How to write a Business Plan very Fast in 2020


A business plan is a written description of your business' future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If for instance, you just write down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.


It is inherently strategic. You start here today with certain resources and abilities, and you want to get to a point in the future (usually three to five years out), at which time your business will have a different set of resources and abilities as well as greater profitability and increased assets. Your plan shows how you will get from here to there.


Description

If you are just starting a business, you need a business plan or roadmap. It does not only guide you and other key stakeholders as you grow your business, but also shows investors, lenders, or potential partners where your business is headed. Therefore, a successful business requires a well-thought-out business plan.

Although the prospect of writing a business plan may seem intimidating, it does not have to be. As long as you take some time, include essential information, and follow a handful of simple steps, you will be on your way to creating the perfect plan.


How to write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan should not be complicated. This step-by-step guide will show you how to quickly and easily write a business plan that will get the results you want. You do not have to have a business or accounting degree to put together a great business plan.

Whether you are building a business plan to raise money and grow your business or just need to figure out if your idea will work, every business plan needs to cover about seven essential topics. Here is a quick overview of each topic. There are however, a lot more details and instructions for each step.

Generally, a business plan can be broken into seven core sections. The best way to approach these sections, especially if this is your first time writing a business plan, is to take each section as a step to walk through one at a time. Then, once you have completed each section, step by step, your end result will be a comprehensive analysis of your company, as it is now and as you hope it will be in the future.



1. Executive summary

The first step you will want to take when writing a business plan is to create your executive summary. This executive summary will be the first chapter in your business plan—it is an overview which will explain what your business does, where your business currently stands, where you want to take your business in three to five years, and why you will be successful.

Although this seems like a significant amount of information, the executive summary does not need to be more than one or two pages in length. However, just because this is a short section of your plan does not mean it is not important. In fact, it might be the most important part of your business plan. Some investors might only ask for your executive summary when deciding whether to work with your business. So you will want to ensure that it can stand on its own.

Make this step of your business plan simpler by sticking to the following six pieces of information.
  • Mission statement: In no more than a paragraph, your mission statement should explain what your business is and the overarching goals you have.
  • General company information: State when your business was formed, the name of any founders and their roles, the number of employees, and any locations.
  • Highlights: Next, include examples (with graphs and charts) of any growth you’ve seen since starting the business. This could be financial market highlights or key milestones of the business. As a startup, you might not have any numbers to show here, therefore, give information on your experiences and highlights from your past endeavors.
  • Products and services: Briefly describe what you actually sell and who you sell it to. If you do not have a product just yet, describe your plans for your product offering.
  • Financial information: If you are looking for business financing, you will want to include your funding goals at the end of your executive summary. Be sure to include any information about banks or lenders you have worked with so far.
  • Future plans: Summarize where you are planning on taking your business in the future.


Step 2: Define Your Business’ Organization and Management Structure

Investors look for great teams in addition to great ideas. Use the company and management chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire.

You will also provide a quick overview of your legal structure, location, and history if you are already up and running.
The section explains who does what in your business, what is everyone’s background and what their past experiences bring to the team. Here are what you need to break down: 
  • Organizational structure: Before you dive into the details of each stakeholder, explain where they fit into the whole picture. The start of this section should include an organizational chart showing how your business is structured. This will illustrate that you know who is managing what aspect of your business. 
  • Ownership structure: Though this has been mentioned in your company overview, here, you should go a little deeper on how your company is legally structured. Explain who owns what, and how much they own.
  • Background of owners and board of directors: Next, explain the background of your team, managers, partners, and board of directors. These backgrounds will prove to potential investors that you have surrounded yourself with individuals who can and will make your business a success.
  • Hiring need: If your team is not a big one right now, you will probably need to expand in the future. List out any key hires you will need to make in order to achieve your goals. 

Step 3: Lay out Your Products and Services
This would come after you have described your business’ organizational structure. With this step, your goal is to lay out your plans for positioning your product.
When writing a business plan, you can start off this part by describing your service or product and who it is intended for. What need does it specifically fulfill? The opportunity section should show what you are actually selling and how you are solving a problem or meeting people's needs; your target market and competition. Here’s exactly what this section should contain: 
  • A description of your product or service: Include the details of your product here, and highlight what makes your product or service stand out. Be sure to speak toward how your product serves the needs of your customers and how it is preferable to your competitors. This is all about framing the problem as well as the solution your business is offering. 
  • Current status of products: Explain where your offering currently stands. Is it just in the idea stage or do you have a final product ready to go to market? Give a realistic and honest picture of how developed your core product or service is. 
  • Product development research and goals: If your product is still in the creation phase, describe how you will bring it to a finalized product. What research and development activities need to be done before you get to market? If you have any plans for future products you’d like to research and develop, note them here. 
  • Intellectual property: You have intellectual property that is proprietary to your business and crucial for your success, you should explain that in your product development section. This however, mostly applies to technology or scientific companies. Note also if you have patents or are in the patent application process. 
  • Sourcing and fulfilment: Do you rely on other vendors to provide your product or service? If so, be sure to make that clear when you are writing a business plan. Include information about where any inventory or materials are coming from, how you receive them, and how often you need fulfilment.

Step 4: Perform Your Market Analysis
This step has to deal with an in-depth analysis of your industry, market, and competitors. This is the section where you will start to get into the details.

The purpose of the market analysis is to make investors feel confident that you, the business owner, have a solid understanding of the dynamics of your industry, market, and competitors.

