How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needing to write a business plan to get there.

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated April 17, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

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  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Start stronger by writing a quick business plan. Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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guide to business planning

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

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How to make a business plan

Strategic planning in Miro

Table of Contents

How to make a good business plan: step-by-step guide.

A business plan is a strategic roadmap used to navigate the challenging journey of entrepreneurship. It's the foundation upon which you build a successful business.

A well-crafted business plan can help you define your vision, clarify your goals, and identify potential problems before they arise.

But where do you start? How do you create a business plan that sets you up for success?

This article will explore the step-by-step process of creating a comprehensive business plan.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a formal document that outlines a business's objectives, strategies, and operational procedures. It typically includes the following information about a company:

Products or services

Target market

Competitors

Marketing and sales strategies

Financial plan

Management team

A business plan serves as a roadmap for a company's success and provides a blueprint for its growth and development. It helps entrepreneurs and business owners organize their ideas, evaluate the feasibility, and identify potential challenges and opportunities.

As well as serving as a guide for business owners, a business plan can attract investors and secure funding. It demonstrates the company's understanding of the market, its ability to generate revenue and profits, and its strategy for managing risks and achieving success.

Business plan vs. business model canvas

A business plan may seem similar to a business model canvas, but each document serves a different purpose.

A business model canvas is a high-level overview that helps entrepreneurs and business owners quickly test and iterate their ideas. It is often a one-page document that briefly outlines the following:

Key partnerships

Key activities

Key propositions

Customer relationships

Customer segments

Key resources

Cost structure

Revenue streams

On the other hand, a Business Plan Template provides a more in-depth analysis of a company's strategy and operations. It is typically a lengthy document and requires significant time and effort to develop.

A business model shouldn’t replace a business plan, and vice versa. Business owners should lay the foundations and visually capture the most important information with a Business Model Canvas Template . Because this is a fast and efficient way to communicate a business idea, a business model canvas is a good starting point before developing a more comprehensive business plan.

A business plan can aim to secure funding from investors or lenders, while a business model canvas communicates a business idea to potential customers or partners.

Why is a business plan important?

A business plan is crucial for any entrepreneur or business owner wanting to increase their chances of success.

Here are some of the many benefits of having a thorough business plan.

Helps to define the business goals and objectives

A business plan encourages you to think critically about your goals and objectives. Doing so lets you clearly understand what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.

A well-defined set of goals, objectives, and key results also provides a sense of direction and purpose, which helps keep business owners focused and motivated.

Guides decision-making

A business plan requires you to consider different scenarios and potential problems that may arise in your business. This awareness allows you to devise strategies to deal with these issues and avoid pitfalls.

With a clear plan, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions aligning with their overall business goals and objectives. This helps reduce the risk of making costly mistakes and ensures they make decisions with long-term success in mind.

Attracts investors and secures funding

Investors and lenders often require a business plan before considering investing in your business. A document that outlines the company's goals, objectives, and financial forecasts can help instill confidence in potential investors and lenders.

A well-written business plan demonstrates that you have thoroughly thought through your business idea and have a solid plan for success.

Identifies potential challenges and risks

A business plan requires entrepreneurs to consider potential challenges and risks that could impact their business. For example:

Is there enough demand for my product or service?

Will I have enough capital to start my business?

Is the market oversaturated with too many competitors?

What will happen if my marketing strategy is ineffective?

By identifying these potential challenges, entrepreneurs can develop strategies to mitigate risks and overcome challenges. This can reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes and ensure the business is well-positioned to take on any challenges.

Provides a basis for measuring success

A business plan serves as a framework for measuring success by providing clear goals and financial projections . Entrepreneurs can regularly refer to the original business plan as a benchmark to measure progress. By comparing the current business position to initial forecasts, business owners can answer questions such as:

Are we where we want to be at this point?

Did we achieve our goals?

If not, why not, and what do we need to do?

After assessing whether the business is meeting its objectives or falling short, business owners can adjust their strategies as needed.

How to make a business plan step by step

The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include.

1. Create an executive summary

Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

Keep your executive summary concise and clear with the Executive Summary Template . The simple design helps readers understand the crux of your business plan without reading the entire document.

2. Write your company description

Provide a detailed explanation of your company. Include information on what your company does, the mission statement, and your vision for the future.

Provide additional background information on the history of your company, the founders, and any notable achievements or milestones.

3. Conduct a market analysis

Conduct an in-depth analysis of your industry, competitors, and target market. This is best done with a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Next, identify your target market's needs, demographics, and behaviors.

Use the Competitive Analysis Template to brainstorm answers to simple questions like:

What does the current market look like?

Who are your competitors?

What are they offering?

What will give you a competitive advantage?

Who is your target market?

What are they looking for and why?

How will your product or service satisfy a need?

These questions should give you valuable insights into the current market and where your business stands.

4. Describe your products and services

Provide detailed information about your products and services. This includes pricing information, product features, and any unique selling points.

Use the Product/Market Fit Template to explain how your products meet the needs of your target market. Describe what sets them apart from the competition.

5. Design a marketing and sales strategy

Outline how you plan to promote and sell your products. Your marketing strategy and sales strategy should include information about your:

Pricing strategy

Advertising and promotional tactics

Sales channels

The Go to Market Strategy Template is a great way to visually map how you plan to launch your product or service in a new or existing market.

6. Determine budget and financial projections

Document detailed information on your business’ finances. Describe the current financial position of the company and how you expect the finances to play out.

Some details to include in this section are:

Startup costs

Revenue projections

Profit and loss statement

Funding you have received or plan to receive

Strategy for raising funds

7. Set the organization and management structure

Define how your company is structured and who will be responsible for each aspect of the business. Use the Business Organizational Chart Template to visually map the company’s teams, roles, and hierarchy.

As well as the organization and management structure, discuss the legal structure of your business. Clarify whether your business is a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or LLC.

8. Make an action plan

At this point in your business plan, you’ve described what you’re aiming for. But how are you going to get there? The Action Plan Template describes the following steps to move your business plan forward. Outline the next steps you plan to take to bring your business plan to fruition.

Types of business plans

Several types of business plans cater to different purposes and stages of a company's lifecycle. Here are some of the most common types of business plans.

Startup business plan

A startup business plan is typically an entrepreneur's first business plan. This document helps entrepreneurs articulate their business idea when starting a new business.

Not sure how to make a business plan for a startup? It’s pretty similar to a regular business plan, except the primary purpose of a startup business plan is to convince investors to provide funding for the business. A startup business plan also outlines the potential target market, product/service offering, marketing plan, and financial projections.

Strategic business plan

A strategic business plan is a long-term plan that outlines a company's overall strategy, objectives, and tactics. This type of strategic plan focuses on the big picture and helps business owners set goals and priorities and measure progress.

The primary purpose of a strategic business plan is to provide direction and guidance to the company's management team and stakeholders. The plan typically covers a period of three to five years.

