How to write a business plan step by step


This blog post is a comprehensive guide on how to write a business plan step by step by a professional business plan writer.

A Business Plan is a written document that outlines your company’s purpose, where you are now, and how you plan on getting where you want to be. Business Plans can vary in complexity depending on what stage your company is at in its life cycle. This blog post will outline the fundamental components included in any Business Plan, regardless of size or industry. It can seem not very comforting when you start to gather ideas and develop tentative preparations for a new company, whether it’s a for-profit corporation, a social enterprise, or a public project.

After dipping their toe in the water, many would-be entrepreneurs quickly realize that they lack the necessary skills, that their business concept isn’t particularly enticing, or that getting funds will be difficult, expensive, and altogether too hazardous.

Business planners play a crucial role when writing a business plan for entrepreneurs or organizations. Capital Budgeting, Business administration, Products production, Human resource planning, sales, and logistics management and planning are just a few areas where they plan, develop, and implement strategies.

Business planners emphasize long-term growth (Mainly three to five years) and development techniques and processes to help them achieve their objectives. They also set benchmarks and measures to assess progress and determine success. These planners collaborate closely with internal and external partners in their business planning process.

Business planning is the foundation of any successful company and should be integral to your strategic business plan. Business plans can help you:

  • Clarify what it is you want to do in life
  • Reach success faster than if working independently
  • Define a path for growth that keeps with your vision

Types of Business Plans

Business plans can be classified into four categories: mini-plans, presentation decks, working procedures, and what-if plans.

Mini Business Plans: A mini business plan is a short, concise version of your entire business plan and should only take about an hour to complete. This type of Business Plan can be used for planning and forecasting purposes and may change frequently. It provides you with the opportunity to outline your company’s vision while still including some details on the description of the company and its current state. Descriptions of the products and services, as well as the market. The company’s goals. Planned funding and financial performance.

Presentation decks: Business planning is an essential aspect of any business, and it can be very beneficial to create a presentation deck. This Business Plan format includes the ‘elevator pitch, which should take less than one minute, show how your company will stand out from all others in the industry, and highlight why you are better off than your competitors.

The pitch deck is a graphic representation of the words said during the pitch. Begin with gathering all necessary information, then structuring it to suit the story’s arc, and finally designing it to communicate your message as clearly and simply as feasible.

Working Plans: Business Plans are essential, but it’s also beneficial to have a working plan. The Business Plan is just an outline of your plan for the business and what you hope to achieve.

It can be used as guidance when deciding where to take your company or how much resources should go into something – after all, work plans outline how a partnership will accomplish its objectives. They assist in transforming large-scale goals into smaller, more attainable outputs and a list of the tasks employed by the business owner to attain the desired result.

What if plans:  Business plans are not a one-time thing but rather an ongoing process. Entrepreneurs fail if they don’t take the time to think about where they’re headed – or even more importantly – why.

There is no right or wrong way of writing a business plan as long as you put down your thoughts on it.

A what-if plan in a business context is a strategy to exercise control over an uncertain market by recognizing future assumptions and defining how your firm will respond to uncertainties.

What is the purpose of a Business Plan?

Business plans are a way to set out your goals and provide a roadmap to achieve them. Businesses plan their steps to get from where they currently are to where they would like to be.

Business planning helps potential investors understand why someone should buy from them instead of doing it themselves or using competitors’ products. This business plan section explains why your product would benefit consumers that currently use similar items on the marketplace today. It also describes what makes your company different than its competition. Doing so can help explain any gaps between expected growth rates versus actual results since inception.

Business Plans also help entrepreneurs gauge the potential of an idea or product before investing resources into it by evaluating its feasibility within specific markets. Create a path and plan of action, similar to a road map. Planning will provide a guide with a tangible metric by which to track and evaluate your development.

Businesses will typically use Business Plans to convey information about the business and its goals, primarily so Business Planning is not just a process of creating an impressive document. Companies set out their plans for stakeholders to provide all relevant details that could affect future decisions, such as investment or involvement.

Planning can indeed give you more of a possible path of action. You might find that your company is confronted with several distinct options. As a result, it’s a good idea to sketch out the most likely scenarios and tactics for these various eventualities.

Planning can also give you a better idea of how viable your Business Plan might be.

Using Business Plans to establish a set of Business goals and Outcomes makes it possible to compare different scenarios to determine the most appropriate course of action.

When you write a business plan, you’re outlining what your company is now and what it wants to be in the future. This clarity on the objective of your company and the path you’re taking is priceless. By doing so, you’ll see what needs to be done to go forward.

Do you need a business plan to get funding?

  1. Business Plan (written before you start)
  2. Business Plan (written after you start)
  3. Friends and Family (written after you start)

We usually only think of the first one when we need to have some additional capital to support our business idea. But, if we take this time to think more deeply, we will find that the second and the third ones are also very important.

