The first step to writing a great business plan is to understand what a business plan is and what it is used for. A business plan is a document that describes your business, its goals, its strategies, the market it is in and your financial forecast.
A business plan is used to:
Help you measure progress
When should you write a business plan?
You should write a business plan when:
You are starting a new business
You are expanding or growing your existing business
You are seeking financing or investment
You want to benchmark your progress against your original plans
What goes into a business plan?
A business plan has 10 sections that detail your business concept and growth plan. These 10 sections are:
1. Executive Summary
2. Company Description
3. Industry Analysis
4. Customer Analysis
5. Competitor Analysis
6. Market Opportunities
7. Strategy and Implementation Summary
8. Management Summary
9. Financial Plan
Now that you understand what goes into a business plan, let’s take a look at each section in more detail:
1) Executive Summary:
The executive summary is the first and most important part of your business plan – it is an overview of your entire business concept and growth plan, and it is what will convince your reader to continue reading the rest of your plan.
Make sure you include the following in your executive summary:
A description of your business concept
Your business goals and objectives
An overview of your market analysis
Your marketing strategy
Your financial forecast
2) Company Description:
The company description section of your business plans should provide an overview of your company, including your company history (if any), your mission statement, and an overview of your products or services.
3) Industry Analysis:
In this section, you will need to describe the overall industry that your business is in, as well as any specific markets you are targeting. To do this, you will need to conduct a market analysis, which will involve researching the industry, identifying your target market, and understanding your competition.
4) Customer Analysis:
In this section, you will need to identify your target customers and describe what they needs have that your business will address. To do this, you will need to conduct customer research, which will involve surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
5) Competitor Analysis:
In this section, you will need to identify your competitors and describe their strengths and weaknesses. To do this, you will need to conduct competitor research, which will involve looking at their websites, marketing materials, and financial statements.
6) Market Opportunities:
In this section, you will need to identify the market opportunities that your business will exploit. To do this, you will need to conduct market research, which will involve looking at industry trends, demographic trends, and economic trends.
7) Strategy and Implementation Summary:
In this section, you will need to provide an overview of your business’s strategy and how you plan on implementing it. This will involve describing your marketing strategy, your sales strategy, and your operational strategy.
8) Management Summary:
In this section, you will need to provide an overview of your management team and their experience. This will involve creating an org chart and writing bios for each member of your team.
9) Financial Plan:
In this section, you will need to provide an overview of your financial situation. This will involve creating a pro forma income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
The appendix is where you will include any additional information that would be helpful for your reader to know, but that doesn’t fit into any of the other sections. This could include things like your resume, letters of recommendation, contracts, and market research reports.
Now that you understand what goes into each section of a business plans, you should start working on one for your own business. If you need help getting started, check out our business plan template.
A business plan is an important document for any business. It should include an executive summary, company description, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitor analysis, market opportunities, strategy and implementation summary, management summary, and financial plan. The appendix is also an important section to include any additional information that would be helpful for your reader to know.