Operational business plan

An operational business plan is a detailed document that outlines the day-to-day operations of a business. It focuses on the specific activities and processes required to run the business, such as:

Organizational structure

Staffing plan

Production plan

Quality control

Inventory management

Supply chain

The primary purpose of an operational business plan is to ensure that the business runs efficiently and effectively. It helps business owners manage their resources, track their performance, and identify areas for improvement.

Growth-business plan

A growth-business plan is a strategic plan that outlines how a company plans to expand its business. It helps business owners identify new market opportunities and increase revenue and profitability. The primary purpose of a growth-business plan is to provide a roadmap for the company's expansion and growth.

The 3 Horizons of Growth Template is a great tool to identify new areas of growth. This framework categorizes growth opportunities into three categories: Horizon 1 (core business), Horizon 2 (emerging business), and Horizon 3 (potential business).

One-page business plan

A one-page business plan is a condensed version of a full business plan that focuses on the most critical aspects of a business. It’s a great tool for entrepreneurs who want to quickly communicate their business idea to potential investors, partners, or employees.

A one-page business plan typically includes sections such as business concept, value proposition, revenue streams, and cost structure.

Best practices for how to make a good business plan

Here are some additional tips for creating a business plan:

Use a template

A template can help you organize your thoughts and effectively communicate your business ideas and strategies. Starting with a template can also save you time and effort when formatting your plan.

Miro’s extensive library of customizable templates includes all the necessary sections for a comprehensive business plan. With our templates, you can confidently present your business plans to stakeholders and investors.

Be practical

Avoid overestimating revenue projections or underestimating expenses. Your business plan should be grounded in practical realities like your budget, resources, and capabilities.

Be specific

Provide as much detail as possible in your business plan. A specific plan is easier to execute because it provides clear guidance on what needs to be done and how. Without specific details, your plan may be too broad or vague, making it difficult to know where to start or how to measure success.

Be thorough with your research

Conduct thorough research to fully understand the market, your competitors, and your target audience . By conducting thorough research, you can identify potential risks and challenges your business may face and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Get input from others

It can be easy to become overly focused on your vision and ideas, leading to tunnel vision and a lack of objectivity. By seeking input from others, you can identify potential opportunities you may have overlooked.

Review and revise regularly

A business plan is a living document. You should update it regularly to reflect market, industry, and business changes. Set aside time for regular reviews and revisions to ensure your plan remains relevant and effective.

Create a winning business plan to chart your path to success

Starting or growing a business can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, a well-written business plan can make or break your business’ success.

The purpose of a business plan is more than just to secure funding and attract investors. It also serves as a roadmap for achieving your business goals and realizing your vision. With the right mindset, tools, and strategies, you can develop a visually appealing, persuasive business plan.

Ready to make an effective business plan that works for you? Check out our library of ready-made strategy and planning templates and chart your path to success.

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How to Write the Perfect Business Plan: 10 Essential Steps

Whether you’re starting a new small business or are already years into operating one, a business plan is one of the best ways to clarify your long-term vision. Follow our step-by-step guide to writing a highly effective business plan.

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hether you’re starting a new small business or are already years into operating one, a business plan is one of the best ways to clarify your long-term vision. While every business plan is different, there are several key elements to consider that will benefit you in the long run. 

Follow our step-by-step guide to writing a highly effective business plan. 

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals and how you plan to achieve them. Ideally, this will become your roadmap for marketing, sales, finance, and growth. 

In other words, a business plan is...

  • An explanation of your overall vision.
  • A valuable tool to plan and track your business fundamentals.
  • An overview of your path to profitability, which can help get funding for your company.

Do You Need A Business Plan?

While it’s not a requirement, having a business plan is strongly recommended. In a recent QuickBooks survey , nearly 70% of current business owners recommended writing a business plan.

Creating a business plan is especially useful in the following scenarios:

  • Applying for business loans
  • Seeking additional rounds of funding or investors 
  • Growing your employee headcount  
  • Attracting top-level management candidates 
  • Looking for opportunities to scale your business

10 Steps To Creating A Comprehensive Business Plan

While not every business plan is the same, there are a few key steps you should take to create an effective and comprehensive document:

1. Create an executive summary

Think of an executive summary as your company's elevator pitch in written form. It should be 1 to 2 pages in length and summarize important information about your company and goals. If you are pitching your business plan to get funding, you should ensure your executive summary appeals to investors.

What should you include in an executive summary?

  • An overview of your business
  • Your company mission statement
  • A concise description of products or services offered
  • A description of your target market and customer demographics
  • A brief analysis of your competition
  • Financial projections and funding requirements
  • Information about your management team
  • Future plans and growth opportunities
  • An overall summary of your business plan

2. Write your company description

Your company description is a more detailed and comprehensive explanation of your business. It should provide a thorough overview of your company, including your company history, your mission, your objectives, and your vision. A company description should help the reader understand the context and background of the business, as well as the key factors that contribute to its success.

What should you include in your company description?

  • Official company name 
  • Type of business structure
  • Physical address(es)
  • Company history and background information
  • Mission statement and core values
  • Management team members and their qualifications
  • Products and services offered
  • Target market and customer segmentation
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Goals (both short- and long-term)
  • Vision statement

Novo Note : The company description is your chance to expound on the pain points your company solves. It should also give a reader an accurate impression of who you are. 

3. Conduct and outline market analysis

This is one of the most important steps in building a business plan. Here, you will assess the size and dynamics of the market your business operates in.

How to conduct a market analysis

Market analyses include both quantitative and qualitative data. You may want to conduct surveys or lean on existing industry research to gather this information. You’ll want to answer:

  • What is the size of the market?
  • How much revenue does your industry generate?
  • What trends are impacting this industry?
  • Where are opportunities for innovation?
  • What are the most well-known companies in the industry? What tactics do they use to sell to customers? How do they price their offering?
  • Where are there gaps in the market? 
  • What are your customer demographics? What problems do they have that need solving? What are their values, desires, and purchasing habits?
  • What barriers to entry, if any, exist? These could include startup costs, legal requirements, environmental conditions that impact consumer behavior, and market saturation.

What is your target market?

In this section, you will specify the customer segment(s) you’re targeting . You can divide customers into small segments organized by age, location, income, and lifestyle. The goal is to describe what type of consumer will be most interested in your offering.

Novo Note : Regardless of your company’s size, understanding the trends and opportunities within your target market enables you to build a more effective marketing plan to distinguish yourself from the marketplace and grow your business. This analysis might also help you find potential customers or new products you could offer. 

4. Analyze your competitors

After conducting a market analysis, you need to do a deep dive into your competitors. Look at how the competition is succeeding or failing and how each competitor has positioned itself. For example, you might want to evaluate your competitors’ brand, pricing, and distribution strategies. 

