How do you write a successful business plan? By keeping it simple, there are a lot of smaller tasks which are part of writing a business plan, but they can be grouped into four major steps. This is the same process which any writer uses to produce any written work. You start by creating an outline, then fleshing out the main areas, followed by the supporting information and then refine this rough draft into a finished product. When you look at writing a business plan this way, it’s a lot less overwhelming and easier to write a solid business plan that can secure your business the funding it needs.
Write An Outline
There are ten sections which make up a business plan: Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan, and Appendix, in that order. Start by opening a new document and create headings for each of these section, then subheadings; these are the questions which each section will answer.
Fill Out The Main Sections
The main sections of a business plan are the Competitive Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer (or Market) Analysis and Company Overview. It’s easiest to write them in this order, since your Competitive Analysis is the foundation on which the other sections will be built.
Filling Out The Supporting Sections
The supporting sections are next and should be written in this order: Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Financial Plan, and Executive Summary. Your Executive Summary should be written last, since this is where you’ll sum up the most important and attention getting points from the rest of the plan.
Edit And Refine Until You Have A Final Draft
Have a friend or colleague look over your rough draft and give some suggested edits; you may want to have them use the track changes feature of their word processor. Once this has been done, pass it along to someone else for another edit the more sets of eyes you have looking at your business plan, the better your final draft will be. Try to have at least three people look it over before you finalize things. When you put together your final draft, have each section start on a new page and include a table of contents and cover sheet as well as an appendix which contains any supporting information needed.
Add headers to each page with the name and logo of your company and place page numbers and footnotes (if needed) in the footers of each page. You may also want to use infographics, sidebars and call out boxes to draw the reader’s attention to important points in the business plan.