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The Purpose of a Business Plan

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There are many reasons why you should write a business plan, even if you’re not looking for funding. A business plan can help you see clearly what your business looks like and how it is going to operate. It’s also a great way to track your progress and make sure you’re achieving your goals.

Below, you will find some helpful tips to consider as you start crafting your business plan. These strategies will help you build the foundations for a strong business plan, but remember that your business plan should suit your specific needs.  Though they might share a similar structure, a dance studio business plan will almost certainly look different than a gas station business plan. Make sure to keep your business goals in mind as your work through the list. Find a list of the best business plan writers in this Medium article.

10 Tips for Creating a Great Business Plan

  1. Do Your Research – Before you begin writing your business plan, it’s a good idea to do some research. This means understanding the market, identifying your competition and how they operate, and targeting exactly what your potential customers are looking for in a product or service. Doing your homework on these factors, perhaps with the help of online resources like this business newsletter that is ideal for business startups, will help you create a business plan that works well for your specific needs and audience. You’ll also need to know this information when completing key sections of a business plan, such as your marketing and sales plans.
  2. Keep It Simple – A good business plan presents information in an honest, straightforward manner. Creating a business plan that is overly long or uses difficult-to-understand language can turn away your audience and lead you to miss out on good opportunities for your business.
  3. Include an Executive Summary – The executive summary may just look like an introduction to the rest of your business plan, but it’s actually one of the most important sections. Think of the executive summary as a first impression and your chance to catch a reader’s attention. Make sure to include an overview of your business, including your mission statement, products or services, and target market.
  4. Know Your Financials – Another important factor to understand before you begin writing your business plan is your current financial situation and what you will need to start your new business. Make sure to include a realistic assessment of your startup costs, operating expenses, and revenue projections.
  5. Create a Marketing Plan – You can begin forming your marketing plan during your initial research. Identifying your target market and explaining exactly how you plan to reach it is one of the most important components of an effective marketing plan. Be sure to include everything you plan to do while promoting your new business, from email marketing and social media ads to in-person events and printed materials. Don’t forget to consider costs when putting together your marketing plan and be realistic about what you will be able to spend.
  6. Describe Your Business Model – A key part of any business plan is describing how your business will work. This includes things like your business structure, pricing strategy, and distribution channels. Put simply, your business model should explain how your new business will operate and make money.
  7. Outline Your Team – Outlining your team has several benefits. One is that it will help you identify the roles and responsibilities of each team member needed for your new business to operate. Another is that it will let readers interested in financing your new venture know that you not only have a great idea, but also the team to back it up. If you already have a solid team in place, be sure to include their qualifications and any background information that might help sway investors.
  8. Explain Your Product or Service – This part of your business plan will explain the products and/or services you plan on offering. Be sure to include your research on the target market for those items and details on exactly what makes your offerings unique from the competition.
  9. Include a SWOT Analysis – A SWOT analysis is a vital part of any business plan. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Understanding all of these factors can help you identify where your business lands among the competition and the obstacles you need to overcome to be successful.
  10. Get Feedback – Before you finalize your business plan, it’s important to get feedback from others. This can include friends, family, mentors, and potential investors. Getting input from others will help you create a stronger, more well-rounded plan.

Creating a business plan that accomplishes all of your goals may seem like a challenge, but you may find that you already know a lot of this information and just need to put it down in words. Just keep these tips in mind as your start writing and don’t be afraid to seek out advice and other resources to help you along the way.