Writing a Business Plan
Whether you're writing a business plan for the first time or the fifth time, it doesn't have to be hard. In fact, if you write a lean plan or a one-page pitch…
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Writing a business plan can help you seek investment funding or secure a bank loan, as well as create a roadmap or strategic plan for your company or nonprofit. Whatever your reasons are—writing a business plan is proven to help you grow your business faster. In this video, you'll learn about each section of a business plan and what it should include.
I’ve been quite vocal with my concern that farming your business plan out is usually a bad idea. A business plan is not a one-time task—it’s an ongoing practice. The writing, formatting, and cosmetics of a business plan are nowhere near as important as its contents (though they’re still important); and its contents should change often. Real companies with real business plans review and revise them often.
In general, a standard business plan includes three parts of the sales and marketing section. Those are the market analysis, the marketing plan, and the sales plan. Keep it short and simple—just big enough to cover your actual business need. Keep in mind that you don’t have to prove a market if you are developing a plan for internal use, but you do have to do that and a lot more explaining if your plan is going to be used to support an investment proposal or application for a business loan.
If you’re planning a new business, it’s always fun to dream about where you’re going to be in a few years. But, to be successful, you’ve got to build a profitable business. That means making sure that you’re spending less than you’re making—unless you’ve got a big pile of money from investors. Even if you do have lots of cash on hand from investors, your goal is still to turn a profit eventually. All of this means creating and managing your expense budget.
Many experts recommend introducing your business plan with definitions of the problem that your business solves and the solution your business offers. That’s called “problem and solution,” and it’s quite common and quite useful—but it’s also too often an opportunity wasted. Don’t just describe the problem and solution. Make people care.