How to conduct a competitive analysis

You’ll want to research your competitors and ask the following questions:

  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are their customer reviews like?
  • How do they price their offering(s)?
  • What are their value propositions?
  • What marketing and sales channels do they leverage?
  • How are they growing and evolving?

Novo Note : After you develop a strong understanding of the competitive landscape, consider how your business is unique. Solidifying your competitive advantage can help you appeal to your target audience.  

5. Describe your products or services

This is your chance to go into more detail about the products and services you offer! Use this opportunity to note where your offering or service differs from others in the industry. Highlight the standout features of your product, your company’s unique ability to solve customer problems, and your product roadmap.

What to include:

  • Your product catalog
  • Key differentiating features
  • Information about the production process
  • The resources required for production
  • Plans for future product releases

6. Define your marketing and sales strategy

Your marketing plan describes your strategy for connecting with your target market and generating leads. It doesn't need to be full-fledged at this point, but it should answer who you're trying to sell to and how you plan to target them. Investors also want to know how you plan on selling your brand and breaking into the market, so make sure to consider their perspective as you develop your marketing strategy.

  • Your sales and marketing budget
  • Your key sales and marketing objectives
  • Details about your sales process and sales goals
  • Platforms or strategies you’ll employ to reach your target audience
  • PR initiatives, content ideas, and social media strategies

7. Gather your business financials and outline financial projections

Your financials section lays out your company's past and current performance. You can also include a roadmap that dives into financial projections for your business. Aim to include projections for the next five years at a minimum.

  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Explanation of any significant changes

Novo Note : Novo offers integrations with accounting software like Quickbooks and Xero , allowing you to seamlessly access all your financial information within your business checking account .

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8. Describe your organization

Your business plan should also include an organizational chart that maps your company’s structure. 

What to include :

  • Company’s management structure
  • Other key personnel, along with their roles and responsibilities
  • Expertise of your team (feature any specialists or experts)

Novo Note : This is also a good place to explain the legal structure of your company — for example, if you are an LLC , a corporation, or a sole proprietorship . 

9. Outline your funding requests

If you’re looking for business funding, include an outline of any funding requests and requirements.

  • Why you are requesting funding
  • What the funding will be used for specifically
  • Desired terms and conditions of funding
  • The length of time over which the funding will be used
  • Type of funding required (for example, debt or equity)

Novo Note : Propose a five-year funding plan, and aim to be as detailed as possible about how you will utilize the funds to grow your business. 

10. Create an appendix

The last section, the appendix, includes supporting documents and additional information not listed elsewhere in your business plan. Not all of these items are necessary to include, so you’ll need to evaluate which are most relevant to your business. You might also want to include a table of contents to help keep the appendix organized.

Items to consider including:

  • Bank statements
  • Business credit history
  • Legal documents
  • Letters of reference

Sample Business Plans

Need an example to help you through the process? Check out the Small Business Administration’s downloadable examples or this even more in-depth one from Harvard Business School.

Tips For Creating A Great Business Plan

Here are some of our favorite tips for creating the most effective and efficient business plan:

  • Keep it short and sweet : You want to be sure people will actually read your business plan, so stay on topic and to the point.
  • Make it digestible : No need to use the fanciest terminology or draft up the most complex graphs. Keep wording and ideas simple and straightforward — it’s the most impactful way to get your information across.
  • Triple-check your work : There’s nothing worse than noticing a grammar, spelling, or mathematical error when you’re presenting your vision. So proofread… and then proofread again!
  • Start early : It’s never too late to write a business plan, but the earlier you do it, the stronger your strategy for growth and expansion will be from the start.
  • Reference credible sources : If you are going to reference third-party research in your business plan, lean on sources that are widely recognized as authorities. Try tapping into trade associations and government resources, like U.S. Census data or data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Set yourself apart : Wherever you can, explain why your product or service stands out and how it can solve a problem.
  • Be objective : Avoid the instinct to only showcase the good. Stakeholders and investors want to know that you are realistic and have a contingency plan if you hit a bump in the road.

Updating Your Business Plan

As with most situations in business (and life), things change! So don’t think that your business plan has to be set in stone after you create it. Instead, you should plan to return to it once a year and make updates.

Be sure to do the following when you review and update your business plan:

  • Analyze your progress: Review your original business plan and compare it to your actual financial data. Are you moving in the right direction, or do you need to reevaluate your strategy?
  • Consider whether your product offerings need to be adjusted: For example, decide if you want to diversify your product offerings or scale back and focus on a singular product. 
  • Reassess your overall goals: Perhaps your sales goals have changed with your new marketing strategy. Or maybe your customer’s needs have changed. In any case, be flexible where needed. 

We know there’s a lot that goes into creating a business plan, but it’s worth it. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for developing a business plan, but our steps outlined above will put you on the right track for developing a comprehensive, investor-friendly document.

Take time to review your business plan annually and make changes as your needs and goals change.

Novo Platform Inc. strives to provide accurate information but cannot guarantee that this content is correct, complete, or up-to-date. This page is for informational purposes only and is not financial or legal advice nor an endorsement of any third-party products or services. All products and services are presented without warranty. Novo Platform Inc. does not provide any financial or legal advice, and you should consult your own financial, legal, or tax advisors.

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness

A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

guide to business planning

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Business Plan in 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Business Plan in 2024

Table of contents

guide to business planning

Do you remember the first business plan you made? It could be with your school pal to open a restaurant or with your college buddy to start a design firm. No matter what stage of life you’re at, every new business needs a plan. It’ll help you lay the foundation.

A business plan comprises your company’s goals and intentions. 

Here are the top strategic tips on writing a winning business plan to give life to your entrepreneurial dream.

Do I really need a business plan?

When evaluating how to structure a business, you might wonder:

  • How do I convey my ideas clearly?
  • How can I assess each approach?
  • How can I effectively talk about the company’s goals?
  • What will help me partner with potential companies?
  • How do I make my business lucrative in a  competitive market?

Investors rely on a comprehensive business plan to understand how you expect to make profits. 

1. Research for strategic decisions

You can’t develop a business plan without investing time in research. To better understand market trends, consumer behavior, and competitor’s strategies, perform extensive research that a business plan mandates.

2. Vision through words

It helps you compellingly present the ideas to gain investors', partners’, and consumers’ interests. 

3. Earns potential partners

It helps get investors or collaborators interested in your business by showcasing how it is worth investing in. 

5 things to keep in mind while writing your business plan

Writing a stellar business plan demands attention to detail. Here are the crucial elements to bear in mind while composing a plan. 

1. Audience

Are you writing it for an investor or a partner? Based on the audience, you need to understand their perspective, concerns, and expectations. 

Is your business plan clearly defining the goals? Ensure it gives a clear picture of the company's short-term and long-term objectives. 

3. Comprehensive research

Did you analyze market trends? Dig deep into the research to get a comprehensive industry analysis. It will help you exhibit your company’s innovative approach.

Who could be your most effective research partner? Wordtune!

