So you have identified a gap in the market, and a product or service to fill that market gap- Kudos! Before you sell it to an investor or start a bank loan application, you need to write it down on paper. Building a business plan is the first step of the business planning process. Building a strategic business plan would involve researching who your target demographic is, the conditions of the market you’re entering into, and accounts for worst-case scenarios. And of course, there’s the money: how much you need to get going, and where it’s going to come from once your business is up and running. If you’re looking to further your understanding of business plan structure and what I have to offer – you’ll find those answers here! Here are the details on various components of a business plan. It also serves as a great business plan outline.
What is a startup business plan or what is included in a business plan?
In simple words, a startup business plan is a formal document that represents the short-term and long-term goals of a business. A business plan is the roadmap to achieve these goals in terms of strategies and numbers. Here is a business plan layout: an executive summary, business overview, products and services information, industry overview, marketing strategy, operations plan, and financial plan.
A detailed business plan is the first step toward the business planning process.
How to build a business plan?
“How to build a business plan” is a question that a lot of people struggle with, especially those who have never written one.
There are a lot of business plan templates available online. Every business plan template is developed based on the purpose of the business plan. Some business plan templates are made for bank loan applications, some are made for investor applications, whereas, some are for government grants. No matter what the purpose of a business plan is, a simple template for a business plan contains the following sections:
1. Executive Summary
The first section of a business plan is the Executive Summary. It is a summary of the business plan and ranges from one to two pages and provides a brief overview of business idea, main objectives of business management structure, details about the product(s) or service(s), target market, key competitive advantages, marketing strategy, and a brief summary of financial projections. I write the executive summary at the end of the business plan, as it requires information from various sections of the business plan.
2. Business Overview
The second section of a business plan is the overview of the business, which includes a detailed description of the business. If it’s a new business, it involves the business idea and introduction, and if it is an existing business, then it involves the history of the business. It also includes the mission and vision of the business, business goals, and ownership/management structure.
3. Products and Services Information
This section tells the readers about the product(s) and service(s) that the company plans to sell. It is the best opportunity to tell the readers about key selling features of products and services, and competitive advantages.
4. Industry Overview
This section talks about the commercial viability of a business. It throws light on the industry size and past and future growth trends in the industry of operation. This section also talks about customer behaviors and buying patterns of a specific product or service.
5. Marketing Strategy
This section of a business plan talks about the target audience or potential customers of products or services, competitors, and how the business plans to differentiate itself from the competitors, and also details of unique selling points of products and services. It also presents business strategy and tools on how the business plans to attract the customers and achieve the business goals. This section also includes a sales plan or so-called strategic sales and marketing plan. This section is the best place to describe how the business plans to sell products or services to the target market and the various distribution channels.
6. Operations Plan
This section talks about the management team, organization chart, staffing, new and/or existing positions in the company, business location, and an overview of day-to-day activities of the business.
7. Financial Plan
This is the final section of a professional business plan where two or three years projected income statements, balance sheet, and cash flow statements are presented. Some banks and investors also want to see financial ratios, hence those can also be included here. The projections can be presented on a monthly or yearly basis.
Here are some questions that I get asked about business plans on a daily basis:
1. How long will it take to deliver a business plan and how much will it cost?
That depends on the scope of work and requirements. Please call me or email me and we can start talking.
2. I’m not a start-up, but an existing business. Do I still need a business plan to get a loan/funding?
Yes, regardless of whether you are a start-up or an existing business, the lender would like to see a business plan to fund your business.
3. How are you different than other business plan writing services?
There are many business plan writing professionals, companies, and business plan writing software that can help you build a business plan. There are also a lot of business plan resources available online. A well-written business plan could make a huge difference between your success and failure. I work from my home office, so my clients aren’t paying for business overheads, a team of project managers, and writers. My clients only pay for my time and business plan writing expertise.
4. Can I just call you?
Yes, please feel free to call, text, or email! I’d be very happy to discuss your business plan requirements. You can expect a reply to your email within a few hours during PST business hours, and usually within 30 minutes. I’m also very flexible about scheduling appointments for an in-person meeting.
5. I have an awesome start-up. Would you accept equity in my start-up in exchange for a free business plan? You can encash it when I get the funding from the investors.
Please read the answer to the above question.
6. Can I break the payment terms for the business plan into 25% in phase 1, and 75% after the final draft of the business plan is delivered?
Unfortunately, my payment terms are firm.
7. What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cheques and Interac e-transfers, and I will be happy to provide receipts for both phases of the business plan writing contract.
8. Do we have to meet to get started?
It is not mandatory to meet. As long as I can get the signed NDA and contract along with all the answers to the business plan questionnaire, I will be happy to get started.
9. Still looking to chat in person with a Vancouver-based business plan writer?