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How To Create A Business Plan

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Business Plan Writing

Congratulations on venturing out to start your own business. Now it's important you keep the momentum going by drafting a business plan. Creating a business plan is one of the first  things you do to set a path for your business. Quite honestly, most new business owners aren't motivated to create one, or don't know how to write a business plan.

 

The average first timer have a specific goal in mind; create a useful service to make money. There's nothing wrong with that, but for all intents and purposes, to accomplish your business service or financial goal, you need a solid plan. For beginner's sake, let's get started by outlining  how to create a business plan. For those who want to dig deeper, I give more details in my other post on business plan etiquette to wow investors.

 

How to Create a Great Business Plan

 

Basic format of  the business plan includes - Step by step sections with your business marketing strategy being the most significant aspect. If you're looking for basic business plan templates to get started, there are several good ones available for free download online. A quick search will yield  relevant results, but we'll take you through the steps to create your own starting with the six sections.
 

1. Mission and vision
2. Business description
3. Marketing strategies
4. Analyze your Competition
5. Who will manage the business
6. Plans for seed money or capital investment

Mission and Vision - Give a precise description of the entire business and all activities since its inception. This section must be compelling enough to capture the readers attention within the first minute of reading it, otherwise chances are they won't bother reading the rest.

 

Business Description - Describe your target industry and related markets. You should describe the level of need and demand for your particular business in those markets, and any advantages or disadvantages to your business in those markets. Make sure to provide only factual information and realistic expectations of what your business might accomplish in all target markets of a particular industry.

 

Marketing Strategies - Define specifics of your market and demonstrate how you will promote your business product or service within that market. List specific methods you will use such as direct mail, search engine marketing, list building, and other effective marketing strategies.

 

Analyze your Competition - Identify the main competitors in your niche.  Breakdown their major strengths and weaknesses, and business advantages or disadvantages.

 

Who will manage business operations - Describe who will manage different aspects of the business and how authority they will hold. Management breakdown is critical if outside investors are a consideration for the business.

 

Plans for seed money or capital investment - Show how the business as a whole will be funded or financed. Examples include bootstrapping (out of pocket funding), angel investment, financial firm startup capital (small business loan), or any other means of business funding.

 

Reasons Many New Business Owners Refuse a Business Plan

 

Many new business owners choose not to draft a business plan because they don't intend to attract outside investment capital. Some are also confident they have their business strategy mapped out mentally, but a business plan is not just to impress investors. It's useful as a roadmap for your startup business.  It doesn't have to be perfect,  it simply functions as a flexible blueprint for your startup. It illustrates your goals and strategies for getting from point A to point B to market and grow your startup. Your business plan is not written in stone, you can amend and revise it as many times as you want.

 

Specific Reasons for updating or revising it generally include:

 

  • A necessary change in marketing tactics
  • You might acquire new investors who suggest changes.
  • Your business service might have evolved over time.
  • Your target demographic might increase, decrease, or change completely.
  • You have a change of heart about your business goals.

 

The first step towards any business is a perfect business plan that you can follow and move on step by step. And marketing is the most important thing in this plan as it is important to promote your business.

 

There's no pressure to create a business plan, but it's a good rule to have one. Even a descriptive paragraph about your business on a napkin could serve as a plan, that's how mega-social networking  giant Twitter started. There's no perfect business plan, only an amendable one that states the facts and intentions of your business.

A solid business plan is a lot to brag about. You'll attract the best employees and top notch investors. Here's how to create that killer business plan every small business owner craves.

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Blog posted from New York, NY, USA View larger map
My business goal is to offer simple to understand business advice and develop useful business tools for curious Erookie visitors.

Comments

  • Guest
    DarlaPie Monday, 23 May 2011

    Thanks for the good post Priya. I'm one of those that have a business but still don't have a good business plan. I've been wondering for a while whether I really needed one but I guess it really doesn't hurt to have it just in case business takes off big one day.