Let’s say you’re planning to begin a packaging venture. While preparing the business plan, you need to know the facts and figures about the industry's growth. So, how do you go about it? 

guide to business planning

With Wordtune’s AI feature, you can write a detailed prompt mentioning the data that you need to procure. For example, ask ‘How is the packaging industry performing?’ and Wordtune will develop relevant, up-to-date information.

Get Wordtune for free > Get Wordtune for free >

4. Crisp points

Do you prefer reading through lengthy texts or crisp points? The latter, right? Make sure to present the data with crisp and precise facts. 

5. Tone and style

While a business plan is the key to exhibiting your business approach, don’t miss out on reflecting your personality. While you keep the content in a professional tonality, make it more enjoyable with a little hint of quirkiness. 

Wordtune helps in effortlessly jazzing the tone and style of your business plan. Let’s understand with an example of a venture’s brief. 

‘FurniturePro is a leading venture in the furniture design industry specializing in sustainable design. We’re transforming modern spaces through our eco-friendly and innovative approach. Our designs speak all about sleek and functional designs.’

Do you wish to add a casual touch to the tonality? Here’s how Wordtune works.

guide to business planning

This tool helps you refine your tone by giving suggestions according to your intended style.

9 Steps to Writing a Comprehensive Business Plan

To outline your business’ goals and approach holistically, here is our step-by-step guide on writing a compelling business plan. 

1. Executive summary

An executive summary is the first page of a business plan, offering a trailer for more to come. Thus, it needs to be well-written and captivating. Consider it an elevator pitch and summarize your company’s plan by highlighting the critical points like the objective, mission, growth trajectory, unique value proposition, etc.

Pro-tip: As an executive summary offers insights into the overall plan, write it at the end. It will make the task more manageable as you can pick information from the relevant sections and precisely mention it here. 

With Wordtune, you can curate the executive summary by offering a brief prompt. For example, you’re an architect seeking investors for your firm. What do you need to grab their attention? A holistic business plan that helps them understand the perks of funding your business.

guide to business planning

Let’s see how Wordtune helps in this case. All you need to do is feed the details that must be present in the summary and witness the magic. 

guide to business planning

To convey the ideas better, it breaks up the details under sub-headings to enhance readability and mention every detail.

2. About your company

What is your company’s name? Where is it located? Who are the leaders of the company?

Whenever we’re going through a business plan, aren’t these the first questions popping up in our heads? After the executive summary, introduce your company.

Define the overall business structure, whether a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. While mentioning these details, include each leader's ownership and involvement percentage. Give a gist of the past and present through a brief timeline, and prepare the readers to delve into the future that follows in the next section.

3. Your business goals

Nobody prefers sailing a boat without a compass, right? Similarly, every investor or potential stakeholder needs a clear picture of the business and its growth strategies before investing. This is why this section is crucial. Define your short-term and long-term objectives of the company.

Make sure to cover the following points in the business goal:

  • Why do you need funds for the business?
  • What are the benefits financing brings to the growth of your company?
  • What is your approach to achieving growth targets?

It must exhibit a win-win case for your company and investor’s ROI.

4. All about your products and services

With the company’s past, present, and future in line, it’s time to delve into the details of the product.

  • What is the product or service your company offers?
  • What is the typical pricing?
  • What is your target audience?
  • What is your strategy to fulfill the supply chain and demands?
  • What is your sales path?
  • What is the distribution strategy for a product or service? 

Make sure to mention every minute detail about the offerings and throw light on their unique features, advantages, and how they add value to consumers. 

5. What does market research say?

As you step into a niche, research is vital. 

Once you’ve researched the market, present your unique approach in the business plan. Mention how your product or service is better than the rest. Explain about your competitors, discuss their approach, and define how your course stays a step ahead.

Pro-tip: Sequence it by showcasing your market understanding first. After that, mention the critical pain points, identify the challenges, and how you transform them into opportunities.

6. Outline the marketing plan

What is your marketing strategy? Address your roadmap to reach and engage with the target audience. How are you planning to promote your products, and what is your process for building a lasting impression?

Mention details about the sales tactics, channels, and promotional campaigns. 

7. Business financial analysis

Numbers can speak volumes. If you’re writing a business plan for an existing business, flaunt the profit-and-loss statements to showcase the financials. List the assets, debts, cash flow, etc., through a balance sheet. Consider adding the following details:

  • Current Ratio– the company’s current liquidity and potential to repay the debts.
  • Net Profit Margin– what is the percentage of revenue reserved as net income?
  • Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio– details about the frequency of collecting receivables annually.

Present the data through graphs or charts to gain the reader's attention. It offers better clarity on financial health and sustainability in the future.

8. Generate financial projections

You must clearly show your investors or partners the company’s future finances. It outlines your potential to repay the loans or how the company will provide promising ROIs. Add monthly or quarterly sales, expenditures, and estimated profits for at least three years.

Develop realistic projections, as these are the financial roadmap guiding significant decisions and strategies. 

9. Added information

Do you have additional information, like licenses, certifications, permits, contracts, credit history, etc., that didn’t fit elsewhere? Add it to this section.

Use it as a miscellaneous section to add relevant information driving your business growth.

Download our free business plan template here

Examples of the top-selling business plans, 1. patagonia.

Start your business plan with a strong mission statement that sets a tone at the beginning. For example, this being an environmentally friendly company, the entire plan for this brand revolves around how their clothing is eco-friendly for silent sports that don’t have engines. 

guide to business planning

2. NALB Creative Center

This business plan covers every aspect of the venture, including summary, services, market analysis, etc. The market analysis offers insights into the breakdown of target customers, clearly communicating the potential for business growth. 

guide to business planning

In this business plan, visuals help narrate the brand’s story. The rich usage of images aligns with the brand’s ethos of adopting an innovative approach. An addition of financial charts further helps in portraying the finances clearly. 

guide to business planning

4. LiveShopBuy

This business plan effectively focuses on investment opportunities through strategically positioning facts. It talks about investments first to seek funding and then leads to the further details and services the company offers.

guide to business planning

5. Lula Body

This business plan doesn’t shy away from reflecting the finances. From service charges to expected revenues, it covers every aspect precisely and presents it crisply for readers to grasp the takeaways. 

guide to business planning

Say hello to your business buddy!

Coming up with an impactful business plan sounds challenging. But not when you have Wordtune as your assistant.

From generating fresh ideas to enhancing existing ones, there is an array of tools Wordtune offers. It helps you refine the tonality and introduce a unique style to the content. Whether the plan is to build a network through a business plan or gain collaborators, with Wordtune, you can rest assured to strike the right tone.

Building a roadmap with a business plan

The business plan is much more than just a document. A business plan can help investors and owners better understand what the future holds for the business.

A holistic business plan exhibits the vision and aspirations you aim to achieve. Thus, give thought and weightage to every word in that document. It should be detailed, realistic, and achievable. Regularly check the business plan to ensure that it stays relevant and updated with the transforming industrial trends.

