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Business Plan: Step-By-Step Guide, Examples, Tips

August 2, 2021

Today business plans are popular among many companies, and there are several reasons for this. First, a business plan is a good method to get investors interested in investing in the creation of a new project or developing a ready-made business.

Secondly, a business plan will help you take a fresh look at the market you want to develop. For example, you will learn how effective the promotion strategy or products are, what potential obstacles you may face, and what tools you need to develop. You will also assess how prosperous your idea is and whether it can bring profit.

As you can see, there are many advantages to a business plan. Regardless of why you want to create it, take it very seriously – the slightest mistake or omission will significantly consequence. Once you start writing a business plan, your list of tasks will be overwhelmed: photographing products or services, creating advertising banners, creating websites or social media profiles for online sales. Do not be intimidated by this, and do not abandon business halfway – the result will surprise you.

Yes, your actions may be slightly different from the steps prescribed in the business plan, but this way, you will save time by avoiding wrong actions. Below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to create a business plan and tips. We wish you success and patience!

BUSINESS PLAN: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE, EXAMPLES, TIPS

What Is A Business Plan?

If you want to know how to write a business plan, you firstly need to know its definition. A business plan is an action plan that describes the goals a businessman strives for and detailed ways to achieve them. We can compare this program to a forked metro map with financial, marketing, and operational lines. Business plans are needed to attract investors and successful self-presentation of companies. They also help you stay on track.

A business plan is necessary for startups, but it will also be helpful for mature companies. Ideally, it should be updated periodically and adapt to new goals. It is easy to keep track of which tasks have been solved and which direction is worth moving. A business plan is also helpful for companies that decide to open new directions or projects.

Opening them without a business plan is like coming to an unfamiliar city without preparation. The trip can leave a pleasant experience, or it can fail: a tourist can mistakenly get into a dangerous area, where an unpleasant story happens to him or spend all the money when there is still a week before the end of the vacation.

A successful trip is not guaranteed with a plan prepared in advance, but its likelihood becomes higher. The same appliesle problems, and also contain a description. Note that if you were looking for a description and structure of a business plan for a scientific paper, we would offer to buy term papers online from our experts and defend the project.

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What is the Importance of Writing a Business Plan?

Many investors evaluate a company’s business plan before financing a project. However, there are other reasons why you need to learn how to write a great business plan:

 

  • Planning. Writing a plan teaches you how to plan: from ideas, scope, and ending with money, time, resources.
  • Prioritizing. If you have several ideas but do not know which one will be successful, a plan drawn up in advance will help you choose. Thus, having spent a few days drawing up a business plan, you will save months from implementing the idea.
  • Analyzing. With a business plan, you will learn how to analyze your competitors. By knowing what to expect about your competitors, you will learn how to make better strategic decisions.
  • Recruiting. Are you new to the business and in the promotion phase? Have you assembled a new team? A business plan is the easiest way to show employees what you want to achieve and, as a result, gain their trust or motivate them to work.
  • Building relationships with partners. If you understand that your financial capabilities are small and want to attract other companies to cooperate, a business plan will help you know which people should contact. Likewise, other companies will understand whether you can work together or your paths are different.
  • Competitions. A business plan is an excellent opportunity to compete with other companies for grants or other prizes. To find the current competition in your industry, enter “business plan competition” into Google and add your industry.

As you can see, you lose a lot if you are too lazy to create a business plan. Think of it as capstone writing, which cannot be overlooked under any circumstances, as this document will open many doors for you.

Business Plan Tips

If you want to create a successful and profitable business plan, consider the following tips before starting the writing process:

  • Don’t try to jump into the last carriage. Instead, approach the development of a business plan as a separate vital project. Plan your time – don’t whip up business plans hastily.
  • Think about the investor’s decision, not the piece of paper to be submitted. If you keep the investor’s interests in focus, his criteria for evaluating investment projects, and behavioral features, you will build interaction more accurately. Therefore, this project is the main stage before the cooperation with investors.
  • Start by exploring the macro environment. Test all ideas on the practice, keeping track of trends. It is essential to understand what opportunities and limitations you will encounter in the market in the near term. It would help if you grasped in which direction to develop the project, which results are realistic. A business idea can be excellent on paper but hardly realizable in real life.
  • Learn and apply modern tools and techniques when analyzing the market, describing business models, and teamwork. Call consultants to solve business problems, not to create paper or conduct training.

