How To Write A Business Plan Step By Step

Do you need a small scale business plan to help prepare your venture for success?

Writing a good business plan depends on several factors considered key to the growth of a business. A comprehensive business plan helps in charting a course for the future sustainability of your venture, eventually translating to profitability and stability.

Do you know different types of business plans exist? Do you know you can make good money writing business plans? Are you aware of the critical risks associated with a business plan? Are you looking for a business plan writing software, try Liveplan.

Well, let’s go through the world of business plans together.

Developing A Business Plan Outline

All business plans follow a particular order. Although they may have slight variations, these plans should follow an outline in order not to end up looking shabby.

For example, an executive summary cannot come at the bottom of your business plan. The point here is that the arrangement of a business plan is sequential to adequately guide users.

An example of a good business plan outline will include the following sections in this order;

– Executive Summary
– Company Description
– Products and Services
– Marketing Plan
– Operational Plan
– Management and Organization
– Startup Expenses and Capitalization
– Financial Plan and lastly 
– Appendices

Here is a brief explanation of the sections:

Executive Summary

Because of the importance of this section, it usually comes first. Investors pay close attention to it to find out if your business is worth investing in or not. Hence, this section should captivate the reader and exude the enthusiasm of the business plan writer.

Company Description

This contains a basic description of your business highlighted through; the mission and vision statements, the goals, your target market, your legal structure or ownership, and the industry.

Products and Services

This section showcases the products and services offered and how they solve particular needs. This is usually presented from the client’s point of view.

Also, it highlights the competitive advantages the business has over its competitors, and lastly the pricing structure of its products.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan section provides information on the type of marketing to attract and retain customers. It highlights the target market for the business, marketing research, barriers to entry, as well as threats to business promotion.

Operational Plan

Information on general and specific business operations are important here. This section covers areas such as production, quality control, location, and the legal environment of the business. The hired personnel, inventory, suppliers, and the business’ credit policies are also highlighted in this section.

Management and Organization

The management organization of the business is provided, with the functions and duties of each position spelled out. This is because the way a business is organized around these offices affects business performance.

Startup Expenses and Capitalization

This aspect is crucial to business plans and investors are usually very interested in its contents. It includes the startup expenses, opening day balance sheet, and personal financial statements.

Financial Plan

The financial plan should provide financial projections at certain intervals. This can be yearly intervals, as the case may be. It should also contain a cash flow projection of the business, and a break-even calculation.

Appendix

Some details are not made available on the business plan to prevent cluttering. These details are collated into an appendix where readers get further clarification.

How to Use a Business Plan to Develop Yours

Using a template is the easiest way to develop a business plan unique to your needs. It saves costs that would have been incurred if the plan was written by an expert.

By providing preambles to what should be contained in each section, it allows you to brainstorm on other areas needed to produce a business plan uniquely suited to your business needs and goals.

Importance Of A Business Plan Template

The importance of a business plan template cannot be overemphasized. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to business consultants to write a business plan for you, templates come in handy in the sense that they eliminate technical and structural problems that face most people who have difficulties writing a business plan.

It is a guide that provides a preamble to the contents that should follow, with additional instructions on what should be contained. This helps the writer to understand what to write after brainstorming on what is unique about his business.

A business plan template provides guidelines on how to write a comprehensive business plan. They are used to write convincing plans that encourage investors and money lenders to invest in the business.

Business plan templates are non-conclusive. In other words, they are open-ended. So if you would like to write a business plan template, remember that it should not be affiliated with a particular business type.

There is an exception to this though. Some writers might want to prepare a business plan template for restaurant businesses or other niches of particular interest to them. In this instance, a general model may be created for these related business opportunities.

Whichever type of template you choose to create, so long as it contains the general principles and a well laid out structure, it should suffice.

EXAMPLES OF BUSINESS PLANS

Here are some common business plans:

AGRICULTURE

PETS

FOOD & DRINKS

HEALTH & CARING

FASHION AND BEAUTY

INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY

AUTO AND TRANSPORT

FINANCIAL SERVICES

OTHER BUSINESS SERVICES

Using templates and business plan software is the best approach to writing a convincing business plan that attracts funding. Due to the layouts of business plan templates, all a writer needs is to brainstorm on what suits the particular business he is writing on.

For each section, a business plan template guides what it should contain. This makes it easy for you to create a business plan that impresses investors.