To display this understanding, your market analysis should include the following sections:
  • Industry description: Here you give the reader a view your industry, describing how large it is, how it had grown in the past, it' present position, how industry leaders predict it will grow in the future, and other important trends and characteristics. Then, it is necessary you mention the key players in your industry. 
  • Overview of the Target market: You have looked at your industry as a whole, now you will want to describe your target market. 
  • Characteristics of the Target market: Who are the customers in your target market, and what are their needs? Who is currently trying to serve those needs? Where is your target market located? What are the key demographics you want to? These are the questions you should be answering as you give in-depth information on your target market. 
  • Size and Growth of the Target Market: You should also give readers a look into how big your target market is. Try to give as much data as possible into how your target market makes purchases in the overall industry, how many, how often, and at what time of the year. Once you’ve looked into the current state of your target market, give a sense of the projected growth of your market.
  • Your market share potential: Now that you know what your target market looks like, how much market share do you expect to gain in your targeted geographic area and the impact you expect to have. 
  • Market pricing: By conducting this market research and survey, you can give the best estimate of how you should be pricing your products, how you should distribute your product, and how you can get ahead with promotional strategies. 
  • Barriers: Be sure to include any barriers to market entry you might come across. This might be regulation, changing technology, high investment outlays, or lack of personnel in the area.
  •  Competitor research: Now that you’ve looked into your target market as a whole, you can narrow in on your top competitors. Look at their market share, strengths and weaknesses, any barriers they present, partnerships, and so on.
Due to the data, research, and amount of information involved in this section, when you are writing a business plan, this step may very well take the longest. However, as such a crucial piece to your overall business plan, you will want to be sure it contains all the necessary details, is well-researched, and will show readers that you are knowledgeable about your specific market and your role in that market.

You need to clearly spell out the logic for why you are attacking a market opportunity in a certain way, part of which is derived from customers’ needs and the other part from the fact that your competitors are not meeting these needs.


Step 5: Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

In the execution chapter of your business plan, question like how are you going to take your opportunity and turn it into a business would arise.

Now that you have given all the crucial details of your core product offering, the next step in writing a business plan is the execution where you explain how you will market and sell your product or service. This section therefore covers your marketing and sales plan, operations, and your milestones and metrics for success.

Lets start with the marketing side.

 How will you create customers and get them interested in your business? In general, here is what the marketing part of this section might look like: 
  • Positioning: The first part of your marketing plan covers how you intend to position your business and products. The way you position your brand determines how customers find and interact with you. Are you a free service? Or the service that can guarantee quality? This is what makes you stand out against your competitors in a branding sense. 
  • Promotion: After you have explained how you intend to position yourself, now explain where you will get the word out and how you will reach your customers. This involves any plans you have for packaging your product, advertising the product online or in traditional media sources, dealing with public relations, or engaging in content marketing practices.
Having explained your marketing framework, next will be your sales plan which will look thus: 
  • Sales Team: Describe who will be selling your product. Do you need a sales force? If so, how big does your sales team need to be? Who will train them? Now is the time for you to present yourself as chief sales officer. 
  • Selling strategy: Give an overview of how you will sell your product or service. Will your team be cold-calling potential customers? Or attend sales meetings in person? This is how you will start and close the deal. Be sure to describe what the sales funnel looks like for your business.
Although you might not know exactly how your sales and marketing will play out just yet, or which channels will be most successful for you, you will nevertheless want to give a clear and concise overview of how you plan on selling your product.

Therefore, as your business progresses and can test your sales and marketing hypothesis and as you learn more, you can come back to this section and change or adjust information as necessary.


Step 6: Financial plan

Here you Detail Your Financial Plan and Projections. These will definitely include a sales forecast, cash flow statement, income statement (also called profit and loss) and your balance sheet.

Although this section comes at the end of your business plan, it can be the most important part of the entire document. With this step, therefore, you will detail your financial plan and projections giving a look into the current state of your finances and mapping out where you would like to be financially in the future.

If you have been in business for a little while now, you will use financial data from past performance in this section which should include the following financial statements: 
  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Accounts receivable statements (if applicable)
  • Accounts payable statements (if applicable)
  • Documentation of debt obligations (if applicable)
Even if you do not have any previous financial data from your company, you need to include financial projections in this section. Financial projections are either supported by your past data, or they are determined by research and analysis on the industry and your top competitors.
This being said, when you are forecasting your business’ financials, you will want to include these essential documents:
  • Statements of projected income
  • Cash flow forecasts
  • Balance sheet statements
  • Capital expenditure budgets
Typically, a thorough business plan has financial projections for the first 12 months of business, but also takes a long term outlook and illustrates a plan for the next three to five years. To get into all of the details involved with creating a financial projection, you might decide to consult a business accountant or other financial advisor.

The last part of your financial plan should include any funding needs your business has or will have in the future. Whether you plan to get funding through equity financing with angel investors or venture capital firms, or through debt financing with small business loans, you need to include the following in a funding request:
  • The funding amount you need right now
  • Any funding you will need in the future
  • The purpose and impact of the funds (working capital, equipment purchases, franchising fees, etc.)
With this piece of your financial plan, a potential investor reading your business plan will be able to determine exactly how any financial contributions they make will impact the business even if you just specifically need a business plan for funding purposes.

Finally, you may also want to include graphs and charts to visually illustrate your business’ current financial position and plans for the future.


Step 7 : Appendix

When you look at all of the steps involved in writing a business plan, this final step may seem inconsequential, it is however, quite important because, it will hold all of the supporting information you did not include thus far in your document.

Specifically, if you have any additional data points, charts, footnotes, or further explanations that are essential to creating a complete plan, you will include those in the appendix. You might also add any contracts, legal documents, permits, and product pictures in this section.

Moreover, the appendix is also a great place to insert your own resume and resumes of any key members of your management team. Your readers can refer to the appendix if they need more information.

It is therefore logical for the appendix to begin with a table of contents that breaks down the sections of your business plan, followed by the additional information that corresponds to each section.

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