What do investors look for in a Business Plan?

InvestorsOpens in a new tab. use business plans to determine how much money they can invest into a business. Businesses need funding to grow and expand. Business planners allow for better visibility of the company’s future, which results in higher investment offers from potential backers. Investors also want to see detailed information about your product or service, including its features and benefits and customer demographics.

Your projected sales revenue is an integral part of any business plan because it provides insight into whether you will be able to repay investments made with interest payments over time and share profits among shareholders.

You’ll likely need a cash boost if you’re looking to grow unless you have a profitable business model with an endless supply of cash. Unless you have a lot of consumers and plenty of free cash flow, the chances are good that the next opportunity won’t be funded solely by revenue. You’ll have a working capital requirement.

You’ll likely have to communicate with potential sources of financing, and they’ll want to look at your income statements/profit and loss statements and your business plan. If you’re still in the concept phase or haven’t started selling yet, their only concern will be how good your business plan is firm.

The statements help potential lenders and investors understand the organization’s history thus far. They’ll seek a variety of attributes in your plan. Their attention will ultimately focus on whether your company’s growth or development would generate enough money to run effectively and pay debt obligations.

Read more on small business grants in this blog post, “Small Business Grants 101: A Beginners Guide.”

That’s where it’s crucial to include both profit and cash flow projections. Forecasting and planning are regarded as a method of comprehending income and expenses; this is especially beneficial since it allows firms to avoid payment difficulties over suppliers and employee salaries. When such concerns surface, many businesses fail.

The chances are high that unless you’ve done it before and know what you’re doing, you’ll need the assistance of an accountant. They’ll work with you to develop a model for how much money will be in the firm over time; this becomes proof for potential investors and lenders to determine whether the company generates enough cash.

How to write a business plan step by step

Where should your efforts and attention be focused as an entrepreneur?

It’s a frequent question. Starting a business can be pretty chaotic at first. There’s so much to establish, consider, implement, and develop.  During the startup phase, it’s easy to forget what’s essential in your business. Many tasks need planning for in the start-up phase, with all of this going on and an ever-increasing in-tray of things to do

A business plan is a document that depicts the present state of your company and what it intends to become in the future. This cohesion around your firm’s goal and its intended direction is critical. It helps you figure out what needs to be done to advance.

As an illustration, your strategy should explain who you believe your ideal client is and what they require and desire. Then you’d go into detail about how your products or services meet their demands.

  • How are you going to reach out to these potential customers?
  • What methods will you use to get people’s attention?
  • What sales and revenue-generating approach will your business use?

These are critical topics to address sooner rather than later. New consumers and repeat business are the key drivers of growth. As a result, your progress towards profitability is determined by this. You’re giving yourself yardsticks by laying it all out on your business plan; this implies that all business activities you as the entrepreneur should concentrate on are focused on reaching your next objective.

In general terms, seven main componentsOpens in a new tab. make up a Business Plan: 

The Executive Summary – Business Description – Products and Services – Industry Analysis – Market analysis – Strategy and Implementation – Personnel planning – Financial plan and projections:

The Executive summary

The Executive summary is an essential part of the Business Plan, which provides an overview of what to expect in the rest of the Business Plan. It usually runs for about two pages and is used as an introduction to help readers understand your Business or Enterprise’s goals, mission, current status, plans/needs, etc.,

Business Description

The business description aims to overview the company, including what it does and how it differs from others in the same industry.

This description goes into great depth about the company, including the owners’ names and any senior-level staff.

Products and Services

The product and service section is where you discuss the products and services your Business or Enterprise has to offer; this includes a description of each and its place in the company’s overall strategy.

Businesses that sell multiple types of products may break down definitions into categories such as consumer goods vs. industrial materials, etc.; those with one primary offering should describe it thoroughly but briefly.

Industry Analysis

The industry analysis is a brief overview of your business sector Industry. It will help you understand market trends in your industry. It will also help you understand the competitive landscape in your industry.

The industry analysis will include information about the industry, competitive landscape, industry life cycle, and the economic environment you operate. The industry analysis will consist of information about the industry your business is in by grouping your competitors into peer groups.

The industry analysis should include a current and historical Industrial forecast for your business.

Market Analysis

The term “market analysis” refers to a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of a market. It examines the market’s size, volume, value, and the various consumer segments and buying behaviors, competition, and the economic climate regarding entry obstacles and regulation.

Whether you are updating your business plan or writing a new business plan, the market analysis is the essential part of a business plan; it also supports the financial section of your business by showing if there is a market for your products and services, Investors look at the economic and market potential of your business.

