The 7 Steps of writing a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is fundamental for entrepreneurs and business owners to create a roadmap for success. Whether you're launching a startup or looking to expand or leverage your existing business, a well-structured plan is crucial.
Attending a business planning course, guided by a specialist, is a great way to secure your company’s future growth and success - taking the guesswork out of it! The process is about is far more than creating the document itself, it’s about gaining clarity and developing a business model that works for you and aligns all the elements of your business together in a succinct manner.
Here are seven essential steps to follow when writing your plan:
1. Executive Summary
The opening of your plan should pave the way for everything that follows. It’s important to be precise and engaging, capturing the essence of your business and what it aims to achieve.
- Provide a clear overview of your business, including your vision statement, purpose, business name, location, founders, and the products or services you offer.
- Outline your business unique selling point and what sets it apart
- Discuss your overarching business goals and objectives.
2. Business Description:
Here’s where you’ll explore the nuts and bolts of your business, including how you do what you do and your business mission.
- Provide detailed information about your business, including its structure and historical achievements
- Tell your audience what problem your products or services solve
- Describe your target market, and who you can help
3. Market Research:
By demonstrating your industry understanding, you’re showing people you’ve done your homework and are confident in your ability to reach your customers.
- Conduct thorough market research to show details about your industry, market trends, and your competitors.
- Brainstorm your target audience, market size, growth potential, and any relevant industry regulations.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis, showing your company’s strengths and weaknesses
4. Key People:
Highlighting your key team members, their roles and expertise will show how your company stands apart from its competitors. You can also include details of important consultants who are contributing to your business, adding credibility and showing that you're investing in your ability to succeed.
- Who are the people critical to your success?
- What are their relevant skills and experience?
- Discuss any external advisors or consultants working with your business.
5. Products& Services:
Here, you would describe what you're offering to your customers, with key detail of each product or service, including distribution plan and customer management.
- Detail the products or services you offer,
- Explain how your products or services differ from others in the market
- Outline your production process, including quality control.
6. Sales and Marketing:
It’s important to consider what strategies you are implementing for selling your products or services, and how it relates to your market positioning.
- Describe your sales and marketing strategies, including your pricing model, distribution channels, and sales tactics.
- Outline your promotional activities, advertising efforts, and online presence (website, social media, etc.).
- Develop a sales forecast and marketing budget to support your strategies.
7. Financial Plan:
A financial plan helps you set clear and achievable financial goals for your business. It outlines the milestones you want to reach, such as revenue targets, profit margins, and cash flow objectives. These goals provide a sense of direction and purpose for your business. The key is to also demonstrate that your business is financially viable, particularly if you need funding or intend to expand the business.
- Create detailed financial projections for the next 3-5 years, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
- Provide assumptions and explanations for your financial forecasts.
- Include a break-even analysis and discuss your funding requirements, if applicable.
Having a clear business blueprint not only helps you to achieve your business objectives and securing your financial future, but also assists with resource allocation, risk management, budgeting and expense control, funding and investment decisions, business growth and expansion, performance evaluation, investor and stakeholder confidence and tax planning.
If you have a plan already, make sure it’s up to date by reviewing and revising it regularly to reflect changes in your business and adjust your strategies accordingly as you grow.
My next 2-day business planning workshop is on 27-28 November, 2023, where you’ll create your own comprehensive business plan in just two days, and map out what success looks like for you over the next 1-5 years.
To find out more about my upcoming events, visit Events & Business Planning Workshops