Nearly a fifth of small businesses fail because they don’t have a clear business plan. If you want your business to thrive, you have to have a clear and professional business plan. Every well-crafted business plan has a few things in common.
To learn about what it takes to make a successful business plan, keep reading. We’ll act as your personal business plan consultant and help you write the best business plan.
A Professional Business Plan: The Basics
Before you dive into typing or writing your comprehensive business plan, there are a few things you should keep in mind. All of the best business plan writers make sure that they prepare themselves for writing the document before putting anything down on paper.
Don’t dive in without understanding the basics behind your professional business plan. Take the following things into consideration before starting to write your business plan.
Know and Understand Your Audience
No great writer sits down and starts writing a professional business proposal without getting to know whom they’re writing to. You have to know your audience before you begin drafting your business plan.
Think about whom you’re writing your business plan for, even if you’re writing it for yourself. It would be best if you tailored the level of detail to the reader(s). For example, you may be constructing a business plan to send off to an investor. If so, you should tailor your professional business plan to show your business’s financial side while also giving them the proper details needed to convince them to invest.
Your audience can also be a guiding light to follow when you aren’t sure what to include in or exclude from your business plan.
Develop and Follow a Goal
If you’re creating a professional business plan, you’ve likely been asked to do so by someone. Perhaps it was an investor, lender, business partner, or potential customer.
Whether they were suggesting the idea or demanding it, that purpose will help you write the document. Every professional business proposal has a clear, concise goal.
Let’s continue with the previous investing example. If an investor has asked you to write a business plan, your goal should be to have this individual invest in your business. How will you convince this individual investor or a team of individuals who are investors to put money into your business? How can you convince them that your business is worth their money? Keep this goal and these questions in mind as you’re writing your business plan.
Conduct and Cite Your Research
Your business plan shouldn’t be an isolated document. You need to conduct business research to figure out some major details about customer interest and existing competition.
Let’s continue with the same investing example. Your investor will want to know where your product is going to be sold, what companies may threaten your success, and more. They’re not going to invest without knowing these details inside and out.
Therefore, you have to know who your competitors are and who your ideal customer is. From there, you can decide where you want your product(s) and/or service(s) sold and how you’re going to go about beating your competitors.
This isn’t information you can find out in five minutes. Take your time and really get to know your industry and its best customer types. You don’t want to rush your research.
How to Create a Professional Business Plan
Once you’ve gone over who your audience is and how you’re going to address them, what your goal is and how you’re going to meet it, and what research you need to do and what the answers are, it’s time get writing.
No professional business plan is written overnight. There are several steps to take and many things to include. Now, let’s go over everything you should put into your final, professional business plan.
- Executive Summary
Even though we’re putting this step first, we urge you to write it last.
The executive summary gives the reader an idea of what is to come next. It should summarize everything that’s going to be covered in the document while giving the reader enough excitement to keep reading the document.
After reading your executive summary, your audience should have a good idea of your business’s basics. This may include:
- What your business does
- What your business sells
- How your business is different from competitors
- Who your target audience is
- How you plan to sell to your target audience
- What the current financial state of your business is
- What the planned, future financial state of your business may be
- What the future of your business holds
- How much money you’re asking for from investors
This is a lot of information. We haven’t even told you that this is all traditionally placed on one, single page. Yes, executive summaries are very concise. Just be sure to include all of the relevant and useful information. Remember, you have the rest of the document to wow your audience with specifics.
- Company Overview
The company overview will give your readers an idea of exactly what your business is and how you plan to use it. This is the place in your professional business plan where you can show off all of your business ideas.
Here are some ideas if you’re looking for writing inspiration:
- What is your business structure?
- What are you selling? Why are you selling it?
- What industry does your business fall in?
- What is your mission?
- What are your values?
- What are your business plans?
- How did your business start? Is there a funny or romantic story to go with this?
- Who makes up your team? What do they do, and how much do you pay them?
Pour your heart and soul into this section of your business plan. Let the readers know why your business is important and where you think you can take all of your ideas.
- Market Analysis
The market analysis looks into how your business fits into your niche market. Whether or not you choose to accept it, your business could likely fail at any point.
To protect your business, you need to know exactly what it’s weak points are. Evaluate where your product fits into the market. Talk about the timing of your product(s) and/or service(s). Discuss your competitors.
Use this section to map out every strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat that you may have to face as a business owner. Assume the worst and plan for the best.
- Products and/or Services
In this section, you’ll want to go into extreme depth about every product and/or service you have to offer. What is it, why is it useful, and how do you plan to provide it?
Discuss the need for the product(s) and/or service(s) in your target audience. Following this, you could also include a section that discusses – in depth – who your target audience is. Use this to convince your readers that your business is suited for the market.
- Marketing Plan
Speaking of the market, you need to plan out exactly how you’re going to approach it. A clear marketing plan covers four topics: product, price, promotion, and place:
- What are you selling, and how is it different?
- How much are you going to charge for the product(s) and/or service(s) and why?
- How do you plan to advertise the product(s) and/or service(s)?
- Where do you plan to sell your product(s) and/or service(s)?
Some of this information may seem repetitive. This is why many business plan writers make the ‘promotion’ section of the marketing plan the bulk of the piece.
- Operations and Logistics
Your reader(s) should be able to follow your production process all the way through. As you’re writing your operations and logistics section, make sure to include the detail necessary to help your audience follow your product from the build to the sale.
Be sure to include every single piece of information so that your plan is clear:
- Where are you getting your raw materials? Where is the product going to be made?
- Who’s going to handle production? How long does this take?
- How long does shipping take?
- How will you handle spikes in demand?
- Where will you and your teamwork?
- What equipment are you going to use?
- How are you going to ship products?
- How will you handle inventory?
The more detailed, the better. Don’t give enough room for any holes in your plan.
- Financial Plan
The financial plan consists of a balance sheet, cash-flow statement, and an income statement.
The people reading your document will want to make sure that your business idea is actually feasible for the foreseeable future. Convince them of such.
Mark every number and account for every expense. When in doubt, include the information.
Professional Help Writing a Business Plan
Writing a professional business plan isn’t easy. Even after breaking it all down, you may be feeling overwhelmed.
We completely understand this feeling. If you’re worried about writing your business plan, you can depend on our professional business plan writers.
To get the best professional help writing a business plan, contact us and get a free consultation. We can’t wait to work with you on making your business dreams come true.