Your Guide to Writing a Business Plan

March 30, 2023


Whether you have been running the show for decades or just starting the journey, a plan is vital in growing a successful business.  

A business plan lets you tell the world about your business. How? By defining what your business is, what your goals are, and how you’ll achieve them. It also lets you tell your story by providing background info, financial predictions and strategies for meeting objectives.  

Not only does a business plan help you figure out how to get capital, whether it’s from grant funding, banks or investors — it’s also a mandatory step if you’re looking to lease space, as landlords require a business plan. Ultimately, a plan allows you to figure out what your priorities are and what milestones you want to set for your company. It also helps you determine measures of success and gain awareness of your market, risks and your business’s strengths and weaknesses. 

In terms of formatting, a business plan is made up of the following:  

  • A cover letter that introduces your business and attracts whomever it is that is reading your business plan; 
  • A nondisclosure statement for your business’s confidential information if you have a patent or other proprietary business assets;  
  • A table of contents to help you organize your document; 
  • An executive summary of what is in your plan (this step is done last to capture all elements of your plan) 
  • The General Company Description of your business, which includes a vision and mission statement as well as the products and services you plan to sell; 
  • An Operational Plan which describes production, the local legal environment and the personnel you will need to hire;  
  • Information on the management and organization of your business; 
  • A market analysis of the products and/or services your business offers; 
  • A marketing plan that contains the “how” for attraction and retention of customers;  
  • A financial plan which will highlight your projections, strategies and address the financial components of your business; 
  • Any supporting materials for the above.  

And while you eagerly write your business plan, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:    

  • Define your business: What does your business do? When did it start? Who is your target audience? 
  • Identify goals: What does success mean to your business? How do you plan to measure it? 
  • Serve as the company’s resume: What has your organization achieved (so far)? What are its strengths? 
  • Address the operational and financial aspects of the business: How does it operate? What is your budget? How does the business make sense, financially?  
  • Assist in resource allocation: What resources are available to you? How will you share them across functions and stakeholders? 
  • Prepare for potential complications: What challenges and risk factors does your business currently face? How will you address them?  
  • Repayment of borrowed funds: How and when do you plan to pay back loans? *This is a critical piece of the financial summary.  
  • Inform personnel, suppliers and others about company operations and goals: Remember, a business plan is a reference for business owners and anyone with a stake or interest in the organization.  
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