The Small Business Association (SBA) is a great resource for starting your own business. One of the best, in fact! And if business plan service experts include “Business Plan Writing Services” in their Ten Steps to Starting A Business, you know it’s important.
That’s why we put together this step-by-step guide for creating the ultimate business plan.
Let’s Get Started!
Ask any good business plan service and they’ll tell you, there are a few key elements every business plan needs to be successful.
Business plans come in all shapes and sizes, for all different purposes, but they all include the following:
- Executive summary
- Business description
- Industry analysis
- Competitive analysis
- Market analysis
- Marketing plan
- Operations and management plan
- Financial projections
Step One: The Executive Summary
A thorough and well organized Executive Summary includes the following:
- A Mission Statement: Why does your company exist? What is its purpose? The answer to this question will guide the activities of your company.
- A Brief Summary: Include the date of formation, company founders, physical location(s), and the number of people you employ.
- Services and Products: A quick list of your services or products, as well as a brief description.
- Financial Information: If you’re looking for financing or investors, this section is particularly important.
Step Two: Business Description
Here’s where you can go into a bit more detail! Include an overview of your legal structure (LLC?), owners, management setup, and a brief company history.
You can also go into more detail about the services or products you offer. Address the market you plan to serve and offer up any other information to demonstrate how you plan to introduce what you’re offering.
Step Three: Industry Analysis
The best way to organize your Industry Analysis is as a five-step process.
- Start by giving a brief overview of your industry.
- Review growth patterns and trends within your industry.
- Establish what factors influence your industry. For example, competitive practices of other businesses, seasonal changes, and governmental policies.
- Use data to support any growth you anticipate in your industry. Offer both a short and long-term forecast.
- Using concrete details, show how you will position your company to stay competitive in your industry.
If all this sounds a little intimidating, consider consulting with a high quality business plan service. They can help you collect the information you need to keep this section effective and accurate.
Step Four: Competitive Analysis
Writing a competitive analysis sounds counter intuitive. Why would you want potential investors or lenders to know how well your competition is doing? Mainly to show that you know what you’re up against and how your company offers something unique to the market.
To do so, you should:
- Identify your competition. Include specific details, like sales volume, pricing information, and marketing strategies.
- Describe and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Include a plan to exploit these strengths and how you’ll overcome similar weaknesses in your own company.
Step Five: Market Analysis
The purpose of this section is to describe your intended market. Try to address these key topics:
- A customer description. Explain what they need and how your service or product satisfies that need. Try to offer specific demographics.
- A market description. How big is it? Is it growing, or shrinking? Support your decision to jump into this market with concrete research that supports forecasted growth.
- A pricing structure description. Include how your pricing structure keeps you competitive.
Step Six: Marketing Plan
If you want to attract customers, you need a flexible marketing strategy. One that can be evaluated occasionally and reworked in response to changes in your marketplace.
Effective marketing plans include a four-stage strategy:
- Stage One: A penetration strategy to represent the company’s plan for initial entry.
- Stage Two: A growth strategy that builds on your initial success by expanding to new users and new markets.
- Stage Three: This strategy addresses alternate methods of distribution of your products in a way that increases sales. For example, hiring more sales staff.
- Stage Four: This includes methods of audience targeting and advertising.
Step Seven: Operations and Management Plan
This section is exactly what it sounds like. The plan to get everything done on a day-to-day basis.
The complexity of this section varies from company to company. For a sole proprietor, it’ll stay pretty brief. A corporation, on the other hand, will need to address multiple management teams, a variety of locations, and the board of directors.
Other information investors will look for in this section includes:
- Your company’s structure
- For established businesses, the length of time your company has existed
- Your values and mission statement
Step Eight: Financial Projections
Financial projections should be supported by:
- Statements of projected income
- Order histories
- Balance sheets
- Capital expenditure budgets
- Reference letters
- Cash Flow statements
- and your credit history.
These documents will give your company essential credibility with lenders, investors, potential partners, and future employees. If you have questions about generating some of these complex documents, consider contacting a Business Plan Service. They can get you started in less time, with less stress.
Ready to get your business off to the right start? Bargain Business Plan is here to help.
At Bargain Business Plan, our work has helped countless new business owners. Everything from obtaining loans, attracting investors, and developing and growing your business can be accomplished with the right plan. Our team of skilled professional writers are ready to help your startup through the early development stages and beyond. Contact us today for a free consultation.