Creating a business plan can be a daunting prospect, but don’t let it keep you from pursuing the funding you need to get started. You can write a great business plan with relative ease as long as you follow this step by step plan.
1. Make An Outline
Write down the ten sections that every business plan needs and use them as the basis of your outline. These sections are: Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan, and Appendix.
The first (and most important) section to outline is the Executive Summary. Here, you’ll briefly explain the unmet need in the market which your business will target, the products or services you’ll offer, show that your industry sector is sustainable, lay out your venture’s value propositions, explain the expertise of your management team and provide realistic projections for the company’s financials.
Next, write subheadings for each section which answers the questions investors will ask. It may be helpful to write them in a question and answer format. Make your answers as complete as possible.
2. Brainstorm With Your Management Team
Even if you’re the only person on your management team, this is still a necessary step. Either on your own or in consultation with your management team, use your outline to come up with every piece of relevant information which should be included in your business plan. Write more than you need to you can always edit it down to the essentials later on.
3. Read Niche Market Research Reports
This is a vital step if you want your business plan to get the attention of potential investors. You can research on the web, but you’ll generally do best by hiring a market research company to do this for you. They know who to call and where to find the information you need about your niche market. Choose your market research company carefully and remember that you get what you pay for. Good research means a solid business plan.
4. Set a Schedule
Once you’ve done all this, you can get your business plan together in as little as a week. Schedule eight hours a day to work on your business plan with the goal of finishing two sections per day. You can get the Customer Analysis and Industry Analysis sections done a little quicker, perhaps just two hours each; and you’ll need to work on your Appendix as you go.
With this plan, you can have your business plan completed in a matter of days rather than weeks or months.