How to write a business plan step by step

Seven Steps to Market Research

Conducting market research aims to ensure you have all the information regarding your potential customers, competitors, and your target market. There are two reasons why every business needs a business:

To build credibility: Before venturing into a new business, the business owner must first believe in his project before meeting investors or other outside sources; understanding the market for the product or services is vital if the business owner needs resources to build the business.

Realistic market entry: Market research is essential in understanding the target customers for business products or services. This information is critical in setting up products or services pricing, quality, promotion, and distribution.

Below are the seven steps you need to undertake for pro-level market research.

Step 1: Formulate the problem.

The first step entails setting up clear objectives for the market research; the goals should be clear and concise. For example; The business idea is to sell shoes; it’s a good idea to be precise on what kind of shoes, are the shoes for men, shoes for women, or shoes for kids; you can further divide the query additionally are this classic shoes, sports shoes, or leisure shoes.

The classification and understanding of the market are market research and segmentation.

Step 2: Determine the information needed.

To determine information needs, you must first find potential customers’ target locations and analyze their behaviors; you must decide how many people are in your business location and consume your products. To further narrow done on this, for example, for a shoe shop, you must find what they do on a day to day activity, are the largest population working, what do they enjoy doing, and what kind of terrain is the target location so that you can understand the type of shoe products to sell to them.

Step 3: Determine where to get the information.

Determining where to get information is critical and depends on your target business; if it’s a local shop, you need to conduct field research; if it’s an online business, you need to conduct online research. However, due to technological advancement, informational content is now readily available, most of the information is easily found online, but it’s best conducted in the field for a local business.

Step 4: Create a budget for your market research.

Whether you hire a market researcher or do your market research, there will always be costs involved; the prices are in terms of time, equipment needed, transport, and some for paying consultation fees. The cost of market research depends on your budget and how deep you need the market research to be.

Step 5: Select your market research technique.

If you can’t find the market research needed online, you have to go and get the analysis yourself in the field. Various market research techniques include surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials.

Step 6: Construct the research sample population.

Constructing a research sample for your market research needs to be a part of the whole population; this is because you cannot conduct market research for the entire population; the sample population needs to be inclusive of all possible potential customers population such as kids, women, and men for a shoe shop for example.

Step 7; Process and Analyze data.

The raw data collected during surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials need to be turned into informational content, which you will use to determine your product’s pricing, promotion, shape, design, and the product or service to offer.

Business Competitor Analysis.

For a lot of people, owning a business is a dream. It allows you to work with things that you enjoy. However, because the stakes are so high, you can’t just go in without a plan. Making a competitor analysis and competition mapping should be one of the first things you should accomplish. To make better strategic decisions, both new entrepreneurs and company managers, and SME owners must understand their competitive positioning in this competitive market at each firm stage.

Here are the steps to conduct a competitor analysis for your business plan.

  1. Decide on the key information you need to get from your competitors and the market in general. This allows you to get the framework for business competitor analysis in the next points.
  2. Set time and scope for the business competitive analysis; You need to identify the target market, and time of competitive research.
  3. Identify major competitors to be engaged: These are existing and potential competitors offering products similar to yours in your target market.
  4. Map out basic trends and driving forces by your competitors and evaluate to what extent these trends will affect your business.
  5. Find key uncertainties, and access the relationship between your competitors and their clients.
  6. Transform the outcome of the competitive analysis into key management actions toward your market entry strategy and implementation plan.

Strategy and Implementation.

How will your business operate?

Businesses that produce goods must identify their target customers, the production process (including whether outsourced materials are used), and how they plan to market themselves. Businesses with services on offer need to describe what they’ll be providing; this should include any qualifications or certificates of participation required for vendors who intend to sell through you.

What is your value proposition?

What makes you better than the competition? How do you provide more excellent value than just price alone would suggest? This business plan section helps potential investors understand why someone should buy from you instead of doing it themselves, using competitors’ products, or hiring an outside contractor.

Marketing Planning Process

The six essential duties that the marketing department should do are distribution, market research, pricing set, product and service management, promotional activities, and connecting customers to products.

Any company that wants to be successful requires a marketing strategy. Without one, a business will be unable to promote itself to potential customers in a systematic manner. The alternative is a haphazard, stop-and-start, inefficient endeavor that loses both time and money, two vital resources that no professional services organization can afford to spend.

In this section of your business plan, you will need to create a step-by-step marketing plan to implement; highlighted below are some of the factors to consider for an effective marketing plan.

