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Essentially, this final section tells investors exactly what will be accomplished by carrying out this business plan into the future—or at least give them an idea that you've thought about what could happen if you implemented the plan.
Whether you’re a founder, a new owner, or just beginning to think about starting a business … Especially for small or growing companies: In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to write a successful business plan and turn your idea into a reality.
Amidst that rush, the idea of writing a business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels time-consuming and intimidating. It’s more than the old cliche, “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” In fact, a wealth of data now exists on the difference a written business plan makes.
Even better—if you’re pressed for time—we’ve compiled the 10 steps and examples into a downloadable (PDF) template: But, first things first …
Taking a look at a sample business plan, it's easy to see how these documents can get quite lengthy, but not all business plans need to be as detailed as this—especially if you're not looking for investors or loans.
A business plan is simply a way for your business to evaluate whether or not actions would benefit a company's ability to achieve its goals, so there's no need to write extra details if they're not needed to organize your business.Put simply, a business plan is an outline of goals and the steps needed to achieve them, and while not all businesses require a formal business plan, composing a business plan, in general, is an essential step to starting your own business as it lays out what you plan to do to get your business off the ground.All business plans—even informal outlines—require several key components including an executive summary (including objectives and keys to success), a company summary (including ownership and history), a products and services section, a market analysis section, and a strategy and implementation section.A business plan is a comprehensive roadmap for your small business’ growth and development.It communicates who you are, what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it. But, bear in mind, a business idea is will not invest in a startup or small business without a solid, written plan.After fleshing out the objectives of your business plan, it's time to describe the company itself, starting with a company summary that highlights major accomplishments as well as problem areas that need to be solved.This section also includes a summary of the ownership of the company, which should include any investors or stakeholders as well as owners and people who play a part in management decisions.Still, you should be as detailed as necessary when composing your business plan as each element can greatly benefit future decisions by outlining clear guidelines for what the company plans to achieve and how it plans to achieve it.The length and content of these plans, then, comes from the type of business you're creating a plan for.Over the long term, it’ll keep you focused on what needs to be accomplished. Or, an internal document to guide you, your leaders, and your employees? The executive summary lays out all the vital information about your business within a relatively short space; typically, one page or less.It’s also smart to write a business plan when you’re: Start with a clear picture of who the audience your plan will address. Defining your audience helps you determine the language you’ll need to propose your ideas as well as the depth to which you need to go to help readers conduct due diligence. It’s a high-level look at everything and summarizes the other sections of your plan. Below, you’ll find an example from a fictional business, Landscapers Inc.