You will design and write:
An Amazing Title Page
Your Executive Summary
The Marketplace Section
Sales and Marketing Summary
Business Operations Section
Why write a business plan? Three big reasons.
- Your plan is proof that your business is viable and will be successful so your investors can support you with capital.
- Your plan assures investors and customers of your competent ownership.
- Your business goals stay clear like a planned route on a road map.
How to Write a Business Plan
First Things First
BRANDING: Match everything across the board – your name, your logo, your slogan, your website URL and two or three colors for your palate across printed material, storefront and website. Your logo is a symbol, not an illustration. Synchronized simplicity will go a long way when you start to create the visuals for your business plan – your title page – your printed marketing material – business cards – and content for your website. Iron out your branding details first, and you will have a much easier time writing your business plan.
*Recommended Reading: Be Clear
Key Elements for A Business Plan
Your title page displays your logo and branding as described above. Try not to over-design your page. Winning title pages are creative but simple and clear (I know I am repeating myself, but it’s true). Your business name, logo and slogan is all you need.
Table of Contents
The Executive Summary: You write your executive summary last after fully completing your plan when all the details are ironed out. Your executive summary is your entire business plan in one short paragraph, succinct, clear, and professionally written. This little gem is your ‘hook’ or ‘pitch’ that grabs your reader from moment one.
Business Description This is where you present your background information. The business description defines what is important for you and your business and introduces your product or services.
- Business Overview
- Business Vision
- Goals – short and long term
- Product(s) description
Describe your products and services. Describe your competitive advantage, which is how your business will outperform your competition because you are unique in a specific way. You really need to pin this aspect down in your business plan. Prove you have the edge on your competitors.
*eCommerce solutions are highly recommended, as the upward trend in mobile shopping continues.
A Marketplace Section places your business in the ‘big pond’ identifying your competition and describing your target market (TM). Describe:
- Factors and Trends
- Industry Outlook
- Market Size
- Competitive Environment
Social Climate: Are there cultural fads or trends that support your business?
Economic Climate: Does your industry boom and bust, or is it stable? Will your local economy be supportive of your product or services?
Technology: Are there current technological advances to contribute to your success in your chosen industry? Or, is technology pending that will help you achieve long term goals?
Regulatory: Are there government stipulations and/or law that prohibit your products or services?
Environmental: Is your business or product seasonal? Is your product Eco-friendly?
Who are your competitors? Your business will have competitors, so discover their strengths and their weaknesses. Listing your main competitors and researching each one will arm you with the knowledge you need to outmaneuver barriers to consumer dollars.
Who are your customers? Describe the buying behavior of your potential customers and how you will retain your customer base by keeping them happy. How often will they buy your product? How are they buying your product? Online or brick-and-mortar outlet?
See you next week for Part 2! We will discuss:
- Sales and Marketing
- Business Operations
- Financial Information
- Final Statements