A well-crafted, custom business plan is often the difference between success and failure for a new company. Every entrepreneur should know how to create one, whether it’s to establish direction or attract funders. So how do you go about writing a foundation for your business?
The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests this outline to get you started:
- Executive Summary – A concise one or two-page overview of your company’s purpose and objectives.
- Company Description – If you already run a business, describe what you do. If you’re still in the planning stages, give an overview of what you plan to become.
- Market Analysis – An outstanding custom business plan includes analysis of customer demographics and evaluation of their buying habits, cycles, and interest in new services and products.
- Organization and Management – This section should detail your strategy for managing, staffing, inventory, manufacturing, and order fulfillment — everything involved in the day-to-day operations of your business.
- Service or Product – Include a description of the products or services you offer.
- Marketing and Sales – Don’t just outline your sales strategy or how you’ll market your business. Give detail on how you expect to receive a return on investment.
- Financial Projections – Your financial projections will show that your business is viable. Established companies should include financial statements from the last three to five years.
10 Tips for a Successful Custom Business Plan
- Research, research, research! This one is pretty obvious. You’ll spend twice as much time researching as you do writing your plan – or you should. You want to know your competition, consumers, and investors like the back of your hand.
- Keep it brief. First of all, no one wants to read a 200-page custom business plan. Second, if your business is successful, this will be a living document. You’ll continually add and revise it; so leave room for growth.
- Know who you’re writing for. What to emphasis for larger investors might be different than what’s important to individual backers. Consider the various people who will view your business plan and include specific information geared towards each.
- Don’t be afraid of some competition. In general, it’s not a good idea to say you have no competition. Instead, recognize your competitors and highlight how your product or service is different or better meets the needs of your consumers.
- Backup your claims. Before you make big assertions about your expected success, you’ll want to back it up with facts. Load your custom business plan with relevant statistics, research, and staff resumes.
- Be conservative with projections. Even if you’re sure profits are going to be big, you’ll want to hold back a little on your sharing projections. Always take a conservative approach. Exceeding expectations is always better than failing to hit the mark.
- Be realistic about time and resources. It may be tempting to say that you’ll get the job done faster than your competitor. However, failing to deliver on time or overestimating your resources could have negative ramifications.
- Show why you’ll succeed. Do you have a prototype? Examples of a similar idea that’s been successful? Include samples of your product in your custom business plan.
- Include your location or facilities. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but investors will want to know you have the infrastructure to support your business. Detail everything from the square footage to how your space will be utilized.
- Create a management dream team. Not every member of your team will have field-related experience. You should be able to show how their previous work history contributes to the strength and viability of your venture.
Do you need help creating a successful custom business plan? Contact Bargain Business Plans today for expert advice and business plan creation for your organization’s success.