The Step by Step Guide for Writing a Business Plan

The Step by Step Guide for Writing a Business Plan

A business plan decides the future of a business. It's working, profit, features, everything is provided in a business plan. But there is no universally accepted template of a business plan - it tends to differ from company to company, owner to owner, product to product, and service to service.

Steps in writing a business plan are very very important, which is why you need to learn how to write a business plan step by step. No matter what the format of the document is, certain sections and components just can’t be missed out, which is why everyone must know how to write up a business plan. Since many people don't know how to write a business plan.

This write-up is going to present the important points of an ultimate business plan in parts of Essential sections, business planning tips, and general tips.

Essential Sections Of A Business Plan
Sales And Marketing Figure
Operating Strategy
Executive Summary
Target Market Analysis
Product Or Service In Question
Management And Advisory Committee
Financial Summary
Future Requirements
Competitive Analysis
Some Tips And Business Plan Suggestions
Avoid These Mistakes While Drafting a Business Plan

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Essential Sections of a Business Plan

How to start a business plan? The first step to write a business plan is portraying it's Motto and Vision. Quite catchy slides or print-ups with interesting quotes and catchy vocabulary doesn't make it an excellent business plan. Remember, the vision and mission are two important factors of an excellent business plan section, you can also check some samples of a business plan to get an idea of it and come up with your own.

One of the top business plan tips is writing a simple one-liner that exudes the vision of one’s venture, creating a formidable impression on potential investors instead of long descriptive write-ups with no mention of the vision and the motto of business.

Sales and Marketing Figure

As the sharks on "Shark Tanks" say let's talk about numbers because business is all about numbers, isn't it? So this section is an insight into the true potential of the business. It highlights the existing funds raised, predicted sales over the financial year, marketing costs, and ROI, etc, and is an important part of any small business plan.

The key point of writing a business plan is not to exaggerate or bluff data in any way. The tip for writing a good business plan is providing data about the real sales of the business and giving a pictorial representation such as charts and graphs to elucidate the intended message. It's better than creating a large table, spanning over several slides or pages. You can also check the best business plan template to understand how it can be written.

Also, give an estimate of the turnover that the business is planning to make in the upcoming year. This will eventually make the investor ponder about the investment portfolio. These are the main things to remember if you don't know how to write a business proposal.

sales and marketing go hand in hand
Sales and Marketing go hand in hand

Operating Strategy

The major purpose and hassle of creating a business plan is to decide the operating strategy of how the entire business will operate as this is the part of writing a great business plan. Every good business plan will describe the process flow in terms of how the entire business would operate and endeavor. After all, any execution method is best understood when one is aware of its algorithm, in other words how the execution process takes place, because that is what is the bottom line of all the hard work.

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Executive Summary

Many people don't know how to write a business plan executive summary. The ultimate business plan is usually confined to a page or two, the executive summary ought to paint the entire picture without going into further details. The value proposition is an essential component of this summary and shouldn’t be skipped.

It’s advised to write the executive summary after drafting the entire business plan because by picking important ideas from other sections of the document, a concise crux can be formulated. You can follow many guides to writing a business plan or check for a free business plan template to make sure you haven't missed anything.

Target Market Analysis

A no-brainer would be aiming to sell the product or service to everyone out there without any research and analysis which is why writing a business plan is important. This is the main part of how to write a business plan. A niche item would attract only a particular segment of the customers. When you write up a business plan it is necessary to let whoever is reviewing the business plan to figure out the audience that the venture is targeting.

Product or Service in Question

Imagine you are on a flight and don't know the destination of it, will it make any sense? No of course, right? Likewise, without specifying the product and its specifications that the business intends to disseminate, it makes the entire document meaningless. Among all the steps to write a business plan, it is an important step to add specifications of the product.

Are you going to explain a chemistry experiment without specifying the substances and compounds involved? A startup business plan will always have a list of product dimensions, working, identified flaws and workarounds, usage, demand in the market, etc. A description should be mentally stimulating so that the customer can envision the entire thing before owning it.

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Management and Advisory Committee

The business plan must include a section that consists of a short profile of each member involved in the startup/company. This is the top business plan tip as it provides a parameter to evaluate the credibility of the business from the eyes of a VC or Angel Investor. It is the main part of how to do a business plan. The reasoning is clear—the ethics, personality, and various other attributes of the founder and his team are reflected in the final product.

This may seem absurd to some but pondering over it does ring a bell as it is setting up a business plan. Also, if the business is being mentored by some kind of advisory committee, it is a testament to the fact that the business can turn profitable otherwise experienced individuals would have stayed away from guiding such a venture and that is why it is an important part of business plans for any startups.

Financial Summary

Not to be confused with the sales figure section, the financial summary resembles a probable balance sheet and this is one of the top business planning tips. Revenue projections give an idea of the rewards you expect for the efforts you put in running the business because the numbers on the plan will surely speak your company's story to the presenters because as mentioned earlier, numbers play all the game in business. A financial summary is part of a good business plan.

Future Requirements

One reason which makes a businessman work hard is the growth of its business in the future and a sample of the business plan must have this. Even if it is a small business plan, it must have future requirements as the future needs are going to vary when compared to the current ones.

