5 Steps for Composing a Business Plan

Below are 5 steps for composing a successful business plan.

1. Make an Outline

Start with a standard template for a business plan. There should be 10 parts to this plan in this exact order: A. Executive Summary, B. Company Analysis, C. Industry Analysis, D. Customer Analysis, E. Competitive Analysis, F. Marketing Plan, G. Operations Plan, H. Management Team, I. Financial Plan and J. Appendix. Take what you know about each category and write it in the appropriate area. Never veer from this standard template for a business plan. Investors that way will know exactly where to read to find out the information they need.

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2. Perform Research

The majority of research that you should do will include the Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis and Industry Analysis parts of the plan. Consult dependable industry sources to find the market facts, trends and statistics. For the Operations Plan, Financial Plan and Marketing Plan parts, you need to do research into costs for start up and operating, if needed possible locations, and what type of labor pool is available for your niche. As for your Company Analysis, you need to look into your own business even the existing and needed labor.

3. Form a Strategy

Using your research, make the decision whether or not to keep the business plan you have created. You might find out the market is not what it should be for your business and just throw away the plan. If you find the market is solid, utilize the research you did and map and identify any revenue flows from your target market all the way to your company’s tills. This information should be listed in the Marketing Plan section. You should also spell out how your business plans to operate in your Operations Plan section.

4. Do the Math on All of the Financials

This will be included in the Financial Plan section. Costs, revenues, and activities need to be written in accounting terminology to display the projected financial situation for your company. Enlist the help of a spreadsheet program for a financial template to create a successful financial plan. If not, you might have to turn to an independent accountant, unless you have been trained as one. Investors read over this section more closely than the others of your business plan.

5. Compose a Narrative

Write your business plan in the order that the outline section above covers. You can hold off until last on the Executive Summary, but it still needs to go first on the overall business plan. This summary captures the overall business and draws in investors, so they will read the entire plan. After you place the Executive Summary first in your business plan, then you can place your Appendix at the end. The Appendix is the area that contains infographics, expanded analyses and other supporting material.

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Many people new to writing business plans make the mistake of keeping the focus too much on their own company, and not including that they understand the industry and market which their company competes. Remember this when you write your business plan, so the investors take notice of all of it.

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