Module Five: Create a Business Plan

Module Five: Create a Business Plan

A strong business plan is necessary for long-term growth and success. Planning requires gathering the appropriate information and outlining the plan before creating it with all of the necessary elements. Creating a business plan may seem boring, but you should not neglect it. This is the plan that will guide your company and attract investors

What Should Be Included in the Business Plan?

The business plan must include some basic elements such as:

  •        Executive summary – provides an overview of the company and includes information from other elements. This is typically written last because the introduction is so important.
  •        Market analysis – provides information about the market that includes industry and pricing.
  •        Company description – provides information about the nature of the business and which factors will make it successful.
  •        Management and organization – provide a view of the company’s structure, leadership, and team.
  •        Sales and marketing – provide information about the sales and marketing that will be used.
  •        Product/service – explains the value, benefits, and uniqueness of the product.
  •        Funding/financial – outlines the amount of money the company needs in different scenarios and creates a five-year plan. 

Gather Documentation

Before starting a business plan, it is necessary to gather the necessary documentation together. Use the information to guide the business plan.

Documentation to Gather:

  •       Vision statement: establishes the company’s value and purpose.
  •       Mission statement: explains the value, interest, and goals of the company and includes the statement of purpose, statement of strategy, statement of value, statement of standards, and statement of benefits.
  •       SWOT analysis: outlines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that the business faces.
  •       Financial documentation: include all financial documents and projections that are related to the start-up. 

Develop a Business Plan Outline

Once all the documentation is gathered, it can be used to create the outline. Like any other important document, the business plan should have an outline before it is written. In this case, the elements can guide the outline.

Elements that should be in outlines:

  •        Coversheet – includes the name, address, and title
  •        Table of contents
  •        Executive summary – overview, mission statement, opportunity, requirements, competitors, advantages, etc.
  •        Market analysis – target market, trends, research, strategy
  •        Company description – mission, business model, SWOT, strategic relationships, and strategy
  •        Organization management – structure, location, personnel, security, insurance, accounting
  •        Sales and marketing – method of sales, pricing, branding, networking, strategies, incentives
  •        Product/service – product definition and any plans for expansion.
  •        Funding/financial – financial needs, cash flow, dispersal, three-year projection, balance sheet, break-even analysis, financial history, analysis
  •        Supporting documents – includes resumes, financial statements, credit reports, references, legal documents, and other documents.

Draft a Business Plan

Once the outline is created, it is time to begin drafting the business plan. Drafting the entire plan can be daunting, but there are some tips you can remember to help you create an effective business plan.

  •      Work on the elements of the plan individually.
  •      Focus on your niche and what makes your plan stand out.
  •      Use clear and concise language.
  •      End with the executive summary.
  •      Rewrite the draft frequently.

Lesson Summary

Creating a business plan can seem boring but is an essential part of growth and success for any company. Planning requires gathering the right documentation and outlining the plan before finalizing it with essential elements. Documentation to gather includes a vision statement, mission statement, SWOT analysis, and financial documents. The plan should include an executive summary, market analysis, company description, organization management, sales & marketing, product/service, funding, and other necessary documents. Drafting the plan consists of tackling each element individually, writing in concise language, and ending with the executive summary. By doing this, the plan can show potential investors that the company is organized and motivated.

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