A Business Plan is a document detailing the objectives of a business (often a startup) and the process through which the business intends to achieve these objectives.
Business plans are important as they provide information that can be used to draw in potential investors for a business, while at the same time presenting a way for the executive team(s) of the company or business to be on the same page regarding the development goals and objectives of the business.
Business plans are also useful for outlining initial ideas for a business before actually putting money into them, leaving room for the plan to be revised or adjusted before it is presented to potential investors.
Writing a Business Plan is a very simple process. Make sure to have the relevant documents prepared to ensure that all information you enter on the form is updated and correct.
It will also be beneficial to download the finished Business Plan in PDF format so as to preserve its contents and format regardless of how it is opened or submitted. You may use an extra sheet of paper for each of the sections below as needed.
Enter your full legal name and the name of the company you work for.
Enter the date that this business plan was presented.
Enter the full legal name of the person (or persons) that this business plan was or is to be presented, and the name of the company they work for.
Enter the executive summary of the business plan.
The executive summary is a quick overview of all the points that will be discussed in each section of the business plan. Alongside other details important to the business plan, the executive summary should restate the purpose of the report, highlight the major points of the report, and describe any results, conclusions, or recommendations from the report. This should include enough information that the reader will be able to gain a good amount of understanding of the subjects discussed in the report even without reading the full report.
Enter a description of your company or business.
This description should include details on the business, its operation, the business formation, its “selling point” (what makes it different from other companies and businesses and how it attracts customers), and any other relevant information about the company or business.
Products and Services
Enter a description of the products and services that your company or business will offer.
Make sure to clearly describe each product and service, and to emphasize the features of each that distinguish it from other similar products and services.
Enter a short description of the market your company or business will be competing in.
The description should include a clear description or definition of the market, the size of the market, how much of the market share you expect to capture, and any other important details related to the market you are entering.
Enter a description of the problem or problems of customers that you seek to address through the products and services offered by your business.
Enter a description of how the products and services your company or business offers will solve the problems mentioned above.
Make sure that your stated “solutions” are clearly targeted at the correct problems, and that they are as unique and different as possible.
Enter a brief description of each of the main competitors you expect your company or business to face based on the market you are entering and the products and services you are offering.
The description of each competitor should also include a brief analysis of their products and services, pricing, marketing, and promotional strategies.
Enter the names of the people you are assigning to the management team of your company or business.
For each person that you will list in this section, list down their professional background and any relevant skills they have for the position.
Risk and Opportunity
Enter a description of the risks you are taking on by creating this company or business and entering this market, the opportunities you are expecting to be able to take advantage of, and how.
Enter the amount of capital you need to start your company or business’s operations.
Describe as well how the funds would be allocated and utilized.
Enter the projected sales and the anticipated profit of your company or business after 1, 3, and 5 years. Alternatively, or in addition to the projected sales and profit, you may include some financial statements that reflect the good performance of your company or business.
Do not simply guess at values for this section. Provide a clear explanation for why you expect to sell and earn the amounts you put in this section, and if possible a breakdown of the factors and timeline that would allow you to reach that point.
This section is an agreement that all confidential information shared as part of this report (up to and including financial information, names of potential or suggested management team members, and unfinalized company or business details) will be kept confidential by the party that this form was presented or submitted to.
Enter the name of the party that is receiving this business plan.
Enter the name of your company.
What are some tips when filling out a Business Plan?
Creating a Business Plan is not in and of itself a very difficult process. However, it is very important that you review the information you put in each section to ensure that it is clear, descriptive, and well-explained.
Keep the form in a safe place. Make sure to store the completed Business Plan in a safe and secure area. This is important as Business Plans contain sensitive and confidential information surrounding your business’s finances, objectives, staff, and others, so keeping it in a secure place will help to avoid issues such as theft and fraud.
Provide proper citations. Make sure that any information you include that has an outside source has the source properly and clearly cited. This is important to avert issues of plagiarism and vague information.
Practice good contract management. Make a copy of the accomplished Business Plan and store it in a safe and secure location. It would also be beneficial to create copies of any previous iterations of the Business Plan. These copies will serve as backups in the case that you need to consult previously-laid plans or should anything happen to the original copy or copies.
Who needs to use a Business Plan?
While creating a Business Plan is not a requirement for starting a business, it is highly recommended that any startup business or even any business that needs to reorient its objectives should create one.
This is especially important for businesses that are seeking outside funding from investors, venture capitalists, or other sources. A Business Plan allows you to paint a clear and concise picture of your business's short-term and long-term goals, how it will achieve them, the challenges it may face along the way, and much more.
If you're not sure whether your business needs a Business Plan or not, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you need to raise money from investors?
- Are you planning on applying for a small business loan?
- Do you want to track your progress and measure your success over time?
- Are you starting a new business?
- Is your business facing a major change or challenge?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then creating a Business Plan is a good idea. Keep in mind that a Business Plan does not have to be a lengthy document; it can be as short or as long as you need it to be. The most important thing is that it accurately reflects your business's goals, strategies, and vision.
