A Quick Guide to Writing a Great Business Plan

Writing a business plan can be daunting. Being asked to turn a blank document into a roadmap for your business’ future success isn’t anyone’s idea of a relaxing afternoon, but writing a business plan is a vital part of ensuring your business has the best chance of thriving.

Here’s a simple business plan template to get you started with yours…

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  1. Executive Summary: The executive summary of your plan is your chance to grab the reader and get them interested – and invested – in your business idea and model. Here are a few tips for this section:
  • Go into detail on what your business is, the problem it solves, and where your product or service fits into the marketplace. This is your chance to really engage the reader and ensure they read on. Don’t waste it!
  • Outline how much your business will cost to start and how you’ll use that funding. Don’t overdo the details, just be clear and direct about how the money will be spent and how your business plans to turn the investment into profit.
  • Explain who is going to be involved in the company, how the ownership is divided, and what, if anything, that will mean for future profits.
  • Focus on the positives. Your executive summary is the most important part of the business plan for an external investor and may be their first exposure to your business. Be sure to give them something worth reading!
  1. ‘The People’ Section: Introduce yourself, your managers, your board and any outside professionals you rely on. Go into detail on you, your board and your key managers’ education, employment history, professional and (relevant) personal achievements and activities.
  2. Product / Service Overview: Describe what your product or service does, what it costs, where it fits into the market, the competition and delivery. Be frank here, your reader is already interested and now needs facts to make decisions, so use lots of stats, figures and research to back up any claims you might make.
  1. Industry: Paint a picture of the marketplace and where your business fits into it. This includes the market size, your competitors, the growth areas, its restrictions and its history.
  2. Marketing: Define your target demographic (age, sex, income, location, profession, education), where you’ll find them, how you’ll reach them, and how you’ll promote your product.
  3. Operations: Explain how you’re going to produce your product or service. Outline what you’ll need in facilities, equipment, distribution and any other infrastructure. Keep this part of your business plan focused on the broader strokes that investors will understand without being industry insiders.
  1. Financials: Tell your reader what you’re making, what your balance sheet looks like, and outline your cash flow. Any other financial information relevant to your business plan should go in this section.

Your business plan is vital, so don’t overlook this important grounding for your business. Do your research, read other business plans, and use this simple business plan template to get started with yours. Best of luck!