Anchor these tips in a separate folder as a reminder and follow them as you create your project.

9 Steps To Writing A Business Plan

Every business person is frightened by a blank sheet. However, a well-thought-out, structured outline can help get rid of the creative crisis as though you need a capstone project.. Thanks to the outline, you will spell out each paragraph and not forget anything important. Don’t know which points to include in the outline? You can use this template for writing business plan step by step:

  • A general summary of the project.
  • Description of the company – date of creation and other features.
  • Market analysis.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Management and organization.
  • Products or services.
  • Customer segmentation.
  • Marketing plan.
  • Logistics and operations.
  • Financial plan.

We have told you about the most important aspects of this document – you can add other vital points that you think the partner or employees should know. Let’s take a look at each section in more detail.

A General Summary Of The Project

How to start a business plan? First, start with a general summary of the project. Sometimes investors do not fully read business plans due to their busy schedules. Therefore, the summary will be the business card of your business plan. Here you need to briefly describe the main ideas that will demonstrate to the investor the success of your project.

To create a summary, you can compose a small plan in advance and list all the vital points. Thus, you will highlight the key points of the business plan and interest investors to finance your project. If you are drawing up a business plan for yourself, you can skip the summary item – however, in the future, you will need this skill since development requires dealing with more influential people. It is very similar to ordering dissertation assistance: you have to summarize the requirements for the writer to get fully qualified help.

The volume of the summary is 1 page. Some of you will assume that it is impossible to fit nine extensive points on one page. However, if you know how to highlight the importance, you will quickly cope with this task. For example, a summary might include information like this:

  • General business concept. What do you do, and in what area do you develop?
  • Your business goals. What do you want to achieve in this area?
  • Description of products or services. What do you sell, or what services do you provide?
  • Description of the potential audience. Who is interested in your services or products?
  • Marketing strategy. What tools and techniques are you planning to use to attract customers?
  • The current financial position of the company. How much is your company currently earning?
  • Increase in financial position. Do you have a strategy to increase your income?
  • Planned capital investment. How much money do you need to start a business?
  • Team list. Who are your employees?

Depending on the project, the information, in summary, may change – consider your ideas and choose the appropriate data.

Description Of The Company

In this section, you must answer two questions: Who are you? What are you doing or planning to do? By answering these questions, you will understand why you should do this business and what makes you stand out from other companies. If you are writing a business plan for attracting investors, then from this section, the potential partner will learn more about you and whether he will recoup his investment.

Here you can tell about the history of starting a business – what prompted you to do it or who inspired you. You can also tell the reader what the company’s principles, cultural values, philosophy, moral principles are. Here is a more detailed list of what this section should include:

  • The structures of your business. Have you created the company yourself, and are you the owner? Perhaps a friend helped you set up a business? You started a business, but another partner runs some aspects?
  • A business model is a description of how a business makes money.
  • The niche in which you plan to develop.
  • Business mission. What do you want to achieve with this, and what valuable suggestions can you offer?
  • Brief information about creating a business – date, place, founders.
  • Business goals. Do you have short or long-term goals?
  • The main positions that are present in the company and salaries.

It is not necessary to be creative in some ways – for example, the date of creating a business is a statement of fact. However, you will have to think more carefully about missions, values, goals, etc. So here you define for yourself why your business plan has a place in this world, what you want to develop in this market, and what values you adhere to.

