How to write a business plan

Every business is a journey and every journey must begin with a map to reach your destination. Creating your plan is one of the fundamental components necessary for starting and growing a business.

“If you take your success seriously, then you should also take the same planning process seriously.” – Edgar R. Olivo. Do you need to articulate your business ideas for an investor presentation or a business loan or simply need to get your ideas organized?

These are many reasons why you must start by writing a plan. Here’s why:

Why create a business plan?
Imagine that two people are about to embark on a journey to the same destination. One person has a map and the other will take the same trip but without a map. Who do you think will reach their destination first? Business owners that have a plan make their business grow 30% faster than those that do not have a plan. Your business plan is the map that will take you to your destination quicker.

Major focus areas that make up the plan:

  • The Executive Summary
  • Specific goals, with dates and tools to measure the progression of the goals
  • Detailed sales and marketing strategies
  • Research on your industry and market
  • Your financial projections

I recommend that you practice writing your idea in an informal plan before building a formal plan. An informal plan can be as simple as writing it in your notepad.

Now go and grab a pen and paper. Here’s how to develop a one-page business plan:

Step 1: Enter your name and your business name above the sheet of paper.
Step 2: Section your paper with the bolded categories and then,
Step 3: Answer the following questions …

What is it that I am creating and how will it look in the next 5, 10, or 15 years?
What does the success of this business look like? Answer the who, what, when, and where of the future.
Ex. Within the next five years I see my business being a national business that represents the best products and services.

What do you want to accomplish?
How will you measure what you want to achieve and by when? Add numbers to your goals so they can be measured.
Ex. Goals can be revenue goals, number of customers, company size … PUT dates on them.

What promise do you make to your customers every time they purchase your products or services?
What needs do your customers have and how do you solve them?
Ex. Mission statements are generally short and to the point, so it is easy to repeat and remember. Ours is, “We promise to give you the tools you need to drive your success to significance.”

Include a list of your products and services with the prices of each item listed.
If you have many products, such as a convenience store, try to categorize them and list the price ranges.
Ex. Food ($ .50 – $ 5), beverages ($ .50 – $ 3).

What do you need to do to effectively sell your products or services?
How can you stay competitive above the rest of your competition?
Ex. Partnerships, joint ventures, receive education and training

What are the steps you will take in the next 30, 60, and 90 days achieve your objectives listed above?
Ex. marketing, product development, brand development, market research
Finally, believe in yourself and congratulations on completing your first business plan.

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