Writing a Business Plan

Detailing a strategic plan to grow a business requires vision and research. A strong business plan is a valuable mechanism for gaining support to grow a business.

Behind every great burgeoning business is a thoughtful and organized business plan. Use your plan as a starting point to clearly define the fundamental structure, operations, and goals of your new endeavor. A compelling business plan will help you win over investors, lenders, and potential partners.

Selecting the Right Plan Format

There are two main categories of business plans to choose from, so be sure to opt for whichever plan best suits your business’ needs.
Like its name implies, the traditional business plan is best when seeking funding and support from more conventional, established sources. Create your plan by incorporating the most relevant information from the sections below.

Executive Summary
A short synopsis explaining what your business is all about, and your plans for future development with the appropriate funding.

Company Description
Specifics on how your new company will deliver results. Emphasize your business’ advantages in the marketplace, and the various ways it will benefit consumers and other organizations in turn.

Market Analysis
This is where your initial market research will come into play. Use those findings to see how your business stacks up against its competitors.

Organization & Management
An explanation of your business’ organizational and legal structure. Identify key team members and showcase their applicable talents, skills, and experience.

Service / Product Line
Detail your offerings and methods of production and manufacturing. Don’t forget to include your strategy to protect your intellectual property (including patents, trademarks, and copyrights).

Marketing & Sales
Every business has a unique marketing game plan. Describe the specifics of the sale process, and how you plan to reach and communicate with your target audience.

Funding Requests
Justify your need for funding to carry your company into its next five years of business. Outline your terms, how the funds will be used, and your plans for future strategic sales and debt resolution.

Financial Projections
It’s time to convert the story of your new business into concrete numbers. Use informative visual aids to communicate specifics on income statements, sales forecasts, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

The home for all your supporting materials, requested or otherwise: resumes, credit histories, product line sheets and imagery, reference letters, legal contracts, and more.

In an increasingly fast-paced professional landscape, lean startup business plans are becoming more and more common. Draft a straightforward document using Swiss entrepreneur and theorist Alex Osterwalder’s popular “Business Model Canvas” template as inspiration, which highlights the nine elements below in visual chart form.

Key Partners
  • Who are your key partners and suppliers?
  • What resources do they deliver?

Key Activities
  • In what ways will your business outperform competitors?
  • What are your revenue streams and supply channels?
Key Resources
  • What are the most important assets to help your business model operate?
  • Does your business qualify for beneficial resources for women, Native Americans, veterans, or the HUBZone program?
Value Proposition
  • Why would consumers choose your business over competitors in the market?
  • What solutions does your business provide?
Customer Relationships
  • How will customers connect with your business?
  • How will you build and retain your customer network?
Customer Segments
  • What aspects define your target audience?
  • Which customers are the most important to attract?
  • How will you communicate with your customers?
  • What distribution channels are the most effective (direct vs. indirect)?
Cost Structure
  • Which fundamental business costs are the most significant?
  • Is your business cost-driven or value-driven?
Revenue Streams
  • How will your business make money?
  • What are your various revenue streams and how much does each one add to your overall earnings?

Get your hands on our plan.

Ready to get started? Download and print the complete Business Blueprint to keep, read and use as a continued resource.