If you do not know the company’s values, the people around you can help determine them, including employees, managers, accountants, customers, suppliers, partners, and investors. First, ask yourself the question: “What principles do I adhere to when working with these people?” Once you determine what goals, ethical principles, and moral aspects you adhere to – it will be your values ​.

Based on your values, you will be able to define the mission of the business. Then, in one proposal, you can convincingly explain why your business has a place and how you want to improve this industry. Don’t ponder too long – leave the words for strategies and marketing.

For example, if you want to create a company to buy term papers online, you have to keep in mind that students usually need such kind of help very urgently, but can’t spend a fortune. Thus, your goals should be to satisfy the requirements at the least possible cost.

Let’s take a look at Shopify as an example. Shopify’s primary mission is to make the trade better for everyone. Based on this data, you can conclude that the company is committed to helping entrepreneurs sell products more efficiently.

Therefore, you must understand what impact your business will have on the world. To formulate a clear vision of your goals, you need to start a sentence with the words “We will.” Your goal statement should not exceed three sentences. It is not worth being dispersed into several goals at once – it is costly and complex. Try to emphasize one mission, but it should have the maximum impact on customers.

Finally, it would help if you described both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are goals that you can achieve over several months or a year. Long-term goals are those goals that you plan for one to five years. Before you formulate your goals, make sure they are effective, achievable, realistic, timely, and specific.

Market Analysis

There are many areas for business development. Regardless of the direction, it is essential to study the market because it can either improve strategies or prevent you from moving in front. Choose a market that matches 100% of your products or services. The most promising market is considered to have an unlimited number of customers who need these products and services every day. For example, you will be able to develop clothes successfully – all people need this. Also, note that markets are time-sensitive – in the context of the coronavirus, the niche of cinemas, restaurants, and shopping centers turned out to be the most ineffective. Therefore, choose the market that is always afloat.

Market analysis is an essential element of this document as it will showcase the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen niche. In this section, you can describe how large the market you want to represent is. This kind of analysis is essential to both you and the investors. First, you will be able to highlight unique development proposals. Secondly, investors will determine how effective the investment in your project will be.

Let’s look at the concept of “potential market width.” The potential market is what determines people’s demand for goods and services. On the Internet, you can find sky-high sales figures. Your task is to conduct actual research and calculate how many people need goods or services, how much you can sell these products to them – this way, you will see how crowded or empty the market is.

This process is quite complex, so we recommend taking into account the following tips:

  • Create a customer profile. If you want to sell services or products to the younger generation, we recommend finding out how many young people need them. This is especially useful for those who want to sell services or products in a specific location. You can see the information on this group of people in the government data. We also recommend studying the projected changes in the number of people in the age range you target over several years.
  • Study industry trends. If you are going to sell products or services to retirees, study the statistics of how many people will be retired in a few years. Also, study the pattern of consumption of goods among this group of people. If your products are related to sports equipment, you can study the statistics of attendance at the training halls or the state of health of people, the physical form of the target audience. It is essential to compile statistics on whether your product will be in demand in a few years.
  • Write educated guesses. We hasten to inform you that it is quite challenging to collect up-to-date and truthful information about the market width because the indicators change every day. Therefore, your goal is to consider the data, not only relevant for today but also of past years. This will help you make a more accurate guess of product development.

The most reliable sources that provide up-to-date market data are government statistical offices, industry communities, academic research, reputable news newspapers or magazines. Also, we want to pay attention to SWOT analysis, as it is an integral part of this section.

SWOT analysis is an assessment of 4 factors that affect the success of a company:

  • S – Strengths – Strengths that differentiate you from your competitors.
  • W – Weaknesses – flaws that make you vulnerable.
  • O – Opportunities – disposing of factors of the external environment.
  • T – Threats – company threats, destructive realities of the environment.

With the help of SWOT, you can analyze the initial positions for a business, a specific service, an entire industry, an entire state, and even an individual. For any company, it is essential to understand what levers it can grab onto and which you cannot reach because they are outside the zone of its influence, so it remains only to observe and take into account them.

