How to use this template
First of all, here are a few things to know about a business plan:
- If you’re considering starting a business, creating a plan will help refine your idea and examine its financial viability before jumping in.
- It should clearly explain your business’s goals as well as any expansion and growth plans.
- It should help you define your unique value proposition and niche compared with competitors.
What to include in your first business plan:
1. Executive summary:
This should include essential information anyone reviewing your business plan should know: business name, location, industry, what you’re selling, and who your clients are. Tip: even though this section is first in the plan, it’s often easier to write it last, after you have outlined the other components.
2. About the business:
The second section is a longer description of your business and its mission. This should include:
- Basic info: name of the business, industry, and your business niche. This can expand on the overview included in your executive summary section.
- Value proposition: describe the value that your business offers to the customer. It should answer the question “why should the customer buy your product or service?” It should include an explanation of the benefits the customer will receive and why the company is the best choice for them.
- Products and services: a detailed list of your business’s offerings.
- Operation: the extra operational needs for your business, including vendors you’ll need to work with regularly (like your CPA).
3. Market analysis:
This section should be based on research and outline who you’re planning to target as potential customers and what the market looks like in your selected area. Read more on the competitive analysis here.
4. Sales and marketing:
This section needs to include all the channels you’re planning to work on to get your first clients. You can also include all the steps you’ll need to take in order to close a deal.
5. Financial plan:
Since you’re just starting your business, this section should cover how much money you need to get it up and running.
List the expenses you expect to have and add a realistic assessment of the income you’ll gain. Try to plan for the first 12 months.
Take the time to work on your first business plan with colleagues, friends and family. After you finish working on your first business plan, you’ll have a better understanding of the next steps you need to take and how you can execute your dream.