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guide to business planning

Small Business Trends

How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan to start a business . In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.

This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.

Executive Summary

business plan

The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.

Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

business plan

In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.

It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.

This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

  • Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
  • Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
  • Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.

Company Description

business plan

The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.

Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.

Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

business plan

Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).

Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.

Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.

Market Analysis

business plan

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.

This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.

Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

business plan

A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.

Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.

Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

  • Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
  • Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
  • Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
  • Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.

Opportunities:

  • Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
  • Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
  • Expansion into international markets.
  • Intense competition from established technology companies.
  • Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.

Competitive Analysis

business plan

In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.

By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Example: Key competitors include:

GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.

EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.

By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.

Organization and Management Team

business plan

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.

Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

business plan

Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

business plan

In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.

Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.

Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.

Logistics and Operations Plan

business plan

The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.

Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.

Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

business plan

In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.

Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.

This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.

By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:

  • Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
  • Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
  • Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.

These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.

Income Statement

business plan

The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.

Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.

Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

  • Revenue: $1,500,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
  • Gross Profit: $700,000
  • Operating Expenses: $450,000
  • Net Income: $250,000

This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.

Cash Flow Statement

business plan

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.

Example:  The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

Operating Activities:

  • Depreciation: $10,000
  • Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000

Investing Activities:

  •  Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
  • Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000

Financing Activities:

  • Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
  • Loan Repayments: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
  • Net Increase in Cash: $210,000

This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

business plan

1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.

2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.

3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.

6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.

7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

The template is divided into the following sections:

  • Mission statement
  • Business Overview
  • Key products or services
  • Target market
  • Financial highlights
  • Company goals
  • Strategies to achieve goals
  • Measurable, time-bound objectives
  • Company History
  • Mission and vision
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Pain points
  • Industry trends
  • Customer needs
  • Competitor strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Competitor products and services
  • Market positioning
  • Pricing strategies
  • Organizational structure
  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Management team backgrounds
  • Product or service features
  • Competitive advantages
  • Marketing channels
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Promotional activities
  • Sales strategies
  • Supply chain management
  • Inventory control
  • Production processes
  • Quality control measures
  • Projected revenue
  • Assumptions
  • Cash inflows
  • Cash outflows
  • Net cash flow

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.

Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.

A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.

business plan

Why You Should Write a Business Plan

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

  • Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
  • Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
  • Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
  • Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
  • Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:

  • Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
  • Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
  • Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
  • Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
  • Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
  • Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
  • Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
  • One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
  • Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
  • Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.

Using Business Plan Software

business plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.

1. LivePlan

LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.

2. Upmetrics

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.

Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.

5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz

Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:

  • It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
  • It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
  • It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
  • It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
  • It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
  • It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
  • It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
  • It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
  • It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
  • It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
  • It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
  • It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
  • It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.

Can I write a business plan by myself?

Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.

We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .

Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.

What questions should be asked in a business plan?

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.

How is business planning for a nonprofit different?

Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

guide to business planning

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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MindManager Blog

The ultimate guide to business planning (with template)

November 19, 2020 by MindManager Blog

By: Jill Huettich

If you could do something to double the success of your business, would you do it? Of course you would! Happily, that’s not pie-in-the-sky kind of talk either. There is something you can do to increase your likelihood of business success by a whopping 200%. That something is business planning. Time and time again, business planning has been shown to have a huge impact on business growth.

Take, for instance, the results of a survey completed by 2,877 business owners. After analyzing respondents’ answers, the Oregon Department of Economics concluded that business planning correlates with success in multiple areas, including: obtaining a loan, getting investment capital, making a major purchase, recruiting a new team member, thinking more strategically, and growing a company.

Mind you, those results were “regardless of the type of company, the growth stage of the company, and the intent of the business plan.” Clearly, business planning works!

In this guide to business planning, we’ll cover everything you need to know about business plans, their benefits and importance, what does into one, and will provide a template for you to get started. Jump ahead using the links below.

What is business planning?

The importance of business planning, how to write a business plan, sample business plan template.

  • Downloadable MindManager template

[Free eBook] How Visualization Builds Better Strategic Plans

Business planning refers to the process of determining a company’s objectives, strategies, and projected actions to reach certain goals within a specific time fame. Typically, business planning focuses on two key areas: making profits and mitigating risks.

When companies engage in business planning, it’s with the objective of creating a business plan.  A business plan is a written document that contains: the company’s vision, a description of the company, information about its products and services, marketing research, sales strategies, financial projections, competitor analysis, and financial records.

The purpose of a business plan is to act as a road map of sorts, providing a company with the direction, focus, and clarity it needs to achieve its goals.

Business planning vs. strategic planning

Now that you know what business planning is, you may be wondering if it’s any different from strategic planning, and if so, how? That’s what we’ll go over in this section.

As we mentioned before, business planning provides a detailed overview of a company. Usually, this is undertaken with the goal of building revenue and support for a startup. In other words, a business plan tests the proposition that a “particular undertaking—program, partnership, new venture, growth strategy, or entity as a whole—is economically or operationally viable.”

By contrast, a strategic plan is a high-level document that creates a vision for an established company. From that vision, broadly defined objectives are outlined.

Because strategic plans define companies’ most important objectives, they’re used to align department goals, build consensus among stakeholders, and prioritize company spending.

Another difference between these two types of plans is the length of time they cover. A strategic plan typically looks at a period of 3-5 years, whereas a business plan usually just looks at a year.

Additionally, business plans are primarily written to raise money, so their audience is external. Strategic plans are internal documents, created for people within the company.

The importance of business planning cannot be overstated. In particular, businesses do it for the following reasons :

1. To obtain loans or investments

It would be virtually impossible for a startup to secure capital without a business plan—they’re considered that essential.

That’s because business plans establish the viability of a business, which is something any bank or venture capitalist needs to be convinced of before funding a venture.

2. To prevent mistakes

Unfortunately, most startups don’t even last 5 years. There are a number of different reasons for this, but some of the main ones include: tough competition, low demand for what they’re selling, a poor pricing model, an inadequate team, and an inability to secure that all-important funding we just mentioned.

A good business plan helps companies anticipate these types of problems, so they can prevent them.

3. To examine viability

The idea for a startup is often met with a lot of enthusiasm. That vending machine featuring high-end desserts and pastries? Brilliant!

However, sometimes that enthusiasm needs to be tempered by reality. A business plan offers a great opportunity to do that, because it gets entrepreneurs to think through the answers to questions they may never have even considered, like “Is there a demand in this neighborhood for desserts?” and “How many businesses are already selling desserts in this location?

4. To reduce risk

Flying by the seat of your pants in the business world is not the best idea. A business plan clearly lays out a company’s objectives, as well as the landscape of the market.

As a result, business leaders know which challenges to expect. With that knowledge in hand, they can take proactive steps to mitigate their risks.

