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Business Plans Made Easy: Everything You Need To Know

Tips March 28, 2018

For new and established business owners alike, it’s important to find ways to stay on track with company goals. Developing a comprehensive business plan that reflects your company-wide objectives is an important tactic. Rather than prioritizing department-specific plans, such as a marketing, sales or hiring plan, a general business plan ensures that all departments are aligned and supporting one another. Business plans also serve as an effective recruiting tool, especially for senior-level employees, and are a must-see for potential investors.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.

  • Step 1: Determine Your Plan’s Purpose

Business plans can be used for many different purposes, such as evaluating progress, securing funding and attracting employees. It’s important to determine what your business plan will be used for, and design your executive summary to reflect that. The executive summary is the first part of your business plan, and it should clearly and concisely address your specific audience and identify a call to action.

Tip: Not every business plan needs an executive summary. If your business plan is for internal purposes and audiences only, feel free to skip it.  

  • Step 2: Summarize Your Company

No matter the purpose of your business plan, be sure to always include an overview of who your company is, what it does and who it serves. This means giving a rundown of your company’s history and the products or services you offer, as well as emphasizing your company’s impact on the respective industry. Highlighting what makes your company unique and what consumer need you fulfill is also important.

Tip: Update this section regularly for internal purposes. Doing so will ensure you and your team are constantly reflecting on any company updates and are aligned in key company messaging.

  • Step 3: Analyze the Landscape

Business plans should explore more than just the ins and outs of your individual business—they should also explore external factors that impact your success. Carve out space for an analysis of key industry players and direct competitors. Additionally, be sure to analyze your industry’s market so potential investors and employees can gauge your company’s growth potential.

Tip: Consider looking into your competitors’ media presence. A large media presence translates to strong brand awareness, which is a marker of success.  

  • Step 4: Lay Out the Important Details

Beyond your company summary, be sure that your business plan includes additional details about how your business functions. This means including logistical information about your products or services and how they were developed. Additionally, an operational map of your company and finances will be important to all stakeholders, including potential investors and senior leadership.

Tip: Consider including a separate section for your company’s mission and vision. This allows you to go beyond general company goals and dive into the larger goals you hope to achieve.

Business plans are a staple for most individuals looking to start their own company. However, it’s important to ensure your business plan includes all the necessary components to best serve both internal and external audiences. Most importantly, business plans shouldn’t be viewed as a document with one purpose—instead, they should be looked at as a multipurpose tool to help you stay motivated, on track and successful.