How to Write a Business Plan: Introduction

As you can imagine, writing a business plan may be a complex endeavor.  However, for some situations, a basic business plan will suit small business owners just fine.  From this, I have decided to outline specific categories this should be included in any business plan.  After reviewing this information, small business owners should have an excellent starting point to complete their small business plan.

What to Expect From Our "How to Write a Business Plan" Series:

Quality Business Plan has a nine-step series to show small business owners how to write a business plan.  From reviewing the steps, small business owners and entrepreneurs will be able to quickly construct a professional outline for the business plan.  From this, each section will have specific questions that needs to be answered.  Further, we explain how to answer each question in the series and provide examples as well.  Below is a brief summary of each step for how to write a business plan.

Brief Overview of "How to Write a Business Plan" Series:

In this overview, we briefly discuss each section of a traditional business plan.  Further, we offer direct links to the individual components to help you easily locate sections that you may need help with.

How to Write a Business Plan: Executive Summary:

The executive summary section is meant to be a brief summary of your total business plan.  In this section, make sure to include a brief discussion about your company, target market, organizational structure, product or service, highlights of your financial projections, and finally a funding request.  The trick for this section is to make sure all your information sits on one page.

How to Write a Business Plan: Company Description:

The company description is meant to introduce your company to the reader.  Make sure to discuss how your company will be held, sole proprietor, LLC, etc.  Also, make sure to start this section with your problem statement.

How to Write a Business Plan: Market Analysis:

For the market analysis, I always start this section by giving a brief discussion related to the industry that the company will compete. From this, make sure to explore your target market, competitors, and complete a SWOT analysis.

How to Write a Business Plan: Organizational Structure:

The organizational structure is designed to convey your business structure.  This section should include discussions related to who your management team will be, their experience in the industry, and an outline of expectations for your management team and employees.

How to Write a Business Plan: Service or Product Line

In the product and service section, make sure to go into great detail about your product or service.  In my opinion, I always like to start this section with the problem statement again.  This reinforces the importance of your product and service and shows the reader how your product and service will be used by consumers.

How to Write a Business Plan: Marketing and Sales:

Marketing and sales is a critical component of the business plan.  In the section, make sure to cover how you will implement traditional and social media marketing in your business.  Further, make sure to discuss how you will use both channels to reach your target market.

How to Write a Business Plan: Funding Request:

Need money?  Make sure to ask for it and do not be shy.  Try to start this section discussing how funds will be spent.  From this, at the end, make sure to put a specific dollar amount as to how much money you need and how the funds will be repaid.

How to Write a Business Plan: Financial Projections:

In my opinion, the most important part of the business plan.  For your financial projection section, make sure to include a 12-month breakdown of your revenues and costs.  In addition, include a pro forma income statement and balance sheet as well as various financial ratios.

How to Write a Business Plan: Business Strategies:

This component is often left out of most business plans.  However, specific strategies as to how you are going to compete in the marketplace, your marketing strategies, business model strategies, and synergy strategies should be in one section.  This will allow the reader to understand how all your various strategies will work together to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

How to Write a Business Plan: Structure

In this section, I discuss how to set up the structure for your business plan.