This article contains information on how to write a successful business plan in 2023. This simply includes knowing the right steps on how to write a business plan to make your business practically successful this year, 2023.
Business plans have been an extremely important document for new businesses. Are they still important? What best actions and data can help you create an excellent document that can help your business get the funding it needs and ensure it lasts?
Some years ago, anyone you approached with a business idea without a plan would have laughed at you, taking you for a ridiculous person. A business plan is a broad roadmap for your small business’ expansion and development. It portrays who you are, what you plan to do, and how you intend to do them. It also helps attract investors and people with basic skills and talent to you.
Whether you are a founder, a new business owner, or on the verge of starting a new business, demands come at you fast. Tasks, to-do lists, meetings, etc.
In the midst of the rush, writing business plans, creating business ideas, or using business plan templates may feel tedious and time-consuming. In this article, you will learn the easier and more interesting steps to writing a business plan.
STEPS IN WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN
Research and examine your product, your market, and your objective skill or knowledge. To write an awesome business plan, you must know your company, your product, your competition, and the market very well.
In other words, it is your obligation to know everything you can about your business and the industry that you are venturing into. Study everything you can about your industry and relate to your audience.
2. Write an executive summary
The executive summary should reflect all the vital information about your business within a relatively short space, typically one page or less. It is a high-level look at everything and summarizes the other sections of your business plan.
Example of an executive summary:
“Market research indicates an increasing number of wealthy consumers in Cleveland are interested in landscape architecture based on sustainable design. However, high-end firms in the area are scarce. Currently, only two exist—neither of which focuses on eco-friendly planning nor is certified by a green organization. Landscapers Inc. provides a premium, sustainable service for customers with disposable incomes, large yards, and a love of nature.”
3. State your company description
Your company description contains four elements:
- Mission statement: A mission statement is your business’ purpose for existing. It is more than just what you do or what you are about. It is an official summary of the aims and values of your company or organization. A mission statement defines what an organization is and the reason it exists. At a minimum, your mission statement should tell who your primary customers are, pinpoint the products and services you render, and describe the geographical location in which you operate. It must fall under 2-4 sentences and 50–100 words. A mission statement is meant to showcase what you do and who you do it for. It is supposed to keep the company on track.
- Vision statement: A vision statement shows where the company wishes to be upon achieving its mission. This statement reveals the “where” of a business, but not just where the company seeks to Instead, a vision statement highlights where the company wants a community, or the world, to be as a result of the company’s services.
- Objectives: A company objective is a goal or aim that you want your organization to attain. Company objectives are measurable and effectively show the actions required to accomplish a When your objectives are not clearly defined, it is hard for employees and team members to work towards achieving common goals.
- History: Do not get anxious about making your company’s history a “difficult to penetrate” narrative. Instead, write it like you would a profile:
- Founding date
- Major milestones
- Number of employees
- Executive leadership roles
- Flagship products or services
Then, change the list into one or two paragraphs.
4. Carry out competitive analysis
Establish the identity of your rivals and examine their strategies to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service. A competitive analysis is a critical part of your company’s marketing plan.
Competitive research starts with carrying out research on the identities of other companies that currently sell in the market you intend to enter.
The idea of creating enough time to study your potential rival may sound overwhelming, but it can be totally useful. Answer these additional questions after you have carried out your research on your most important competitors:
- Where do they invest in advertising?
- What kind of press coverage do they get?
- How good is their customer service?
- What are their sales and pricing strategies?
- How do they rank on third-party rating platforms?
Also, when visiting your competitor’s websites, have a look at their “About Us” page or their mission and value statement.
5. Describe your products and services
When you describe your company’s products and services in your own words, you take responsibility for the way your customers and stakeholders perceive them. Your descriptions of the products and services you provide will depend on your audience and on what you intend to achieve. The product description is the marketing copy that entails what a product is and why it is worth obtaining. The reason for the product description is to supply customers with vital information on the features and benefits of the product so they are convinced to buy it.
