If you’re about to embark on your first small business venture, you may be asking yourself ‘how do I write a business plan?’
It’s a smart question to ask. A business plan encompasses everything you need to ensure your small business idea is viable and being set up in the most strategic way.
What is a business plan?
Also a smart question. A business plan identities your business opportunity, summarises your product or service, describes who your customers are, identifies core competitors, explains what sets your business apart and why your customers need you.
Importantly, your business plan also explains how you’ll profit from the opportunity you identified.
Why is a business plan important?
There are a number of reasons to write a business plan. Firstly, mapping out your business and strategy is an important step to ensuring your idea has viability and will be profitable.
Business plans also help you explain a business idea, and can help to encourage lenders or investors to help fund your business.
“Mapping out your business and strategy is an important step to ensuring your idea has viability and will be profitable.”
How to write a simple one-page business plan
In our time-poor society, a one-page business plan is a great way to summarise your concept. It’s also a great way to help develop your thinking and strategy. We suggest breaking your page into eight small sections.
Here’s what to include:
Header: Company name, and one-sentence value proposition
Second section: The business opportunity or market problem, and how you solve it
Third section: Competitor summary and target audience demographics (can be in dot point form)
Fourth section: Topline budget summary; how much you currently have and what you’ll use it for
Fifth section: Sales and marketing strategy (again, can be in dotpoint form)
Sixth section: Key target dates / timeline of activity
Seventh section: Financial projections, including current budget and sales goals
Eight section: The team structure, and any other partners or investor logos that will help build credibility.
“A one-page business plan is a great way to summarise your concept… it’s also a great way to help develop your thinking and strategy.”
Template for the best business plan:
Need something a bit longer? Here’s what to include if you’re writing a long business plan for your start-up.
1. Executive summary
You’ll present it at the beginning but write it at the end. This is the powerful impact statement that summarises your business idea and why the world needs it.
2. Company description
You can be more specific here about the problems your business solves. Provide detailed information about your company and its advantages. What will make it a success?
3. Market analysis
Go into detail about your target market; their likes, dislikes, demographics and buying behaviors. Also include your competitor analysis here. How are you different from them?
4. Risk assessment
Be honest about the challenges you’ve identified, and share your strategy for overcoming them.
5. Sales and marketing plan
How will you reach your audience? How many sales do you need to hit your target profit margin?
What is your plan for reaching those sales goals? This can include everything from hiring staff, securing funding, launching your website, and so on. You can also note here how you’ll measure success and ensure the project stays on track.
7. Budget and finance projections
How much money do you currently have? If you need more, how will you secure it? What is the financial forecast for your business?
Put a face to the business name; show your team and outline their expertise/skills and how they’ll be using them to grow your business.
Still have questions?
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