The first time you write a business plan, you might have a lot of questions about what needs to be on it and what you can leave out. In truth, the answer to that depends on why you are writing it and what you plan on getting from it. If you are writing it to try to obtain funding, it will need to be a lot more detailed than if you are just writing it for yourself as a reference. None the less, I think that a business plan is a vital tool for anyone looking to get into or grow their business. Today, we’re going to go into just how to write one from what it would include to best tips when getting down to business.
What are the basic parts of a business plan?
Organization and Management Team
Products and Services
Marketing & Sales
Strategy and Implementation
Financial Plan and Projections
How to write a business plan:
Gather your information
The first step in writing a business plan is to gather all the information you think you will need. This can be the most time-intensive part of writing a business plan, especially if you are looking to get funding as you will have to get detailed information on your market and competition. What you want to take care of here is to make sure your data is of good quality. If you can get graphs and high-quality sources it will look much better.
Even if you are just writing this for your own personal use, this is still a great way to be better prepared to enter the market when you open or grow your business. In the instance that you have already started your business, this is where you want to get good financial overviews for the years of your company performance, maybe 5 years worth as well as everything else. These can be projections for those just getting started. After gathering your information, it’s time to start writing it all out.
Create the outline
The next major step in creating a business plan is to write your outline. Above we’ve already given the basic parts of a business plan. Now you need to get them all onto a paper with a bullet point outline of what will go in each section. This is a great way to make sure you have everything you need. It can also help in breaking down the work and keeping you on track. In the past, I’ve found that creating an outline for the business plan is much easier than just trying to write it out right off the get-go. Also, be sure to include points on where graphs should go and what more you need to look for. After that, it’s time to take each section bullet by bullet to create your rough draft.
Fill it in
The next step is to actually write in all the details. With all the research you have done by now combined with the outline and bullet points you have created you should just need time to get in all the details. Be sure to get as detailed as will be needed to convey your points to your audience. If you are looking for funding, this is the time to show that you really know what you are looking for. You will need to show that you have done your research through sources and links (yes, just like in college and high school.) However, you want to keep it as short as you can. No one wants to read pages of research, they want the facts as simple and short as they can get.
Add in graphics & review
Finally, you have everything written. You should still be left with a few places where you will need graphics and this is the time to add them. If you can custom make them, I think that would be best. It created a themed look to your business plan and makes it look like you really put in the extra work. A great tool I use for quick work in Canva. You can create a color pallet and use it for everything, making it all look the same and professional.
Lastly, you will need to check everything. At least ten times. Maybe more if you plan on getting money from it. It can be great to run it past friends who know nothing about your business as well as friends who have great grammar. If you still aren’t sure, you can hire someone like myself who has experience in both editing and writing business plans. There is also a chance that this person can help you find money and investors if you don’t know-how.
Writing a business plan takes time and a lot of work. You need to conduct all the market research and research on your competition and industry. Next, you have to outline the paper and fill all the sections. After that, you have to add in graphics and review the whole thing for grammar, voice, and theme. After all of that, you have to put it into use.
That said, while it may be hard, it’s worth it. In the end, you will have a document that you can use to find investors as well as a document that can help you keep yourself on track for your goals and dreams. It should help you see where you are in the industry and even if it’s a business worth going into. Remember, if you need help, I’m always here to edit or write with or for you.