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Create a business plan

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You've been dreaming of starting your own business. You've started with some concrete steps, and you're ready to put your proposal together. But how do you start, and how do you know when you have the right information?

How to get it done

Create a business plan with templates in Word:

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Start with a template

Download these templates from the Office Templates site to create your plan:

Fill in your Business plan .

Analyze your market with the Business market analysis template .

Detail your financials in a Financial plan .

Divide up the work and track deliverables with this Business plan checklist .

Wrap up with this Business startup checklist .

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Learn how to:

Start a document from a template .

Apply themes to change your plan's look.

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How to create a business plan: a step-by-step guide.

business plan for creating

From entrepreneurs with the seed of a great idea to established companies, every business needs a business plan.

But what is a business plan exactly? Is it worth the time and effort to write one?

Let’s take a look at why your organization needs this business roadmap and how it can set you up for long-term success.

What Is a Business Plan?

The easy answer, of course, is right there in the name—it’s a plan for your business. It serves as a guide for how you manage your organization.

Considered a basic business principle for startups, business plans are helpful for all kinds of companies.

For example, a plan for a startup might be a simple one or two-page document, sometimes referred to as a lean plan. It lays out only the essential information, immediate milestones the firm wants to reach and how to secure funding to meet those goals.

For a larger or established company, the plan might be more comprehensive in a traditional format . It typically includes areas such as financial data, a marketing overview and future plans for each department in the organization.

In either case, the intent is to provide a map for your business. You want to answer questions like how the business works, what your goals are and how your team will reach them.

Business plans can be internal or external, meaning it is used as a guide to get your team on the same page or an overview for those with whom you do business or to pitch to those who want to invest in your ideas.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

As with the plan itself, the need and purpose for one vary between businesses.

Let’s take a look at two scenarios, involving ownership of rental property.

1. Growing Business

Imagine you own and rent a handful of condominium properties. You have plans to acquire more and turn it from a hobby to a full-time pursuit. This means a lot is going on in the early stages of your organization’s development. A business plan breaks down the moving pieces into more manageable portions.

For your growing real estate portfolio, those pieces include acquisition and capital improvement costs. Also important are income projections and growth or financial benchmarks. Plus, many tasks exist with finding a property, securing loans and closing deals.

One of the central uses of most startup business plans is for raising investment funds . A business plan conveys what the new company needs and convinces others to help fund its growth. For banks, lenders or investors, the business plan shows them the who, what and how of the business operations. Then it communicates why the new business is a solid investment.

2. Established Firm

A second scenario involves an already established real estate firm. You own several different types of properties and rent and manage them with an in-house team.

A business plan for an existing company takes on a much different purpose than for the startup.

Even if profitable, your company still needs a pathway to future growth. You need strategies for responding to a changing market or tracking current projects. You also want to establish goals or metrics to define your success.

An established owner might use a business plan to determine what it takes to move into a new market. You might tweak that same plan in response to new competition entering the market.

For firms currently on solid footing, the business plan helps assess where they stand. It can then detail their next steps for achieving further success and how to accomplish more, faster.

Updating Your Plan

After writing a plan, one of the key questions becomes how often do you update it. The answer is—it depends.

There are times when you might need a “one-off” version. For instance, those that are provided to a specific shareholder or future partner.

In other cases, you may develop a plan for the fiscal year 2020. Then that plan will serve as the basis for your 2021 plan, then the 2022 plan and so on.

You should approach your plan as a living, breathing document. Create a master business plan, one kept up to date based on your company’s activity. You can then tailor that plan to a specific request or need without having to recreate it from scratch.

Elements of a Business Plan

Contrary to popular belief, business plans don’t need to be thousand-page documents. The critical factor is that they meet the needs of your business.

Business plans themselves come in various forms. As we noted, startups might use a one-page document to ask for initial funding. A legacy company might use a 10-page analysis to showcase its financial health.

Both could even be for the same audience , such as a financial institution. Or it could be used for customers or suppliers. Whoever it’s directed toward, the narrative of the plan serves the company that is creating it.

Despite a difference in style or purpose, every business plan includes a handful of central elements.

View these as your jumping-off point when writing the first draft of your plan. Hone in on the information that’s important to your organization to create a plan that reflects your company’s needs.

Executive Summary

The one universal aspect for every plan is the inclusion of an executive summary . This is your plan’s introduction to the reader, so be sure it’s well-constructed.

The key to your executive summary is providing meaningful, relevant information in a brief description. Your main points should cover:

To stand out, allow your introduction to mirror your firm’s culture and voice. If you produce and sell skateboards, let your passion for those unique boards shine through in the summary. If your organization is a financial services company, your summary should reflect a firm grasp of investment trends and customer needs.

To captivate your audience, both internal and external, start out with a compelling summary.

Company Overview

This second section in a business plan is straightforward and includes the background and history of your organization. Keep your firm’s bio short and to the point. Summarize your location(s), history, significant accomplishments and ownership or legal data.

If your group has a mission statement , include it in this section as well.

Some internal plans often leave out the company bio. Write one anyway. It’s good practice to convey your organization’s story. Plus, if you have it written, it’s ready to go should you ever need to publicly share it.

Product or Service Information

In this section, you’ll detail what your company does. This includes the goods you produce and sell or the services you provide. Make this section effective by capturing the following:

With product details, it’s best to paint a picture of the marketplace then detail how your business is positioned as a leader in that specific market.

Marketing or Sales Plan

Within your business plan, it’s not necessary to drill down into the finer details of every area. This is most true with your marketing or sales strategy. You don’t have to list every advertising source, but you should convey a grasp of your target demographics and how to reach them. You can include key points such as:

While product data shows your current market position, marketing data focus on your tactics to keep and grow that market share .

For potential investors to know whether or not to invest, they need to know financial information. While the level of financial detail varies based on the audience’s need, the best financial plans feature the following:

If you’ve got a lot of good data, don’t hold it back. This is especially true if the plan is to attract investors. The more comprehensive your financial data, the better.

Organizational Team

Your team summary is an extension of your company bio. The goal is to clearly define your company’s hierarchy and the key players at the top. This induces any influential department heads or partnerships you’ve built.

You also want to identify the principles that govern your company’s management style. Company culture is an underrated aspect of today’s business climate. Placing importance on it in your business plan will set yours apart from those that don’t. This is also a good spot to detail any personnel plans or challenges to consider.

Additional Elements

Depending on the purpose of the business plan or its intended audience, there are two other sections worth noting.

In creating a comprehensive plan, you may need to include supporting documentation. The appendix helps organize requested materials or information that did not fit within your primary plan. These inclusions may consist of the following:

Funding Request

For startups, or even established firms, seeking investment, you’ll want to include a dedicated section that outlines the request . You should specify the type of funding you need, how you’ll apply the funds and over what timeframe. It also helps to include a note on the financial endgame for your organization.

Final Thoughts

Whether for securing funding or getting your established team on the same page, business plans are invaluable for providing a pathway to success.

Develop a plan that best serves your company and its future growth. Keep it up to date and focused on the elements vital to your success, including where you’ve been, where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

A great business plan doesn’t need to be expertly written to be effective. It should, however, be written so you can expertly execute it.

Advance Your Business Expertise

In a degree program at PGS, you’ll expand your knowledge, skills and experiences in practical areas such as developing a business plan. Check out business programs from the associate to master’s level to discover your next step in growing your career and achieving your business goals.

Learn more about our adult programs

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Kacey Spencer

Kacey Spencer (B.S. ’12, MBA ’20) previously served as development coordinator for Cornerstone University’s WCSG Radio. She also served as an enrollment counselor for Cornerstone University’s Professional & Graduate Studies division. She graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s in business management. She enjoys cooking, reading, event planning and being outside in nature.

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Create a Business Plan

Think of it as a playbook for your goals, priorities and growth opportunities., how to write a business plan.

Creating a business plan can feel like a huge undertaking when you are starting a new business . And while developing one does require careful thought, studies show that entrepreneurs who have a formal plan are often more successful than those who don’t. Keep reading to see how a business plan benefits you and the details you should include.

Prefer to just get started? Start creating your business plan with the RBC Business Plan Builder.

Content in this Article

What is a business plan? Benefits of writing a business plan Information to include in your business plan Create your plan with the RBC Business Plan Builder

What is a Business Plan?

Put simply, a business plan is a document that explains to others your vision for your business, the gap in the market your business will fill and the steps you will take to succeed.

Benefits of Writing a Business Plan

Writing a business plan can help you in several ways—here are just a few of the biggest benefits:

Information to Include in Your Business Plan

Create an executive summary Describe the current business environment Outline your marketing and pricing strategies Describe how your business will operate Detail your financing and cash flow needs Describe your team (even if it’s just you) Identify risks and how you’ll protect your business Write a conclusion Include your contact information

Create an Executive Summary

After your cover page and table of contents, include an executive summary. Since this is the first thing readers will see, it should be clear, grab their attention and identify what your business does.

What to include:

Tip: Write your executive summary last and keep it to one page. While it’s structurally the first section, it will summarize everything else in your plan.

Describe the Current Business Environment

This should be a detailed history and summary of your business, identifying the product(s) or service(s) you’re offering and how you will solve a problem or need in the market. Be sure to include any pre-market research or testing you’ve conducted that speaks to the viability of your idea.

When you’re starting a business , your bank and potential investors don’t have historical data to review. Your plan must clearly convey your strategy, competencies and the reasons your venture will succeed. (If your business is already established, you’ll want to cover where you started and how you got here.)

Tip: Revisit your business idea by asking yourself these 7 key questions or use our business idea checklist to see the steps you may need to take to get to opening day.