There are many different ways to create a Business Plan. You can hire a professional consultant to do it for you, use an online template or software program, or even do it yourself. Whichever method you choose, make sure that your Business Plan is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
How do I write a business plan?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to write a business plan will vary depending on your specific business and goals. However, there are some key elements that should be included in any good business plan. These include:
- An executive summary of your business and its key objectives
- A description of your products or services
- A market analysis, including information on your target market and competitors
- A marketing plan outlining your sales and marketing strategies
- A financial plan, detailing your expected income and expenses
If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available to help you write a business plan, including templates, software, and books. Once you've written your plan, be sure to review it regularly and update it as needed to ensure that it remains relevant and accurate.
In general, here are the steps to writing an effective business plan:
- Do your research — Before you start writing, you need to have a solid understanding of your industry, your target market, and your competition. This will help you create realistic goals and objectives for your business.
- Set yourself apart — What makes your business unique? What can you offer that your competitors can't? Be sure to highlight these points in your plan.
- Know your numbers — In order to make sound financial projections, you need to have a firm grasp of the numbers involved in your business, including income and expenses.
- Write it down — Once you've gathered all of the information above, it's time to start putting it into writing. Start with an executive summary, then move on to the rest of the plan.
- Make it readable — Keep your language clear and concise, and make sure your business plan is visually appealing.
- Get feedback — Once you've completed your business plan, ask others for their input. This could include family and friends, business mentors or advisors, and even potential investors.
- Revise and update as needed — Your business plan should be a living document that you regularly review and update as your business grows and changes.
Following these steps will help you create a well-written, effective business plan. However, it's important to remember that there is no one right way to write a business plan. The most important thing is to tailor your plan to fit your specific business needs.
What are the elements of a business plan?
A business plan typically includes the following:
- Executive Summary — A brief overview of the business, its products/services, markets, and management team.
- Company Description — A description of the company's history, ownership structure, and locations.
- Products and Services — A description of the company's products and services, including any new products or services that are being developed.
- Market Analysis — An analysis of the target markets for the company's products and services, including information on competitors.
- Sales and Marketing Plan — A plan for how the company will generate sales of its products and services, including marketing activities and partnerships.
- Operational Plan — A description of how the company will operate on a day-to-day basis, including information on manufacturing, logistics, and other operational processes.
- Financial Plan — A projection of the company's financial performance over the next three to five years, including information on funding requirements and sources of financing.
- Appendices — Supporting documents for the information included in the business plan, such as market research reports, financial statements, and contracts. Appendixes are typically not numbered or lettered.
- Glossary of terms — A list of terms used in the business plan and their definitions.
- Index — A list of topics and page numbers where they can be found in the business plan. The index is typically located at the end of the document.
- Table of contents — A list of chapters and major sections in the business plan and their page numbers. The table of contents is typically located at the beginning of the document, after the executive summary.
These are the most essential elements of a business plan. Still, there are many other aspects that can be included, such as information on the company's management team, intellectual property, and research and development activities. The format of a business plan can vary depending on the document's purpose and the audience it is intended for. For example, a bank loan application will require a different level of detail than an investor pitch deck.
What are the steps to writing a business plan?
Here are the steps to writing a business plan:
- Define your business — What are you selling? Who is your customer? What problem does your product or service solve for your customer?
- Understand your financial situation — How much money do you have to start your business? How will you generate revenue? What are your expenses?
- Develop a marketing plan — How will you reach your target market? What are your marketing objectives?
- Create a sales plan — How will you sell your product or service? What are your sales goals?
- Create an operational plan — What are the day-to-day operations of your business? What are your procedures for manufacturing, shipping, customer service, etc.?
- Write your business plan — Once you have all of the above information, you can start writing your business plan. Include an executive summary, company description, market analysis, product or service description, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and a management team summary.
- Edit and revise your business plan — After you have written your business plan, edit it for grammar and spelling errors. Then, revise it to ensure that it is clear, concise, and provides all of the information that potential investors will need to make a decision.
- Get feedback on your business plan — Ask friends, family members, or business professionals for their feedback on your business plan. Use their comments and suggestions to improve your plan.
- Finalize your business plan — Once you are happy with your business plan, save it as a PDF or print it out to share with potential investors.
These are the steps for writing a business plan. Keep in mind that your business plan should be created for your specific business and tailored to your unique products, services, and goals. Also, be sure to review your business plan regularly to ensure that it is up-to-date and accurate.
What are the main purposes of a business plan?
A business plan is a document that sets out the key goals and objectives of a business, and how these will be achieved. It should be updated regularly to ensure that the business is on track to achieve its targets.
The main purposes of a business plan are to:
- Set out the business's goals and objectives
- Identify the key areas of the business that need to be addressed
- Monitor progress towards achieving the goals and objectives
- Provide a framework for decision making
- Help to secure funding from investors or lenders
A well-written business plan will give potential investors and lenders an insight into the workings of the business, and how it plans to achieve its goals. It should be clear and concise, and easy to understand. Moreover, it should be realistic and achievable.