5. To accelerate growth

Quite simply, business planning works. In fact, according to one study, companies that plan grow 30% faster than those who don’t. And, interestingly enough, another study found that 71% of fast-growing companies (those defined as having 92% growth in sales from one year to the next) have business plans.

6. To identify problems with cash flow

Business plans contain 3 financial statements: a balance sheet, an income statement, and a cash flow statement. For startups, these numbers are projected.

When entrepreneurs have these numbers to refer to, they can more easily monitor cash flow, comparing reality to their projections. This gives them the opportunity to quickly deal with cash flow challenges, should any arise.

7. To make decisions

When faced with tough business decisions, it can be difficult to know which path to choose. However, with a business plan in hand, entrepreneurs can make well-thought-out decisions based on the analysis they’ve already performed.

As you can see, there are tons of great reasons to create a business plan, particularly for start-ups and other new businesses. However, even well-established businesses can benefit from a business plan.

Not only does a business plan provide a valuable overview of an entire company, but it’s also an excellent tool for pinpointing potential challenges, so they can be proactively addressed and resolved.

There may be nothing more critical to your company’s success than a business plan. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to write a business plan, and to devote time and effort to creating a solid, well-researched one.

The elements of a business plan are fairly straightforward. While no two business plans are identical, most of them rely on the following structure:

1. Executive summary

Business plans typically run dozens of pages long. While, ideally, you’d like to think that people will read your entire plan, there’s no guarantee of that—which is why the executive summary is the most important part of your business plan.

In the summary, you’ll want to provide readers with a quick synapsis that explains what your company is and why it’ll be successful.

This summary should include your company’s mission statement and a description of the product or service you provide. You’ll also want to briefly touch on the company’s founders, employees, location, and financial growth.

Aim to make your executive summary about 4 pages max , and don’t write it until you’ve completed the rest of your business plan. That’ll make it easier to summarize all the information your plan contains.

2. Company description

This detailed overview of your company includes such things as the problems your business solves, as well as the customers it serves. You should view this section as your opportunity to shine by also explaining your business’ competitive advantages.

3. Market analysis

What’s the outlook of the industry you’re in? Who’s your target market and how do you plan to reach the people in it? These are the types of questions you’ll answer in this section of your business plan.

Additionally, you’ll want to use the Market Analysis section to perform a competitor analysis, identifying who the major players are in your industry, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

By understanding what’s working well for your competitors—and what isn’t—you’ll be better able to determine how you can grab some of their market share.

4. Organization & management

How will your business be structured—as a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or LLC? Include that information in this section, as well as an organization chart showing who’s heading up your company. You may also want to include resumes or CVs for key team members here too.

5. Service or product line

This section should explain what you sell, how it helps customers, and what the product lifecycle looks like. This is where you’ll also want to mention any patents or copyrights.

6. Marketing & sales

How do you intend to attract customers? What marketing channels will you use? What’s your strategy for growth? Think carefully about your answers to these questions, because later, you’ll use this information to make your financial projections.

7. Funding request

If one of the objectives of your business plan is to obtain funding, this section should be included in your plan. When you write your funding request, you’ll want to explain what your funding requirements are over the next 5 years and how those funds will be used.

Additionally, this section should specify , “whether you want debt or equity, the terms you’d like applied, and the length of time your request will cover.”

8. Financial projections

Financial projections are a key part of your plan, particularly if you’re seeking funding. In this section, you’ll want to include financial projections for the next five years, as well as explain how you came up with those figures.

Your projections should include cash flow statements, balance sheets, income statements, and capital expenditure budgets. If your business is operational already, you’ll also want to include the past 3-5 years of those same documents.

9. Appendix

Think of this section as your final opportunity to convince readers of your business’ success. So, this is where you can include supporting documentation, like product pictures, reference letters, permits, patents, legal documents, contracts, credit histories, etc.

And there you have it! Once you’ve finished the analysis required for each of these elements—and typed your findings into a well-formatted document–your business plan will be complete.

Understanding the business planning cycle

After you’ve completed the business planning process, your work—while not over—gets easier. Your job now is to review the business plan periodically to see how well your company is achieving its objectives.

Did you meet your financial projections? In what areas is your company doing well? How is it falling short? Are there any new opportunities for your organization?

During this period of analysis, you’ll ideally want to set 1-year and 3-year goals , as well as key performance indicators (KPIs). These will help you track on a quarterly, or even monthly, basis how well your company’s meeting its objectives.

Most businesses engage in business planning on an annual or quarterly basis. Truly, it depends on how much time your organization has to devote to the task, as well as the industry you’re in.

For smaller businesses, a good aim is to perform the business planning process once a year. For larger companies—or ones where the market changes frequently—you may want to “plan to plan” every quarter.

Business Planning Template - MindManager Blog

Generally speaking, most business plan templates will include the following key elements and information. We’ve provided a downloadable MindManager template below that you can use to create your own business plan.

Section 1: Executive summary

The executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, so you’ll really want to put time and effort into getting it just right.

Make sure to include the following elements :

  • Explain the mission of your company – what is the reason for your company?
  • Describe your product or service – what types of products and services will you offer customers?
  • Introduce the company founders – who are your company’s founders, and what roles will they play within your organization?
  • Briefly provide information about your customer base – which customers will your business target, and how will your company serve them?
  • Provide an overview of your competitors – explain why your business will succeed by identifying your competitive advantage and describing how you’ll get market share.
  • Summarize your financial projections – what financial growth do you expect your company to achieve over the next few years?
  • Mention financing requirements – if your business is a start-up seeking financing, briefly mention those financial requirements here.

If you want a good idea of what your completed executive summary should look like, you can check out an example of one here.

Section 2: Company overview

In this section, you’ll want to go into greater detail than you did in the executive summary, explaining which problems your business solves, who its customers are, and what competitive advantages your company has.

Here are the important elements you’ll want to include :

  • Provide an overview of your company – what’s its mission, vision, and purpose?
  • Give background about the formation of your company – when did your company form?
  • Explain who your company’s founders are – what backgrounds do they have that make them uniquely qualified to run your business successfully?
  • Provide geographic information – where is your business located and in which markets do you have a presence?
  • Describe your company’s competitive advantages – while this was briefly touched upon in the executive summary, you’ll want to provide more information here about why your company will be successful.

Section 3: Market analysis

In this section, you want to prove the viability of your business by providing solid market research about your industry.

To achieve this goal, you’ll want to include the following in this section:

  • Identify your target market – who are you trying to sell your products and services to?
  • Describe the need for your products or services – why do you anticipate demand for your company’s offerings?
  • Give information about the overall market size – how big is the market? How much do you expect your company to sell? Are there any demographic or geographic factors that might impact your sales projections?
  • Identify the competition – who are your company’s main competitors? What advantages and disadvantages do they have? What’s their percentage of market share? How much do they sell annually?
  • Perform a SWOT analysis – identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths.

For help writing this section, you may find it useful to look at this marketing analysis example .

