For a startup business, it isn’t only about having your business financials sorted out. Your business has to be started on the right foot, with every vital information and operation put into consideration. Therefore, in business planning, having a business plan is your first point of call.
A business plan is simply a written description of your business’s future. It is a document that tells what you plan to do in your business, and how you plan to do it. Having understood why you need a business plan, you have to spend some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, then getting everything down on paper.
Although business plans vary in terms of length and scope, all successful business plans contain common elements. The plan should take into consideration your particular business and its environment.
There are things you should include in the business plan, and some you shouldn’t include. Here are some sections that you may want to include in your business plan
It follows the title page. The executive summary should tell the reader what you want. This is very important. It is an overview of the key points contained in your business plan and is often considered the most important section. Clearly state what you’re asking for in the summary. Although the executive summary is the first section of the business plan, you should write it last.
This section usually begins with a short description of the industry your business belongs to. Discuss the present outlook as well as future possibilities. You should also provide information on all the various markets within the industry, including any new products or developments that will benefit or adversely affect your business.
They are the result of a careful market analysis. You should describe the activities you will use to promote and sell your product or service. A market analysis forces the entrepreneur to become familiar with all aspects of the market so that the target market can be defined and the company can be positioned in order to garner its share of sales.
The aim here is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market, strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage, the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market, and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.
The aim here is to provide investors with a description of the product’s design, chart its development within the context of production, marketing and the company itself, and create a development budget that will enable the company to reach its goals.
The operations plan will highlight the logistics of the business such as the various responsibilities of the management team, the tasks assigned to each division within the company, and capital and expense requirements related to the operations of the business.
This is definitely a must. Financial data is always at the back of the business plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important than up-front material such as the business concept and the management team.
Matthew King is the owner of the Startup Forums, Alkries LLC, and co-owner at TR King Insurance Marketing. Partner at Independent Life Insurance Agent Association, Medicare Training 101, and Final Expense 101. When he's not creating content about running successful businesses here. He's most likely developing processes, diving into SEO, or gaming with his friends and wife.
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