Are you interested in starting a business?
Creating a business plan is the most important step you can take toward success. Think of a business plan like a roadmap. It sets the direction for the early years of your business and outlines how you plan to make sales and grow revenues.
Business plan definition
A business plan is a systematic way of planning for the future. It is based upon the experience and achievements of an organization, and aims to set realistic objectives for the future. It will show how proposed policies are integrated, and how one issue affects another.
A business plan generally includes 10 sections:
1) Cover Page – As simple as this seems, include a cover page with your contact information so potential investors can easily reach you.
2) An executive summary – An Executive Summary is the first section of your plan. Use it to introduce your business and identify your customers. Make a short, but strong case that explains how you'll make your business successful.
3) A Company Description – Provide a high-level explanation of your business, what it will do, and how it will make money. Include a mission statement and the location of your business. Identify key employees and any other qualities that make your business distinctive.
4) Management Team – The Management Team section of the business plan must prove why the key company personnel are “eminently qualified” to execute on the business model. Also mention gaps in your team and who you need to hire.
5) Market research data – Use this section to provide detailed information that shows you've done your homework and that you understand your industry and target market. Be sure to include an assessment of your competitors and any legal requirements impacting your company and industry.
6) A description of your products or services – What are you selling? How will it meet the needs of your customers? What are its benefits compared to the competition? Answer these questions in detail. And be sure to note the current development stage of your business.
7) Your marketing and sales approach – Discuss Marketing and Sales in the fifth section of your plan. Explain how you'll identify potential customers. You'll also need to include your marketing approach.
8) Competitive Analysis – In this section, identify your competitors and their key strengths and weaknesses. Importantly, identify your competitive advantages, that is, why you can be more successful than the others.
9) Cost Structure – Provide Financial Projections in the final section of your business plan. This is important for investors and lenders because it explains how your business will meet its financial obligations and maintain a positive cash flow balance.
10) Appendices – Include all other information, references and required documentation here.This will typically include:
- Articles of incorporation and status
- Resumes of founders and key team members
- Copies of insurances
- Trademarks and patent registrations
- Deeper research data or links to references
Are you ready to get started?
Build your customized business plan using "biz2board" online step-by-step tool. It'll help you navigate each section and enter your information. You can even save your plan and finish it later. Print, download, email and update your plan any time.
To try out Online Business Plan tool click here.