"if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail..." -Benjamin Franklin, the guy on the $100 bill.
No matter if it’s a start-up or a Fortune 500 company. Every business needs a plan on paper. It’s important to see where your company is now and where it is headed in the future.
The traditional sections of a business plan are as follows:
Executive summary - a snapshot of your business. This section is written last
Company description - describes what exactly you do, location of business, information on founders and their roles
Market analysis - research on your industry, market, and competitors.
Organization and management - your business and management structure. List who are the executive officers/board of directors, In most start-ups you will have most of these titles if not all.
Service or product – This is where you will list the products or services you’re offering. And why they are better than your competition.
Marketing and sales - how you’ll market your business and your sales strategy.
Funding request - how much money you’ll need for next 3 to 5 years. (If you are seeking financing)
Financial projections – List your financial goals for the next 3 to 5 years.
Appendix- an optional section that includes résumés and permits.
For a detailed outline on business plans click this link HERE
How do you write a business plan however? Before you begin here are the 5 Mogul Motivation tips that will make the writing of your business plan far more effective. They are as follows:
Create a company profile
This should include your company history, what products/services you will offer and how they will solve a problem/meet a need, your target market/consumers, and what will make your business stand out from competitors.
2. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, AND MORE RESEARCH
This step will determine how solid the following steps will be. You must know every single thing about your business, the market place and about the industry you are entering. Consume as much information as possible on these things so that you can know how your product/service will create a niche.
3. Determine your audience?
Who will be reading this? If you are writing your business plan as a simple roadmap for yourself as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey then perfect! In that case your business plan won’t need as many details or have to be as lengthy, at least in the beginning. Business plans are evolving documents and will always change or grow as time passes. However if your goal from the start is to appease investors then you will need to have a concise plan that is extremely clear and on point. Additionally your Funding Request & Financial projections sections must have balance sheets, cash flow statements if this is your objective
4. Marketing Plan
Regardless who your audience is there must be a marketing plan. I would argue it’s perhaps the most important section of the entire business plan. Marketing focuses on awareness and driving the consumption of your products/services. So how will you raise that awareness? Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Direct-Door campaigns, billboards, TV/radio commercials, etc. There are many ways to market your small business and all of these things will cost money. The amount varies of course so it’s up to you to determine a marketing budget and see which avenue will get you the best return on investment (ROI)
5. Show pride
Doesn’t matter if you have a traditional business plan or a condensed one page plan. Doesn’t matter if it is just for yourself or for investors. Your pride for this new venture you created must show! If your business plan is lazy then your business will be lazy and ultimately that means you don’t care much about it. Put in the work and make sure your plan is solid and guides you in the right direction.