How to Write a Successful Business Plan [Updated for 2022]
You've chosen to write a business plan, and you're eager to get underway.
Writing a business plan should not be problematic. In this "How to Guide", we will demonstrate how you can quickly and easily create a business plan that will get the outcomes you want, whether it's to support starting your business, crowdfunding, seeking a bank loan, investor financing, new business partners, or a business manager/ entrepreneur visa application.
Try to avoid procrastinating or feeling that you do not have the right skills to be able to create a great plan.
Our short guide will describe how to create your professional business plan without any complexity or irritation.
To make this easy and if you want to get started writing your business plan, you can download your business plan template now from these reliable business plan sources: StartupLoans UK or Score.org or BPlans or Gov.UK.
All these models come with useful guides and examples to help you create a fantastic business plan for your company.
What to include in a Business Plan?
A Business Plan is generally a comprehensive document that defines your essential business model and operations.
You typically include your business objectives and how you intend to accomplish them over a set timeframe (short and long-term goals).
The business plan aim is to assist you, and your business plan readers, comprehend how you plan to make money and create a viable business model.
A Business Plan regularly contains data about your company, products, services, business goals, growth strategies, marketing plans, sales strategies, operations plan, management team, and financial projections.
There is no set page count and depending on your business plan purpose, you may end up creating one master business plan, which you then abridge based on your needs.
You may pull out the company overview and strategy for new recruits while focusing more on the financials for investor or financing discussions.
You may have a word document or a presentation or both or multiple documents.
It is your business plan, so you will evolve and develop your understanding, as you become more comfortable with the development process.
Read on below for more information about the key sections of a Business Plan.
The crucial elements of a successful business plan are:
Executive Summary: Quickly inform your reader what your business is and why it will be a success. Incorporate your business purpose, immediate goals, mission statement, and essential information about your company's management team, and whereabouts.
You must also incorporate financial plan data and your high-level strategic growth plans if you intend to request a bank loan or financing or investment from an external partner.
It is also helpful to include the business plan purpose i.e., starting a business, growth strategy, loan, investment, business partner, or for personal use.
Company Overview: An excellent opportunity to offer thorough information about your story, and business goals and articulate the problems your business resolves. Be clear and specific list out the customers or target companies your business proposes to distribute services to.
Describe the unique business proposition that gives you a competitive advantage and will make your business a success story. Do you have a great product idea? Are there specialists within your firm that differentiates you from the competition? Have you discovered the ideal location for your business (whether it is a store, salon, or restaurant)?
Your company overview is the section where you get to describe and share your strengths. It is your spotlight moment.
Products and Services: Define the products and services that you offer your customers. Describe how customers gain by using your services, what does your innovation strategy entail, and your product lifecycle process.
Communicate your plans for trademarks, registering any copyright, intellectual property, or country-specific patent filings. Include any product trialing, manufacturing development, or research underway for your offerings.
Do include product or service imagery, traction to date, and key clients.
Mission Statement: A mission statement is a crucial means that in some ways, can be as vital as your business plan. It encapsulates, in a few concise sentences, the spirit of your business, your goals, your team, and the philosophies fundamental to them.
Your mission statement must signify your business' unique position and niche place in the market.
Your mission statement will follow your overarching vision for your business.
Depending on your business stage, you may also want to include your business values and what type of organizational culture you are seeking to establish.
Business Goals and Objectives: An essential part of the business planning process is establishing business objectives that can become achievable business goals.
It is helpful to make sure your business goals are SMART: SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Therefore, a SMART goal incorporates all of these criteria to help focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal.
Market Analysis: It is helpful to include and demonstrate that you have a good grasp of your target market, whether this is your current market or growth market.
Everyone would like to conquer the world, but is that realistic in the first year?
As part of your market research and industry analysis, perhaps start your focus with a town/ regional bias within your base country before taking on broader market segments.
It is good practice to describe your industry overall and its potential, and you can access free research online or at your local library or business center.
For your customers, include an analysis of the typical profile.
Are you targeting business to consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B)?
What are the purchasing habits and retention lifecycle?
