Business Plans 101
7 Things You Must Include in Your Business Plan
Whether you run a startup or an established enterprise, having a business plan will help you stay focused and keep you on track. Outlining your business goals and the steps you will take to reach those goals is the most direct path to success. Having a document that you can regularly refer to and improve will keep you moving in the right direction.
While every business plan is unique, there are some common factors that each one should have:
- Executive summary: Although you write this last, the executive summary is one of the most important components of your business plan, especially if you are seeking outside investment.
- Business description: What products or services do you offer? How are they different or better than your competitors’ products or services?
- Goals and objectives: What do you want your business to achieve, and in what time frame do you want it to happen?
- Target market: Who is your target customer? Perhaps one of the most important components of your plan is understanding who you are trying to reach and what they need most. Even the most innovative business idea is dead in the water if nobody wants or needs it.
- Market strategy: After you identify your target customer, you have to come up with the best strategy for both reaching them and converting them into a customer.
- Management team: Describe the organization of your business and the key people who are involved with managing it. Don’t forget to account for growth. Even if you are not yet fully staffed, describe the positions you intend to fill and the requirements for each.
- Financial plan: Coming up with budget projections and tax planning can be challenging, but with the help of qualified professionals and adequate research, you can create realistic estimates based on your industry.