Deborah W. Nason Writer. Twitter ninja. Wannabe organizer. Avid troublemaker. Bacon geek. Tv evangelist.

What are the steps involved in writing a business plan?

11 min read

  • The first step is to write an Executive Summary.
  • The next step is to write a business description.
  • The market and competitive analysis is part of the third step.
  • There are four steps in the operational structure.
  • The product description is the next step.
  • The next step is raising capital.
  • Financial analysis and projections are part of the seventh step.
  • There is an appendix in step 8.

It’s a litmus test to prove that every step is part of a larger effort.

If you want to take out a loan, bring on a business partner, or more, you’ll need a solid plan in order. We wrote a guide to show you how to write a business plan. If your business is in a very niche space, you don’t want to use jargon that no one will understand if your plan is reviewed by a lender or investor. If you keep your plan short, certain readers might want to see more details, while others might only want high level information.

A lean startup plan is onepagers that detail your business only at the highest level. A traditional plan consists of seven sections that are important for explaining a different angle of your business.

A plan is always useful and can help keep you on track as a business owner. A high level summary of your plan and operating model is needed to supplement your sell. What is the message you want to promote and why does it work for your product?

If you want a prospective investor or lender to read this, you should include a section here on your funding request. You don’t want to ask for a $100,000 loan if you don’t know what the money will be used for. Explaining what the funds would be used for is not the only thing that needs to be done. Paint a picture of your business’s performance in the past and show it will grow in the future.

If you have any remaining pieces of information that weren’t included in the plan elsewhere, you can include them here. Without going into detail, you can describe each segment at a high enough level where they can be found on a single page. It’s important that you identify the multiple segments listed here.

If that’s the case, you should list out the different values for each segment. Brand awareness as well as communication channels with your customers should be detailed.

Supporting resources are not limited to staff or capital. Getting straight to the point will make your plan easier to understand. If your plan goes over 20 pages, make sure to check if anything should be cut out.

Don’t assume a fantasy world when writing. If you want to determine what realistic measures are, use industry or sector benchmarks. There are many free resources online and in person to help with small-business affairs. You can get help with your business plan from nonprofits.

The National Women’s Business Council provides free consulting if you are a woman or minority. Depending on your business plan, lenders may decide to lend to you. Plans are useful to communicate details about your business, as well as being an internal reference.

Plans will help keep your business on track and will help align your goals with actions you make on a daily basis. Your business plan did its job if the lender was confident that you’d be able to meet your loan repayments. A lean plan only has the bare minimum level of detail, which is similar to the content and structure of the other plan.

A lean plan is usually a one-pager and only has the minimum amount of detail to be able to describe the business at the highest level and should only be used when the company is very new and time is scarce.

What are the 10 steps to writing a business plan?

  • You can create an executive summary.
  • Write your company description.
  • Thoroughly research the market and potential.
  • Conduct competitive analysis.
  • Give a description of your product or service.
  • There is a marketing and sales strategy.
  • Your business finances should be compiled.

Make sure your mission statement matches your company’s purpose as it changes. A statement that doesn’t fit your core values or what you actually do can undermine your credibility.

If your product is perfect for people with money to hire landscape architects, listing anyone with a garden as your target market may not go over well. Baby boomers between the ages of 35 and 65 with a high disposable income are the ideal customers for Laura’s Landscapers.

They want to enjoy nature in their own backyard but don’t have the time or skill to do it for themselves. Over the last five years, leading indicators for interest in green, eco-friendly, and sustainable landscaping have all increased, and currently, 13%. It can be very useful to have enough time to learn about your potential competitors. When visiting your competitor’s website, look at their “About Us” page, or their mission and values statement.

Distinguishing yourself from competitors is one of the most important parts of your business plan. Explain the customer pain points you see your business solving is a must if your idea is novel. If you don’t have any direct competition, research other companies that offer the same product or service. If you want to include your competitors in your plan, create a table or spreadsheet.

The Smiths have worked at and with three leading industrial-landscaping firms. We are the only firm certified-green by the National Preservation Society.

Seven of our ten completed projects have been rated a 5 out of 5 by other people, and our price-points for those projects place us within a healthy middle ground between our two other competitors. Word of mouth, referrals, and home shows are some of the primary marketing channels you can use in your business plan.

What you have already done, what you plan to do, and what you expect from your efforts are all important. Direct mail reputation is the number one purchase in high-end landscape design because of word of mouth referrals. Our social media strategy will include videos of the design process, as well as multiple accounts with professional photography.

Carbon-neutral, glossy brochures will be sent to houses in wealthy neighborhoods. Before you go over your past statements for justification, make sure your figures are accurate and don’t provide any profit or loss projections.

