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How to Write a Business Plan

Knowing the basics required to write your first business plan.

By Rob ElkingtonPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

Many steps go into creating a new business. The most critical step is sitting down and writing a business plan. Now, this may seem like an insignificant step, especially in comparison to coming up with ideas (and funding), but it would be a mistake to write this step off.

A well-written business plan is effectively a manual for the good times and the bad times. It lays out the business concept, branding requirements, funding options, policies, employee rules, and any other relevant business information. In other words, a business plan will effectively house all vital information about your new business.

With all of this in mind, here are a few tips on how to get your business plan written.

Executive Summary

The first section in any business plan should be the executive summary. This is essentially the mission statement for your business. It should include things such as the products or services your business will provide, employee information, founder information, basic business information (name & location), financial details, and any future goals the company has.

Admittedly, this is a lot. There are reasons to include all of this information upfront. First, it makes the information more accessible for anybody that needs a quick reference. Second, it helps establish a company’s mission right away. This is ideal for companies still looking for investors, as this is the first piece of information they will see.

Company Description

You might be wondering why a company description would follow the executive summary since it feels like much of the relevant information has already been covered. The company description should include even more details, such as the type of business, a detailed description of what the business does (and how it operates), and any market information that has been conducted. In essence, this section will help further flesh out the big picture of your business.

This section should also be used to outline and highlight any company objectives. In other words, the goals of your company. These goals should be crystal clear, with defined results that can be achieved and tracked.

Market Research

Next comes a summary of your market research. This was already lightly touched upon in the executive summary, but now it’s time to go into further detail. Market research should include everything from detailing a target market/audience to information on the competition.

Organization Outline

The organization outline is the part of your business plan where you’ll outline the structure of your business. In other words, what type of corporation it is, who is involved, and their roles within the company. This is also an excellent time to outline how the company will be structured.

Products & Services

Next up, it is time to explain the products and services the company will be providing. Start by laying out the problem these products/services are answering, followed by a brief explanation of how your answer will stand out from the competition. Include relevant details, such as why customers like these options better, the potential cost of supplies/materials, manufacturing time, required employees/experience, etc.

Marketing and Sales

It may seem ambitious to include a marketing and sales plan in the early stages of a business plan, but it is yet another critical step in this process. A marketing strategy should include how you plan to launch the business, market it in the early days, and more extended plans on how the marketing will continue after the company has been established. Remember that it is okay to change this plan, but having something to work with will always be more accessible than the alternative.

Business Finances

Finally, it is critical to include a section on business finances. This should compile all available financial information, such as current liabilities (debt), potential income, cash flow information, etc. It’s also where you will request funding if that is part of the business plan.

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About the Creator

Rob Elkington

Rob Elkington is a business professional and entrepreneur. He is an Assistant Professor at Trent University Faculty of Business and CEO of Global Leadership Initiatives.

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    Rob ElkingtonWritten by Rob Elkington

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