Business plans are complex, but we’ll try and keep it simple.A business plan is a written document that tells us what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. You’re essentially predicting your business’s future. Even though the future is uncertain, doesn’t mean you can’t anticipate it. Right? It should be a tool you use to run and grow your business, and also refine over time. However, if you plan on borrowing money or get investors, you will need to have a formal business plan in place to present. It’s a requirement.
The business plan helps ensure that all aspects of your business are focusing on the same goal and that you don’t have any major gaps in your business model. It also helps you communicate more effectively with potential employees, partners, and customers. You’ll see that as you go through every step of writing a business plan, it will actually help you achieve your goals. A solid business plan is a key component of every successful business.
Let’s dig into the process of actually writing a business plan!
# 1 Rule for Writing A Business Plan:
Keep it short! We GUARANTEE (and we don’t say that often) no one is going to read a 100-page business plan, not even a 40- page plan for a small business. After page 15, the reader most likely loses interest. I mean, wouldn’t you? Let’s keep it between 5-10 pages. Simple and concise.
The best business plan outline we found online was from SBA.gov:
- Executive Summary – Quick synopsis of your business
- Company Description – Describes what your business does.
- Market Analysis – Research on your industry, market, and competitors.
- Organization and Management – How you manage and structure your business.
- Service or Product Line – The products or services you offer.
- Marketing and Sales – Your marketing and sales strategy.
- Funding Request – How much money you’ll need for next 3 to 5 years.
- Financial Projections – Financial statements like balance sheets.
- Appendix – (Optional) Add-on forms like résumés and permits.
Now that you understand the business plan process and layout, does it sound hard? Well, it is IF you make. Don’t over think it. Grab some coffee, sit on the couch with your laptop and just start writing! It doesn’t need to be perfect or great the first round. That’s what revisions are for, right? Let’s GO!