For the competitor and SWOT analyses, we recommend an information visualization software, like MindManager. View the SWOT analysis template at the end of this article.

Section 4: Organization & management

In this section, you want to give readers a solid overview of how your company will be structured. To do that, you’ll want to answer the following questions :

  • Describe the legal structure of your business – is it a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or LLC?
  • Identify your management team – name the key roles within your organization, identify who will fulfill them, and explain how those individuals will be compensated. You may want to include an organization chart here too, as well as brief resumes or CVs for key team members.

Section 5: Service or product line

In this portion of the business plan, you’ll want to provide more information about the product or service you provide. So, make sure to include these elements here :

  • Describe the product or service you sell – what are you offering and how does it help customers?
  • Explain the product lifecycle – how long does it take to bring new products/services to market?
  • Provide pricing information – how will you price your products or services? What will your operating costs be?
  • Describe how you’ll acquire products – are you the manufacturer? If not, who is? Are you working directly with a manufacturer or are you going through a wholesaler? If product demand suddenly increases, what’s the likelihood you’ll experience supply problems?

Section 6: Sales and marketing strategy

Your customer acquisition strategy is especially important to potential investors, so you’ll definitely want to be thorough here. Plus, later you’ll be using this information to make financial projections, so take your time when writing this part of your plan.

  • Describe the customer acquisition process – how will you find and attract customers? For instance, will you use salespeople, call centers, social media ads, etc.?
  • Explain any promotional methods you plan on using – will you offer free samples or perform product demonstrations?
  • Provide information about the marketing materials you intend to use – like brochures, flyers, trade show booths, etc.
  • Estimate your advertising budget – how much will you have to spend to achieve your marketing objectives?

Section 7 – Funding request

This section is only necessary if you’re seeking business funding. If you are, you’ll want to include the following information in your business plan:

  • Identify your funding requirements – how much money are you requesting and how will those funds be used?
  • Describe the terms you’re seeking – do you want debt or equity? Which terms do you want applied? What length of time does your request cover?

Section 8 – Financial projections

As you might imagine, financial projections are a key part of your plan, especially if you’re seeking funding. So, in this section, you’ll want to make sure you include :

  • 5 years of projected cash flow statements, balance sheets, income statements, and capital expenditure budgets – these documents should also explain how you came up with the figures you’re using.
  • If your business is already up and running, you’ll also want to include the past 3-5 years of those same documents.

Of course to create these financial projections, you’ll need to have the right software. Two good ones to check out are ProjectionHub and PlanGuru .

These forecasting software packages make it easy to create the kinds of financial statements you’ll want to include in your business plan.

Section 9 – Appendix

This is your last chance to convince readers your business will be a success. So, if you have additional information to give your business plan more weight, you’ll want to incorporate it here. Consider including the following in this section:

  • Product pictures
  • Reference letters
  • Legal documents
  • Credit histories

And that’s it! After you’ve completed these sections, just assemble them into a single document, format everything neatly, add a table of contents, and your business plan will be complete.

Afterwards, you can use it to obtain loans, determine viability, reduce risk, assess cash flow problems, make decisions, and accelerate business growth—making it well-worth the time and effort it takes to write your plan.

guide to business planning

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The 7 Steps of the Business Planning Process: A Complete Guide

guide to business planning

In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive guide to the seven steps of the business planning process, and discuss the role of Strikingly website builder in creating a professional business plan.

Step 1: Conducting a SWOT Analysis

The first step in the business planning process is to conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This analysis will help you understand your business's internal and external environment, and it can help you identify areas of improvement and growth.

Strengths and weaknesses refer to internal factors such as the company's resources, capabilities, and culture. Opportunities and threats are external factors such as market trends, competition, and regulations.

You can conduct a SWOT analysis by gathering information from various sources such as market research, financial statements, and feedback from customers and employees. You can also use tools such as a SWOT matrix to visualize your analysis.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a framework for analyzing a business's internal and external environment. The acronym SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths and weaknesses include internal factors such as the company's resources, capabilities, and culture. Opportunities and threats are external factors such as market trends, competition, and regulations.

A SWOT analysis can help businesses identify areas of improvement and growth, assess their competitive position, and make informed decisions. It can be used for various purposes, such as business planning, product development, marketing strategy, and risk management.

Importance of Conducting a SWOT Analysis

Conducting a SWOT analysis is crucial for businesses to develop a clear understanding of their internal and external environment. It can help businesses identify their strengths and weaknesses and uncover new opportunities and potential threats. By doing so, businesses can make informed decisions about their strategies, resource allocation, and risk management.

A SWOT analysis can also help businesses identify their competitive position in the market and compare themselves to their competitors. This can help businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors and develop a unique value proposition.

Example of a SWOT Analysis

Here is an example of a SWOT analysis for a fictional business that sells handmade jewelry:

  • Unique and high-quality products
  • Skilled and experienced craftsmen
  • Strong brand reputation and customer loyalty
  • Strategic partnerships with local boutiques
  • Limited production capacity
  • High production costs
  • Limited online presence
  • Limited product variety

Opportunities

  • Growing demand for handmade products
  • Growing interest in sustainable and eco-friendly products
  • Opportunities to expand online presence and reach new customers
  • Opportunities to expand product lines
  • Increasing competition from online and brick-and-mortar retailers
  • Fluctuating consumer trends and preferences
  • Economic downturns and uncertainty
  • Increased regulations and compliance requirements

This SWOT analysis can help the business identify areas for improvement and growth. For example, the business can invest in expanding its online presence, improving its production efficiency, and diversifying its product lines. The business can also leverage its strengths, such as its skilled craftsmen and strategic partnerships, to differentiate itself from its competitors and attract more customers.

Step 2: Defining Your Business Objectives

Once you have conducted a SWOT analysis, the next step is to define your business objectives. Business objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that align with your business's mission and vision.

Your business objectives can vary depending on your industry, target audience, and resources. Examples of business objectives include increasing sales revenue, expanding into new markets, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing costs.

You can use tools such as a goal-setting worksheet or a strategic planning framework to define your business objectives. You can also seek input from your employees and stakeholders to ensure your objectives are realistic and achievable.

guide to business planning

What is Market Research?

Market research is an integral part of the business planning process. It gathers information about a target market or industry to make informed decisions. It involves collecting and analyzing data on consumer behavior, preferences, and buying habits, as well as competitors, industry trends, and market conditions.

Market research can help businesses identify potential customers, understand their needs and preferences, and develop effective marketing strategies. It can also help businesses identify market opportunities, assess their competitive position, and make informed product development, pricing, and distribution decisions.

Importance of Market Research in Business Planning

Market research is a crucial component of the business planning process. It can help businesses identify market trends and opportunities, assess their competitive position, and make informed decisions about their marketing strategies, product development, and business operations.

