A business plan is a written description of the future of your business. A document that explains what you are going to do to make your company profitable and how you have to do it.
How to write a business plan?
1. Cover and index
The first impression will undoubtedly influence the decision of the investors. You must include in the business plan a simple but accurate cover with all the information about the company: logo, name, address, telephone, email, web, name of the founder and, if appropriate, a photo of the product or service.
With the index you will have to order all the points of the business plan with the corresponding page number.
Make it as complete as possible so that the reader has a clear idea of what the document contains.
2. Executive summary with the needs and objectives of your business
In the first part of the document you should make a descriptive summary of the idea that includes the following points: the product or service and its advantages, the market opportunity, the management team, the trajectory to date, the financial projections, the financing needs and expected profitability.
You must define the need or problem that your business intends to solve. But above all, you will have to capture the attention of investors in approximately two pages where you will summarize the most important points of the text.
In addition you must take into account several things:
If you are still not sure of the fundamental objectives of your business, you need to think about them before making the business plan.
It is interesting to refer to the time it took you to develop the business idea and the work you have done to date.
3. Describe how you will solve the problem explained in the summary
At this point you should describe the mission of your business. A list of actions that your company needs to face an existing problem in the market.
Describe what your product or service is, what customers will obtain with your purchase and what your weak or inconvenient points are. The latter is very important when making a business plan as readers will appreciate your sincerity.
Surely there are already companies that are working for the same objectives. Identify them and ask yourself: How will I differentiate myself?
4. Explain why your business is unique and who will be part of it
Writing a business plan involves examining the strengths and weaknesses of your competition, once identified you can justify why your business is unique. You must distinguish yourself from the crowd to increase the investment opportunity.
At this point you can also include the skills of your team to make your business unique. That is, make reference to the following information:
- How the administration of the company will be carried out.
- Describe the trajectory and experience of each team member.
- Clarify how you will cover the main areas of production, sales, marketing, finance and administration.
- Include management, sales, stock control and quality control accounts.
- Analyze, if you see it necessary, the location of the company and the advantages and disadvantages of this location.
If there is something that investors value, it is the commitment capacity of the entrepreneur. Take advantage of this point of the business plan to show them the amount of time and money that you and your team are willing to take on.
5. List the characteristics of the market in which you will develop your business
You will have to analyze market conditions: how big it is, how fast it is growing and what its potential for profit is.
Explain how you will investigate your audience and with what tools.
Know the market target in which the business will develop and how you’ll direct your marketing strategies towards that target. If you do not orient your marketing strategy you will lose time, effort and money. Make sure you solve the following investors’ questions: What are your competitors’ products and how do they create them? Why is someone going to abandon your current competitors to buy in your business?
6. Develop promotional strategy.
This is where your business marketing plan should be included. It is perhaps one of the most important steps when making a business plan. Promotional and marketing strategies could determine the success or failure of your company. To sort all this information try to answer several questions:
- How will you position your product or service? (Compare features such as price, quality or response time with those of your competitors)
- How are you going to sell to your customers? (Phone, website, face to face, agents …)
- Who will be your first customers?
- How will you identify potential customers?
- How are you going to promote your business? (Advertising, public relations, email marketing , content strategy, social media …)
- What benefit will each part of your business achieve?
7. Analyze your sources of income
When you reach this point when making your business plan you should start to translate everything you have said in numbers. That is, analyze the financial forecasts of your business.
The analysis should include: structure of prices, costs, margins and expenses.
8. Create a plan to face gains or losses
If a rough patch comes soon and you do not have a plan, the business could suddenly sink or fail. If you receive an unexpected success, your goals could change suddenly and you will need a new business plan.
Therefore, you should evaluate the risks of your business, identify the areas where something could go wrong and explain what you would do in that case.
It is very possible that after making the business plan you need to give additional information to complement it. For example:
- Data of the market research that you have explained in point 5.
- Curriculum of the team that will form your company (very important if you are looking for external financing).
- Technical specifications of the product or service (you can include photographs).
- The names of some potential customers.