Outline Your Marketing and Pricing Strategies

This is your opportunity to explain how you’re going to get customers to buy your products or services. This section involves identifying your ideal customers, your pricing strategy and more.

Tip: Completing a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis may help you write this section. Download a FREE SWOT Analyisis Template

Tip: Choose a few channels to do well instead of pursuing all of them at once. That way, you’ll be better able to direct your focus and monitor your progress.

Describe How Your Business Will Operate

The operations section of your business plan should describe what’s physically necessary for your business, as well as any partners who help keep things running smoothly.

This section contains four main categories:

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Third-party groups may be able to help you in your journey. For example, Futurpreneur serves entrepreneurs age 18-39 who want access to business resources, financing and mentoring.

Detail Your Financing and Cash Flow Needs

Use this section to determine how strong your business is financially. Be realistic about expenses and projected income so you can properly assess your financial health early on and make sure you have enough cash for the first year.

Describe Your Team (Even if It’s Just You)

This section should describe your current team as well as anyone you might need to hire to round out your company.

Identify Risks and How You’ll Protect Your Business

Every business comes with some risk, so it’s better to be prepared for them now rather than be surprised later. Use this section to explore potential risks and how you’ll protect your business.

Write a Conclusion

This is the last thing readers will see, so you want it to be strong. Use your conclusion to reinforce your goals and objectives. If you need financing, clearly state the amount you need and how it will be used. As with your executive summary, your conclusion should be succinct, clear and leave a positive impression.

Include Your Contact Information

Potential investors and lenders need to know how to reach you. Don’t forget to include your business name, contact information, website and social media presence in your plan.

Create Your Plan with the RBC Business Plan Builder

This comprehensive tool will guide you through a series of questions, resources and tips to help you write your plan. Best of all, you can go at your own pace and download your plan at any time.

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, elements of a business plan, special considerations.

Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How To Write One

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

A business plan is a document that defines in detail a company's objectives and how it plans to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written road map for the firm from marketing , financial, and operational standpoints. Both startups and established companies use business plans.

A business plan is an important document aimed at a company's external and internal audiences. For instance, a business plan is used to attract investment before a company has established a proven track record. It can also help to secure lending from financial institutions.

Furthermore, a business plan can serve to keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and on target for meeting established goals.

Although they're especially useful for new businesses, every company should have a business plan. Ideally, the plan is reviewed and updated periodically to reflect goals that have been met or have changed. Sometimes, a new business plan is created for an established business that has decided to move in a new direction.

Key Takeaways

Want Funding? You Need a Business Plan

A business plan is a fundamental document that any new business should have in place prior to beginning operations. Indeed, banks and venture capital firms often require a viable business plan before considering whether they'll provide capital to new businesses.

Operating without a business plan usually is not a good idea. In fact, very few companies are able to last very long without one. There are benefits to creating (and sticking to) a good business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and working through potential obstacles to success.

A good business plan should outline all the projected costs and possible pitfalls of each decision a company makes. Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they can have the same basic elements, such as an executive summary of the business and detailed descriptions of its operations, products and services, and financial projections. A plan also states how the business intends to achieve its goals.

While it's a good idea to give as much detail as possible, it's also important that a plan be concise to keep a reader's attention to the end.

A well-considered and well-written business plan can be of enormous value to a company. While there are templates that you can use to write a business plan, try to avoid producing a generic result. The plan should include an overview and, if possible, details of the industry of which the business will be a part. It should explain how the business will distinguish itself from its competitors.

Start with the essential structure: an executive summary, company description, market analysis, product or service description, marketing strategy, financial projections, and appendix (which include documents and data that support the main sections). These sections or elements of a business plan are outlined below.

When you write your business plan, you don’t have to strictly follow a particular business plan outline or template. Use only those sections that make the most sense for your particular business and its needs.

Traditional business plans use some combination of the sections below. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making. Regardless, try to keep the main body of your plan to around 15-25 pages.

The length of a business plan varies greatly from business to business. Consider fitting the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Then, other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and included as appendices.

As mentioned above, no two business plans are the same. Nonetheless, they tend to have the same elements. Below are some of the common and key parts of a business plan.

Unique Business Plans Help

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its singularity and potential for success.

Types of Business Plans

Business plans help companies identify their objectives and remain on track to meet goals. They can help companies start, manage themselves, and grow once up and running. They also act as a means to attract lenders and investors.

Although there is no right or wrong business plan, they can fall into two different categories—traditional or lean startup. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the most common. It contains a lot of detail in each section. These tend to be longer than the lean startup plan and require more work.

Lean startup business plans, on the other hand, use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans aren't as common in the business world because they're short—as short as one page—and lack detail. If a company uses this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or lender requests it.

Financial Projections

A complete business plan must include a set of financial projections for the business. These forward-looking financial statements are often called pro-forma financial statements or simply the " pro-formas ." They include an overall budget, current and projected financing needs, a market analysis, and the company's marketing strategy.

Other Considerations for a Business Plan

A major reason for a business plan is to give owners a clear picture of objectives, goals, resources, potential costs, and drawbacks of certain business decisions. A business plan should help them modify their structures before implementing their ideas. It also allows owners to project the type of financing required to get their businesses up and running.

If there are any especially interesting aspects of the business, they should be highlighted and used to attract financing, if needed. For example, Tesla Motors' electric car business essentially began only as a business plan.

Importantly, a business plan shouldn't be a static document. As a business grows and changes, so too should the business plan. An annual review of the company and its plan allows an entrepreneur or group of owners to update the plan, based on successes, setbacks, and other new information. It provides an opportunity to size up the plan's ability to help the company grow.

Think of the business plan as a living document that evolves with your business.

A business plan is a document created by a company that describes the company's goals, operations, industry standing, marketing objectives, and financial projections. The information it contains can be a helpful guide in running the company. What's more, it can be a valuable tool to attract investors and obtain financing from financial institutions.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

Even if you have a good business plan, your company can still fail, especially if you do not stick to the plan! Having strong leadership with focus on the plan is always a good strategy. Even when following the plan, if you had poor assumptions going into your projections, you can be caught with cash flow shortages and out of control budgets. Markets and the economy can also change. Without flexibility built in to your business plan, you may be unable to pivot to a new course as needed.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers a quick explanation of its business. The company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide since it's just getting started.

Sections can include: a value proposition, a company's major activities and advantages, resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital, a list of partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

1. Write an executive summary

2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description, which should contain information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, it should cover the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

Your sales strategy.

Your distribution strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

You may also include metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that contains the operational and financial plan of a business, and details how its objectives will be achieved. It serves as a road map for the business and can be used when pitching investors or financial institutions for debt or equity financing .

Business Plan

A business plan should follow a standard format and contain all the important business plan elements. Typically, it should present whatever information an investor or financial institution expects to see before providing financing to a business.

Contents of a Business Plan

A business plan should be structured in a way that it contains all the important information that investors are looking for. Here are the main sections of a business plan:

1. Title Page

The title page captures the legal information of the business, which includes the registered business name, physical address, phone number, email address, date, and the company logo.

2. Executive Summary

The executive summary is the most important section because it is the first section that investors and bankers see when they open the business plan. It provides a summary of the entire business plan. It should be written last to ensure that you don’t leave any details out. It must be short and to the point, and it should capture the reader’s attention. The executive summary should not exceed two pages.

3. Industry Overview

The industry overview section provides information about the specific industry that the business operates in. Some of the information provided in this section includes major competitors, industry trends, and estimated revenues. It also shows the company’s position in the industry and how it will compete in the market against other major players.

4. Market Analysis and Competition

The market analysis section details the target market for the company’s product offerings. This section confirms that the company understands the market and that it has already analyzed the existing market to determine that there is adequate demand to support its proposed business model.

Market analysis includes information about the target market’s demographics , geographical location, consumer behavior, and market needs. The company can present numbers and sources to give an overview of the target market size.

A business can choose to consolidate the market analysis and competition analysis into one section or present them as two separate sections.

5. Sales and Marketing Plan

The sales and marketing plan details how the company plans to sell its products to the target market. It attempts to present the business’s unique selling proposition and the channels it will use to sell its goods and services. It details the company’s advertising and promotion activities, pricing strategy, sales and distribution methods, and after-sales support.

6. Management Plan

The management plan provides an outline of the company’s legal structure, its management team, and internal and external human resource requirements. It should list the number of employees that will be needed and the remuneration to be paid to each of the employees.

Any external professionals, such as lawyers, valuers, architects, and consultants, that the company will need should also be included. If the company intends to use the business plan to source funding from investors, it should list the members of the executive team, as well as the members of the advisory board.

7. Operating Plan

The operating plan provides an overview of the company’s physical requirements, such as office space, machinery, labor, supplies, and inventory . For a business that requires custom warehouses and specialized equipment, the operating plan will be more detailed, as compared to, say, a home-based consulting business. If the business plan is for a manufacturing company, it will include information on raw material requirements and the supply chain.

8. Financial Plan

The financial plan is an important section that will often determine whether the business will obtain required financing from financial institutions, investors, or venture capitalists. It should demonstrate that the proposed business is viable and will return enough revenues to be able to meet its financial obligations. Some of the information contained in the financial plan includes a projected income statement , balance sheet, and cash flow.

9. Appendices and Exhibits

The appendices and exhibits part is the last section of a business plan. It includes any additional information that banks and investors may be interested in or that adds credibility to the business. Some of the information that may be included in the appendices section includes office/building plans, detailed market research , products/services offering information, marketing brochures, and credit histories of the promoters.

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Here is a basic template that any business can use when developing its business plan:

Section 1: Executive Summary

Section 2: Industry Overview

Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition

Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan

Section 5: Management Plan

Section 6: Operating Plan

Section 7: Financial Plan

Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits

Related Readings

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to Business Plans. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following CFI resources will be helpful:

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How to Write a Solar Production Business Plan

Creating a comprehensive solar production business plan for production success .