You cannot determine a sale price to generate a profit level you want. Laura’s Landscapers’ workmen’s compensation insurance will go up if an employee gets injured. The high degree of specificity required to accurately represent your business’ financials, rather than create a fictional line-item example for Laura’s Landscapers, is why we suggest using one of our free excel templates and entering your own data. Explain to your team members why they can either turn your business idea into a reality or grow it.

CPAs can help you prepare your tax return. To make an accurate funding request, you need to know how much money you need. Since a new business doesn’t have a track record of generating profits, it’s likely that you’ll sell equity to raise capital in the early years of operation. Even if they do not own a majority interest in the business, an equity owner may still expect to have a voice in company decisions.

The investor will want to know how they can sell their stake in the company. Most large companies issue both debt and equity in their capital structure.

The business needs a cash balance to operate, as some customers may not pay for 30 days or longer. The founder is able to access cash by contributing his own money into the business or applying for a line of credit at a bank. If they raise cash through a LOC, it needs to be paid off asap to reduce the interest cost on debt. All necessary permits, software, and equipment has been purchased by Laura’s Landscapers.

What are the 8 steps to writing a business plan?

  • The executive summary should be written.
  • The company description should be included.
  • There is a market analysis.
  • Provide a description of your offerings and value proposition.
  • Take a look at your marketing and sales plan.
  • Your financials should be compiled.
  • You should spell out your goals.
  • Add an appendix.

Information about your business’s legal and ownership structures, company culture and values, and your current employees or hiring needs should also be included. Make sure you gather relevant, up-to-date research and statistics to illustrate your findings, and consider breaking the section into four key areas: However, if you are more established, use this part to share your pricing and explain your typical production process and timelines. Tell us about the resources and materials you need to make your products or services.

You can demonstrate how you will build brand awareness and attract customers. If you have been in business for a while, you can describe what you learned from past marketing and sales strategies, share any challenges you overcame, and explain how you will adjust your approach going forward, if at all. List your proposed marketing and sales strategies, back them up with research, and make sure to address any potential concerns if you haven’t yet launched your business.

If you don’t have business financials to draw from, you can create a list of estimated startup expenses, a series of quarterly and yearly sales or revenue forecasts, and a cash flow projection. If you want to get a loan or line of credit, you need to explain how you will use it to grow your business, and how you will pay off your debt. It’s helpful to list out your short and long-term business goals. If you want to submit your business strategy to an investor or lender, an appendix can be helpful.

In that case, you may want to include copies of business permits and licenses in your appendix, additional data points to support your market analysis, pictures of your products, or the resume of key executives on your team. A business plan can help you clarify your goals, organize your finances, and prepare for growth.

What are 7 steps to a perfectly written business plan?

  • Research, research, research.
  • The purpose of your plan can be determined.
  • You can create a company profile.
  • All aspects of your business need to be documented.
  • A marketing plan is needed.
  • It can be adjusted based on your audience.
  • Why do you care?

Bill Pirraglia is a former senior financial and management executive.

What are the seven steps to writing a business plan?

  • The first step is the executive summary.
  • The second step is the business description.
  • The next step is a market analysis.
  • The company organization is the fourth step.
  • Products or services can be provided.
  • There is a financial outlook in Step 6.
  • The summary is Step 7.
  • A good business plan should be found.

A startup business plan is usually a single page document. It may be a good idea to use your lean startup business plan as a sales pitch in order to get financiers interested in your company.

The following steps will help you write a business plan that works for your company. In a sentence or two, include a company mission statement. It’s time to detail what product or service you’re developing and what customers you’re targeting in this section.

Who will be the key decision makers in your company, will it be a partnership or corporation? You need to answer these questions in the company organization section of your business plan. List any income statements and cash flow numbers from the past several years if you can.

Company funders consider this the most important section of your business plan, so be thorough and accurate in presenting financial data to your readers – they will be pouring over every word and every digit to judge whether there’s a good business opportunity here or not. Make it clear if you are open to a negotiation by giving a ballpark estimate of the funding you need. Provide clarity, be concise, and be compelling are the three “C’s” in developing your business plan. Examples of industry-specific business plans can be found at online sites.

Don’t oversell your company with inflated financial projections. Businesses that have invested in young companies have been around the block a few times and understand what’s realistic.

What 7 parts do most business plans include?

  • There is an executive summary.
  • The company is described.
  • Services and products.
  • Market analysis.
  • Implementation and strategy are related.
  • The organization and management team.
  • Financial plan and projections

What are the steps for writing a perfect business plan?

  • An executive summary. Let your reader know what your company is and why it will be successful.
  • The company was described.
  • Market analysis.
  • Management and organization.
  • There is a service or a product line.
  • Sales and marketing.
  • There is a funding request.
  • Financial projections

What are the 9 basic steps to writing a business plan?

