How to Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan

Twelve years ago I started my first business and I started with absolutely nothing I don’t just mean I started with no money I started with no money no skills no plans barely even any ideas and let’s just say that was a tough way to start it’s tough to build something successful when you don’t even know what you’re trying to build after working for myself for several years I finally got around to coming up with a plan it was messy it took me forever to write and honestly not really that useful of the finished document but in the process of writing the plan allowed me to create a lot of clarity for myself about what my objectives for the business were and how I would reach them within the next two years I had more than doubled the size of my business hiring a staff of a dozen people to run it for me and attracting hundreds new customers since that time I’ve written quite a few business plans both for my own companies and for those of my clients and at this point I’ve developed a system to streamline the entire process not only making it faster and simpler but also way more useful in a really practical way.

 If you want to get your business organized and start strategically increasing your profits and growing towards your goals then keep on watching this business plan has six main sections and I’d recommend that you start by scribbling your ideas for each on a separate blank piece of paper once you get your ideas worked out you can create one cohesive document the six pages of your business plan are one overview to message three marketing for product five production and delivery and finally it’s six goals the first page of your business plan will be an overview it’s going to give a basic understanding on what your company does and the structure of your company now you’re seeing me write it down here in my sloppy messy handwriting however.

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 I typed up a nice neat version for you to use for yourself so if you want a copy of that just check the description down below it’s completely free and you can use it to write your own business plan in that first overview page of your business plan you want to include your business your company structure the location where you do business and also a brief description of exactly what your company actually does the next piece of information for your company’s overview is your company’s mission and this is really important because it’s the driving force behind your business plan it’s what all your plans are focused towards achieving and if you don’t have a mission it’s like trying to make plans to reach a goal without having the goal so make sure you don’t skip this step the final component of the overview page is your chart of accountability now this chart describes who is accountable for which of the major tasks involved in running the business and the three main areas of count ability and most businesses are marketing and sales operations and finances the second page of your business plan will focus on outlining your company’s message it’s really important if you want your business to be successful that you have a clear idea of what message you are working to communicate to your customers.

 Who are those customers how do you fit into their lives and how can you help them solve a problem that they’re facing and create a result that they’re looking for as you can see here the questions that you’ll want to answer on this page of your business plan include what problem does your company solve for your customers what result does your company create for those customers how does your company create those results who does your company serve why do you do what you do why should your customers choose you over your competition and then finally what is your company’s step by step plan for creating those results for the customer or what is your proprietary system this both helps to answer the question what sets you apart from your competition and it also shows your customers how you’re going to create those results that you’re promising which will give them much greater confidence in your ability to create the results.

 Okay now let’s move on and talk about the third page of your business plan this page focuses on marketing and generating sales first of all you’ll want to define your target market by their Democrat and their psychographics demographics are attributes such as their age their income where they live whereas psychographics have to do with their interests their desires and their fears here you’ll also want to include an estimated size of your target market and even more important that that is where you have identified that you can find groups of those target customers and here’s a little big hint if you haven’t yet figured out where you can find groups of those customers be it online or off you’re probably going to have trouble successfully marketing your product or service that you sell so if you come to this part in the business plan and you don’t know what to put here you’re probably gonna want to do some research and make sure that this target customer that you have defined with the demographics and the psychographics if someone who you actually can find groups of because if you can’t find a group of them then you might want to consider redefining that target customer and slightly pivoting your marketing position the final three pieces of information that I recommend you include on this page of your business plan are your visibility strategy which explains.

 How people will first learn about your brand and about your products your lead generation strategy which explains how you will establish contact with the people who have discovered your brand and then finally your conversion strategy which is essentially your sales strategy explains how you’re going to turn those leads that you’ve generated into paying customers here is a quick aside as you’re working through this business plan for yourself it’s more than likely that you won’t know the answers to all of these questions and you won’t have all these things figured out yet.

I just want to let you know that that is completely alright and actually one of the main purposes of writing your business plan is to become aware of those things that you haven’t thought about yet or that you haven’t figured out that you don’t know because only once you’re aware of what you don’t know will you be able to figure those things out so don’t put off writing the business plan because you don’t know everything yet but rather write the business plan so that you can get very clear on exactly what you do know and what you need to figure out all right now let’s move on to the fourth page of your business plan this page describes the product or products that you sell and just so we’re clear here a product could be a physical product or a digital product or a service but I’m just using the term product in a general sense on this page.

 I highly recommend that you choose just one a product as your business’s primary product you might sell several different things you might even sell hundreds of different things but determine what your main product is that you’re going to Center your business’s marketing message around and really try to structure your business around selling the reason that I recommend that you do this is that many different parts of your business development will be much easier if you do have one product that is the focus on this page of the business plan start by first of all identifying what that product is and then describing the result that the product creates and here’s a little hint what your company sells is really the result of the product creates not the product itself after describing the results describe the impact of the product create this is different than the result itself it’s instead.

How the customers life is affected by the result of the product creates for example if the product that you’re selling physically is a vacuum cleaner then the result of the product creates is clean floors but the products impact is that your prospect feels better about the state of their house has a cleaner healthier living environment and perhaps feels more confident inviting company over once you’ve described those three things for your main product you can move on to other products that your company sells describing first of all what the product is second the result that it creates and finally the impact that it has on customers lives the sixth and final page of your business success plan has to do with your goals.

Now if you look at any examples of business plans in the past or read a guide on how to write a business plan you might have seen a section that focused on projections so sales projections or new customer acquisition projections or market share projections and if you’ve tried to write a business plan in the past and you tried to write a section you may have found it very difficult and chances are that’s because you’re running a small business or maybe you’ve just started your business and it’s really difficult to make accurate projections or projections at all for that matter if you don’t have any data to base them on and that’s why I’d recommend that if you are just starting your company or you’ve only been in business for a couple of years then instead of trying to create projections you instead simply set goals.

You can decide exactly how long you want to make your goals for but a good place to start would be to set some one-year goals and also some five-year goals that way you know what you need to work on right now but you also know where you’re aiming longer-term for each time frame you can set whatever goals you’d like however some that I might recommend our number of sales total revenue profit impact in terms of the number of customers who you help or how wide you spread your message and development which could be the extent to which you’ve advanced the product that you create and offer or to what extent you’ve built your company and of course when setting goals it’s always important to set specific measurable goals and to set a deadline for when you’re planning to reach somebody all right that’s everything you need to include in your business plan as you can see it’s six simple pages and you probably already know most of the information that will be going into this business plan already there are many other pieces of information that you may want to include in your business plan and of course you’re more than welcome to include any relevant information that describes how you successfully run your and how you plan to reach your goals however my final piece of advice for you is to make sure that you don’t over complicate things more words are not better in fact your business plan will be the most useful if you keep it short and relatively simple because if you write a document that’s 20 40 or more pages long chances are high that nobody will ever even go back and read it ever again as I mentioned earlier on I put a neatly organized outline of this business plan together for you there’s a link in the description below where you can download it for free if you have any feedback on it be sure to let me know I’d recommend that you download it and print it out now and to schedule some time on your calendar so that you actually get around to filling it out because writing a business plan is one of those things that can have a big long-term impact on your business but because it isn’t actually urgent you might put it off indefinitely.

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