Seven Tips on How to Write a Business Plan
Seven Tips on How to Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan is a critical part of starting or growing a business. Numerous studies support having a business plan as a foundation for the firm. It will construct a business plan has been shown to help focus a business’s operations on their mission and values. Further, writing a business plan allows small business owners to gain different perspectives on their business and their competitive environment. However, starting and writing a business plan has been known to cause night terrors and undo stress related panic attacks (JK).
To help entrepreneurs get off on the right foot for their business plan journey, Quality Business Plan offer some tips and tricks for how to write a business plan.
Start with a Problem:
No, your problem is not writing the business plan. Start with how your company is going to solve your customer’s problems. If you are starting a shoe company, then a problem may be that customers are tired of bland looking shoes. Whatever the problem is that you are attempting to solve, make sure to start your business plan with writing a problem statement.
Use a Business Plan Template or Create an Outline.
The Internet is full of business plan templates that are offered for free or that may be purchased at a nominal fee. Exploit this opportunity and do some research into a high-quality business plan template that may be used to input your company’s information. Benefits for using a business plan template cannot be understated. A Good business plan templates allow you to customize the template to make it your own business plan. This will save you hours if not days. Further, a business plan template has prompting questions to help you focus your thoughts and ideas on the topic at hand.
If you prefer to start your business plan from scratch, then use the outline below as a structure for your business plan. When I wrote my first business plan, I use the same structure below. For each category, I answered the following question prompts: who, what, why, how, when and where. Of course, each of the prompts may not be applicable to each category. This does not matter. Just write a paragraph for each category using those prompts and this will give you an excellent 1 to 2-page business plan that outlines and briefly describes your business and purpose.
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Organization and management
- Service or product line
- Marketing and sales
- Funding request
- Financial projections
Build Off of Your Basic Business Plan.
The outline structure of your business plan is an excellent foundation for expanding your business plan into a 10 to 50 page document. Use your sure business plan as a foundation and start adding subcomponents to each one of your business plan categories. For example, for your company description, and a sub section to discuss location, pricing strategy, and other relevant topics for the category. By doing this, before you know it, your business plan will expand into a broad and deep examination of your business.
Use footnotes to identify research.
Your market analysis section and your financial analysis section will require research on competitors in your industry. To add more authority to business plan, make sure to include footnotes to show where information was collected. Not only does this give credit to other authors and avoid plagiarism but it lends credibility to your business plans research. Without credibility, your business plan may not be taken seriously.
Personalize Your Business Plan.
If you use a template for your business plan, make sure to customize the plan to fit your vision for your company. As we previously discussed, a business plan template is a phenomenal place to start. However, it is just a place to start. Make sure to add different sections, such as a strategy section, to show creativity and a broad understanding of your business and how it will function in the marketplace.
Include charts and graphs in your appendix.
People love to look at charts and graphs. Further, as the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1000 words. From this, make sure to include plenty of charts and graphs in your business plan. A commonplace to utilize charts and graphs is your financial analysis section. In the section, charge may be made for showing growth in your 12-month projections, profits for the next five years and how your financial ratios may change. Regardless of how you use charts and graphs, definitely put pictures in your business plan.
Make sure to proof read your business plan.
Proofreading your document is almost as important as writing your business plan. When I write business plans for customers, I always send them a rough draft first. After this, we review the document to ensure all components are added. My final step is always to proofread and re-proofread the document to avoid grammatical errors. Nothing is worse than a professionally written business plan that took 2 to 3 days to write and is littered with grammatical errors that a simple proof read could avoid. An even better idea is to have someone else proof read your work. Not only will you be able to find hidden errors, but you will also, inevitably, be asked questions about your business. This will lead to either adding more information to clarify your topic or rewording sections to improve readability.
Author: Paul Borosky, MBA., ABD.