A well-written business plan provides a roadmap that outlines the goals, strategies, and financial projections of your business. It also serves as a powerful tool for attracting investors and securing financing.

Today, we’ll cover what you need to know to create an effective solar production business plan for solar manufacturing success. We’ll look at the elements of a good business plan, the pros, and cons of developing your own business plan versus hiring a professional, and tips for crafting an effective solar manufacturing business plan. 

We’ll also discuss common mistakes to avoid. Let’s get started!

Why You Need A Business Plan 

Solar production business plan involves a thorough analysis of the market, the competition, and the industry. It also involves creating a financial plan, setting milestones, and planning for contingencies.

Creating a solar production business plan for a solar manufacturing company requires a deep understanding of the industry, the current market conditions, and the competitive landscape. It also requires an understanding of the technologies used in solar manufacturing, costs of solar panel manufacturing in setting up production, and the regulations and laws governing the industry.


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Developing a solar production business plan.

Business plans are not just for startups. Existing businesses can also benefit from creating a business plan. A good business plan can help a business grow and expand, identify new opportunities, and create a roadmap for success.

It provides the framework for goals and objectives, and it outlines the strategies and plans for achieving them. It also provides investors with a detailed understanding of the business and its potential for success.

For solar manufacturing, a business plan can help you determine the most cost-effective way to set up production, identify potential markets, and develop strategies for marketing and sales. It can also provide a roadmap for navigating the often-complex regulatory environment, as well as a plan for securing financing.

Creating a solar production business plan can also help you stay organized and focused. It provides a framework for tracking progress measuring success and identifying areas for improvement.

Elements Of A Business Plan

A good business plan should include the following elements:

should you develop your own business plan? 

Developing your own business plan has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it gives you the opportunity to customize the plan to your specific needs and goals. It also gives you the chance to learn more about the industry and become an expert in the field.

On the other hand, writing your own solar production business plan can be time-consuming and may require more research and resources than you have available. It also requires a deep understanding of the industry, the current market conditions, and the competitive landscape.

should you hire a professional business plan writer 

Hiring a professional business plan writer is another option. On the plus side, professional business plan writers have the expertise and experience to create an effective business plan quickly and efficiently. They also have access to resources and industry knowledge that you may not have.

On the other hand, hiring a professional can be costly, and you may not get the personalized attention that you would with a DIY approach. Additionally, you may not have as much control over the process.

Tips For Crafting An Effective Solar Production Business Plan 

Here are some tips to help you craft an effective business plan

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Business Plan

To get the most out of your business plan, it’s important to:

Without a solar production business plan, your venture will not have a roadmap to guide it. This will increase the risk of failure. It’s also next to impossible to get financing from banks or investors without a business plan.

Developing a business plan gives banks and potential investors confidence that the business can be run profitably. It gives them a reasonable expectation of a good return on their investment and makes them more likely to loan or invest in the business.


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Create a compelling and convincing business plan online with Venngage. Templates available for your every need, whether it's business plans, financial plans, marketing plans, and more.

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Anyone can make a business plan for free and share a link to their work. Our Premium ($19/month) and Business ($49/month) plans include premium, professional business plan templates and features, plus access to multiple download formats.

How can I write my own business plan?

Your business plan can include these sections: executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization management, service/product line, marketing & sales, funding requests, financial projections, etc. Add sections to your business plan as you see fit — depending on the kind of plan you're creating. No matter the type of business plans you're making, Venngage has a template for that.

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Yes! You can download your business plan in PNG, PDF, Interactive PDF, or PowerPoint formats (paid plans only). It's free to share a public link. It's also free to create an account and test out our online business plan maker with a free business plan template.

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More From Forbes

The top 10 ways to strategically scale (not just grow) your business.


By Frank B. Mengert, founder // CEO @ ebm .

Are you looking to grow your business or scale it? In order to highlight the difference, an article by Harvard Business Review highlights the main difference: "Growth means adding revenue at the same pace you are adding resources; scaling means adding revenue at a much greater rate than cost."

These days, it’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. So if you don’t want to become a statistic, ensure that you tap into these 10 ways to scale your business:

1. Create and follow a plan.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The most successful businesses have a vision for growth and then reverse engineer the steps required to achieve each goal as part of their planning process. And then—most importantly—they follow their plan.

All too often, companies set goals at the beginning of the year, getting people excited and pumped up. But by March, hardly anyone is following a cohesive plan. Building various lengths of objectives will help keep you focused and aligned.

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My company follows the entrepreneurial operating (EOS) system, where everything is broken down into “rocks,” which are the most important things we need to accomplish in the next 90 days. We also have a one-year plan, a three-year vision and our 10-year target; this last one being our North Star for our company and our employees.

It’s important to note that when creating your plan, you don’t aim so high that you can’t meet your targets, nor do you want to make things too easy that you don’t challenge yourself.

As you evaluate your methods to achieve your goals, if you find yourself saying: “it’s the way we’ve always done it,” this is a clear sign you need to revisit that process and innovate your plan.

2. Maintain focus.

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get distracted by shiny object syndrome or be tempted to offer many products and services. Instead, have a core focus and niche so you stay in your lane and deliver what’s promised to customers.

Determine what your key revenue drivers are and double down on those. And if you’re interested in launching a new product or service, test the market first to see if people want it and will actually pay for it. Too many companies spend money on R&D and marketing a new product or service only to find out it’s a failure because no one wants it; don’t let that happen to you.

3. Document your processes.

It’s tough to scale without established, documented organizational processes. To ensure everyone is working off the same page, develop KPIs and SOPs that break down the steps and strategies you follow as an organization and within your teams. Once documented, they are easily accessible by new hires or team members, reducing ramp-up time and training.

4. Have proper lead gen and marketing plans in place.

Without a healthy and growing pipeline, you won’t be able to scale. Inbound and outbound marketing is a must for brand awareness and new business growth. Work closely with your clients and use them as raving fans to attract more business. Asking them why they value your product so much and sharing this feedback is the perfect way to bring in new clients.

5. Be a squirrel when it comes to funds.

Yes, you’ll need to spend and invest in the business, but be intentional when you do and learn to save where you can. Do not buy things you don’t need that won’t directly correlate to a proven ROI for your business.

For example, you can be the CEO but don’t have to take a CEO salary; you should be the last person who gets paid and will often be the lowest-paid employee on your team at first.

In addition, don’t plan too far out or count on money you haven’t closed yet. Always work within the current operating income so you don’t overextend yourself. Finally, track your burn rate consistently so you know how much runway you have with your reserves.

6. Partner with financial professionals.

Managing our business’s finances is crucial to your ability to scale, so ensure you have a solid bookkeeper and CPA to lean on for counsel.

7. Invest in yourself.

Becoming a better leader and businessperson takes work, so don’t be afraid to invest in a coach. Do your homework and be clear about how and in which areas that coach can help. Also, consider joining a community like Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) or Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), which can connect you with other entrepreneurs with similar scaling goals.

8. Strategically hire FTEs.

If you need to have FTEs, hire people who may cost more money but bring the skills to perform and immediately put speed on your side.

Most small businesses trying to scale make the mistake of trying to hire, train and onboard entry-level employees to save a few bucks, but they often end up spending more overall in the time it takes to achieve the same results with a more experienced hire.

Also, ensure all teammates have a number or metric you can measure them by. This way, their role is very clear and they know what success looks like.

9. Outsource when you can.

Not every position needs to be an employee. Consider hiring fractional CFOs, COOs or contract workers for positions or jobs that don’t have full-time work—or when client contracts may be short-term. This ensures you get an experienced professional aligned with your capacity.

10. Learn to delegate.

It’s tough to create and execute your vision if you’re in the weeds of your business. Learn to delegate so you can work on the business instead of in the business. Trusting the professionals you’ve hired to do their jobs will free up your time to focus on your number one goal: scaling your business.

Following these 10 principles can help you move from growing to scaling your business and avoid being a casualty of a challenging entrepreneurial climate.

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Accounting Firm Business Plan

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Created by:

​ [Owner.FirstName] [Owner.LastName] ​

​ [Owner.Company] ​

Image 1


​ [Owner.Company] is a new accounting firm located in [Owner.City] , [Owner.State] and will serve the surrounding area. The firm will be owned and operated by [Owner.FirstName] [Owner.LastName] , who has (insert number) years of experience in the accounting industry. The firm will offer a range of services, including bookkeeping, tax preparation, financial planning, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as individual clients. The firm will also offer online and virtual services for clients who prefer remote assistance.


​ [Owner.Company] will be registered as a(n) (LLC/Corporation) and will have (insert number) employees at the start, including the owner. The firm will maintain a well-equipped office with a variety of software and tools to ensure that projects can be completed efficiently. [Owner.Company] will differentiate itself from competitors by offering a personalized and comprehensive approach to accounting services, as well as a commitment to customer satisfaction.


The accounting industry is expected to continue to grow as businesses and individuals seek professional help with their financial matters. [Owner.City] is home to several small and medium-sized businesses and a growing population of individuals who may require accounting services. The local market is competitive, with several well-established accounting firms serving the area. However, [Owner.Company] is confident it can differentiate itself through its personalized approach and commitment to customer satisfaction.


​ [Owner.Company] will use a combination of traditional and digital marketing techniques to reach potential clients. This will include advertising in local newspapers and industry publications, as well as utilizing social media platforms and email marketing to promote services and specials. The firm will also rely on word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients. In addition, [Owner.Company] will offer free initial consultations and discounted rates for new clients to attract business and establish relationships.