This section shows the benefits, production process, and lifecycle of your product or service and why what your business offers is better than your competitors.
When describing your business benefits, pinpoint:
- Unique features
- Translating features into benefits
- Emotional and practical payoffs to your customers
- Intellectual property rights or any patents that protect differentiation For the production process, answer how you:
- Create your products or services.
- Source of raw materials or components?
- Assemble them through manufacturing?
- Maintain quality control and quality assurance?
- Receive and deliver them (supply chain logistics)?
- Manage your daily operations: bookkeeping and inventory? Within the product’s life cycle portion, pinpoint elements like:
- Time between purchases
- Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
- Future plans for research and development
6. Developing a marketing strategy
Effective marketing begins with a considered, properly informed marketing strategy. “According to a study by Smart Insights, 46% of brands don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy yet, and 16% do have a strategy but haven’t put it into effect yet. That means that more than half of the businesses out there aren’t getting the exposure and customers they could, simply because people don’t even know they exist yet.”
When you don’t have an excellent or effective marketing strategy, you run the risk of becoming directionless as a company, squandering money on channels that are not bringing you results, and losing out on potential customers to your competitors. An effective marketing strategy aids in defining your vision, mission, and business goals and outlines the steps you need to take to achieve these goals.
Your marketing strategy affects the way you run your entire business, so it should be planned and developed in consultation with your team. It is a wide-reaching and comprehensive strategic planning tool that:
- Describe your business and its products and services
- Explain the position and role of your products and services in the market
- Profile your customers and your competition
- Identifies the marketing tactics you will use
- Allows you to build a marketing plan and measure its effectiveness.
Your marketing strategy can be the difference between selling so much that growth explodes or getting no business at all. If you ask someone like Roland Frasier, CEO and principal of the War Room Mastermind, an elite business group coached by captains of industry, he will tell you that selecting the right strategy for marketing your business is effectively do or die. For those who do not have the necessary skills, gaining traction is neither simple nor straightforward. Without the right team in place or the right guidance to help you effectively succeed, achieving your goals of business success will seem difficult.
7. Compile your business financials
If you are just starting out, your business may not yet have financial data or broad reporting. However, you will still need to prepare a budget.
Even if you don’t need financing, you should compile a financial forecast in order to be successful in steering your business. If your company has been operating for a while and you are in need of investors, be sure to include:
- Income statements
- Profit and loss statements
- Cash flow statements
- Balance sheets
Other figures that can be included are:
- How much of your revenue you retain as your net income?
- Your ratio of liquidity to debt repayment ability
- How often you collect on your invoices?
Ideally, provide at least three years’ worth of reporting. Make sure your figures are accurate and don’t provide any profit or loss projections before carefully going over your past statements for justification.
Costs, profit margins, and sale prices are closely related, and many business owners set sale prices without accounting for all costs.
8. Describe your organization and management
This is the process of organizing, planning, leading, and controlling resources within an entity with the main aim of attaining its objectives. The organizational management of a business needs to be able to make decisions and resolve issues in order to be effective.
Identify your team members and give reasons why they can either turn your business idea into a reality or continue to grow it. This section of your business plan should display your management team’s superstars. Highlight skills and qualifications throughout the section.
9. Explain your funding request
Use the funding request section to give information on your future financial plans, such as when and how much funding you might need. You will also include the possible sources you could consider for acquiring your funds. Later, you can update this section of your plan when you need outside funding for business growth.
It is important to list how much money your small business needs in order to make a precise funding request. Be as realistic as possible.
10. Assemble an appendix for official documents
Finally, put together a well-structured appendix for everything. Investors will need to conduct due diligence, and you or your employees will need easy access to move forward.
- Deeds, local permits, and legal documents Business registries and professional licenses
- Patents and intellectual properties Industry associations and memberships
- State and federal identification numbers or codes
- Key customer contracts and purchase orders
As you include documents in the appendix, create a small table of contents and footnotes throughout the rest of the plan connecting to or calling attention to them.
I hope this article helps you create a well-structured business plan. All the best!