Business plans are one of the most important tools any entrepreneur can use. This powerful document acts like a road map to guide an entrepreneur from point A to point B. A business plan is a document that describes in a detailed way a company’s goals, strategies, financial expectations, marketing programs, operations, and short-term and long-term plans. A well-written business plan can help new entrepreneurs acquire necessary funding, develop realistic marketing and revenue plans, and outline a strategic plan for success. A plan will also help businesses stay on track as they progress from their initial start up to more advanced stages of operation. Here are some basic tips on how to write a business plan.
The first step to writing a business plan is to prepare a concise executive summary. This is the most important document that describes the key details of your business and is also usually referred to as the “bumper bill”. Your executive summary should provide information about your business, its key executives, business plan, objectives, and market opportunities. It should also clearly identify and describe the sources of your company’s revenue, so you know what taxes you will need to pay.
Your executive summary will provide an accurate portrayal of your business plan and should also provide a detailed description of your products or services, why they will be helpful to potential customers, and what marketing programs you plan to implement to reach those customers. It should also include information about your target market, including demographics, geographic location, and other factors that could affect your customer base. Your business goals and objectives should be clearly stated in the executive summary, so readers will know exactly what you expect to accomplish with your business.
The second step to writing a business plan is to create a mission statement. A mission statement can be as simple as a sentence or as long as three pages. It should be unique to your small business and describe the purpose of your business in a clear and concise way. You should include aspects such as building a strong foundation for your business, identifying prospects and customers, identifying and satisfying your customers, identifying future growth opportunities, and motivating your staff.
Writing a strong executive summary and vision statement are essential parts of your business plan. Many people tend to skip these sections entirely. However, by shying away from these two crucial sections you may miss important opportunities that will later prove to be very costly. For instance, if your company only offers online sales, but you neglect to include other forms of sales, such as door-to-door or print advertising, you may be assuming that the people who visit your website will make a purchase at some point. If you include a vision statement or mission statement, however, you will be more likely to attract and retain the attention of your prospects and customers.
Your business plan will contain many details, and many people become confused as to what is critical and what is not. Writing a business plan does not have to be difficult. It is simply a step by step process that will help you identify what needs to be covered and what information you already have. Once you have gathered all of the information necessary to write your plan, you can then begin the process of creating a mission statement and executive summary.