How to Create a Business Plan

Updated: May 19



A good business plan can help at each stage of a business. It creates a strategic roadmap on structuring, growing, and operating a business. In some cases, an operating plan may also be needed, to lay out tactical aspects of business, such as specific timelines and processes of the operations.


If you are starting a business or if you are an existing business thinking about getting a loan or an investment, having a business plan is a smart choice.


READ HOW TO APPLY FOR A BUSINESS LOAN


Traditional business plan outline includes:

  • Cover Page

  • Executive Summary

  • Company Description

  • Management and Operations

  • Services or Products Lines

  • Market Analysis

  • Marketing and Sales

  • Financial Statements and Forecasts


Executive Summary


This section of the business plan summarizes everything in your business plan. This section should be brief, but it will include important aspects of each topic in your business plan, such as basic information about the company, the management team, products and services, the target market. This section should also include the company’s mission and high-level financial information and funding request if you plan to ask for financing. Also, write to convince the reader that your business is ready to succeed.

Always keep in mind that the business plan is meant to answer the four W’s of your business: Who, What, Where and Why.


  • Who is the company and their management?

  • What is the problem the business solves?

  • Where is the company operating?

  • Why should the business get the reader’s attention (Loan, Equity, Sales)?


Company Description


This section includes basic information about who the business is.


  • Company Name

  • Legal Structure- date and place of registration

  • Business goals

  • Industry

  • What problem the business solves?

  • Who the target customers are?

Management and Operations


This section will introduce the reader to the management team and the structure of operations. Include an organization chart to lay out who oversees what in your company. It is important to have a good overview of both the company’s current and future workforce. On the operations side, identify the complete value chain from supplier to customer. Include resumes of management as an attachment to the business plan.


Services or Product Lines


Showcase your product and service mix in this section and describe what you sell or what services you offer. Include things like price, cost, and customer testimonials. Share any important aspects such as intellectual property, copyrights, and patents.


Market Analysis


Perform an analysis of the market and the competitive landscape in which your product or service is sold. Include things like Total Attainable Market (TAM), Serviceable Attainable Market (SAM) and Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM). Look at how your products or services compare with your competitors. Identify opportunities and threats in the market using a PESTEL analysis. PESTEL will help you scan the external environment in Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors.


Marketing and Sales


Explain how you reach your customers and how you close a sale. Hash out the details of your marketing strategy and address things like inbound marketing, digital marketing, email marketing and paid ads. Explain the reach, conversion rates and the cost of the marketing plan. This section is important in explaining the revenues in your financial projections.


Financial Statements and Forecasts


Supplement your business plan with clean historical financial statements and a three to five year financial projection. This would include and income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, working capital, and capital expenditures schedules.


READ HOW TO DO A FINANCIAL PROJECTION


GFT's accounting services can help you get your books ready for your business plan. GFT also provides financial planning and business services that can guide your business planning process.

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