There are many reasons why you should write a business plan, even if you’re not looking for funding. A business plan can help you see clearly what your business will look like and how it will operate. It’s also a great way to track your progress and make sure you’re reaching your goals.
Below are some helpful tips to consider as you begin to develop your business plan. These strategies will help you lay the foundation for a solid business plan, but remember that your business plan should meet your specific needs. Although they may share a similar structure, a dance studio business plan will almost certainly be different from a gas station business plan. Be sure to keep your business goals in mind as you work through the listing.
10 tips for creating a great business plan
- Do your research – Before you start writing your business plan, it’s a good idea to do some research. This means understanding the market, identifying your competitors and how they operate, and targeting exactly what your potential customers are looking for in a product or service. Doing your homework on these factors will help you create a business plan that works well for your specific needs and audience. You will also need to know this information when completing key sections of a business plan, such as your marketing and sales plans.
- keep it simple – A good business plan presents the information honestly and directly. Creating a business plan that is too long or uses difficult-to-understand language can distract your audience and miss out on good opportunities for your business.
- Include an executive summary – The executive summary may look like an introduction to the rest of your business plan, but it’s actually one of the most important sections. Think of the summary as a first impression and your chance to grab a reader’s attention. Be sure to include an overview of your business, including your mission statement, products or services, and target market.
- Know your finances – Another important factor to understand before you start writing your business plan is your current financial situation and what you will need to start your new business. Be sure to include a realistic estimate of your start-up costs, operating expenses, and revenue projections.
- Create a marketing plan – You can start building your marketing plan during your initial research. Identifying your target market and explaining exactly how you plan to reach them is one of the most important parts of an effective marketing plan. Be sure to include everything you plan to do when promoting your new business, from email marketing and social media ads to in-person events and printed materials. Remember to consider costs when developing your marketing plan and be realistic about what you will be able to spend.
- Describe your business model – A key part of any business plan is to describe how your business will operate. This includes things like your business structure, pricing strategy, and distribution channels. Simply put, your business model should explain how your new business will operate and make money.
- Describe your team – Describing your team has several advantages. First, it will help you identify the roles and responsibilities of each team member needed to run your new business. Another is that it will let readers interested in funding your new venture know that you not only have a great idea, but also the team to support it. If you already have a strong team in place, be sure to include their qualifications and any background information that could help sway investors.
- Explain your product or service – This part of your business plan will explain the products and/or services you plan to offer. Be sure to include your research on the target market for these articles and details on what makes your offerings unique from the competition.
- Include a SWOT analysis – A SWOT analysis is an essential part of any business plan. SWOT represents strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Understanding all of these factors can help you identify where your business stands among the competition and the hurdles you need to overcome to succeed.
- Have a return – Before finalizing your business plan, it is important to get input from others. This can include friends, family, mentors and potential investors. Getting feedback from others will help you create a stronger, more comprehensive plan.
Creating a business plan that achieves all of your goals can seem like a challenge, but you may find that you already know a lot of this information and just need to put it into words. Just keep these tips in mind as you start writing, and don’t be afraid to seek out tips and other resources to help you along the way.