​ [Owner.Company] will have a team of skilled accountants who will be responsible for providing accurate and timely services to clients. The firm will have a manager overseeing all projects and ensuring they are completed to the highest standards. The firm will have policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards.


​ [Owner.Company] will generate revenue through the sale of accounting services to businesses and individuals. The firm will also generate revenue through the sale of financial planning and consulting services. The firm will have operating expenses, including payroll, rent, utilities, and insurance. The firm expects to generate (Amount) i n revenue in the first year, with a projected growth rate of (Percentage) per year. [Owner.Company] will also seek funding through loans or investors in order to cover start-up costs and support growth.

​ [Owner.Company] is well-positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for accounting services in the [Owner.City] area. With a team of experienced accountants, a focus on personalized and comprehensive services, and a commitment to customer satisfaction, the firm is confident that it will be successful in the competitive accounting market.

​ [Recipient.FirstName] [Recipient.LastName] ​

business plan for creating

business plan for creating

business plan for creating

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How to write a business plan in seven simple steps

When written effectively, a business plan can help raise capital, inform decisions, and draw new talent.

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Companies of all sizes have one thing in common: They all began as small businesses.  Starting small  is the corner for those just getting off the ground. Learn about how to make that first hire, deal with all things administrative, and set yourself up for success.

Writing a business plan is often the first step in transforming your business from an idea into something tangible . As you write, your thoughts begin to solidify into strategy, and a path forward starts to emerge. But a business plan is not only the realm of startups; established companies can also benefit from revisiting and rewriting theirs. In any case, the formal documentation can provide the clarity needed to motivate staff , woo investors, or inform future decisions.  

No matter your industry or the size of your team, the task of writing a business plan—a document filled with so much detail and documentation—can feel daunting. Don’t let that stop you, however; there are easy steps to getting started. 

What is a business plan and why does it matter? 

A business plan is a formal document outlining the goals, direction, finances, team, and future planning of your business. It can be geared toward investors, in a bid to raise capital, or used as an internal document to align teams and provide direction. It typically includes extensive market research, competitor analysis, financial documentation, and an overview of your business and marketing strategy. When written effectively, a business plan can help prescribe action and keep business owners on track to meeting business goals. 

Who needs a business plan?

A business plan can be particularly helpful during a company’s initial growth and serve as a guiding force amid the uncertainty, distractions, and at-times rapid developments involved in starting a business . For enterprise companies, a business plan should be a living, breathing document that guides decision-making and facilitates intentional growth.

“You should have a game plan for every major commitment you’ll have, from early-stage founder agreements to onboarding legal professionals,” says Colin Keogh, CEO of the Rapid Foundation—a company that brings technology and training to communities in need—and a WeWork Labs mentor in the UK . “You can’t go out on funding rounds or take part in accelerators without any planning.”

How to make a business plan and seven components every plan needs

While there is no set format for writing a business plan, there are several elements that are typically included. Here’s what’s important to consider when writing your business plan. 

1. Executive summary 

No longer than half a page, the executive summary should briefly introduce your business and describe the purpose of the business plan. Are you writing the plan to attract capital? If so, specify how much money you hope to raise, and how you’re going to repay the loan. If you’re writing the plan to align your team and provide direction, explain at a high level what you hope to achieve with this alignment, as well as the size and state of your existing team.

The executive summary should explain what your business does, and provide an introductory overview of your financial health and major achievements to date.  

2. Company description 

To properly introduce your company, it’s important to also describe the wider industry. What is the financial worth of your market? Are there market trends that will affect the success of your company? What is the state of the industry and its future potential? Use data to support your claims and be sure to include the full gamut of information—both positive and negative—to provide investors and your employees a complete and accurate portrayal of your company’s milieu. 

Go on to describe your company and what it provides your customers. Are you a sole proprietor , LLC, partnership, or corporation? Are you an established company or a budding startup? What does your leadership team look like and how many employees do you have? This section should provide both historical and future context around your business, including its founding story, mission statement , and vision for the future. 

It’s essential to showcase your point of difference in your company description, as well as any advantages you may have in terms of expert talent or leading technology. This is typically one of the first pieces of the plan to be written.

3. Market analysis and opportunity

Research is key in completing a business plan and, ideally, more time should be spent on research and analysis than writing the plan itself. Understanding the size, growth, history, future potential, and current risks inherent to the wider market is essential for the success of your business, and these considerations should be described here. 

In addition to this, it’s important to include research into the target demographic of your product or service. This might be in the form of fictional customer personas, or a broader overview of the income, location, age, gender, and buying habits of your existing and potential customers. 

Though the research should be objective, the analysis in this section is a good place to reiterate your point of difference and the ways you plan to capture the market and surpass your competition.

4. Competitive analysis 

Beyond explaining the elements that differentiate you from your competition, it’s important to provide an in-depth analysis of your competitors themselves.

This research should delve into the operations, financials, history, leadership, and distribution channels of your direct and indirect competitors. It should explore the value propositions of these competitors, and explain the ways you can compete with, or exploit, their strengths and weaknesses. 

5. Execution plan: operations, development, management 

This segment provides details around how you’re going to do the work necessary to fulfill this plan. It should include information about your organizational structure and the everyday operations of your team, contractors, and physical and digital assets.

Consider including your company’s organizational chart, as well as more in-depth information on the leadership team: Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What do they bring to the table? Potentially include the résumés of key people on your team. 

For startups, your execution plan should include how long it will take to begin operations, and then how much longer to reach profitability. For established companies, it’s a good idea to outline how long it will take to execute your plan, and the ways in which you will change existing operations.

If applicable, it’s also beneficial to include your strategy for hiring new team members and scaling into different markets. 

6. Marketing plan 

It’s essential to have a comprehensive marketing plan in place as you scale operations or kick off a new strategy—and this should be shared with your stakeholders and employees. This segment of your business plan should show how you’re going to promote your business, attract customers, and retain existing clients.

Include brand messaging, marketing assets, and the timeline and budget for engaging consumers across different channels. Potentially include a marketing SWOT analysis into your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Evaluate the way your competitors market themselves, and how your target audience responds—or doesn’t respond—to these messages.

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7. Financial history and projections  

It’s essential to disclose all finances involved in running your company within your business plan. This is so your shareholders properly understand how you’re projected to perform going forward, and the progress you’ve made so far. 

You should include your income statement, which outlines annual net profits or losses; a cash flow statement, which shows how much money you need to launch or scale operations; and a balance sheet that shows financial liabilities and assets. 

“An income statement is the measure of your financial results for a certain period and the most accurate report of business activities during that time, [whereas a balance sheet] presents your assets, liabilities, and equity,” Amit Perry, a corporate finance expert, explained at a WeWork Labs educational session in Israel.

It’s crucial to understand the terms correctly so you know how to present your finances when you’re speaking to investors. Amit Perry, CEO and founder of Perryllion Ltd.

In addition, if you’re asking for funding, you will need to outline exactly how much money you need as well as where this money will go and how you plan to pay it back. 

12 quick tips for writing a business plan 

Now that you know what components are traditionally included in a business plan, it’s time to consider how you’ll actually construct the document.

Here are 12 key factors to keep in mind when writing a business plan. These overarching principles will help you write a business plan that serves its purpose (whatever that may be) and becomes an easy reference in the years ahead. 

1. Don’t be long-winded

Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon. When business plans are too long-winded, they’re less likely to be used as intended and more likely to be forgotten or glazed over by stakeholders. 

2. Show why you care

Let your passion for your business shine through; show employees and investors why you care (and why they should too). 

3. Provide supporting documents

Don’t be afraid to have an extensive list of appendices, including the CVs of team members, built-out customer personas, product demonstrations, and examples of internal or external messaging. 

4. Reference data

All information regarding the market, your competitors, and your customers should reference authoritative and relevant data points.  

5. Research, research, research

The research that goes into your business plan should take you longer than the writing itself. Consider tracking your research as supporting documentation. 

6. Clearly demonstrate your points of difference

At every opportunity, it’s important to drive home the way your product or service differentiates you from your competition and helps solve a problem for your target audience. Don’t shy away from reiterating these differentiating factors throughout the plan. 

7. Be objective in your research

As important as it is to showcase your company and the benefits you provide your customers, it’s also important to be objective in the data and research you reference. Showcase the good and the bad when it comes to market research and your financials; you want your shareholders to know you’ve thought through every possible contingency. 

8. Know the purpose of your plan

It’s important you understand the purpose of your plan before you begin researching and writing. Be clear about whether you’re writing this plan to attract investment, align teams, or provide direction. 

9. Identify your audience

The same way your business plan must have a clearly defined purpose, you must have a clearly defined audience. To whom are you writing? New investors? Current employees? Potential collaborators? Existing shareholders? 

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10. Avoid jargon

Avoid using industry-specific jargon, unless completely unavoidable, and try making your business plan as easy to understand as possible—for all potential stakeholders. 

11. Don’t be afraid to change it

Your business plan should evolve with your company’s growth, which means your business plan document should evolve as well. Revisit and rework your business plan as needed, and remember the most important factor: having a plan in place, even if it changes.

A business plan shouldn’t just be a line on your to-do list; it should be referenced and used as intended going forward. Keep your business plan close, and use it to inform decisions and guide your team in the years ahead. 

Creating a business plan is an important step in growing your company 

Whether you’re just starting out or running an existing operation, writing an effective business plan can be a key predictor of future success. It can be a foundational document from which you grow and thrive . It can serve as a constant reminder to employees and clients about what you stand for, and the direction in which you’re moving. Or, it can prove to investors that your business, team, and vision are worth their investment. 

