Write your business plan

Business plans are the foundation of your business. Fast business plans can be written with a business plan template.

You need a business plan to run a business

Having a business plan will help you through each stage of starting and running your business. In your business plan, you’ll find out how to structure, run, and grow your business

We’re starting a new business. You can think about your business in this way.

With a business plan, you can find funding or new partners. It’s important for investors to know they’ll get their money back. Business plans are what convince people that working with you – or investing in your company – is a good idea.

Choose a business plan format you like

Business plans don’t have to be perfect You need a plan that works for you.

Traditional and lean business plans are different.

Each section of a business plan follows a standard structure and encourages you to get into detail. It typically takes more time and effort to prepare them and they are typically much longer.

A lean startup business plan has less of a standard structure. The key elements of your plan are summed up in the most important parts. It takes an hour to make one, and they’re usually only one page.

Format for traditional business plans

Those who are detail-oriented, want a comprehensive plan, or want to get funding from traditional sources might prefer a traditional business plan.

Don’t follow the exact outline when you write your business plan. Make sure you use the sections that are most relevant to your business. Most business plans have some combination of these nine sections.

An executive summary

Briefly explain what your company does and why it’s going to be successful. Provide information about your company’s leadership team, employees, and location, as well as your mission statement. If you’re applying for money, you should also include financial information and high-level growth plans.

Description of the company

Your company description should give you detailed info about your company. Describe what your business does to solve problems. Be specific about who your company is going to serve: consumers, organizations, or businesses.

Describe the competitive advantages that will make your business successful. Does your team have any experts? What’s the perfect location for your store? It’s your company description where you can brag about your strengths.

Analysis of the market

You’ll need to know what your industry outlook is and who your target market is. Finding out what other businesses are doing and what their strengths are will give you an idea of what to do. Keep an eye out for trends and themes in your market research. Competitors who are successful do what? What makes it work? Is there anything you can do better? It’s time to answer these questions.

Management and organization

Tell your reader how your company will be run and how it will be structured.

Give us a breakdown of your business’s legal structure. Incorporate your business as a C or S corporation, form a general or limited partnership, or be a sole proprietor or limited liability company (LLC).

Outline who’s in charge of what in your company with an organizational chart. Show how each person’s experience will contribute to your venture’s success. Include resumes and CVs of key team members.

Product or service

Do you sell anything or do you do anything? What the product lifecycle looks like and how it helps your customers. Tell me what you’re planning for intellectual property, like patents or copyright. Tell me if you’re doing research and development for your service or product.

The marketing and sales department

Marketing strategies don’t have to be one-size-fits-all. It’s important to evolve and change your strategy as your needs change.

In this section, you’ll describe how you’ll keep your customers. Also, you’ll explain how the sale will work. When you make financial projections, you’ll refer to this section, so make sure you describe your complete marketing and sales strategies.

A funding request

You’ll outline your funding requirements here if you’re asking for funding. Explain how much funding you’ll need over the next five years and what you’ll do with it.

Let us know if you want debt or equity, what terms you want, and how long you want it. Describe how you’ll use the money. Tell us if you need money to buy equipment or materials, pay salaries, or cover certain bills until revenue rises. Don’t forget to include your future financial plans, like paying off debt or selling the business.

Budgets and projections

Make sure your funding request is backed up with financial projections. It’s about convincing the reader that your business is stable and will succeed.

You should include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the past three to five years if your business is already established. You should list other collateral you might be able to use against a loan now.

Describe your financial outlook for the next five years. Forecast your income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and capital budget expenditure budgets. Be even more specific and use quarterly – or even monthly – projections for the first year. Your projections should match your funding requests, so make sure you explain them clearly.

Here’s a great place to use graphs and charts to tell your financial story.  

The appendix

Include supporting documents or other materials that were specifically requested in your appendix. Credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of recommendation, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts are common things to include.

Traditional business plan example

Here are some fictional business plans you can read before you write your own. There’s Rebecca, who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew, who owns a toy company.

Format for lean startups

When you want to explain or start your business quickly, your business is relatively simple, or you plan to regularly change and refine your plan, you might prefer a lean startup format.

Using lean startup formats, you can describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances in just a few words. Visualize tradeoffs and fundamental facts about your company with them.

Developing a lean startup template can be done a lot of different ways. To build your business plan, you can find free templates online. Here are nine things you need to know about a business plan:

Relationships that matter

Think about what other businesses or services you’ll need to run your business. Suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, and other strategic partners are great.

Activities you should know about

Make a list of how you will gain a competitive advantage for your business. Selling direct to consumers or tapping into the sharing economy are good examples.

The key resources

Make a list of any resources you’ll use to create value for your customers. You could lose your staff, your capital, or your intellectual property. Women, veterans, Native Americans, and HUBZone businesses might have access to business resources.

The value proposition

Your company’s unique value should be clearly stated.

Getting to know your customers

How will your customers interact with your business? Does it require human interaction or is it automated? Do you prefer in person or online? The customer experience should start at the beginning and go all the way to the end.

Segmentation of customers

Make sure you’re specific about who you’re targeting. You don’t want your business to serve everyone, so you should know who you’re serving.

The channels

Make a list of how you’ll communicate with your customers. Almost every business uses a mix of channels and optimizes them over time.

The cost structure

What’s more important to your company, reducing costs or maximizing value? Defining your strategy, then figuring out the biggest costs you’ll face.

Sources of revenue

Make sure you explain how you will make money with your company. Here are some examples: direct sales, membership fees, and advertising. Your company might have multiple revenue streams, so list them all.

A lean business plan example

Read this example business plan written by a fictional business owner, Andrew, who owns a toy company, before you write your own.

You can design your own website. The easiest way to make sure your website can accomplish all of these goals is to hire a pro. You’ll have more time to run and grow your business.

Please download your brochure for your business plan below – Myinvestorchoice is ranked the number 1 Agency on Upwork for preparing business plans

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