How would you like to engage with them i.e., through face-to-face, events?
Include research on your competitors, try to include three competitors (check out their websites, if they have a store, go and use their services), describe at a high level what they offer, their strengths, and any pricing insights you can obtain quickly.
In your market analysis overall, try to articulate upcoming market trends that you will be able to leverage to support your growth ambitions.
Are your competitors doing something great?
Is it sustainable?
Are you ready to do it better?
What are the barriers to entry for the industry or market?
These are the questions to answer in your market research.
Marketing and Sales Plan: Your Marketing strategy will ultimately grow, adjust and scale to fit your unique business requirements. Whether it is to attract new people to your website, get people to call you or visit your store, there is a different method in how you go about this.
Your aim in this segment is to explain how you will appeal to and keep hold of your loyal customers. You will also describe your sales process and how the team will make a sale happen.
Do they do this via cold calling, or networking, or is it all automatic via your website?
The sales process will also support your financial forecasts, so you must understand how you bring in the money,
Operations Plan: This section explains the physical location of your business operations, your internal technology (i.e. accounting software), legal requirements, and your employee structure (i.e. permanent, temporary). It is helpful to include a milestone plan of upcoming activities related to your business operations (i.e. when you intend to hire, or open new locations).
Company and Management: Define how your business is structured legally and whether it will be a sole trader, limited company, partnership, non-profit, or other forms or business registration.
For your management team, include a bio with a picture of each member and describe their experience and strengths. If you have time and the team size warrants the detail, use an organizational chart to show the hierarchy of each function.
It is always good to recognize where you have gaps in experience and have sought guidance and business advisors to coach the team in these areas, as you scale up your business.
No-one knows everything when they start, so it adds credibility to your business plan when you acknowledge that and seek guidance.
Funding Request: If you plan to seek funding, this section will help you to describe the monies you desire and the purpose. You aim to articulate how much funding, the duration you require the funds for, how you plan to use the capital, what your ideal terms are for borrowing, and whether you want debt or equity.
Indicate if you require monies to purchase materials, consulting services, website design, new equipment, payroll, or cover invoices during cash flow shortfall. Always incorporate an explanation of your potential revenue gains and how you have calculated this into a healthy financial plan.
Financial Projections: Augment your funding request with your forecasts to demonstrate that you have a stable, viable business. If your business is already proven and you have cash flowing readily, include your last accounts.
Provide your financial outlook for the next three-five years. Include your projected statements, Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow, and budget forecasts.
For the first year, including more details and use monthly estimates. Make sure to clearly explain your calculations and link them to your funding requirements. If you have the desire, include tables and charts to help tell your financial story.
Appendices: Use your appendix to offer assisting documents, or additional materials that were explicitly requested.
For example, you may want to include:
thorough business forecasts and assumptions
market research data and consumer findings that support your analysis
CVs of critical people (vital if you are requesting outside funding)
product information or technological design
For business plan document samples, have a look at BPlans and see examples across multiple industries of what a complete business plan should look like when finished.
Need help and support writing your business plan?
If you are contemplating more than a business plan template, we have got other resources to assist you:
For business plan software choices, there are loads on the marketplace. We use LivePlan for business planning and financial management. It comprises full financial projecting (no spreadsheets necessary), simple pitch presentations, and more to help you plan and manage your business.
If you would still benefit from additional guidance, you can hire a business plan expert to support you with your business plan development.
To learn more about the Noirwolf Consulting team, and how we can help you scale your business operations, then send us an email, and let's talk.
About Noirwolf Consulting
Noirwolf Consulting is a trusted provider of professional business plan writing services and business consulting services for entrepreneurs, startups, and small-midsized businesses in the UK and USA market.
Our business plan development process includes all critical aspects to help you create a successful business plan that is customized to meet your individual needs, whether it is starting your business or looking to secure a bank loan.
Our business plans typically include - a company overview, market analysis, competitor research, marketing, and sales approach, operations plan, and a comprehensive financial forecast with projected financial statements. Ideal for bank loans, financing or to support a business manager visa application.
You can see all the information in one place and modify it to suit your financing or immigration visa requirements.
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