No matter the size or stage of your business, WeWork can help you fulfill the objectives outlined in your business plan—and WeWork’s coworking spaces can be a hotbed for finding talent and investors, too. The benefits of coworking spaces include intentionally designed lounges, conference rooms, and private offices that foster connection and bolster creativity, while a global network of professionals allows you to expand your reach and meet new collaborators. 

Using these steps to write a business plan will put you in good stead to not only create a document that fulfills a purpose but one that also helps to more clearly understand your market, competition, point of difference, and plan for the future. 

For more tips on growing teams and building a business, check out all our articles on  Ideas by WeWork.

Caitlin Bishop is a writer for WeWork’s  Ideas by WeWork , based in New York City. Previously, she was a journalist and editor at  Mamamia  in Sydney, Australia, and a contributing reporter at  Gotham Gazette .

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7 Proven Strategies for Launching a Successful Ecommerce Business

Whether you're planning to set up a dropshipping business or intending to develop, produce, and sell products, having the right knowledge about creating a successful ecommerce business is imperative. Discover the 7 proven strategies you need to know to launch and grow your online business faster and easier.

By Christina-Lauren Pollack • Mar 2, 2023

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you aspire to be a successful entrepreneur in today's digital landscape, having an online presence is essential. Whether you're planning to set up a dropshipping business or intend to develop, produce and sell products, having the proper knowledge about setting up your business for success is imperative.

As an entrepreneur and executive with a background in manufacturing consumer goods, distributing products globally through mass retailers (like Walmart, Dollar Tree, etc), and building ecommerce businesses , I have 20 years of experience creating, launching and growing brands as well as advising entrepreneurs through my coaching business, Inspiring Brands Academy .

To help get your ecommerce business off the ground and running, here are seven proven strategies for launching a successful ecommerce business.

Step 1: Start with a clear business plan

If you plan to launch an ecommerce business, your roadmap for success must be laid out in a business plan . Here's an overview of the fundamentals that must be contemplated.

Executive summary — The executive summary should explain your company's purpose and vision, mission statement, target market audience, products or services offered and desired goals. Additionally, the overview should include information about key members of the team as well as financial estimates and any funding requirements.

Market analysis — The market analysis should describe your target customer, including demographics, actions, purchasing preferences, etc. Additionally, research competing businesses, uncovering their strengths while noting any disadvantages.

Product and service description — This section should provide an in-depth overview of all features, advantages and benefits to customers. Additionally, include details about the process used to develop products and any associated intellectual property.

Marketing and sales strategy — This part of your plan should detail how you will market and sell your product or service. Include pricing strategies to maximize profits, cost-effective distribution methods and promotional techniques such as advertising campaigns or loyalty programs.

Related: 3 Digital Marketing Strategies That Will Save You 20 Hours Every Week

Operations plan — Your business plan should include a fifth section dedicated to your operations strategy. This section should explain how you will manufacture products, organize logistics and manage customer service. Furthermore, details about who is on your team and any collaboration with vendors or partners should also be included.

The great aspect of an ecommerce business is that you can use website plugins or apps to easily integrate with your facilities, such as third-party warehouses that ship orders on your company's behalf and logistics programs. For example, one of my businesses, a photography print company, uses Etsy to sell products. Since I utilize a print-on-demand facility, when a customer places an order, it gets sent directly to my printing facility, producing and fulfilling the shipment.

Bottom line: I don't have to do anything other than market the business. This is a major benefit of using technology and systems to integrate so that it makes the scalability of your operation faster and easier.

Financial projections — The final section of your business plan should be the financial projections. This should provide a detailed forecast of your revenue and expenses, including your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. You should also include information about your funding needs and any potential sources of financing.

Related: 5 Ways To Fund Your Startup As A Solopreneur

Step 2: Choose the right platform

Having drawn up a comprehensive business plan, the next logical step is to select an appropriate ecommerce platform to run your online business. It is important to evaluate all your options when selecting an ecommerce platform. Though Shopify , WooCommerce and Magento (now known as Adobe Commerce) are popular choices, each has unique advantages and drawbacks. Evaluate your company's needs and wishes, and compare various platforms to decide which ecommerce platform is ideal for your online business.

Related: 10 Tools to Help Your eCommerce Business Get off the Ground

Step 3: Invest in a strong brand

Crafting a powerful brand is pivotal for any ecommerce business if you want to stand out from your rivals and acquire steadfast customers. Here are tips to get you started.

Step 4: Focus on search engine optimization (SEO)

If your goal is to attract more leads and customers, you need search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing your website for higher rankings on SERPs allows potential visitors to quickly find what they're looking for when searching with keywords related to your business. To achieve this success, focus on developing compelling content that people want to read and share. Keyword optimizes the pages of your website and earns high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites.

Step 5: Use social media to your advantage

Leverage the power of social media (like TikTok, Instagram, etc.) to promote your ecommerce business and reach potential customers. Establishing a strong presence on platforms where your target audience is active will help you develop brand recognition, generate leads, and drive website traffic.

Related: Why Social Media Platforms Are Adopting Ecommerce as a Saving Grace

Step 6: Leverage influencer marketing

Another great way to grow your company is to use influencer marketing . All you need is to uncover influential figures in your niche that fit with what you are trying to promote and reach out with a clever partnership offer.

I've worked with hundreds of leading brands and retailers on sponsored campaigns, helping them drive brand awareness and boost product sales. Given my experience as an influencer, I've not only assisted brands around the world, but I've also learned how to tap into this knowledge to benefit my own companies and small businesses through influencer marketing strategies that result in viral content (1M+ views) and driving massive brand awareness for national product launches.

To make the most out of influencer marketing, consider these key steps:

Step 7: Focus on customer service

When launching an ecommerce business, providing superior customer service is paramount. Promptly reply to inquiries and criticisms professionally, offer precise product information and give customers easy return options. If you provide them with a great customer experience, they're more apt to rave (rather than rant) about your company.

Ultimately, launching a profitable ecommerce business necessitates thoughtful preparation and well-executed strategies. Utilizing these seven proven strategies for launching a successful ecommerce business will help you launch and grow your business more easily and quickly.

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Entrepreneur, Executive, Influencer & Business Branding Coach

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Here Is How You Can Start Your Second Hand Car Business In India

By: Business Desk

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Last Updated: March 04, 2023, 19:35 IST

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This article covers every aspect of opening a used car showroom, from conducting market studies to managing the business.

This article covers every aspect of opening a used car showroom, from conducting market studies to managing the business.

Consider the location where you want to establish your used car showroom when creating your business plan.

The demand for used cars in India is rising in India due to the increasing prices of new cars as well as the higher interest rates charged by banks on auto loans. Used cars are more popular than new ones among consumers. Additionally, in India the majority of people who want to purchase a car are unable to afford the ex-showroom price and many of them opt for used cars.

Market research

The demand for used cars in India has been growing since the last few years. According to reports, the Indian used car industry was estimated to be worth $ 24.24 billion in 2019 and that it is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 15.12% between 2020 and 2025. So, before launching your businesses do your research about the market and the customers. This will give you a better idea about demand for used cars and the revenue potential of your targeted segment.

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Making a decision about the company objective is the first step in developing a business strategy, and when opening a showroom for used cars, this goal should be your top priority. It will bring you as many recommendations and brand recognition as feasible. When developing your business plan, take into consideration the location where you want to open your used car showroom as well as the pertinent facts, figures, and industry indices.

Capital need

If you have sufficient capital on hand, you are ready to go. If needed, you can get bank loans to fund your used car showroom. The initial expenses that may be incurred include the following:

· The monthly office or plot fee

· Legal expenses associated with establishing the company, such as ownership and no-sell agreements

· Other items like furniture, desks, laptops, phones,

· Costs of marketing and promotion, both online and offline

· Consultation Fees for the accountant’s office supplies

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Created by  FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last updated September 21, 2022

Every successful business needs a business plan that maps out the company's future. The business plan helps keep everyone in the organization on the same page. It also serves as your company's resume and can attract investors and capital.

FindLaw's Business Planning section provides information for prospective business owners on why and how to write a business plan.

Why Write a Business Plan?

Small business owners, who often feel strapped for time, may ask: “Is a business plan required by law?" No, it is not. A business plan is not a legal document. It is a tool that business owners use to increase the odds that their business will be a success.

A prospective entrepreneur needs to make many decisions about their business before they can open the doors. Writing a business plan forces you to do the research. It requires you to think about business structures, marketing strategies, and financial forecasts. You will need this information in order to make good business decisions.

Your business plan will also provide a roadmap that keeps your business on track to meet its goals. Where do you want to be in 3 years? In 5 years? It should be in your business plan.

A business plan is essential if you are seeking investors and capital. Use your business plan to sell your business idea to potential investors. Include all the market analysis and financial information an investor needs to get excited about your business venture.

Types of Business Plans

Most business plans follow a template and include the same information. But different types of business plans may require additional information or more focus on some topics over others.

How to Create a Business Plan

The process of writing a business plan has great benefits in and of itself. It gives prospective business owners an opportunity to do research, gather data, and understand their customers and their products' place in the marketplace.

Articles in this section will teach you how to create a business plan, the audiences you need to write for, the kind of plan you may need, and the components of each plan. You can use a business plan template or simply follow the guidance provided here on how to write the plan, and where you can get help.

Line up a reviewer to proofread your plan. You want it to be perfect when you show it to potential investors. And take a look at the Start-Up Checklist to ensure you've covered everything.

What's in a Business Plan

A business plan is both a marketing document and a plan for action. While different types of business plans will have different goals and audiences, key elements of the plan will be the same. The article “What's in a Business Plan" goes over in detail exactly what should be included in each section of a standard business plan.

A good business plan will include:

(See the Types of Business Plan page to learn about unique sections to include in plans other than start-up business plans.)

