Of the businesses that survived for 5 years, about 70% follow a strategic business plan.
A business plan is a map of what a business is trying to achieve, how it’ll do it, and what its tactics are. It’s a critical tool for entrepreneurs to use as they start and grow their businesses.
Without a business plan, it’s difficult for any business to succeed. It helps entrepreneurs stay focused on their goals and gives them a roadmap for how to achieve them.
If you are wondering how to plan for a successful business, this short and simple guide is for you.
1. Executive Summary
A good executive summary is important because it helps you grab your readers’ attention.
The summary should be short and sweet, less than three paragraphs long. It should summarize your business idea, the market opportunity for it, and how you plan to capitalize on that opportunity.
You can also use this space to explain why your business is going to succeed in a world full of competition.
2. Business Description
Your business description should be clear and concise.
It should explain what your business does, who it serves, and how you plan to reach those customers. You can also use this section to include details about your competitors and how you plan to differentiate yourself from them.
3. Market Analysis
A market analysis is a comprehensive look at the industry and your competitors.
It should include your analysis of the market opportunity and a breakdown of your competitors. It should also include a look at what trends are influencing the industry.
A market analysis should help you identify opportunities for your business and how you plan to capitalize on them.
4. Target Market
As a small business owner, you need to identify your target market. And that means defining the characteristics of your ideal customer.
What do they like to buy? Where do they shop? What are their financial limitations?
These are important questions because if you want to reach them, you need to know where they hang out online as well as offline.
5. Organizational Structure
If you’re the only person in your business, then there’s no need to worry about organizational structure.
But if you plan to hire employees, then you need to think through how they will fit into your operation. You also need to identify the tasks you want them to perform.
This will also help you make it easier for new employees to get up to speed quickly when they join your team.
6. Product or Service Line
Your business might have one product or service, or it could have an entire line of products and services.
Whatever your offerings, it’s important to know what they are and how they fit together. You need to explain how your products or services solve customer problems.
You should also understand how your products or services differ from the competition. If you don’t, then it will be difficult to explain why customers should choose your company over its competitors.
7. Marketing Plan and Strategies
You can’t just throw a dart at the board and hope that it hits a market niche.
You need to know what your target audience wants before you can figure out how best to reach them. This involves creating a marketing plan for each product or service line.
Include strategies for marketing automation, promotion, advertising, and sales.
You should also create a marketing budget. The more detailed and specific your marketing plan, the better.
For more on marketing automation, click here.
8. Operational Plan
You also need to define how you’re going to run your business.
This includes creating a plan that will help you manage your day-to-day operations. You need to include hiring and training employees, managing customer service issues, and so on.
Operational plans can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be. You may opt for a very basic overview or a plan that puts every detail in place.
9. Management Team
Your business plan should have a description of your management team.
Include the roles that each team member plays, as well as their credentials and experience. You’ll also want to include any outside consultants or advisors who you will plan on working with.
If you don’t plan to hire anyone, include a plan for how you will learn the skills necessary to run your business.
10. Funding Request
If you’re applying for a loan, credit line, or other form of debt financing, include a funding request.
This is the amount you need to cover salaries, expenses, and overhead. It should be based on your projected sales and profit margins.
Show investors how your business will make money, and why it’s worth investing in.
11. Financial Projections
A financial projection is a detailed estimate of how much money will come in and out of your business each month over the next year.
This is based on your projected sales and profit margins. You can use a spreadsheet program like Excel to create these projections or use an online tool like QuickBooks or FreshBooks.
Your projections should cover at least 12 months. You can also create a three-year projection to show investors what the business will look like in the future.
Appendices are important because they provide additional information about your business.
They can include things like a list of references, relevant contracts, and anything else you think would be helpful to investors. There’s no limit to the number of appendices you can include, but keep them short and sweet.
The more information you put in your business plan, the better.
A Well-Written Business Plan Is Key to Your Success
A business plan is a comprehensive guide to your company’s future. It outlines what you have in mind for your business, including its purpose, structure, and goals.
A well-written business plan is a key part of any successful business. It helps you think through the ins and outs of your company, and it gives others a clear picture of what you have in mind.
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