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How to Write a Business Plan

a stack of different colored sticky notes

In short, a business plan tells partners, investors, and bankers more about who you are, what your business stands for, and your financial positions. A good business plan provides relevant information about your business and convinces potential investors and external stakeholders to partner with you. Generally, business plans must feature several characteristics to boost the readers’ confidence in your business idea, company values, goals and vision.

In this post, we offer a basic business plan template to help guide you through the process:

Components of a Business Plan

Executive Summary

This is the first and most vital part of your business strategy. In traditional business plans, the executive summary is kept brief (1-2 pages long), gives a clear overview of your plan, and lays down what the document entails. This includes your business background information, concept and objective, management team, business planning and structure, and the competitive advantages of your business.

The summary also includes the following key elements:
• Your company name and address
• The product or service you are offering
• Your company’s fundamental values
• Your company’s mission statement
• Overview of your marketing strategy

Although it is the first part of the plan when reading it in full, it is best to write the business executive summary last after you have gone through and thoroughly mapped out the rest of your business plan so that you can clearly and confidently express it.

Business Overview

The second part of your business plan features a clear company description including business, goals, vision/mission, products and services, and the target market. Your business description can also include more information about the market you serve, the most prominent direct and indirect competitors in your area, and their trends and strategies.

You can also include what sets you apart from your peers, industry experience, performance, and reputation. This way, your interested readers will be up to date on your current and future prospects intended to enhance your firm’s operations plan and performance. Finally, ensure your overview includes your company’s most incredible achievements. After all, one of the most significant indicators of future success depends on past operations and achievements.

Industry or Market Analysis and Strategies

This part entails your company’s playing field in which it will be operating and competing. This is where you showcase your extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of your specific market and the industry at large. The goal is to offer a comprehensive description of the strength and competitive landscape you highlighted in the business overview with verifiable statistics and data that break down the market trends.

Generally, this part of the business plan should entail the following key points:
• Your market and its geographical location
• Identifying a market opportunity
• The main pain points your potential clients are experiencing.
• The most significant demand of your target market and how your product or services will address them
• Your potential market demographics
• More information about your market, including their favorite social media platforms, physical locations, and buying habits.

Overview of Your Products and Services

Give a detailed breakdown of your products and how they will help your potential clients and address the current crisis in the target market. Explain how long your goods and services are expected to last and how well they will meet the market demand.

A clear understanding of your products will lure the target audience to partner with you once you convince them of the possibility of making profits from your investment. You might want to apply graphics such as charts and diagrams to highlight your firm’s product and service cost and expected sales to catch their attention.

Management and Organization

In this section you must give a clear description of your business management and organization setup. This is the part of your business plan where you introduce your managers to potential shareholders. You should also give a summary of their skills, experience, and primary duties. The best way to do this is to create an organizational chart that outlines your business chain of command. It is crucial to clarify your firm’s ownership and legal structure, such as a sole proprietor, a limited partnership, or some other structure. Remember to also introduce your board of directors if your company has one.

Sales and Marketing Strategies

This business plan component explains the strategies you will employ to reach your market and get your products to your clients. The sales and marketing plan section entails a comprehensive plan of:
• Marketing, promotion, and sales strategies you expect to employ in the future
• A brief outline of your firm’s goods and services pricing options
• Your sales-generating tactics
• Description of your competitive advantage
• Your firm’s unique selling points

Competitive Analysis

A successful business plan gives a clear comparison of your firm and your peers in the business strategy. This is the section of your business plan where you showcase your knowledge of the target customers by breaking down your direct competitors strengths and weaknesses. Of course, your ultimate goal is to describe how your firm will stack up.

Request for Funding

This part of your business plan focuses on your financial plan, including the total amount of money you require to set up your business and how you intend to utilize the funds. It is also best to include a clear timeline for any extra funding you might need to complete your projects.

Financial Projection

This is your business plan final section that entails your business financial expectations and goals you have set up depending on your market research. Generally, it is best to break down your cash flow forecast on a monthly basis and present it as a spreadsheet. You should also include your financial statements, including cash flow statements, balance sheet, income statements, and statements of any retained earnings. Laying down your financial projections and providing an accurate portrayal of your firm’s trajectory will make it easier to secure funding, such as small business line of credit financing and other financial solutions that will keep your business running.

 

At Merchant Growth, we work with all types of small businesses. Our flexible financing solutions such as our business line of credit, fixed financing, or e-commerce financing offer a variety of options, with the goal of finding the right type of financing for your business and its particular needs in as little as 24h after approval. So if you’re based in Canada, have been in business for at least six months, and have a monthly revue of $10K, fill out our quick and simple application to get started with your no-obligation quote today!

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