Don't forget the Executive Summary section of your business plan. It is often read as a stand-alone document. It pays to put extra time into making this the most inspiring four pages your audience will read.

An Effective Marketing Strategy Is Key for the Success of Your Business

While developing an effective marketing strategy isn't easy, it is an essential component of a business plan. It's virtually impossible to successfully market to everyone all at once, so concentrate your efforts where you think you can move the needle first.

Financial Projections

The most important audiences for your business plan will focus on the financial projections and financial summaries provided in the plan. As a business owner, financial projections will help guide the development of your business. For lenders and investors, these documents tell them if your plan is realistic and if you are a good bet for their business loan or investment dollar.

A breakeven analysis is one of the key documents you need to include in a business plan. "At what level of sales will my company make a profit?" A breakeven analysis answers that question. It identifies when your business will be able to cover all of its expenses and begin to make a profit.

It's also important to identify your startup costs, which will help you determine the sales revenue needed to pay ongoing business expenses.

Talk to a Lawyer When Writing a Business Plan

A lawyer can help in many business scenarios. While you can certainly write a business plan on your own, the insights you can gain from talking with an experienced business start-up lawyer are many. Before you visit, complete the Confidential Business Start-Up Information Questionnaire. Take it with you so you are prepared to talk.

Contact a  business and commercial law attorney  in your state for sound advice.

Learn About Creating a Business Plan

Why do you need a business plan? Clarifying your business goals and attracting capital are two of the many reasons.

What Is a Business Plan?

Basic description of the types of business plans, what they do, and what they should include.

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Knowing how often you can consistently post on Instagram—and what type of content you need—will get you closer to your goals. Your weekly Instagram content posting plan should include two types of content: expiring content and grid content.

Expiring content (like Instagram Stories)

Stories are best for connecting with your audience daily. They have their own corner on Instagram that’s great for interacting with your community in a deeper way, via direct messages (DMs) or engagement stickers like polls and question stickers. Stories are one of the highest converting pieces of content because you have access to the link sticker, where you can directly link to products or web pages.

This is also where new followers binge watch content to get to know your brand.

Grid content (anything posted to the Feed: Posts, Video, Reels)

Grid content includes any Reels, lives that are posted as Instagram video replays, or your feed post content like photos or carousel graphics. Reels are great for increasing reach and engagement, and feed posts are great for adding value to your grid. Lives are a great way to interact with your community in the moment, but they’re also a two-for-one piece of content. You can go live and post the video as a replay on your grid. When people are deciding if they want to follow you or they’re in the discovery phase of finding a piece of your content and going to your profile, they need to be nurtured to go from a warm lead to an actual conversion.

Having an Instagram content plan that includes a variety of types of content, with specific goals in mind, will help you get more conversions out of your content.

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How to create a business plan: a beginner's guide

Creating a well-written business plan is an essential first step to starting your own business.

Business Plan

What is a business plan?

Key concepts for writing a business plan, main components of a business plan, tips for writing a business plan.

A well-written business plan (opens in new tab) holds a lot of value. It’s where your ideas start to take shape and the direction of your new enterprise becomes clear – but it can seem intimidating.

Business plans require focus: you’re stating why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how you expect to do it. There can be a lot to note down.

Ultimately, though, your business plan is going to become an essential guide for you, your team, and anyone involved in your company. 

So let’s uncover what it takes to write a business plan, and find out how it can benefit you.

In short, a business plan is a description of your business and everything that goes into it. 

As well as helping to clarify the business idea (opens in new tab) that you have, it brings into focus elements like financing, staffing, revenue targets, and marketing strategies.

Business plans aren’t exclusive to startups, either. If you’re regenerating an existing company, a detailed and structured plan is enormously useful. 

Not all success stories have required business plans, but a comprehensive plan will help you to identify any immediate routes to failure. 

Although you’re putting a business concept on paper and announcing your mission statement, a plan has to be structured, not fanciful. 

The first person it’s trying to convince is you. Are you ready to spend time and money on this?

After that, you should be considering any potential investors and your team members. Will they be motivated and excited? You’ll need to achieve the following with your business plan:

There is no one-size-fits-all business plan template, but the most successful plans have the same key components.

For small business owners writing a business plan, whether it's during the startup process or further down the road during a period of change, these are the essentials to include:

1. Executive summary

Think of your executive summary as an elevator pitch: it should be a concise, engaging, and persuasive overview of your business. 

Keep this section to less than one page in length – after all, it is a summary. 

While it’s the opening to your business plan, we recommend writing it last. That way, you can collate all of the key points raised in the rest of the document.

Here’s what you should summarize in this part of your business plan:

2. Company description and overview

Next up, give a more detailed description of your business. Even if you’ve decided to write a business plan only for your own benefit, imagine what other people would want to know.

Make clear what you think is going to bring your business success in the long run. 

This should help to demonstrate that the ideas you have are worth pursuing. For example, what problem can you solve? What experience can you bring to the table?

Here’s how to structure the company description part of your business plan:

Pinpoint the industry that your business is in, plus any insights or industry trends that you intend to adopt or disrupt.

Describe your business model and its structure – is it incorporated, a limited partnership, or perhaps a sole proprietorship? 

Mention your target audience and highlight which problems or opportunities you have identified for the business. 

Clarify your mission statement and value proposition to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to business focus. 

Provide some background on the company, like when it was founded, who by, and where it’s based.

Highlight the key employees in your team. If it’s a small business, that could be everyone, or maybe just a select few people.

It can be tricky to take a step back and consider your overall business goals and objectives, but remember that this is the whole point of writing a business plan.

Business plans can be great tools to use if you’re not even sure whether the venture is worth doing – writing an ambitious company description will help you to find that out.

3. Market analysis and opportunities

Whether you run a small business or a big business, you’ll have competitors. Knowing about the other companies in your industry will be invaluable.

That knowledge can inform your marketing plans, pricing decisions, and product selections.

You’ll also need to know about your target market. An understanding of your customer profile will help your business reach the right people and maintain a competitive advantage.

So, how does all of your market research come together in a business plan? Here’s how:

Illustrate your market analysis - Use charts and graphs to show where the business is going to sit within its industry. In terms of your price points, product offer, and service proposition, how will it compare to other businesses?

Explain who your potential customers are - Use survey tools (opens in new tab) to help you specify key demographics like age, profession, and location – if you’re only just starting out, it’s fine to make informed guesses about your ideal customer profile.

Include a SWOT analysis - Identifying the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business is at the heart of every competitive analysis. Present this part in a grid layout to draw attention to it within your business plan. 

Be clear about the competition - It’s tough to find a market that isn’t already saturated, so show how your product or service will be different. Although it’s useful to have friendly rivals, you’ll need some competitive advantages.

4. Products and services

Earlier in your business plan, you hinted at what you’ll be selling, and now’s the time to describe it. It’s worth remembering at this point that industry jargon should be avoided.

Explaining the products or services your business offers should be clear, but exciting.

This section should describe why and how your product exists, how much money it will cost to develop, and how much business planning has gone into your decisions.

Whether you keep it brief, or go into detail about manufacturing, here’s how to shape this part:

5. Business management and organization

By this part of your business plan, you will have described in detail the ideas behind your company or its expansion. The next step is to explain how you plan to execute them. 

Start by talking about the people in your business and how they’ll contribute to its success.

You will have highlighted key employees at the start of the business plan document, so use this opportunity to go into more detail about the team.

After all, they’ll be driving the business with you – here’s what you can show:

An organizational chart - This will be a great way to sense check the structure you have created – are there too many people in senior roles? How does the team work together? Is there enough room for growth?

The backgrounds of your key players - A strong management team requires people with a range of skills and expertise. Although your employees don’t need to have years of experience, they should be bringing something interesting to the table.

Your hiring strategies - A big part of business planning is finding the right people – after all, salaries form part of the fixed costs you have to pay for. How do you expect to reach the right talent pool as you grow the company?

The company’s legal structure - If you are creating a startup, go into more detail about how your business will be run. For example, will it be a limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, or partnership?

6. Marketing strategy

You have a customer profile, so now you need to think about how you’re going to manage customer relationships. Nailing this in your business plan is a really smart move.

First of all, understanding your marketing objectives will help you find the right channels.

It will also uncover the financial data around your company’s promotional efforts. What will your campaigns cost? What can you afford to spend on marketing?

Here are the key marketing components that you will need to consider:

Your website - While social media is effective, websites are essential. They’re easy to get – a website builder (opens in new tab) like Zyro (opens in new tab) or Squarespace (opens in new tab) will help you to create a bespoke platform and get online quickly and at a low cost. 

Its marketing tools - The other major advantage to website builders is that they provide users with integrations, software, and insights to help drive marketing strategies. You’ll be getting an online presence and the tools to promote your business.

Third-party assistance - You can also use online marketing services (opens in new tab) to help you structure each marketing plan and drive a difference between you and your competitors. Who would you work with, and what will that cost?

Other marketing channels - Where will your audience be? You’ll most likely benefit from using social media platforms, but which ones? Find out if it’s worth investing time into Instagram, or if LinkedIn will be more profitable. 

How your business will stand out - When you write a business plan, you’re making predictions about the future – what will you do if your marketing strategy fails? Understand some key digital marketing trends (opens in new tab) to help inform your ideas. 

7. Business operations and logistics

Now we’re getting really granular. Breaking down the proposed logistics in your business plan will be incredibly useful for you as you work out financial projections.

Getting a clear picture of business operations will also help you formulate a contingency plan.

It may be that your business model is very niche and needs testing – how will you account for any failures? While it isn't fun to think about worst case scenarios, it’s better to do this now.

Plus, if you need to secure funding, this section is important. Here’s what to cover:

8. Financial plan

Whether you need to secure funding, take out a business loan, or simply take note of your income statements, every business plan needs to cover financial planning.

