June 29, 2010
Watch this free presentation to discover a little-known “short-cut”… that’ll allow you to finish your business plan in 8 hours (or less)!
If you’d prefer to write your business plan from scratch, here are the main steps:
1. State your reason for writing a business plan.
What do you expect to accomplish by writing a business plan, and who are you targeting – lenders, angel investors, venture capitalists?
2. Write a complete outline.
Write down the ten section of your business plan in the order they will appear in the final draft: Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan, and Business Plan Appendix. Fill out each section using sub-headers. When necessary, enter sub-headers in the form of a question, to be answered later.
3. Write your business down (for the Company Analysis and Management Team sections).
Describe your product with a deep understanding of your business concept. Ask yourself, who your target market is and what do they need? Then describe the accomplishments and unique qualifications of your management team for delivering that target market need.
4. Conduct a Competitive Analysis.
Who are your competition and what are their strengths and weaknesses? How are your competition similar to you, and how do you differ? What “barriers to entry” will you erect to control your market share – proprietary information, new technology, a management team uniquely qualified to do the job?
5. Identify and evaluate your industry (Industry Analysis).
Find out what industry your business competes in most directly. What are the best practices of that industry for you to build on? If your company competes in multiple industries, research and describe each one.
6. Identify and target your market (Customer Analysis).
Who are your customers? Who needs what your business has to offer? What are the concerns of your customers, and how does your business satisfy them?
7. Create a Marketing Plan.
How will you deliver the news of your product or service to your customers, and how will you deliver your product or service itself, to your customers?
8. Create an Operations Plan.
What are the daily operations (“short-term processes”), and what are future, overall operations (“long-term processes”) to deliver your product to your market?
9. Create a Financial Plan.
Conduct research into the costs of your business operating in your industry. Include market penetration rates, operating margins, and employee head counts. Detail all revenue streams as well. Your pro forma (projected) financial projections will flow from your cost/revenue analyses.
Compile the Business Plan Appendix.
Include any necessary charts, infographics, customer testimonials, and other supplementary research materials.
Write the Executive Summary.
Although the Executive Summary comes last in the creation of a business plan, it appears first. Use clear, concise writing based on the most gripping aspects of the rest of your business plan. The purpose of the Executive Summary is to hook the reader into reading the rest of your plan, be they lenders, angels, or VCs.
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