Writing business plans is not as complicated as it may seem. You don't need to be a skilled writer or have a degree. Instead, you can create them easily, as they are pretty simple and straightforward. Now, some of you must be wondering why you need business plans in the first place? The answer is pretty simple as it guides you through each step of starting and running your business. It is a road map that will help you achieve your desired goals. It may also bring a new partner or funding as it is a powerful tool to persuade people to invest in your ideas. Let's discuss how you can create business plans and why it is important for your business if you want to raise funding.
What are business plans?
Business plans are written documents describing how a new business will achieve its goals. It includes its marketing strategies, financial projections, and a detailed description of its operations and management team. A well-written business plan is much more than a static document; it should be updated regularly as your business grows and changes. If you want to present your business concept to potential investors, make it more detailed and thorough.
How long should business plans be for a startup?
There is no one exact answer to this question of how long business plans should be. The list of elements varies depending on the scope of your company and your business goals. However, most of them fall into two categories: a lean startup business and a traditional business template. A lean startup business plan is a single-page document that contains only the most essential company description. It is perfect for businesses just starting and don't have a lot of experience.
A traditional business plan is a more comprehensive document that can be anywhere from 10 to 50 pages long. This type is perfect for businesses that have gained experience in their industry. However, the traditional plan is not in use these days. If you are just starting a company, you can use the lean startup business plan format. Many famous businesses like Google, Amazon, Airbnb, etc., have used lean startup business plans in their development phase. The traditional business document is not suitable for new companies as well. Many free and paid resources are available online that provide a great lean startup business plan format.
What are the five basic elements of a business plan?
To write a proper business plan, you must add the following 5 key elements of lean and traditional business plan format.
- Your Business Description
One of the key elements of your traditional and lean startup business plans is the company description, as it provides a brief overview of your company's history, the number of employees, and your company location(s). Moreover, write a business plan that includes the owner's and founder's information and detail of their roles in the company, as it is essential if you are going to request funding for your business.
- Details about Products and Services
This section of your business document should have the details about the product or service you are offering in your company. In addition, you can list information about features, marketing plans, pricing plans, and benefits in your business plan. Many businesses also prefer to list down their catalogs. You can explore different plans or templates to get the idea.
- Market Analysis
The market analysis is a detailed study of your target market, and it is important for your company's success. You can list the description of your targeted customers and their buying behavior in your business document. In addition, you may include the people to whom you are marketing your product and their statistics to assist them in getting funding. Market analysis is a key feature of any business so do throughout research on market analysis if you plan to compete with them.
It would be best if you wrote a business plan with complete implementation strategies. The implementation section is a detailed explanation of how you are going to achieve your goals for your company's growth. You can list your marketing and sales strategies, along with promotional activities, in this section. Moreover, you need to add the timelines for each activity to make your business plan format more appealing.
- Financial Details
If you are looking forward to funding requests, you need to write a business plan that includes all the financial details. It will help you gain the trust of the potential investors and give them an idea of your money spending plans. Hence you will get the maximum funding. In addition, you can add business tax details, credit reports, financial statements, etc.
These are the five key elements businesses plans should follow. However, you can request your writer to add other sections to make it more comprehensive if needed.
What are the 7 parts of a business plan?
There is no specific rule or format for writing a lean or traditional business template. However, here are the 7 key points to writing business plans:
- Executive Summary
Start by writing an executive summary to introduce your business and its purpose. For example, suppose you are creating it in order to attract capital investment. In that case, you should explain the executive summary and make it convincing enough for the investors that are interested in your project. You should also explain how much investment you need and how you are going to pay your business loans. Moreover, add the achievements your business has so far.
- Company Description
In the company description section, you need to add details of your company. For example, you can add information about your business history, the number of employees, and your company location(s). In addition, you need to explain the financial worth of your company and how the market trends can affect your business. In order to make your plan more convincing, you should add positive and negative information to provide accurate details. Moreover, you should also add if you are a sole proprietor, corporation, LLC, or just a newbie for a comprehensive company profile.
- Market Analysis and Opportunities
Most new companies need to research to understand their target market as it is a key element if you want to impress your investors. Therefore, this section should have details of your target market. Not only that, but you also need to explain the competitive environment to show how your business will be able to survive in the long run. It is also crucial to add demographic details like age, location, and gender. Also, explain data about the buying behavior of your target market. Finally, spend your time on this section to capture the attention of your financial investors or customers.
- Competitive analysis
To survive in today's market, you need to do a complete competitive analysis about what differentiates you from your competitors. Then, you should list your unique selling proposition or USP that makes your business better than others in the market. Also, write a business plan with competitors' names along with their products and services to make it more attractive. Moreover, dig deeper into your direct and indirect competitors' history, their products, and operational costs. This way, you can add ways to compete with them in the long run.
- Execution plan
The execution plan is an essential part of your document because it will determine how you are going to achieve your business goals. Therefore, you should list how you and your team are going to execute what's written in the document. The execution plan should explain who, what, when, where, and how you are going to achieve your goals. This section should also include the details of your management team's qualifications and experience.
- Marketing Strategies
Here comes the most crucial part of any business i-e marketing. You need to include all the information about your product or service and how you will promote it. You should also do market research to understand your target market and their needs. Based on that, you can create strategies and share them with your stakeholders. Add marketing assets, brand messaging, and the timeline to engage your customers across different channels. Marketing SWOT analysis is also essential to add to this section. You can use it to understand the internal and external factors affecting your marketing strategies.
- Financial projections
A financial projection is a part of your company where most of the investors show their interest. They want to know about your business revenue and expenses. So, you should always add a business analysis of your past financial statements and future projections. In addition, you should also add information about your revenue model, pricing strategy, and gross margins. This way, your potential investors can understand your business and its financial strength.
What should a business plan contain?
Your traditional business plan should have all the above-mentioned elements like executive summary, finance details, marketing strategies, etc. Moreover, it should also be well-written, free of grammatical errors, and explain all the crucial details. You can also help from online resources or hire a professional writer to get it done efficiently. Moreover, if you want to request funds from your investors, make it more detailed and to the point.
Whether you are a startup or an established company, a well-written and comprehensive business document is necessary. It can take your business to the whole next level by achieving long-term goals. You should invest your time and energy as it is a key predictor of your company's success. Choose a lean startup business format as it is a better option than a traditional business plan, especially if you are just starting. Furthermore, if you want to request funding, make sure to include all the important elements to get the attention of your potential investors. So, what are you waiting for? Write a business plan to kick-start your company!