“Riches do not come by crossing your fingers and walking through the day hoping. Riches and wealth comes from well-laid plans.”
While we can’t promise riches and wealth, we can tell you how to create a solid plan. A business plan is essential in understanding where your company fits in the market and how you plan on capturing those riches and wealth. Below we will outline the core components of a business plan.
At a Glance:
Market Analysis & Competition
Sales & Marketing Plan
Ownership & Management Plan
Your executive summary is exactly what it sounds like. It is a simple overview of your business, encompassing elements of all of the other sections of your business plan. It should be brief, generally under two pages, and provide an optimistic look at your business. The executive summary should be written last, once you nail down the rest of the details.
The industry overview describes the overall nature of the industry you’re trying to enter. You will describe the size and scope, including trends and demographics. Statistics are really helpful with this section.
Market Analysis and Competition
Next is market analysis and competition, which is really an extension of the industry overview. In this section you will describe your competition and explain advantages that your company has over your competitors. It is important to explain the need for your product that your competitors are not fulfilling.
Sales and Marketing Plan
Your sales and marketing plan explains how you plan to get the word out about your business. This is specific to your business/product. This plan can include general promotion and advertising. You can go the more traditional route with newspaper, television, or radio ads. Additionally, you can take advantage of digital advertising, such as social media ads or email marketing.
Ownership and Management Plan
Next is your ownership and management plan. This basically outlines the legal structure of your business, such as an LLC or a corporation. This also sets ownership percentages if the company has multiple owners. You will also lay out your management team and its structure. In securing funding, you may also need to list the employees needed to run your business and estimate their salaries.
Your operating plan is the nuts and bolts of your business plan. This includes the physical requirements of the business, such as an office or supplies. This can also include staffing necessities and equipment. Again, this depends on the type of business and may not necessarily apply if you are not providing a physical product.
Lastly, is your financial plan. This is especially important when looking for funding. This plan can include projected income statements, cash flow projection, balance sheets, and a breakeven analysis. If this is outside of your ability, make sure to reach out to someone experienced in business finance to help you with this portion of your plan.
The idea of writing a business plan can be daunting. Luckily, there are plenty of great examples to follow! Check out this guide from the Small Business Administration that comes with sample plans.
Your business plan is the foundation of your company. It really is a roadmap that ensures you are thinking through every aspect of your business. Some businesses may need extra sections specific to their industry, but this list should be a great base for any company.
If you have an idea, get started on your plan and turn it into reality!
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