The categories “strengths and weaknesses” belong to the factors determined by the internal state of affairs in the company. Opportunity and threat categories are external factors that need to be considered when developing a business plan. Strengths and opportunities reflect the positive aspects at this stage of the company’s development. These are the elements that contribute to the achievement of the set business goals. Conversely, weaknesses and threats are negative aspects that hinder the development of the company.

Collecting all the data together makes it possible to understand how to minimize the damage from negative aspects. Ideally, after conducting a SWOT analysis, you should modernize your business strategy to turn negative factors into new growth points.

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Competitor Analysis

Competition in any market is very high, and there are three factors you need to consider to make your company stand out:

  • Low cost. Initially, it would help if you won customer acceptance. You can achieve this by developing an acceptable price list for products or services, preferably lower than competitors. For example, Zara creates branded items that are not inferior in quality to other well-known brands but at a much lower price.
  • Originality. There are many products on the market that are no different from each other – your task is to develop a logo, a slogan that would attract customers to make purchases.
  • Segmentation. Focus on a specific target audience and do your best to interest them in services or products. Then word of mouth will work – your customers will be people of different ages. A good example is Adidas, which created shoes only for the athlete, and today all people wear their shoes – from children to retirees.

To understand how to use these tips, you need to study competitors’ pricing policies, logos, chips, and segmentation. Then, in the business plan, indicate how you plan to differentiate your business from the competition – provide illustrative examples. For example, let’s say you want to sell jewelry. To distinguish yourself from your competitors, you can use charity – every month, you donate a certain percentage of your income to orphanages. Many people want to help children and, accordingly, the number of clients will increase.

Management And Organization

In this section, you must indicate who is the manager of your business. Don’t just say your first and last name – list merit, values, or achievements. Also, indicate the legal structure of your business. Finally, it will not be superfluous if you provide information about whether you want to register your business as a corporation or limited liability partnership, an individual enterprise.

If your team consists of other managers, create a spreadsheet and indicate who does what. Thus, the investor can understand what your role in this business is. If you have employees who have contributed to the beginning of business development, you can tell the reader about them too.

Products Or Services

Now is the time to tell your readers what you want to sell or what services to provide. If you sell a lot of products, you need to combine them into one concept. For example, irons, kettles, washing machines can be called household goods. If you only have a few products, please describe each one. Also, let your readers know if you have any plans to launch new products. Provide profit diagrams for these products. Finally, write where the goods come from – is it your production or purchase from suppliers.

Customer Segmentation

Before you start selling, you need to understand who your potential buyer is. To do this, you need to compile general and specific demographic characteristics. Consider these aspects when segmenting your customers:

  • Location of clients.
  • The age range of clients.
  • Clients’ educational level.
  • Customer behavior models.
  • Client working positions.
  • Client income.
  • The values of customers.

Data may vary depending on products and services. However, this will give a complete picture of the potential buyer. For example, college students are more frugal than CEOs of successful Forbes firms. Based on customer segmentation, you will make strategic decisions and choose methods to promote services.
HOW TO CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN?

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the business, aimed at achieving the company’s long-term goals, with calculations of all risks and costs. An annual marketing plan will help you choose the right course to achieve your company’s business goals.

There are different marketing plan options, depending on the industry and the goals of your marketing team. To make it easier to create your plan, we’ve compiled a list of things to include in your marketing plan:

  • Price. How much will your product cost, and why such a price?
  • Product. What are you selling, and how do you plan to highlight the product in the market?
  • Promotion. How will you advertise products or services?
  • A place. Where do you plan to market your products and services?

We have listed only the fundamental aspects of a marketing plan. Depending on your niche, this list can grow.

Logistics And Operations

Logistics and operations are the complexes of actions that are required to implement ideas. In this section, you need to provide the following information:

  • Provider. Even if you are going to produce products yourself, you need raw material. Determine who your supplier is.
  • Production. Are you going to produce goods in bulk or individually for each client? How long will it take for you to make a product? Will you be able to create a product if the demand is very high quickly?
  • Facilities. Do you have an office for the convenience of your work?
  • Equipment. What equipment do you need to work?
  • Delivery. Will you deliver the products yourself or through other companies?
  • Storage. Where will you store the goods?

