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The executive summary is an overview of the key points contained in your business plan and is often considered the most important section. It is usually the first section that a potential investor or lender will read, and may be the only section to be read if it is not prepared properly. This important summary should:. You will want to describe your business concept, competitive advantage, legal structure e. This section should briefly but clearly describe what your business is all about.

This segment should include the following elements. Describe the activities you will use to promote and sell your product or service. You should touch on each of the "four Ps" of the marketing mix:. Your marketing strategy should also include information about your budget — how much money have you budgeted for marketing and sales costs?

You may also want to include a profile of your "ideal customers". You can create profiles based on customer type — consumers, retailers, or wholesalers — or base your segments on demographic information such as age, location, and income level.

Keep in mind that solid market research is the backbone of an effective marketing strategy. Your business plan should outline your current operational requirements as well as your projected requirements for the next 3 to 5 years. Your inventory management and accounting systems should have the ability to produce up-to-date reports. Conducting a SWOT analysis is an important part of business planning.

A properly prepared SWOT analysis shows investors that you have realistically and objectively considered these elements. Banks and other lenders understand that businesses will encounter difficulties at some point, and want to know how you will deal with these challenges.

Remember that overestimating strengths and opportunities or ignoring potential problems will undermine your credibility. This section addresses how you plan to manage your employees and human resources processes.

You should also discuss your short-term and long-term plans for employee recruitment, training, and retention. The business plan outlines in specific terms the financial objectives of your business, and how it will position itself to achieve those goals in the context of the current market environment.

In addition, the business plan is an indispensable tool to attract business capital. This article will outline how to create one step-by-step. To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business.

Follow that with a company description that explains your business in more detail. Finally, conclude your business plan with a section on your marketing strategy and also a funding request for potential investors.

Lewis on January 26, Determine the type of business plan you will use. While all business plans share the common objective of describing a businesses purpose and structure, analyzing the marketplace, and creating cash flow projections, the types of plans differ. There are three major kinds. This is a shorter plan likely 10 pages or less , and is useful for determining potential interest in your business, further exploring a concept, or starting point to a full plan. This is a great starting point.

This can be considered the full version of the miniplan, and its main purpose is to outline, without emphasis on appearance, precisely how to build and operate the business. This is the plan that the business owner would refer to regularly as the business moves towards its objectives. The presentation plan is meant for individuals other than those owning and operating the business. This could include potential investors or bankers. It is essentially the working plan, but with an emphasis on sleek, marketable presentation, and proper business language and terminology.

Whereas the working plan is made for reference by the owner, the presentation needs to be written with investors, bankers, and the public in mind. Understand the basic structure of the business plan. Whether you opt for a miniplan, or a comprehensive working plan to start, it is essential to understand the basic elements of a business plan. The business concept is the first broad element of a business plan. The focus here is on the description of your business, its market, its products, and its organizational structure and management.

The market analysis is the second major element of a business plan. Your business will operate within a particular marketplace, and it is important to understand customer demographics, preferences, needs, buying behavior, as well as the competition.

The financial analysis is the third component of the business plan. If your business is new, this will include projected cash flows, capital expenditures, and the balance sheet. It will also include forecasts as to when the business will break-even.

If you lack business or financial education, it is never a bad idea to enlist the help of an accountant to assist with the financial analysis portion of the plan. The above sections are the broad components of the business plan. These sections in turn break down into the following seven sections, which we will, in order, focus on writing next: Company description, market analysis, organization structure and management, products and services, marketing and sales, and request for funding.

Format your document correctly. Format section titles in Roman Numeral order. Write your company description as the first section. To do this, describe your business and identify the marketplace needs for your product or service. Briefly describe your key customers and how you intend to succeed.

Write your market analysis. The purpose of this section is explore and demonstrate knowledge of the market your business is operating within. You should be able to answer questions like, who is your target market? What are their needs and preferences? How old are they, and where are they located? Make sure to include a competitive analysis that provides research and information on immediate competitors. List your main competitors strengths and weaknesses and the potential impact on your business.

This section of the business plan focuses on key personnel. Include details about the business owners and its management team. If the owners and managers and have extensive backgrounds in the industry or a track record of success, highlight it.

If you have an organizational chart, include it. Describe your product or service. What are you selling? How will customers benefit? How is it better than your competitors products or services? Do you currently have or anticipate developing a prototype, or filing for a patent or copyright?

Note all planned activities. For example, if you are writing a plan for a coffee shop, you would include a detailed menu that would outline all your products. Before writing the menu, you would include a short summary indicating why your particular menu sets your business apart from others. Our wide variety will be a key competitive advantage as we can provide a diversity of product offerings that our main competitors are currently not offering".

Write your marketing and sales strategy. In this section, explain how you intend to penetrate the market, manage growth, communicate with customers, and distribute your products or services. Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above?

Make a funding request. If you will use your business plan to secure funding, include a funding request. Explain how much money you need to start and maintain your small business. Provide an itemized summary of how start-up capital will be used. Give a timeline for your funding request. To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional. For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements. Each year after that, yearly statements.

These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan. Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows. Write the executive summary. Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan. Remember to place this section at the beginning of your document.

When was the business first conceptualized? What are some notable growth benchmarks? Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans.


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Okay, you're on board and ready to write a business plan. The good news: You're on the right track. The bad news: This is where you may start to feel stressed, overwhelmed and completely out of your league. Take a deep breath. This business plan shortcut is the perfect place to start. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan. Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

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Jan 30,  · Your plan will provide the roadmap to achieve the success you want. The question shouldn’t be IF you write your plan, but how to write a business plan that will take your company where you want to go. Your business plan is essentially your answers to a comprehensive list of questions. Jul 11,  · To write a business plan for a small business, start by writing an executive summary that briefly outlines your business. Follow that with a company description that explains your business in 89%().