Is it possible to write your business plan in four easy steps? You bet!
You want to keep the process simple. There are a number of smaller steps to writing a business plan, but most of these will be covered if you follow four main steps. These are the very same steps writers use to produce a variety of items including movie scripts, essays, reports and mathematical treatise. You begin with an outline, complete the main areas then the subordinate areas and finally take this rough document to final draft. When you consider writing, a business plan from this perspective there is less pressure and more chances you will do it right and get the money you require.
Outline the Business Plan
A business plan has ten headings or sections and they are as follows: Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan and finally the Appendix.
Start with a blank document on your computer on which you will write the headings. For each heading you will need a subheading, these are the main questions or points to be answered and covered for the main heading.
2. Core Sections
The core features of any business plan are the Market Analysis, Company Overview, Competitive Analysis and Industry Analysis. The Competitive Analysis is the foundation of the other three sections and should always come first followed by Industry, Market and Company Overview.
3. Subordinate Sections
In your business plan there are also subordinate sections, these are the Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Financial Plan and Executive Summary. They should be presented in this order, the Executive Summary is last as it contains all the most important points from the entire plan.
4. From Rough Draft to Final Draft
Take your full rough draft and present it to anyone who can give you a thorough and educated edit; this could be a friend, associate or family member. It is important to use the ΓÇ£Track ChangesΓÇ¥ function within the document to keep up with the changes. After the first edit take the document and pass it to another qualified individual for a second run. This may sound redundant and inefficient, but truly, it is not. This prevents the problem of doubling up on suggestions, trying to track changes one at a time and so on. You should have the draft examined and edited by at least three people.
When you come to the final draft, you should format it so that each new section begins on a brand new page. You will want a cover sheet, contents table, Appendix and every piece of supporting material. Page numbers, page footers, page headers and borders as well as the business name and logo should be included. Call out boxes, images and info graphics are all good items to include for a well-rounded business plan.