How to Create an Outline for Your Business Plan
Every entrepreneur needs to have a business plan, especially when it comes to securing additional funding. A solid business plan not only makes it easier to stay on track with development, it can convince investors that your business is worth their support. If the concept of creating a detailed business plan from scratch seems intimidating and overwhelming, it’s a good idea to start with an outline that you can fill in later when you have all the required information. Breaking your business plan down into key elements makes it easier to complete it step-by-step without missing any essential information.
Before getting into the details of your business and your financial background, you should come up with a vision. You need to have a clear mission statement and a list of achievable goals. If you are having trouble narrowing down your ideas, streamline them into a couple of realistic objectives. Don’t worry about being too descriptive. You can fill in additional details later. When it comes to working on business plans, it’s always better to make your point in as few words as possible. Don’t leave any important information out, but avoid too much unnecessary text. Business plans that get right to the point will help you stay on top of your goals and present a clear picture to potential investors.
Once you have a strong mission statement and a list of short-term and long-term goals, focus on what you need to turn your vision into reality. At this point, you’ll need to separate your outline into several sections and subsections that will need to be filled out after you are done. Main headlines should include your business description, market analysis, business management and structure, products and services description, marketing, finances and funding requirements.
Underneath each headline, write down the type of information you’ll need to provide when you are working on creating the body of your business plan. For example, under the marketing headline you might want to include who your target customers are, what marketing tools you plan to use to reach them effectively, and an estimate of how much money you’ll need to launch your advertising campaign successfully. Remember, for now you can leave these as short statements that can be elaborated on later when you are ready to write your business plan. You might also find it helpful to phrase them as questions that can be used to get research for your final business plan copy.
Look at your business plan outline as a moldable document that can be revised at a later time. Use it as a starting point for your research and ideas. The key to creating a successful business plan is starting out with an outline that has all the basic components business owners need to know and investors look for. If you are having trouble with your outline or just want some additional support, you can find business plan templates that will point you in the right direction.