For example, if the investment required at present is a six-digit figure, it may become an eight-digit one to sustain the business as time progresses. However, justification of the predicted requirements ought to be mentioned to make sense. You can check free business plan templates to see how this can be listed out.

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Competitive Analysis

While writing a business plan you don’t want to create a rip-off. The idea is to be unique with one or more unique selling points to stand out from rivals in the same segment. This is among the important steps to write a business plan, an analysis with existing products with nearly the same functionality helps to bring out the USP and also gives you the scale to make your product better than the competitors. Any guide to writing a business plan will have a competitive analysis in it.

Guide to Writing A Business Plan

Some Tips and Business Plan Suggestions

  • Don’t make the business plan boring by leaving out graphics. Not losing the listener or reader’s attention determines the outcome is one of the best tips for writing a business plan.
  • The best business plans include an appendix to make traversing across the document easily.
  • Executive summary in the beginning or at the end won’t make much of a difference as long as the entire plan is cohesive and is part of a good business plan.
  • There are various types of business plans, you can figure out want you want by looking for the best business plan template. Research about them before choosing a free business plan template.
  • Don’t read it out like a textbook when presenting the plan somewhere. It is one of the main steps in writing a business plan and you should know the key points and themes to sound convincing.
  • Every startup business plan details the strengths and weaknesses of the business, and how you are going to seize the opportunity if provided.
  • One of the other business planning tips is using the same indentation and formatting throughout the document. The sudden transition from a times new roman 16 to comic sans 24 can be disturbing and agonizing.
  • While writing up a business plan, make it a story-based interactive session because no one likes to listen to lectures where you are not allowed to interact. The more people are going to interact, the more they will indulge in your business plan.
  • The most important tip while writing a business plan, be the master of the plan that you have created to monitor your business. Go through each point thoroughly, make sure you are aware of all the numbers, all the future expectations, and anticipations, growth, etc. Make sure you are satisfied with the small business plan you have created.

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Avoid these Mistakes while drafting a Business Plan

Drafting a business plan requires intense focus and integrity as it forms the backbone of the entire business. Many people get confused about how to write a business proposal. Remember that when you are writing a business plan it should outline both the present and future strategy of the business, elucidate necessary points, facts, and stats around which it revolves.

Simply put, it can make or break everything at stake. You can check out the best business plan template to avoid making these mistakes. Here is a list of dont's that should be kept in mind while creating your ultimate business plan:-

Worn out Phrases

Phrases like 'disruptive' and game-changing are over-used and stale; avoid using them in the draft. These words may show what the business is but evade its idea in an actual sense. Avoiding worn-out phrases is a part of the steps to writing a good business plan.

The plan here is to make the readers/clients/investors resonate with the business plan and convey the right message when propagated to others. Moreover, cliched expressions make you sound over-ambitious and over-confident in nature and is not good for a good business plan. It might be the greatest plan on the planet but claims that are beyond your capabilities are a bummer.

Don’t use the word ‘DONE’ to Describe your Business

The theory behind the working of a business plan is that it keeps on going forever; business is a cycle of implement-improve-repeat. Using ‘done’ may put an end to your aspirations outlined in the business plan. If you want an ultimate business plan process then you should PLAN-RUN-REVIEW-REVISE when repeated takes the business to the next level.

This is why when you are writing a great business plan, using the words finished and done makes the plan one-dimensional and less prone to getting success. Always keep it open-ended in nature and sound optimistic throughout the draft and follow all steps in writing a business plan.

Never Calculate the Sales from a Big Market

At the same time, don’t consider the segment you’re targeting as a small percentage of a large market. Forecast the details like stores, distributors, users, subscribers, click and emails, etc. Keep everything upwards, not downwards in business plans for startups.

Avoid Extreme and Unsupported Optimism

Not involving the risk factors involved can be a deranged factor for the company's future if the words mentioned in the business plan take twice as long to make half as much as forecast.

Don't Fill The Business Plan With The Product’s Or Service’s Technical Specification Or Characteristics. Keep it at a minimum. Emphasize more on questions like:

  • What problem are you going to solve for the client?
  • How are you going to solve the problem?
  • What is the product’s value proposition?

Outline the answers to these questions in your business plan. Be careful about what you put in the business plan because it’s your business canvas while setting up a business plan. Deliberate thoroughly, ponder all possibilities and points, don’t make wild claims, stick to the facts, and finally avoid the mistakes explained above!

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What is the most important part of a business plan?

The executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, and perhaps the only one that will get read, so make it perfect! The executive summary has only one objective: get the investor to read the rest of your business plan.

What is in a good business plan?

A company often needs a business plan before it can borrow money from a bank. Good plans are usually highly detailed and include information on all aspects of the business, including the industry, marketing, personnel, finance, and various operating procedures.

What are the 4 types of business plans?

Business plans can be divided roughly into four distinct types:

  • Short plans, or mini-plans
  • Presentation plans or decks
  • Working plans
  • What-if plans

What are the steps to writing a business plan?

Business plan Steps:

  • The executive summary.
  • Who are your customers?
  • Evaluate the target audience.
  • What are your opportunities?
  • Understand the competition.
  • Build a simple financial plan.
  • Include an outline marketing plan.
  • Plan your operations.

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