  1. The first step toward writing your marketing plan is to understand your market and competitors, understand your customer’s tastes, trends and needs and check what the competitors are offering and identify a gap within your market entry strategy.
  2. Understand your customer by creating a customer profile, the customer profile will enable you to know who your customer is, what their needs are, and what motivates them to buy products in the market or from your competitors.
  3. Select the target market by narrowing down your market, you can do this by using customer demographics, this is important in narrowing down your research, and reducing marketing costs and competition.
  4. You will then need to plan your advertisement campaign and your marketing message, the marketing message should highlight potential customers’ problems, and explain how you are going to solve their problems.
  5. The next step involves determining your marketing medium; a marketing medium is a communication channel between you and your prospective customers; some channels might include things like email marketing, brochures, newspaper adverts, magazines, radios, podcasts, etc.
  6. You will then need to create a sales forecast and marketing goals, the sales forecast should be sensible, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific. You should benchmark your sales forecast with those of your competitors, and industry standards as some of the benchmarks for sales forecast.
  7. The last step involves creating a marketing budget for your marketing operations. this is the cost to acquire a customer, the cost of selling a single product. You should then calculate how much you need to achieve your sales forecast.

Personnel Planning

HRP is a process of Human Resource Management. It focuses on the employees and their benefits. It includes the policies, procedures, and benefits given to the employees.

Personel planning involves recruiting and selecting your business employees; this section addresses your business’s organizational needs. Personnel planning helps a business owner hire the correct number and qualified individuals by determining the position required and filling them.

Business owners and investors want to know who is running the business, what experience they have in this area, and how knowledgeable they are on the business day to day operations. 

Business plans can list the members of the organization and their roles and describe how they work together. Business plans also detail management structure, including division of responsibilities among managers or department heads.

An example of an organizational structure is shown in the infographic below:

Organized entrepreneur Organizational Chart infographics

Regulations govern each business; you need to understand all these regulations because they will determine your start-up capital, operational capital, revenues, and cash flows.

For example, you need to obtain a license for your business and pay taxes. Business regulations are classified into two types: Customer facing regulations, this is regulations that rule the relationship between a business and its customers; Taxation, which is the dues the company will pay to the state they operate in, its important to include all the regulations because lack of them will weaken your business plan, including financials.

Other regulations you need to include in your business plan include property consent and employment matters.

Financial Plan and Projections.

Business planning requires a forecast of company revenue and expenses over an extended period (usually three to five years). Business plans also include financial projections for the short term, generally one year. The purpose is to give potential investors or lenders confidence in your business’s ability to repay its loans and show you how realistic your assumptions are so that you can avoid unpleasant surprises.

When writing a professional business plan, business financial projections can be forecasted for three or five years. One of the critical financial projection successes is the integration of first-year monthly financial projections for a startup.

You should also include a budget for your start-up and how you plan to use the funds; this will help you implement the forecasted financial projections with the actual budget realized day by day.

Monthly financial projections will highlight the little day-to-day sales to kickstart a startup and help the entrepreneur understand business operations daily.

You Might be Interested in this blog post: How to Start a Lawn Care Business.

Summary.

Business planners are one of the most integral components of any business. Business plans help entrepreneurs secure funding, manage employees and investors, and guide future initiatives that drive success in today’s competitive landscape.

Hiring a business plan consulting service will enable you to design a custom business plan that will guide your company on the right path more swiftly and expertly. However, before you hire someone, you should be aware of the elements that generate excellent business plans and the qualities of the correct business plan writer or organization.

 Business plans are often written out of the need to secure funding, whether from an investor or a bank. Business plan consulting services can guide investors and what they want to see in your business plan. Business planners will also review your completed business plan drafts before submitting them for potential investment opportunities.

A well-written business needs more than financial acumen; a good writer with extensive industry knowledge is also required. The writing portion should be complemented by solid research done on current trends within your industry so that you have the most up-to-date information readily available when putting together your final document!

How should a business plan look?

A business plan should be written to give a clear view of the business, including the products and the services that the business will offer, the market or niche that the business will target, the profit and loss projections, and the long-term goals.

How long should a business plan be?

The length of a business plan depends on the business that you are creating. If you make a startup business, it should be no longer than ten pages. If you create a new business, it should be around 20 pages. If you do an existing business, it should be approximately 30 pages.

How do I know if my business plan is good?

There are a few things that you need to know about business plans. One thing is to make sure that your business plan is well-researched. If you do not have a clear idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it, your business plan will not be good. You will not have any direction to follow. You will not know where to place your focus. You will not know how to go about writing your business plan.

What makes a strong business plan?

A well-written business plan can be an excellent resource for your business and can use to help you achieve your goals. You’re laying out your business plan when you write a business plan. When you have a well-written business plan, it gives you a better understanding of where you’re going. It can help you get the resources you need, and it can also help you get the funding you need. It can help you get the financing you need to start a business.

Is it hard to write a business plan?

Business plans are not as hard as you might think. They are a handy tool that can help you in many ways. A business plan can assist you in many ways, from helping you get funding for your business to helping you grow and prosper.

James Ndungu

James is a one-on-one business consultant who helps CEOs, executives, and solopreneurs build their personal and professional branding.

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