Business Plan Basics – What Your Business Plan Should Include & Why

Business plans always seem like a very daunting part of the entrepreneurial process, but when you strip it down, it can be pretty simple. Essentially, it’s an outline that shows why your business is going to work. And even if you never show the business plan to someone, it’s a great exercise because it forces you to really think about the aspects of your business, and how you’ll get where you want to.

Here are some things that are a must in your business plan.

Summary.

Think of this as your basic business concept. This section describes what your business does and what problem it solves. Explain what market you’ll exist in, how your business will function, and why it will be successful.

Product overview.

This is for your products/services and their advantages. What does it offer customers? How does it help them? What will your business do and who will it serve?

Marketing.

Describe how you’ll attract customers and what will set your business apart from your competitors. Here you should address things like: What market will your product find itself in? What does your demographic look like? How will you sell your products or services?

Operations.

This is how your business will function. What will your daily routine look like? What goals will you aim to achieve each week? This is also where you can talk about any milestones you’d like to reach in the future.

Your team.

This isn’t necessarily full bios of your team members, but rather what each one brings to the table. This section is where you sell who your team is and explain why those involved are good to have on board when thinking about the future success of your  business.

The financials.

This is where you talk about how your business will generate revenue. It’s a good idea to talk about financial projections and if you’re seeking funding, to explain how much money you need and to where it will be applied. Take a realistic look at how you’ll make money, and what expenses you’ll encounter to have a solid financial plan.

Where to start?

If you’re unsure how to go about this, we have several programs that can help. First, our Small Business Growth and Planning Series classes. These are 3-part clusters of classes that focus on one main business area – Business Basics, Financial Awareness and Marketing Strategies. Learn more about them here

We also host our monthly Start Smart classes review the business model canvas, which is another great tool to plan for your business. Read more about that in our recent article – Business Model Canvas, Explained.

Again, a business plan is just a detailed explanation of the ins and outs of your product or service. It might take a while, and that’s a good thing! It’s a great way for you to work through the process and really figure out what’s going to work for your business, and will only heighten your legitimacy when presenting your plan to an investor or someone else who you may be asking for help. As always, if you have any questions regarding writing a business plan, please contact us today! We’re here to help.  And, be sure to check out our events calendar for upcoming classes and workshops – there is sure to be one (or two) that will answer your questions and connect you with other like-minded entrepreneurs.

 

Other sources

SBA.gov

Score.org

SmallBizTrends.com