It helps to take a look at your finance software (opens in new tab) options to construct this part of the document.

Being upfront about your company’s financial outlook is critical, both for you and anyone else who is planning to invest in the organization.

There are three key components that you’ll need to include in your business plan:

An income statement , which shows the most accurate picture (or estimation) of your company’s profit and loss over a period of time. 

A cash flow statement . To understand how much money you need to scale the business, and if it’s viable, you’ll need to provide cash flow statements. 

Balance sheets . A balance sheet discloses your business assets and liabilities – in other words, what you owe to others. 

On top of your financial statements, you should also include a breakeven analysis of your company in your business plan.

Critical for startups, this shows at what point you expect to start making a profit and for what duration you anticipate to be running at a loss. 

Once you know what goes into a good business plan, you’ll need to know how to make it a document that people actually want to read. 

In addition to the main segments, you can include supporting documents to help people further contextualize what it is you’re doing.

That will also help you to keep track of your plans, especially if you’re only writing the document to help yourself and your team, not investors.

Either way, you want to avoid writing a total snooze-fest. While a lot of detail goes into a business plan, it also needs to be engaging and exciting throughout. 

So, to write a really solid business plan, remember to:

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.


How to create an effective Business Plan – Step by Step Approach

Business Plan

In this creative world everyone has an impressive idea that could take the business world by storm. But turning a business idea without a business plan into an actual business is a different ballgame right?

Since decades, we have seen that when you approach with a business idea without a business plan and no one will entertain you. It’s like shooting an arrow in the dark.

Even your friends and family, or the angel investors would run away and not take you seriously. Having a plan will help you gauge the feasibility of your Business Idea

Creating a Business Plan

There is a simple motto in Business – Where there is a Plan, there is a way

Every entrepreneur and startup company needs a plan. Before deciding its outline and how to create it, there are some critical questions to answer and factors to understand.

You may think you’re ready to launch a startup. That’s great news, and you should be excited about it. But what is the first step?

Knowing how to create a good business plan guides you through each stage  managing your entire business and understands different aspects of it. Business plan acts as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business.

The perks of a good business plan is that it can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors also feel confident they see a return on their investment with  facts and figures.

Your business plan is simply a tool you use to convince people who might work with you  or invest in your company.

Sometimes with great timing, solid business foundation, entrepreneurial drive, a little luck , some founders build a business without creating even an informal business plan. Don’t be one of them because the odds of these entrepreneurs failing are greater.

But does a business plan make startup successful? Absolutely not. But with great planning and preparation it does make a difference between success and failure right?

Search Active-Investors Across The World At One Place and Get Funding For Your Startup Today.

When it comes to your entrepreneurial dreams you should do everything possible to set the stage for success.

Writing a business plan takes you to every step of starting your company so you can better prepare and handle any challenges that will come afterwards.

Different companies require different types of business plan; it depends on your financial model, your revenue structure and many more factors.

Therefore before you start seeking legal advice, renting office space, forming an LLC or meeting investors you need to put your thoughts on paper and create an outstanding unmatched business plan.

This is with each line so appealing that investors are keen to know when the date of investment is.

Types of Business plan :

Traditional business plan.

This type of plan is very detailed, takes more time to write, and is comprehensive. Lenders and investors commonly request this plan.

Lean startup plan

This type of plan is high-level focus, fast to write, and contains key elements only. Some lenders and investors may ask for more information.

Business plan examples you must read before you create your own:

Here are four real life business plan examples which will get you prepare to make your next business plan.

While you may use your business plan to attract investors, partners, suppliers, etc… Always remember you are here to make a change, the goal of your business plan is to convince you that your idea makes sense.

Remember it’s your idea, you time, your money, and ultimately your effort which on the line.  

A Simple yet effective business plan Format:

  In this complex business world you will get thousands of Business plan outlines. Get one of the simplest and most effective business plan outline which is easy to create and exactly what investors need when he is reading a Business Plan.

The formats are many, so it is imperative that you choose the right ones, pertinent to your idea. You must look for the right examples of business Plan to gain an understanding.

A good Business Plan Template will help you get clarity on your corporate strategy.

  Creating a business plan can:

Writing a Business Plan is as important as drinking water to live:

Have an exquisite idea in mind that will change millions of life? Let’s write a business plan then.

Important here is to break your idea into different parts. Let’s focus on writing a business plan:

Business Plan Outline

Have an appealing executive summary:

This section will explain what your business does, where you want to take your business in next 3-5 years and why you’ll be successful.

Keep this section short and not more than 1 page because you still have plenty of time to get into the details later. At this point it’s important to show readers what they’re getting into and why need to consider this Business plan over other business plans.

Add Company overview:

Although this step kind of sound similar to executive summary, the company overview gives a bird view of your business and what you do. It is also necessary to answer questions like:

What does your business do?

Where do you fit in? (Industry and marketplace of your business)

What is the legal structure of your business? (S-Corp or C-Corp, or LLC)

This section should also not be explained in detail. Make sure that this company overview gives a quick—but catchy—pitch about what you do, who you serve, and why you’ll be able to serve them.

The point here is to keep the reader interested and keen to know more.

Perform your Market Analysis:

The purpose of the market analysis is to make investors confident about you and the business owner have an in-depth understanding of your industry, market, and competitors.

To show this understanding, your market analysis should include the following sections:

Industry description:

The reader must get look into your industry. Show how big it is, how it is growing rapidly compared to past and how are industry leaders predicting it will grow in the future also important trends and characteristics and skillsets. List out the top league players in your industry.

Target market overview:

Here provide insights and solution about your target market. Some important questions to consider are:

Target Market Overview for Your Business Plan Outline

How big your target market is?

Who are the customers in your target market, and what are their needs?

Who is currently trying to serve those needs?

Where is your target market located?

What’s the key demographic you’re serving?

Therefore by conduction market research you can also give the best estimate of how you should be pricing your product/service.

Additionally also include barriers to enter the market and competitors research. Considering so much of data, research, and amount of information involved in this section, this section may take the longest.

However this section is very crucial to your overall business plan, therefore it is important to make sure it contains all the necessary details.

This is because a well-researched plan will show readers that you’re knowledgeable and have done homework about your target market and your business.

Define your business organization:

This section shows your organization’s expertise in your business domain.It explains who does what in your business and background of staff.

Organization structure, Ownership structure also needs to be added in this section to show who is owner of company, and different stakeholders who are involved in the company.

Also show background of entire staff right from top management this will highlight what your team will be bringing on table in terms of experience.

Core service of business:

This section will have complete description of your product/service. Therefore make sure you highlight your product/service in such a way that it is  different from the competitors.

Also if you rely on different vendors/manufacturers who will be providing you product/service it’s important to add in business plan.

Sales and Marketing plan:

Till now you have given crucial information of your product/service and what you will be offering to market. But now let’s see how you will offer.


The first step is to show how you are going to showcase your product or  position it? Because the way you position your brand will eventually determines how customers find and interact with you. So mentioned in business plan whether:

Are you a free service?

Does your service guarantee quality? If yes what is duration?

This explains your positioning in the market.

Explain how you are going to reach your customer. By which medium and process, so explain if currently you have any plans for packaging the product and how will you advertise the product.

Advertising can be done through offline or online medium. Depending on your product find out the most useful channel for advertising your product.

Explain sales plan and if possible explain sales procedure you will be using. Showing the expertise of Sales will make investor know your experience because Sales makes you profit and sales gets you going. Sales is the fuel if business journey.

Although you might not know exactly how your sales and marketing will turn or which channels will be most successful, nevertheless you should give a clear and concise overview of how you plan on selling your product.

This is because preparation shows that you are well aware of future and shows your confidence.

Financial Plan and Projections:

Consider this is most important part of the entire document. With this step you’ll detail your financial plan & projections, depending upon current state of your finances and mapping where you will be need of finances.

Financial projections are either supported by  past data, or determined by research and analysis on the industry and top competitors.

You need to include these essential documents:

Although the appendix will be at the very end of your business plan, it will have all the supporting information you didn’t include in your document.

Like if have any additional data points, charts, footnotes, or further explanations that are essential to creating a complete plan. You can also add any contracts, legal documents, permits, and product pictures which is not included elsewhere.

Appendix begins with a table of contents that breaks entire section of your business plan, followed by the supporting information to each section.

Small Business Plans Explained

In it’s simplest form, a business plan is a document that outlines the basics about your business, products, and services; the market you are targeting; the goals you have for your business; and how you will achieve those goals.

A business plan is one of several important plans you should have when you are starting a business, the others being a marketing plan and a financial plan.

Your business plan should pull all three of these plans together, incorporating elements of your marketing plan and your financial plan into a comprehensive document.

Think of your business plan as a map or blueprint that will guide your business from the start-up phase through establishment and eventually business growth.

Why You Really Do Need a Business Plan

Reasons for having a Business Plan vary by the type of business you are starting and your intention to use it. But the common thread for all businesses is that a business plan Outline is necessary.

After all, how can you get your business launched and thriving without any type of written plan to help you?

Some of the reasons you need a small business plan that may apply to you include:

It is essential when you  apply for a bank loan, pitch your business to investors, or bring in  business partners.

You won’t truly be able to qualify your business idea without understanding your target market, researching the competition, and conducting a feasibility analysis — all parts of a business plan outline.

A good small business plan not only outlines where you are and where you want to be, but also helps you identify the specific actions you need to take to get there.

A business plan can provide essential background information and Business strategy. It showcases culture to employees, including managers and staff, as your business grows.

The financial section of your business plan can be the basis of your business budget. It is a useful tool for managing cash flow on a monthly basis.