  • There are opening organizational and legal pages.
  • The summary is for the executive.
  • There is a company summary.
  • There are Products and Services.
  • There is a market and industry analysis.
  • The summary of the marketing strategy.
  • The summary of management and organization.
  • Financial data and analysis.

He helped hundreds of business owners start and grow their businesses as a consultant.

If you believe someone could steal your business idea or take strategies within your plan, then a non-disclosure agreement is necessary. Contact information for the business and its owner is provided on the cover page.

You can get a free ebook that shows you how to start your business in 30 days. Mention the types of products and services you provide.

Discuss the owners background and how it will help the business succeed. Discuss the history of the business and how it will help it succeed. It is possible to add or remove sections based on your business needs.

If you don’t have a physical location, remove that piece of information or include two to three sentences on your online strategy. You should keep the executive summary to less than two pages. The general expenses and steps needed to open the business will be discussed by a startup.

The company’s financial performance over the past three years will be brief. The total of all expenses should be displayed at the bottom of the chart. Write about square footage, lease or ownership, the surrounding area, and a brief description of the population.

The management and organization section will discuss this owner’s background more in-depth. Specific competitive advantages such as patents, proprietary tech, data, and industry relationships are what many investors are looking for.

Future products or services may be provided one, two, or five years down the road. This section is important if you have a new type of business or a novel way to make a product or service.

If you own a pizza restaurant, you should talk about how your business will make money. Customers can place an order at a table inside your restaurant, over the phone, or on your website. If you are selling umbrellas, you could say that they are made of nylon, metal, and plastic.

Live music or bar games are free services your business may provide. If you want to provide additional products and services after the initial launch, you should outline that here. If you have a commercial photography company, you might consider hiring a graphic designer to provide a different service. You can make the case for why your business should succeed in this section.

You will want to dive into your competitors and discuss their challenges. The groups of customers are based on age, income, location, and buying habits. If you are opening a daycare, you will want to show the data on how many families are within a mile of your business. If you are in a growing industry, a bank is more likely to lend your business capital because it is predicted to be in demand and have more customers.

Mention the challenges, successes, and distance from your business in a table with the five competitors. Tell your reader that your business will provide superior products and services.

This will be a shorter section for a company that doesn’t do a lot of marketing. You can take advantage of video or Facebook ads if you include any trends within the industry.

The budget and advertising strategy should be included. Business cards, flyers, local media, direct mail, magazine advertising, and signage are all traditional marketing.

An online marketing plan includes using tools like the business’ website, social media, email marketing, and video, and may require several pages. A section about your strategy should be included if sales is an important part of your business.

The role of the salesperson, strategies they will use to close the deal, lead follow-up procedures, and networking they will attend should be included. In the financial projections section, the annual sales forecast chart will be broken down.

The summary talks about the ownership background and personnel plan. Discuss your retail management experience if you would like to open a sports and outdoors store. If you don’t know how to run a retail business, look for a co-owner. Typically, banks won’t lend to someone who doesn’t have experience in the type of business they’re trying to open In the financial projections or appendix, this table may be further broken down into salaries for each month.

The financial data and analysis section is one of the most difficult parts of a business plan. To assist with the forecasting, we recommend using a business plan and financial projections software. If they will be paid back, is one of the main pieces of information bankers want to know.

The break-even analysis is when revenue exceeds expenses and a profit occurs. You can create a chart that shows income and expenses over time.

Do you want to pay down long-term debt, build cash contingency reserves, or invest in U.S. Treasuries? The net worth of the business and financial position of the company are shown on the balance sheet.

The balance sheet is different from the profit and loss statement because it focuses on the assets and liabilities of the business. The net worth of your business should be shown on your balance sheet.

Adding a menu and an artist rendering of the interior and exterior of a restaurant is a good idea. An appendix isn’t required in a business plan, but it is highly recommended for additional persuasion.

For three years in the future, the financial projections in the previous section are usually a year by year breakdown. The profit and loss statement, balance sheet, cash flow, and personnel plan should be broken down month by month for bankers and investors. You can print out the excel sheet and include it in the appendix.

This email address is not valid and there is a free ebook that shows you how to start a business in 30 days. The most frequently asked questions about how to write a business plan are included in this section. Your research is great, but investors and bankers want to read your financials first. It takes a lot of time to determine the numbers, but it will help you prepare for the launch.

The industry analysis and market segments can be used to support your business idea. Researching and forecasting financial projections reduces the risk of business failure.

Deborah W. Nason Writer. Twitter ninja. Wannabe organizer. Avid troublemaker. Bacon geek. Tv evangelist.

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