How to Create a Business Plan
Here’s how to create a business plan in 10 easy steps.
Spend Most of Your Time on Research
Plan on starting with research into your market, your product and other areas like your competition to name a few. You should spend more time on research than actually writing the business plan. Getting some initial statistics from a credible source helps.
Further Test Your Idea
Talking to possible customers and experts can help. Finding out what real people think about your business idea is a great way to get honest feedback and build on your research.
Pick the Template that Works for You
A good business plan needs to suit your needs. Generally there are two templates to choose from. Traditional business plans dive deep into facts and figures. They generally have sections detailing a marketing strategy and contain other sections like a market analysis.
If you plan on making changes as you go along, the lean startup format might be better. The one that’s used most often is the The Business Model Canvas. You need to decide which one best suits your business.
Create a Profile
Once you’ve done the research and picked a template, putting a company profile together comes next. Having trouble getting started? Try looking at the About Us pages from your competition’s websites. These need to include items like your target market and resources.
Make Sure Your Marketing Plan Works
Some parts of a good business plan need extra focus. A good marketing plan needs to highlight specific objectives like how you plan on introducing new products. Content marketing objectives are also important. Try to include some integrated marketing ideas to cover the bases.
Keep It Simple
You’re excited about your business. That’s understandable. However, a good business plan needs to be concise and to the point. You can’t skimp on a good proposal. Don’t cut corners when it comes to your unique selling points either. However, you don’t want to use too many words. Having an editor look over what you’ve got so far helps.
Don’t Go Overboard
Assumptions and projections are big parts of a good business plan. Just make sure you can back the ones you make up with facts and figures. Get your accountant to check the numbers.
Don’t Hide Any Bad News
The key financial data that you need to include is critical if you’re looking for funding. If sales fluctuate during certain times of the year, include that in your plan. Being transparent in every part of a business plan works best. Honesty is the best policy.
Bring the Draft Together
Your business plan is taking shape at this stage. The draft should include emphasis on important sections like the Executive Summary. The pieces like Customer and Industry Analysis should all put together now. Hiring a writer for this part of the project helps with the flow and style.
Proof and Edit
Once your business plan has been put together, you should give it a final once over. It’s a great idea to check your facts and figures carefully again. If you have the time, set the final draft aside for a day or two. When you come back, everything will look fresh.