Business plans are much more common in today’s economy than they were decades or centuries ago. No one wants to fail when starting a new business and one of the common themes among businesses that survive and thrive is a strong business plan. Business plans are basically the roadmap for how your business is going to survive and thrive for the long term. It should contain a lot of descriptive information about your business but at the same time not be too long and drawn out. You don’t have to have a business or accounting degree to put together a business plan. Read on for some tips on how to write a business plan for your startup.
The majority of successful business plans contain the same 6 parts: executive summary, opportunity, execution, company summary, financial plan, and appendix. Though the executive summary comes first in the business plan, many entrepreneurs write it last because it focuses them to properly condense all of the information from the other sections. Likewise, the executive summary is an overview of the business and the plans for why the entrepreneur is starting it in the first place.
The opportunity section provides information specifically about what your product or service is. What need will you be fulfilling? What pain point will you be relieving? Who will want your product or service the most, aka who is your target market? At the same time, it is near impossibility for any new business to be in an industry all by itself, no matter how niche, so there is bound to be competition. How does your company stand up to the competition?
The execution section discusses the specifics of how the business idea will be turned into a reality. Metrics used to measure success, sales plans, and milestones will be among the things mentioned in this section. Investors look for great business ideas coupled with great managers/management teams. The company management section will list who is at the top of the company and provide relevant information from their backgrounds on why they will hold such positions.
Money is the lifeblood of any business. No business survives long without money in some form: earned income, capital investment, dividends, etc. For startups this section typically focuses on income in the form of projections because the startup hasn’t been around long enough to actually make any money yet. Sales forecasts, cash flow statements, and income statements are among the information provided here. Finally is the appendix section that can be referred to by other sections. This is where extra information or images belong to spark maximum interest in the person reading the business plan.