How to Write a Business Plan

The early days of setting up your new business are some of the most exciting! The passion, fresh ideas and vision is front of mind. Now all you need is the planning.  

A business plan is basically a blueprint of how you will begin, manage and grow your business.

It will gather your ambitions, anchor your thinking and set a tone and direction for your business.

Why Create A Business Plan?

You may be wondering “why should I create this plan in the first place? I know where I want my business to be.”

Often, you’re not the only one who needs to know this.

A strong business plan allows you to articulate your goals to those around you. As well as helping you move towards your end destination.

When a clear vision is defined, a business plan with help a company perform more effectively.

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What To Include In A Business Plan?

With a clear concept of purpose, it’s time to get writing. Below you will find a basic framework to assist you in getting started.

 

Extensive Summary  

An extensive summary is a high-level overview of your business and how you’re going to accomplish your goals. Have a think about what you’d like your potential clients and customers to know about your company. This should include:

  • A Vision statement

  • A Mission statement

  • Business goals

  • Business values

 

Business Description

If you were asked to describe your business, what would you say? How will it run? What is its purpose? This should include:

  • Your business name & location

  • Unique selling proposition (USP)

  • The products and services you offer

  • A brief summary of your ideal target market and competition

  • Business structure

 

Market Analysis

Who are your ideal clients and customers? Who do you want to email, call or walk through your business doors? The deeper you can dive into your ideal target market, the easier it will be to communicate with them. This should include:

  • A detailed persona of who your ideal clients are

  • An overview of how your products or services meet their needs

  • Identify the strengthens and weaknesses of your business (SWOT analysis)

  • An outline of your plans to respond to current and future demand

 

Competitor Analysis

Who are your competitors in the same space? What are they great at? What do they miss the mark with? The more you know about your competitors, the stronger you’ll be able to contend. This should include:

  • What markets your competition are in?

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?

  • What people buy from them? And what are their prices? 

  • What is your competitive advantage? How are you going to compete?

 

Products & Services

What are the key products or services you will be offering and selling? What exactly do you provide? Take the time to be as specific as possible. This should include:

  • Descriptions of your current and future products and services

  • Details on any copyrights, development and manufacturing

 

Marketing Plan

How are you going to get your products and services in front of ideal clients? How will you communicate your message? Your goal in this section is to describe how you'll attract and retain clients. This should include:

  • Marketing goals

  • Target market research

  • Marketing activity offline and online

  • Sales plan

  • Pricing

 

Operations & Management

How are you going to run your business? How are you going to manage the day-to-day operations? Will you need a team, or will it be just you? This section will describe how the business will function on a continuing basis. This should include:

  • An overview of your facilities and equipment

  • Your employee structure and training program

  • Inventory requirements

  • Supplier relationships

  • The costs of these and how you plan to cover them

Financial Considerations

Do you know how much you will need to start and run the business? Where will you get the funding? This section analyses the capital needed to get you off the ground and keep your business afloat. It’s one of the most detail-focused sections of the business plan. Depending on how early you are in the setup of your business, you’ll have more or less to include, such as:

  • Start-up costs & running costs

  • Details of any existing capital

  • break-even analysis

  • Sales forecasts

  • Balance sheets

  • Cash flow statement

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Final Tips

When you have finished digesting everything above and feel motivated to begin your business plan, follow some of these pointers.

  • Use clear, concise and straightforward language

  • Keep the length of the business plan to under 25 sheets of A4

  • Break the plan down into clear sections

  • Make the formatting smooth and legible

  • Include graphs, tables and other relevant imagery