  • Guest
    Roger-B Monday, 23 May 2011

    Sometimes you don't even need to follow the official business plan templates. I know some guys who have some pretty successful businesses in technology and finance and they do everything with just ideas and plans written down in personal books or lose papers they carry everywhere. I personally wouldn't do it that way because it seems easy to get lost but I guess they have it down pack where it works for them.

  • Guest
    sebastianrex Monday, 23 May 2011

    The best business plans are the ones you rarely have to change, because that generally means your business model and products and service must be pretty good. I've seen people who've revised their business plan at least a million times and still struggle to make a profit with their small business. If an idea is good and executed well to the appropriate niche, it's bound to make money.

  • Guest
    MsRios Tuesday, 24 May 2011

    Great business advice and breakdown of the business plan Priya. I had just launched my own local business two months ago in Connecticut. I'm running a custom evening and formal gown store and my biggest competitors are currently outselling me. I do pretty well but would definitely like to do better, possibly branch out online and ship items sold across country. I'm not complaining because my dresses are selling but I think I'll revise my old business plan because I the branching out option is high on my list and I might need some external investment money to do it.

  • Guest
    Julius Friday, 15 July 2011

    I actually must say my best laid business plan isn't saved on paper but right in my head. Now most people can't do this but It's something that I just seem to be able to do. I don't think everyone needs a business plan, just those who intend to take their company to the next level of bringing on investors, especially if you run a corporation.

  • Guest
    MishaLevie Sunday, 17 July 2011

    I've used the software business in a box to create my business plan, but it was generally really long and I decided to shorten it a little. Your business plan doesn't have to be long and neverending, simply state the purpose of your business, how you'll market it, define your competition, and describe how you'll execute duties to generate revenue. SOme people make it way more complicated than it should be

  • Guest
    sarah A Saturday, 23 July 2011

    My business plan was ridiculously long and detailed and I cut it down to the core information listed here, showed it to an investor and he immediately loved it. I'm sure this was just the pudding on the cake though as he had already thought my business idea was pretty solid. I just needed the funds to start building and marketing it into a working service. So far so good.

  • Guest
    Lisa Castro Monday, 25 July 2011

    I've had my business plan for a good three years now and have barely changed it. Been approached by more than one investor about funding my business but so far I've refused. I'm doing well, and when the time is right for me, Maybe I'll consider bringing on the investors. Besides I'd have to switch my LLC to a corporation first and that's definitely not in the business plan.

  • Guest
    Renaissance Monday, 25 July 2011

    A business plan is only as good as the growth potential of the company it was created for. If investors aren't really sold on the potential of the company to make money they won't even bother, no matter how well the business plan is written.

  • Guest
    Kathryn Sias Friday, 29 July 2011

    A business plan is super important. Trust me! From someone who has worked without a business plan and failed, to someone who has worked WITH A business plan and succeeded. Thanks for your blog.

  • Guest
    Priya Nembhard Friday, 29 July 2011

    @Kathryn Sias, Thank you so much and I'm very glad you found this information helpful. I'm also wishing you many successes in your business at oAssist LLC. I look forward to staying in touch through social media and other online business networking mediums :-)

  • Guest
    Sylvia Thursday, 12 July 2012

    Having your "business plan" in hour head or jotting down ideas in a note pad might work for some, but if you need to request funding you have to have a traditional business plan. Using the SBA preferred format is still a necessity. Simple one page plans or a few PowerPoint slides might be ok for an initial conversation with an Angel investor. But if you need to apply for a bank loan a formal written business plan is a must.

  • IMESHA
    IMESHA Friday, 22 March 2013

    HELP, IM JUST TRYING TO MAKE SOME EXTRA MONEY ON THE SIDE. I WOULD LOVE TO SELL HAIR ONLINE THAN MAYBE OPEN A STORE, BUT IM CLUELESS.

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