Having a well-thought-out business plan is an essential step for any business owner. However, many new business owners aren’t sure what they should include in their plan, or when to create it. Below we discuss the key items every business plan should have, and why you need one.
A business plan helps you to think through all the details needed to run a business. Business plans can also help you to secure funding from an investor or financial institution. Furthermore, a business plan helps you to set business goals.
To ensure your business plan is well set up, ensure it includes these key items;
This is a one-page summary of your entire business plan. Typically used as the opening page, you create this once you have finished the entire plan. It should allow investors or readers to understand the general idea of the whole business plan.
This is an overview of your business. It should include several sub-sections such as whether you are operating as an LLC, Sole Proprietor, or Corporation along with the type of business model. You should also include details about your management team, business strategy, growth objectives, and any background details about the business.
This is where you can include your business's value proposition and mission statement.
The market analysis section should include details about the estimated market size, your business target markets, and any competitive advantages. Conduct a competitive analysis of your industry to address competitors' weaknesses and strengths and how you plan to combat these.
Include details of what you plan to sell, and what the important features of your products or services are. Include any plans for intellectual property, including patent filings, and copyright documents. Any market research around product lines or services should also be in this section.
Showing how you intend to market your business and products is crucial. Make sure that you include any strategic decisions you have made around pricing and packaging. The marketing plan should also include potential customer demographics, your sales plan, sales metrics, predicted sales, and goal milestones.
This section includes everything necessary to get your products to your store, and then to your customers. Include details about suppliers, storage options, and freight. You may also consider outsourcing to a logistics provider if you do not have the space available.
Your financial projections are a key item in your business plan. Include an income statement, balance sheet, and cash-flow statement. If you are looking to obtain funding or a loan, you should also include the details about this as well. For example, how much funding you need, the payment term, and what it will be used for.
Taking the time to write a proper business plan can help your business to succeed. Ensure that you include the key items above in your business plan and take your time putting it together. Clarifying goals, finances, and product options can also help you create actionable steps as you launch your business. Remember to review your business plan regularly and update it as you need to.