Startup Business Plan Format

What is a startup business plan? One of the common mistakes small business owners make when they want to start up their business is the failure to create a business plan.

They assume that a business plan is for big businesses, hence they don’t need it since their business is a small one. This is a very faulty assumption; every business either big or small needs a business plan.

If you want to start up a small business and you are already waving off the idea of creating a business plan, it will be better for you to change your mind now. You don’t have to worry about the complexities involved in creating a business plan. I have helped you with that.

HOW TO WRITE A STARTUP BUSINESS PLAN
Below is the startup business plan template for small businesses. I am sure you will find it useful in creating your business plan.

Executive Summary
This section should cover all the basic details of the business succinctly. Some of what you should address in the executive summary include:

  • What your business is all about.
  • The reasons why you want to start it.
  • When you are going to start it.
  • Where the business will be located.
  • Who the founders are.
  • What are the experience and expertise of the founders and how it will the business succeed?
  • Who the target market is.
  • What products and services do you want to offer your target market?
  • Why you think they will like it.
  • Where and how you see your business in the future?

Business Overview
The business overview should explain in detail everything about the business.  In the business overview section, you should talk about:

  • The history of your business.
  • How the business came about.
  • Your business description.
  • Your business vision and mission statement.
  • Your business goals and objectives.
  • The industry your business will be.
  • How your business will fit into its industry.
  • Factors that will make your business succeed.
  • The type of legal structure your business will have.

Products and Services
In this section, you discuss everything about your products and services which will include:

  • The list of all the products and services that your business wants to offer.
  • The in-depth description of the products and services.
  • The overview of how your products will be made/ how your services will be provided.
  • The detailed explanation of how your products and services will benefit the consumers.
  • The distinguishing features that differentiate your products and services from the other in the market.
  • The price rates you intend to fix for your products and services and the reasons for fixing them.

Market Analysis
In this section, you carry out a comprehensive research about market research and then give the analysis. The analysis should entail:

  • Your target market and your competitors.
  • The size of your target market.
  • The products and services that are in high demand.
  • Your target customers’ personae.
  • The SWOT analysis of your competitors.
  • The advantages our business will have over that of your competitors.
  • The hidden opportunities that you want to uncover.
  • The growth trend in the market.
  • The barriers to penetrating the market and how you plan to overcome them.

Business Structure
This section should talk about how you intend to structure the business and why.

  • Who are the people that will be in charge of managing the business?
  • How many employees do you intend to have?
  • What experience, expertise do they have to help the business grow?
  • What is their job description?
  • What will be their salaries scale?

Marketing and Sales Strategies 
This section will discuss the marketing and sales strategies that you want to use in promoting your business. You should discuss in details:

  • The type of marketing strategies you want to use.
  • Is your marketing strategies going to be an offline or online campaign or both?
  • What type of online or offline marketing strategy do you intend to use and why?
  • Which medium of online/offline advertising do you want to use in promoting your business?
  • How do you intend to brand your business?
  • In what ways are you planning to promote your brand?
  • What kind of perception do you want people to have about your business brand and why?
  • How much are you budgeting for promoting your business?

Financial Plan
In this section, you will give a thorough dissection of the financial plans you have for the business. You will discuss:

  • The budget you have for the business.
  • The amount of money you will need to start up the business.
  • The means of funding the business.
  • The projected cash flow for the business.
  • The ways the business plan to generate revenue.
  • Profit and loss projection of the business
  • The assets and liability of the business.

These are the important elements that must be present in a startup business plan for small businesses. With this template I have provided, I am sure you now have a helpful guide to help you in creating a viable business plan for the small business that you want to start up.

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9 thoughts on “How To Write A Business Plan Step By Step”

  1. This Are Nice And Awesome Ideas.
    Please How Can I have a business plan for mobile money business. For example a Quickteller Paypoint business.

  2. This is great, I have identified a potential stand /plot next to the mines for me to sestablish a diesel depot , Please advise on a very good business plan sample.

  3. I want to start a transportation service so I need help writing the proposal sample please help

  4. Hi, I am interested in starting a boat rental and hire service business in small scale at home in East New Britain Province. I need planning and marketing information on this idea.
    Anyone with this idea please help.

  5. Dr Muhammad Jamil Alvi

    Hi I want to start a business of organic poultry . Firstly maintain a flock organically and get eggs and meat which market with own band as organic meat and eggs. Need a business plan for this
    Thanks

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