Millions of people want to know the secret to making money. Most have concluded that it is about starting a business. So how do you start a business? The first thing you need to do to start a business is create a business plan.
A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed to be achievable, and the plan to achieve those goals. It can also contain background information about the organization or team trying to achieve those goals.
A professional business plan has ten parts.
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary is often considered the most important section of a business plan. This section briefly tells your reader where your business is, where you want to take it, and why your business idea will be successful. If you are looking for financing, the executive summary is also your first opportunity to capture the interest of a potential investor.
2. Description of the company
This section of your plan provides a high-level review of the different elements of your business. This is similar to an extended elevator pitch and can help potential readers and investors quickly understand your business purpose and unique proposition.
3. Market analysis
The market analysis section of your plan should illustrate your industry and market knowledge, as well as any of your research findings and conclusions. This section usually follows the business description.
4. Organization and management
The Organization and Management follows the Market Analysis. This section should include: the organizational structure of your company, details about your company ownership, the profiles of your management team, and the qualifications of your board of directors.
5. Service or product line
Once you have completed the Organization and Administration section of your plan, the next part of your plan is where you describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits for current and potential customers. Focus on why your particular product will meet a need of your target customers.
6. Marketing and sales
Once you’ve completed the Service or Product Line section of your plan, the next part of your plan should focus on your sales and marketing management strategy for your business.
7. Request for financing
If you are seeking financing for your business venture, use this section to describe your requirements.
8. Financial projections
You should develop the Financial Projections section after you have analyzed the market and set clear goals. That’s when you can efficiently allocate resources. The following is a list of critical financial statements to include in your business plan package.
9. Marketing and sales
Once you’ve completed the Service or Product Line section of your plan, the next part of your business plan should focus on your sales and marketing management strategy for your business.
The Appendix should be provided to readers as needed. In other words, it should not be included in the main body of your business plan. Your plan is your communication tool; as such, it will be seen by many people. You don’t want everyone to see some of the information in the business section, but certain people (such as creditors) may want to access this information to make loan decisions. Therefore, it is important to have the appendix within easy reach.
How to make your business plan stand out.
One of the first steps in business planning is determining your target market and why they would want to buy from you.
For example, is the market you serve the best for your product or service? Are the benefits of dealing with your business clear and aligned with the customer’s needs? If you are unsure of the answers to any of these questions, take a step back and review the foundation of your business plan.
The following tips can help you clarify what your business has to offer, identify the right target market for it, and create a niche for yourself.