Finally, conclude your business plan with a section on your marketing strategy and also a funding request for potential investors. Lewis on January 26, Determine the type of business plan you will use. While all business plans share the common objective of describing a businesses purpose and structure, analyzing the marketplace, and creating cash flow projections, the types of plans differ.
There are three major kinds. This is a shorter plan likely 10 pages or less , and is useful for determining potential interest in your business, further exploring a concept, or starting point to a full plan.
This is a great starting point. This can be considered the full version of the miniplan, and its main purpose is to outline, without emphasis on appearance, precisely how to build and operate the business.
This is the plan that the business owner would refer to regularly as the business moves towards its objectives. The presentation plan is meant for individuals other than those owning and operating the business. This could include potential investors or bankers. It is essentially the working plan, but with an emphasis on sleek, marketable presentation, and proper business language and terminology. Whereas the working plan is made for reference by the owner, the presentation needs to be written with investors, bankers, and the public in mind.
Understand the basic structure of the business plan. Whether you opt for a miniplan, or a comprehensive working plan to start, it is essential to understand the basic elements of a business plan.
The business concept is the first broad element of a business plan. The focus here is on the description of your business, its market, its products, and its organizational structure and management. The market analysis is the second major element of a business plan. Your business will operate within a particular marketplace, and it is important to understand customer demographics, preferences, needs, buying behavior, as well as the competition.
The financial analysis is the third component of the business plan. If your business is new, this will include projected cash flows, capital expenditures, and the balance sheet. It will also include forecasts as to when the business will break-even. If you lack business or financial education, it is never a bad idea to enlist the help of an accountant to assist with the financial analysis portion of the plan. The above sections are the broad components of the business plan.
These sections in turn break down into the following seven sections, which we will, in order, focus on writing next: Company description, market analysis, organization structure and management, products and services, marketing and sales, and request for funding.
Format your document correctly. Format section titles in Roman Numeral order. Write your company description as the first section. To do this, describe your business and identify the marketplace needs for your product or service.
Briefly describe your key customers and how you intend to succeed. Joe's coffee is located one block from the local University, and aims to provide a comfortable environment for students, professors, and downtown employees to study, socialize, or simply relax between classes or meetings. By focusing on excellent ambiance, close location, premium products, and superb customer service, Joe's coffee will differentiate itself from its peers.
Write your market analysis. The purpose of this section is explore and demonstrate knowledge of the market your business is operating within. You should be able to answer questions like, who is your target market? What are their needs and preferences? How old are they, and where are they located?
Make sure to include a competitive analysis that provides research and information on immediate competitors. List your main competitors strengths and weaknesses and the potential impact on your business.
This section is extremely important, as it outlines how your business will gain market share by capitalizing on competitor's weaknesses. Describe your company's organizational structure and management. This section of the business plan focuses on key personnel. Include details about the business owners and its management team. If the owners and managers and have extensive backgrounds in the industry or a track record of success, highlight it.
If you have an organizational chart, include it. Describe your product or service. What are you selling? What's so great about your product or service? How will customers benefit? How is it better than your competitors products or services? Do you currently have or anticipate developing a prototype, or filing for a patent or copyright?
Note all planned activities. For example, if you are writing a plan for a coffee shop, you would include a detailed menu that would outline all your products. Before writing the menu, you would include a short summary indicating why your particular menu sets your business apart from others. You may state, for example, "Our coffee shop will provide five different types of beverages, including coffee, teas, smoothies, soda's, and hot chocolates. Our wide variety will be a key competitive advantage as we can provide a diversity of product offerings that our main competitors are currently not offering".
Write your marketing and sales strategy. In this section, explain how you intend to penetrate the market, manage growth, communicate with customers, and distribute your products or services.
Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above? Make a funding request. If you will use your business plan to secure funding, include a funding request. Explain how much money you need to start and maintain your small business. Provide an itemized summary of how start-up capital will be used. Give a timeline for your funding request. To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.
For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements. Each year after that, yearly statements. These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan. Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows.
Write the executive summary. Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan. It will include your company's mission statement and provide readers with an overview of your products or services, target market, and goals and objectives. Remember to place this section at the beginning of your document.
When was the business first conceptualized? What are some notable growth benchmarks? Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Mention the company's corporate structure, its funding requirement, and if you will provide equity to investors. Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans. This is the very last section and it's meant to provide additional information.
Potential investors might want to see this information before making a decision. The documents you include here should support claims made in other sections of the business plan. When you apply for a loan at a bank, for example, you need to provide very specific financial information laid out in a particular way.
For investors, you have to do this and go into depth about your unique selling proposition and potential for growth. Another reason to write a business plan is for help internally. Contrary to what you may expect, all 3 services we reviewed offer the full range of business plans. How they differ is the level of consultation you receive. Bargain Business Plans will translate your ideas to paper with minimal influence from writers whereas Optimal Thinking will challenge your ideas and seek to improve them wherever possible.
Wise Business Plans falls in between. After that, an initial phone call with a writer will layout most of the details, along with ongoing communication via phone or email as the plan develops. You should have your business plan delivered in about 7 to 14 days. Throughout your discussions, Wise Business Plans can offer financial advice. Optimal Thinking can also advise on compliance or potential legal issues and even suggest sources of funding.
When you sign up, the process begins with a set of questions and continues over email. The reason being is to keep everything clear in writing. Like the other services, the process begins with a questionnaire.
Their job is to take your ideas and translate them to paper, not to challenge your ideas or suggest areas of improvement. The end product, however, is a high-quality business plan.
Pricing varies a lot depending on the type of plan you need and the amount of research you bring to the table. Investor plans and startup plans, on the other hand, can cost a few thousand dollars. Like Wise Business Plans, pricing varies depending on the type of plan you need and the amount of research that needs to be completed. Bargain Business Plans has 3 different packages with standardized prices:.
All three services have positive reputations. Customers referred to the staff as knowledgeable, approachable and prompt, with fast response times. From what they say, Optimal Thinking lives up to their claim of being one of the most knowledgeable business consultants out there.
Customers were happy with their business plans and noted having a strong back and forth with writers. Given the higher degree of consultation than Bargain Business Plans, but the considerably lower price than Optimal Thinking, we feel small businesses are most likely to be happy with Wise Business Plans.
Along with professional writing, you get a degree of financial consultation — all without breaking your budget. Jeremy Marsan is a business analyst and staff writer for Fit Small Business currently specializing in small business healthcare issues and product reviews. I love the fact that you were objective in your comparison, which makes this article a good read!
Wewere very disappointd with the service and quality of the Wise Business Plan. Much happier with the depth of knowledge and prfessionalism of the optimalthinking plan.
Their market research is excellent. Donald, Thanks for sharing your personal experience for our readers. The Optimal Thinking team are brilliant consummate professionals. They charge more than the run of the mill business plan firms because they go the extra mile to be successful.
The business plan wowed the two venture capitalist firms we pitched. Thanks for the fantastic analysis. Harvey, Thanks for sharing your personal experience using Optimal Thinking. We love insights from readers. Bettie was superb and delivered the business plan that got me my funding at a fairest price i can ever imagine. Thanks for dropping in. We use a business plan price overview to show how volume requirements, degree of difficulty and objective of the business plan influence the budget needed to write a high-quality plan.
You can check out this overview at https:
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Jul 11, · Obtain appropriate help. If you lack business or financial education, it is never a bad idea to enlist the help of an accountant to assist with the financial analysis portion of the plan. To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business. "This answered many 89%(). A business plan will help guide your decisions as you start your company, will give you an idea of whether the business is viable, and will help you to qualify for loans or attract investors.