Idea, Launch, Profit – Building a Business Plan That Works
A great business plan is your blueprint for success! It can help you fully visualize your strategy, anticipate challenges, calculate what it takes to thrive and prove your idea is primed for growth.
While some thriving companies take off without a formal plan, many entrepreneurs find clarity in taking a beat to research their vision and customer base. That’s when crafting a business plan comes in handy. But how do you build a business plan that works?
When it comes to writing a business plan, there’s no single “right” way to create a winning blueprint. The most important things are including relevant information to guide your decisions and laying out a clear vision based on real business knowledge.
In this guide, we’ll take you step-by-step on how to craft a business plan you can use as your trusty compass to lead the way as you embark on your entrepreneurial adventure.
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a strategic document that details a company’s goals and how it plans to achieve them. It covers aspects like:
Often, financial backers will want to see how you plan to turn your big idea into reality. But even if you’re fully self-funding, a solid business plan will be your trusty companion as you take your enterprise to greater heights.
How to Build a Business Plan That Works
Now that you know what a business plan entails, how do you create one?
Step 1: Draft an Executive Summary
The executive summary is a vital part of your business plan. It gives you a chance to shine and get investors excited about your big idea!
This opening pitch needs to quickly capture the essence of your business in a way that keeps readers hooked. Spark their interest with your company name and give a tantalizing tease of the products or services you’ll offer.
Step 2: Create a Company Description
With the executive summary complete, it’s time to dive into the company description. This section provides all the juicy details about your business.
Start with your registered company name and address – this is where customers can find you. Don’t forget to highlight any rockstar team members playing key roles.
Be sure to spell out your business structure, too. Are you running it solo as a sole proprietor? A partnership where decisions require teamwork? Or an LLC or corporation with ownership stakes clearly defined? This part allows readers/investors to view it from a legal perspective.
Finally, tell your company’s story!
How did the idea come to be? What milestones have you achieved so far? Sharing the narrative shows where you came from and how much further you’ll go.
Step 3: Brainstorm Your Business Goals
The objective statement is where the magic happens! This pivotal third section of your business plan lays out your ambitious goals for both the immediate future and long-term success.
Seeking startup funds or outside investment? This is your chance to connect with potential backers. Paint a picture of how additional financing takes your business to the next level – fueling innovative strategies to reach new heights.
Get investors and lenders excited about joining your journey. With clarity of purpose and a roadmap for realization, you’ll attract the allies and resources to turn goals into reality!
Step 4: Conduct Market Research
This is where you shine and let your expertise glow!
Dive deep into how your approach is fresh, fun, and fills a market gap. Show how your offering is essential to the consumer and how it will bring a change. Don’t just say it’s different – explain why “different” means more for your customers.
You can also place your business in your scene and compare it with others in your niche. Illustrate why you have the edge in the market.
Step 5: Describe Your Product/Services
It’s time to tell the world about the amazing products or services you’ve created! The business plan needs a section all about what you offer and how it will rock the market.
Here is where you get to describe your offerings and what makes them so innovative or fill an important need. If you have any patents or trademarks protecting your ideas, now is the perfect time to showcase them.
Step 6: Make Financial Projections
This is an exciting opportunity to showcase your business’s earning potential! If you’re pursuing funding or bringing on partners, this section shows how your profits can deliver rewards.
Lay it all out quarter-by-quarter in an easy-to-read financial model, projecting the next 3 years minimum. Show your backers exactly how you’ll minimize costs and grow revenue over time.
For example, if you run a delivery business, you’ll want to show them how you’re going to lower the costs associated with last-mile deliveries. Check out Circuit’s business plan guide for more information on what to include in a delivery service business.
While ambition is great, ground things in reality. Leverage your past reports to craft solid estimates. Your numbers should communicate that you’ve done your homework and have a clear-eyed vision of the road ahead.
Business plans are key for companies, both small and large, as they help you articulate where your venture stands today and where you aim to take it tomorrow. By following this handy guide, you’ll certainly be able to create a business plan that will wow investors.
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