In this section, you describe the chain of action from suppliers to storage. This section will help you see how well you thought out the logistics and the operation. If some action interferes with the implementation of another, then it is worth changing the plan.

Financial Plan

In financial terms, you need to determine how much funds are required for the company to work effectively and develop. You also need to indicate where you plan to take money to implement ideas. In this section, it is essential to consider the risks and unfavorable situation in the market, realistically assess the current state of affairs, etc. The more carefully everything is calculated, the more chances that your financial goal will become a reality.

The financial plan should contain the following sections:

  • Income and expense plan – is the expected income and expenses of the firm for a certain period. The section explains how much net profit or loss the company will receive in the planned period.
  • The plan of receipts and payments indicates the sources of income and the direction of expenditures. Funds are not only cash but also money in accounts and even securities. It considers the profit from operating activities, depreciation, the difference between receivables and payables, investment income, etc. In the same section, the received loans and their servicing are indicated.
  • The balance sheet shows the state of the company at the end of the planning period. It becomes clear whether the company will expand its activities, whether it will increase profits, whether it will return the loan, etc.

We have listed only the fundamental aspects of a financial plan. Depending on your niche, this list can grow.

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When Can a Business Plan Fail?

Many authors write about the benefits of a business plan, creating step-by-step guides. However, few of them talk about when a business plan may fail. Therefore, when drawing up a business plan, avoid these mistakes:

  • Failed business idea. Not all ideas are equally successful. Several ideas are too risky financially, or the market is too empty. Therefore, check a hundred times how much money you need to implement the project and whether your products will pay off.
  • Bad go-to-market strategy. If you don’t come up with a step-by-step plan to go to market, you can not count on funding from investors.
  • Disorganized team. You cannot create a product and bring it to market alone. You cannot trust the work of people who do not understand anything in business. Don’t rush to look for expensive experts. Some students have good knowledge and can bring your product to the top – start with them.
  • Lack of financial projections. Finance is the biggest problem – take into account all the profits, losses, movement of funds. Otherwise, you will not be able to extract how much your business will be profitable.

Therefore, if you fail, carefully double-check the aspects that we described above, make changes, and perhaps luck will smile on you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Business Plan

It isn’t easy to disassemble a business plan because it is full of many factors you see for the first time. Therefore, it is not surprising if you have any questions. These answers will help you to get a better understanding of the business plan concept. If you do not have time to create a business plan, you can always count on our help. Even if you are a student and just starting a business, we are happy to take on academic problems – for example, you can order dissertation assistance.

How to Create a Business Plan?

To draw up a business plan, you need to describe the following sections:

  • A general summary of the project.
  • Description of the company – date of creation and other features.
  • Market analysis.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Management and organization.
  • Products or services.
  • Customer segmentation.
  • Marketing plan.
  • Logistics and operations.
  • Financial plan.

These are the essential points of a business plan. You can add your own if necessary, but try to avoid verbosity.

What Does a Good Business Plan Look Like?

A good business plan should contain both benefits and risks. This will help to adequately assess the situation, develop strategic solutions and methods for entering the market.

What Are the Types of Business Plans?

The business plan has three goals:

  • Demonstrating your growth plan.
  • Demonstrating your financial needs.
  • Attracting investors.

Therefore, you will take your business to the next level as the plan opens up new opportunities.

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What Are the Types of Business Plans?

There are three types of business plans:

  • A strategic business plan is a plan designed to achieve specific goals in a long-term period.
  • A tactical business plan is a plan designed to promote services or products.
  • An operational business plan is a plan for calculating output and sales volume, quality control, personnel, inventories, etc.

Choose a plan based on your desires, capabilities, and goals.

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