Business Plan Writing 101 [The Basics]
Disclaimer: This post does not cover the financials needed to successfully complete your business plan.
This is a follow-up to the August 3, 2017 FB: Live Session (Video Below)
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to write a business plan first let’s cover a few foundational questions:
- What is a business plan?
A business plan is a written depiction of your business. It highlights the products and services you offer and shines light on your business structure. It is your vision on paper.
2. How long should my business plan be?
A business plan can range from 14 pages to over 50 pages depending on how detailed you are.
3. How much does it cost to hire someone to write a business plan?
Well, you may be able to find someone to construct a business plan for you for as little as $75 total but cost can vary greatly. Honestly most flat rat packages begin at $400- $1000.
4.Why is a business plan important?
A business plan is your introduction into your business segment. It helps to ensure that your business is on course and meeting needed milestones. Most financial institutions and investors require a business plan when considering whether they want to invest in a business or not.
Now before you even delve into the 7 basic component of a business plan you need to do a personal business evaluation. Consider the following questions.
What is your business? What products/ services do you offer? What is your business structure (you can refer to the FACT SHEET?Have you researched your competition? Locally and globally? What’s your target demographic (ages, area, etc…)? Do you have a PROGRESSIVE development plan?
These are just a few questions you should ponder before even composing your business plan. Your answers are key to developing the content you will submit in your plan.
Next, I personally like to come up with at least ten (10) descriptive words about my business that I definitely want to see displayed in my business plan. Words that will come off the paper once read and give the reader a vivid and clear picture of what your business is about.
Here are some examples,
Futuristic Aggressive Warm Elegant Mature
Smooth Peculiar Innovative Ground Breaking
Monumental Contemporary Consistent Radical Novel
Finally, the “7 Basic Components of A Business Plan” revealed: Mission Statement, Executive Summary, Products and Services, Market Analysis, Implementation Strategy, Management Summary [Team] and Financial Summary.
Let’s tackle them individually,
- Mission Statement
The mission statement is a sentence or sentences that describe your businesses’ goals and philosophies. It captures the essence of you’re the purpose of your business in a few succinct sentences.
- Executive Summary
An executive summary is much like a five-minute elevator pitch about your business but in a written format. It is this first encounter… first impression that your business will get to make on with your reading audience. The executive summary highlights the whole business plan in a few pages. It exposes what you intend to discuss in the rest of the plan. You may want to give a short description of your products and services, why you are starting your business, experience in your industry, etc….
- Products and Services
In this section you describe your product/ services you are offering in more detail. It will be helpful to identify what makes your product or service unique. Your reader is looking to discover exactly what you are planning to create and sell. How long do your products last? What need does it meet? Etc…
- Market Analysis
This is your window into your industry. This is the area where you discuss your target demographic, competition and market trends. It would be well advised to do a thorough research analysis of your market and showcase any competitive advantage you have within your market. Outline strengths and weakness and how your business fits into your market. If you find that you cannot produce a lot of data analysis, you can provide testimonials from existing customers.
- Implementation Strategy
The purpose of this section is to give a platform to your marketing plan. How do you intend to enter the market? What strategies have you outlined to introduce your product/service to your consumer? This is where you can let your creativity run wild a bit. This information does not have to be based on pure fact like in other sections but can be a reflection of projected future goals so THINK BIG.
- Management Summary [Team]
List your team members and the role they play within your organization. If you want to have an organization chart or hierarchy to detail to relevancy of each relationship this is the section to place it. Provide bios of your company executives and managers and explain how their expertise will help you meet your business goals. Giving a clear outline of how your organization is set up is important to potential investors.
- Financial Summary (not being discussed in this post)
This post and videos were created in an effort to assist you in getting your business started. Sometimes it is hard to financially be able to afford everything that goes into starting a business, like paying for a business plan, and knowing how to do it yourself can be helpful.
If you find that you would rather have someone else compose it for you feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.