So, you know you need a business plan. The next question to consider is what type of plan is the best fit for your small business.


A business plan still plays a critical role in launching a profitable and sustainable venture today. New data shows us that the best time to complete a robust plan may now come later in the journey than it used to.

It is much more important to get started, test and secure funding first.When it comes to business plan outline, there are now more templates and streamlined formats available to meet today’s needs to accommodate faster moving, leaner startups.

Just don‘t let this part of the process slow you down. No matter how you do it, make sure to have someone with experience review it for you.

Take a look at  Alcor’s free reports on Venture Capital funding analysis . So, get your business assessed on our high-end AI platform to get maximum results and funding from our global investors

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Look no further – this book is packed with the insights, tips, and strategies you need to become a successful entrepreneur. Discover the two most significant driving forces of successful entrepreneurship, examples of the best entrepreneurial leaders, and why focus and tenacity matter more than strategies, business plans, and techniques.

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Creating a Business Plan for a Small Business

Creating a small business plan

As a business owner, time and money aren’t things you have to waste.  

Yet, that’s exactly what will happen if you rush headlong into opening a business without first creating a small business plan.

Think about it: You wouldn’t decide to build a house without a blueprint or take a road trip without a map. Your business plan serves as the blueprint and map for your business. It’s a foundational document that entrepreneurs and small business owners can’t risk ignoring. Once you’ve worked on validating your business idea, it’s time to create a plan.

In this post, we’re going to explore why you should create a business plan for your small business, different types of business plans, how to create a business plan, and provide sample business plans.

Creating a small business plan.

Why do i need a plan for my small business.

Your small business plan is an essential document that helps you plan and start your business. It assists you with:

You might think of a business plan as a static document, something that once it’s written, you don’t have to touch again. Yet, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Think of your small business plan as a living document, one that grows and changes with your business. Many business owners find that they need multiple business plans as their business objectives change over time.

Your business plan allows you to formulate and plan out your goals in a way that’s both intelligible and trackable. As your business grows, you can refer back to it to make sure you’re hitting the milestones that you need to be achieving. Investors will also look to your business plan to determine if your business is achieving its stated goals and worthy of their investments.

How do I create a small business plan?

Different types of small business plans..

Before creating a business plan, you’ll need to identify the type of business plan that best suits your needs.

The US Small Business Association describes two different types of business plans: traditional or lean startup. The difference is that “traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to go into detail in each section. A lean startup business plan is “less common … They focus on summarizing only the most important points of key elements of your plan.”

It’s a good idea to create both types of business plans. A more traditional business plan acts as a working, living document, it’s something you refer to throughout the life of your business for guidance as you work toward your business goals. Lean startup business plans are a fantastic tool to have in your business arsenal, too. They can be used to determine potential interest in your business — share them while doing market testing to determine the viability of your idea or with investors when seeking funding.

What’s included in a traditional small business plan?

The SBA recommends that a traditional business plan include the following elements:

We know, that seems like a lot of information, but trust us when we say that this document is vital to the success of your business. The work you put in now to create a business plan will save you from unnecessary mistakes and risks in the long run.

Let’s look at the individual components of the traditional small business plan as described by the SBA so you know exactly what each section entails.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan because it summarizes the essence of your business.

This is a brief section that doesn’t mince words: Describe what your company is about and why it will succeed. This is a great time to rely on your mission statement or unique value proposition.

Include basic information about your company like who leads it, your product or service, and high-level financial information if you intend on seeking financing. But keep in mind that brevity is the soul of your executive summary, so don’t get lost in the weeds.

Company Description

This section allows you to go into more depth about your business and requires specificity. Describe the problem(s) that your business solves and your competitive advantages. And remember that it’s not just your business idea and viability that’ll attract interest, it’s also the people behind the scenes making things come together. Use this section to detail your team or the team that you will hire, the legal status of your business (if you’re up and running), and where you’re located.

This section is your time to shine so go ahead and tout the benefits of your business.

Market Analysis

 A market analysis is integral to any small business plan.

Your business isn’t operating in a bubble sealed off from the rest of the world. Unless your business idea is truly original, you’ll be competing in a crowded marketplace.

This section is your chance to explain the opportunities in your market and necessitates some competitive research. The SBA recommends expounding on market trends, and answering the following questions:

Organization and Management

Here’s your chance to go into detail about the people who are going to make this business idea a reality and the structure your business will take.

Investors and others will want to know about the legal status of your business — are you a registered LLC or do you plan on becoming one? Is it a partnership or are you the sole proprietor? If you don’t have a legal status yet, this is an opportunity to lay out what the plans are for gaining one and the type of legal status you’ll establish.

As we’ve mentioned, it’s not just about the type of business you’re starting, it’s also about the people making it happen. Think about including a chart of your organization detailing people’s responsibilities and what they bring to the table. You can even choose to include (or link to) the resumes or CVs of integral team members.

Service or Product Line

What are you selling? Here’s your chance to regale us with all the details about your products and/or services. In this section, be sure to answer the following questions and include the following information:

Marketing and Sales

Your marketing strategy isn’t going to be static. This section of your business plan will change and evolve as your business does. However, you’ll always want to include the following information in this part of your plan:

This section will inform how you make your financial projections and decisions, so don’t skimp on your market and sales research . Try making market research a continuous habit so you always have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the market and can adapt accordingly.

Funding Request

Will you seek funding for your business? If so, make sure this section of your business plan is thorough. Details and specificity will help you make your appeal.

Detail your funding requests and requirements:

Financial Projections

This section of your business plan is meant to back your funding requests but is essential to your plan even if you aren’t seeking funding.

Your goal: “Convince the reader that your business is financially stable and will be a financial success.”

If you don’t have an established business you should include what you believe your prospective financial outlook to be. This means including (data-driven) income forecasts, big expenditures, and balance sheets. If you have an existing business, this is information you should have available. If that’s the case, include your actual cash flow , income, balance sheets , and expenditures.

If you’re seeking funding, this information should support and match your requests. Don’t forget to mention any collateral that can help make your case for receiving a loan.

If possible, use graphs and images to help support the information you include in your financial projections.

Your business plan appendix should include any information that supports your small business plan and funding requests. Here are some things to think about including:

And there you have it — a thought-through and effective guide to creating your traditional business plan!

Now, let’s see what a leaner, startup business plan looks like.

What’s included in a lean startup small business plan?

Why would you consider creating a leaner business plan for your small business? A lean business plan is perfect for you if your business idea is simple, you plan on changing your business model, you’d like to start your business quickly, or if you want a shorter, condensed business plan to share with others.

Once again, we’re going to look to the SBA, a trusted institute, to help us understand what a lean business plan looks like and what type of information should reside therein. Keep in mind that since this is a lean startup plan, it should be kept succinct and to the point.

The SBA recommends that your lean startup business plan include the following elements:

We understand that this might not appear to be leaner than a traditional small business plan, but you’d be surprised — stick with us as we dive into it to learn what it entails.

Key Partnerships

Who is going to help you achieve success with your business? Think strategically: Will you have partners? Who are your manufacturers and suppliers? Succinctly explain these partnerships in this section.

Key Activities

How is your business going to gain a competitive advantage over other businesses in the same market? Is it your sales model? Your technical expertise and tools? Those who read your business plan will want to know what your plan is for gaining an advantage over the competition —no one wants to support or invest in a risky business.  

Key Resources

What resources will you use to create value for your customers and your business? Whether it’s your team, available funds or capital, patents and trademarks, or third-party business resources, list them here. 

Value Proposition

Your unique value proposition should describe what differentiates you from other competitors in your market. What value does your business bring to the table that others don’t? Describe it clearly and concisely.

Customer Relationships

What will your interactions with customers look like? Will you offer personalized services or automated? Think about the first touchpoint someone will have with your business through to the last. You can use your marketing funnel to help inform this section of your business plan. 

Customer Segments

You can’t please everybody. That’s as true in business as it is in everyday life. Use this section to describe your ideal customer and target market as that’s who your business will be designed to help.

Where will you promote and market your business? Where will you have a business presence and communicate with customers? (Hint: it should be where your customers are.)

Cost Structure

What is your business or company going to focus on: reducing your overall cost of operations or maximizing your business value? After thinking through your business strategy, detail it here, and don’t forget to include any significant costs you’ll encounter along the way. 

Revenue Streams

How is your business going to make real, tangible revenue? If you’re a retail business then you’ll likely be making direct in-person or online sales. If you’re opening a gym or yoga studio you may charge subscription fees. Either way, potential investors want to know how you plan on making money so they can rest assured their investment isn’t a waste.

And there you have it, folks — a succinct guide to creating a lean startup business plan.

Example Small Business Plan Templates

It’s one thing to read about creating a business plan and another to see what one looks like in practice. If you’re intimidated at the thought of creating a business plan from scratch, don’t worry, there are plenty of templates to help.

Here are two business plan examples provided by the Small Business Association that’ll guide and assist you as you start writing your own plan:

What happens after you create a small business plan?

First off, congratulations on completing your small business plan!

Now that you’ve created your plan and laid the foundation for your business, it’s time to put it into practice. As your business evolves and grows, make sure to revisit your business plan. This plan is a living document and a great guide to helping you understand what business goals you’re achieving and where you may need to improve your performance.

Don’t forget to revisit your business plan regularly to make sure it’s updated as your business changes and adapts to the market.

We wish you the best of luck with your business and don’t forget that we’re here to help! If your business is ready to get online and create a digital presence, we’ve got you covered . Let us know if you have any questions or comments below!

Natalie Brownell

Natalie Brownell

Domain.com Marketing Manager. She believes in the power of words and loves a good story. She resides in MA and spends her days behind the keyboard with her two feline coworkers. Connect with her on LinkedIn .


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