
Much like a thesis statement in a college paper, this is the overview of everything else your business plan is covering. It is an overview of what your business is. It also includes your plans for your business. Unlike a thesis statement, this will be a couple of pages long instead of a few sentences.
This section can be written last, once you’ve mapped out the rest of the plan. However, it looks best placed in the front of your business plan, since it’s an overview of what you want your business to be.
2. Your Business Opportunity
What is your business offering to the world? The opportunity section is where you’re going to explain that. You’ll talk about what you’re selling or what your business is doing and what issues you’ll be taking care of in the market your business is in.
You also want to look at the target market here. Is your business retail, sales, insurance, home improvement? Who is your competition, if there is any? You’ll mostly want to look at the competition that will affect you, like other local businesses if you’re running a local shop.
3. Business Execution
You want to show how you’re going to turn your business opportunity into an actual, hopefully successful, business. This section includes your marketing plan, how you plan to sell your product or services (are you going to have a brick and mortar shop or do things online, or both?), where you’ll be running your business (in a shop you own, in a rental space, or from home), and how you plan to make this business successful.
You’ll also want to use this space to consider who will be a part of your company. Will this be a solo business, a partnership, or do you have a team of experienced workers that will be helping you launch your business? Investors like to see who is going to make the business a success, and what skills they have to make that happen.
4. Your Finances
What money do you have to invest in this business? How much more do you need? This financial plan should include what it is going to cost for housing your business, how much you need for supplies and merchandise, and how much your employees are going to cost you.
Your finances will be an important part of the plan to keep you on track as you launch your business, and it’s important to the investors as well. They want to see where the money they may invest on you will go.
What to Do With Your Business Plan
Your business plan is complete, and now it’s time to put it to use. Use it to start getting backers. Use it to start getting your business off the ground and start making some money on your own.