If your business is seeking funding, a business plan is essential. It will give you something to refer back to when making decisions about the direction of the business, and help you to track your progress.
What makes a good business plan?
There is no one answer to this question as different businesses will have different requirements for their business plans. However, there are some key elements that all good business plans should include:
- A clear description of the business and its products or services
- Detailed financial information, including sales projections and funding requirements
- A marketing plan outlining how the business will reach its target market
- A management plan detailing who will be responsible for running the business and how it will be structured
- An action plan outlining what needs to be done to achieve the goals of the business plan.
If you are preparing a business plan for a new venture, it is important to consult with experienced entrepreneurs or business advisers to ensure that your plan covers all of the key elements that investors or lenders will be looking for.
What are the types of business plans?
There are three common types of business plans: operational, tactical, and strategic. An operational plan focuses on the day-to-day operations of a company and how it will achieve its objectives. A tactical plan is focused on specific initiatives that a company undertakes to achieve its goals. A strategic plan is a long-term roadmap that sets out the direction a company wants to take to achieve its vision. Each type of business plan has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to choose the right one for your company.
- Operational plans — These are good for businesses that are already up and running and just need to fine-tune their operations. They can be helpful for new businesses too, but since they don't provide much guidance on strategic direction, they may not be the best choice for businesses that are just starting out.
- Tactical plans — These can be helpful for businesses that know what they want to achieve but need help figuring out how to get there. They can provide a roadmap for initiatives and help to keep everyone on track. However, tactical plans can also be overly specific and may not leave room for flexibility or adaptation as things change.
- Strategic plans — These are the most comprehensive type of business plan. They lay out a company's overall vision and goals and map out a path to achieving them. Strategic plans can be helpful for businesses at any stage, but they're especially important for businesses that are just starting out or undergoing major changes.
No matter what type of business plan you choose, the important thing is to create one that will be helpful for your company. The best business plans are those that are tailored to the specific needs of the business and its goals.
What is the aim of a business plan?
The primary purpose of a business plan is to serve as a road map for your business. It should outline your goals, strategies, and how you plan on achieving them. It should also include financial projections and any other information that will help you run your business successfully. A well-crafted business plan can help you secure funding, attract investors, and keep your business on track.
Without a business plan, it’s easy to get off track and make decisions that aren’t in line with your overall goals. A business plan can help you stay organized and focused on what you need to do to achieve your goals.
What should a 3-year business plan include?
A 3-year business plan should include a description of your business, your goals for the next three years, and a strategy for achieving those goals. It should also include financial projections for the next three years, as well as information on your current financial situation.
Depending on your business and your goals, other elements that might be included in a 3-year business plan are a description of your target market, an analysis of your competition, and a marketing plan. Even if you don't include all of these elements, having a clear and concise plan will help you measure your progress and make adjustments as needed to ensure that you achieve your goals.
Many businesses find it helpful to review and update their business plan on an annual basis, in order to ensure that it remains relevant and accurate. If your business has undergone significant changes in the past year, or if you have new goals for the coming year, it may be time to revise your business plan.
In order to create a successful 3-year business plan, you'll need to clearly define your business and its goals. You'll also need to do some research into your industry and your competition. Once you have all of this information, you can start putting together a strategy for achieving your goals. Remember to include financial projections in your plan, so that you can track your progress and make necessary adjustments along the way. With a well-thought-out business plan, you'll be on your way to achieving your goals for the next three years.
What is the most important part of your business plan?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the individual business and what their priorities are. However, some key parts of a business plan that should not be overlooked include the executive summary, market analysis, financial projections, and management team section. These components provide crucial information about your company and give investors an idea of what you are trying to achieve. If any of these sections are weak or missing, it could jeopardize the entire plan.
What should you include in your executive summary?
The executive summary is typically the first section of a business plan and it gives a high-level overview of your company. It should briefly touch on your business concept, target market, key competitors, growth strategy, and financial projections. This section should be no more than two pages long and it should be written in a clear and concise manner.
What goes into a market analysis?
A market analysis looks at the size and potential growth of your target market. It also assesses your competition and provides an overview of the current landscape. This information is critical in helping you determine if there is a demand for your product or service and if you can realistically achieve a significant share of the market.
What are financial projections?
Financial projections show how much money you expect to generate from your business venture. This information is important in assessing the feasibility of your business and determining if it is a viable investment. Financial projections should be based on realistic assumptions and they should be created by a qualified accountant or financial advisor.
Who should be included in your management team?
Your management team should consist of individuals with the necessary skills and experience to help grow your business. This may include people with sales, marketing, finance, operations, and technical expertise. It is also important to have a well-rounded team that can provide different perspectives and insights. Having a strong management team shows investors that you are serious about your business and that you have the ability to execute your plans.
What other parts of a business plan are important?
While the executive summary, market analysis, financial projections, and management team section are some of the most important parts of a business plan, there are other elements that should not be overlooked. These include your company history, product or service offering, marketing strategy, sales strategy, and operational plan. All of these components work together to give investors a complete picture of your business and what you are trying to achieve.