If you’re looking to start a business, you’ll need to create a business plan. A well-written business plan can help get you funding, track your progress, and stay on track for success.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years. To avoid the same fate, start with a super-solid business plan.
In this article, we will discuss how to write a business plan that gets results.
1. Create an executive summary
The first step in creating a business plan that gets results is to create an executive summary. This part should include an overview of your company’s history, mission statement, and goals.
It should also describe the products or services you offer, your target market, and your competitive advantages.
The executive summary should be concise and easy to read. It’s not important to include every detail of your business plan.
However, do add enough information to give potential investors and partners a clear idea of what your company is all about.
With a well-crafted executive summary, you can set the stage for a successful business plan that gets results.
2. Define your business goals and objectives
Without clarity of goals, it will be difficult to write a business plan that gets results. The first step is to clearly define your business goals.
What are you trying to achieve?
Do you want to grow your business, expand into new markets, or improve your bottom line?
Once you have a good understanding of your goals, start to develop objectives that will help you achieve them. Objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
For example, if your goal is to grow your business, a goal might be to increase sales by 10% within the next year. Set specific and achievable objectives. You can create a roadmap for success and ensure that your business plan is effective.
3. Do a competitor analysis
Any traditional business plan worth its salt will include a competitor analysis. Use this market research to understand your place in the market.
By understanding your competition, you can develop ways to separate your products or services. Use the knowledge to gain a competitive advantage.
To do a competitive analysis, you will need to research your competitors. This includes understanding their business model, their target market, their marketing mix, and their strengths and weaknesses.
With this information in hand, you can develop strategies to position your own business for success.
4. Describe your product or service
Business planning involves describing your product or service. Provide an overview of what your product or service is and why it is needed.
Then, provides details on how you plan distribution and what benefits it will provide. Include information on any unique features or selling points. These will set your product or service apart from the competition.
Finally, you will want to outline any plans for future products or services. This will also inform your marketing and sales strategy.
By describing your product or service in detail, you will give yourself a better chance of success with your business.
5. Outline your target market
Now that you have an idea of what your business will be, it’s time to think about who will buy your product/service. This is known as your target market.
Keep in mind that you can’t be everything to everyone. So it’s important to focus on a specific group of people who are most likely to use your product or service.
When you define a target market, factors such as age, location, gender, income level, and interests are important.
Once you understand your target market, create a marketing strategy that will reach them effectively.
By doing this market analysis, you’ll be one step closer to creating a successful business plan.
6. Create a financial plan
A typical business plan always includes financial forecasts.
This plan will include a cash flow statement, income statements, balance sheets, and financial projections. You’ll include budgets that will help you understand your revenue and expenses, as well as any financing or debt that you may have.
By understanding your income and expenses, you can better prepare for unexpected costs, and make sure that your business is on track for financial goals.
By creating a budget, you can ensure that your spending is aligned with your business strategy. Creating a detailed financial plan is an essential step in ensuring the success of your business.
7. Develop a marketing strategy
Your business plan template should always include a marketing plan.
This strategy should begin with a value proposition. This states the unique value that your business offers to its customers.
From there, identify your ideal customer segments and craft messages that speak to their needs. Once you have identified your ideal customers, you can start to develop a plan for growth.
This plan should include strategies for both acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.
Finally, include plans and actions to watch and control customer churn rates. This is important because increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
8. Set up systems and procedures
Any successful business needs to have systems and procedures in place to function efficiently.
Have operation guidelines that document how the business should run on a day-to-day basis. Include clear roles and responsibilities for employees and the management team.
A strong set of operations procedures ensures everyone in the organization is on the same page. They know what needs to be done to meet the company’s objectives.
It can help to identify any bottlenecks or areas of waste so that they can be addressed and corrected. Set up systems and procedures at the start of your journey to save you a lot of time and headaches down the road.
9. Outline your funding plan
If you’re looking to raise capital for your business, then your business plans need clear and concise funding expectations.
This should include a timeline of when you expect to raise the funds, as well as a realistic best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario.
Investors will want to see that you have a solid plan in place and that you’re confident in your ability to raise the necessary funds.
By being clear and honest about your funding needs, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to secure the investment you need.
So there you have it – a nine-step guide to creating a business plan that actually gets results.
Of course, this is a starting point, and your specific business will need more planning and thought. But if you can take these steps as a foundation, you’re well on your way to building a thriving company.
Are you ready to get started?
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