By conducting market research, businesses can gain insights into their target audience's behavior and preferences, such as their purchasing habits, brand loyalty, and decision-making process. This can help businesses develop targeted marketing campaigns and create products that meet their customers' needs.

Market research can also help businesses assess their competitive position and identify gaps in the market. Businesses can differentiate themselves by analyzing their competitors' strengths and weaknesses and developing a unique value proposition.

Different Types of Market Research Methods

Businesses can use various types of market research methods, depending on their research objectives, budget, and time frame. Here are some of the most common market research methods:

Surveys are a common market research method that involves asking questions to a sample of people about their preferences, opinions, and behaviors. Surveys can be conducted through various channels like online, phone, or in-person surveys.

  • Focus Groups

Focus groups are a qualitative market research method involving a small group to discuss a specific topic or product. Focus groups can provide in-depth insights into customers' attitudes and perceptions and can help businesses understand the reasoning behind their preferences and behaviors.

Interviews are a qualitative market research method that involves one-on-one conversations between a researcher and a participant. Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing and can provide detailed insights into a participant's experiences, perceptions, and preferences.

  • Observation

Observation is a market research method that involves observing customers' behavior and interactions in a natural setting such as a store or a website. Observation can provide insights into customers' decision-making processes and behavior that may not be captured through surveys or interviews.

  • Secondary Research

Secondary research involves collecting data from existing sources, like industry reports, government publications, or academic journals. Secondary research can provide a broad overview of the market and industry trends and help businesses identify potential opportunities and threats.

By combining these market research methods, businesses can comprehensively understand their target market and industry and make informed decisions about their business strategy.

Step 3: Conducting Market Research

Market research should always be a part of your strategic business planning. This step gathers information about your target audience, competitors, and industry trends. This information can help you make informed decisions about your product or service offerings, pricing strategy, and marketing campaigns.

guide to business planning

There are various market research methods, such as surveys, focus groups, and online analytics. You can also use tools like Google Trends and social media analytics to gather data about your audience's behavior and preferences.

Market research can be time-consuming and costly, but it's crucial for making informed decisions that can impact your business's success. Strikingly website builder offers built-in analytics and SEO optimization features that can help you track your website traffic and audience engagement.

Step 4: Identifying Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is essential in the business planning process. Your target audience is the group of people who are most likely to buy your product or service. Understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviors can help you create effective marketing campaigns and improve customer satisfaction.

You can identify your target audience by analyzing demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data. Demographic data include age, gender, income, and education level. Psychographic data includes personality traits, values, and lifestyle. Behavioral data includes buying patterns, brand loyalty, and online engagement.

Once you have identified your target audience, you can use tools such as buyer personas and customer journey maps to create a personalized and engaging customer experience. Strikingly website builder offers customizable templates and designs to help you create a visually appealing and user-friendly website for your target audience.

What is a Target Audience?

A target audience is a group most likely to be interested in and purchase a company's products or services. A target audience can be defined based on various factors such as age, gender, location, income, education, interests, and behavior.

Identifying and understanding your target audience is crucial for developing effective marketing strategies and improving customer engagement and satisfaction. By understanding your target audience's needs, preferences, and behavior, you can create products and services that meet their needs and develop targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with them.

Importance of Identifying Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is essential for the success of your business. By understanding your target audience's needs and preferences, you can create products and services that meet their needs and develop targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with them.

Here are reasons why identifying your target audience is important:

  • Improve customer engagement. When you understand your target audience's behavior and preferences, you can create a more personalized and engaging customer experience to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Develop effective marketing strategies. Targeting your marketing efforts to your target audience creates more effective and efficient marketing campaigns that can increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales.
  • Improve product development. By understanding your target audience's needs and preferences, you can develop products and services that meet their specific needs and preferences, improving customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Identify market opportunities. If you identify gaps in the market or untapped market segments, you can develop products and services to meet unmet needs and gain a competitive advantage.

Examples of Target Audience Segmentation

Here are some examples of target audience segmentation based on different demographic, geographic, and psychographic factors:

  • Demographic segmentation. Age, gender, income, education, occupation, and marital status.
  • Geographic segmentation. Location, region, climate, and population density.
  • Psychographic segmentation. Personality traits, values, interests, and lifestyle.

Step 5: Developing a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that outlines your marketing objectives, strategies, tactics, and budget. Your marketing plan should align with your business objectives and target audience and include a mix of online and offline marketing channels.

Marketing strategies include content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and paid advertising. Your marketing tactics can include creating blog posts, sharing social media posts, sending newsletters, optimizing your website for search engines, and running Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

To create an effective marketing plan , research your competitors, understand your target audience's behavior, and set clear objectives and metrics. You can also seek customer and employee feedback to refine your marketing strategy.

Strikingly website builder offers a variety of marketing features such as email marketing, social media integration, and SEO optimization tools. You can also use the built-in analytics dashboard to track your website's performance and monitor your marketing campaign's effectiveness.

What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company's marketing strategy and tactics. It typically includes an analysis of the target market, a description of the product or service, an assessment of the competition, and a detailed plan for achieving marketing objectives.

A marketing plan can help businesses identify and prioritize marketing opportunities, allocate resources effectively, and measure the success of their marketing efforts. It can also provide the marketing team with a roadmap and ensure everyone is aligned with the company's marketing goals and objectives.

Importance of a Marketing Plan in Business Planning

A marketing plan is critical to business planning. It can help businesses identify their target audience, assess their competitive position, and develop effective marketing strategies and tactics.

Here are a few reasons why a marketing plan is important in business planning:

  • Provides a clear direction. A marketing plan can provide a clear direction for the marketing team and ensure everyone is aligned with the company's marketing goals and objectives.
  • Helps prioritize marketing opportunities. By analyzing the target market and competition, a marketing plan can help businesses identify and prioritize marketing opportunities with the highest potential for success.
  • Ensures effective resource allocation. A marketing plan can help businesses allocate resources effectively and ensure that marketing efforts are focused on the most critical and impactful activities.
  • Measures success. A marketing plan can provide a framework for measuring the success of marketing efforts and making adjustments as needed.

Examples of Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Here are some examples of marketing strategies and tactics that businesses can use to achieve their marketing objectives:

  • Content marketing. Creating and sharing valuable and relevant content that educates and informs the target audience about the company's products or services.
  • Social media marketing. Leveraging social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to engage with the target audience, build brand awareness, and drive website traffic.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing the company's website and online content to rank higher in search engine results and drive organic traffic.
  • Email marketing. Sending personalized and targeted emails to the company's email list to nurture leads, promote products or services, and drive sales.
  • Influencer marketing. Partnering with influencers or industry experts to promote the company's products or services and reach a wider audience.

By using a combination of these marketing strategies and tactics, businesses can develop a comprehensive and effective marketing plan that aligns with their marketing goals and objectives.

Step 6: Creating a Financial Plan

A financial plan is a detailed document that outlines your business's financial projections, budget, and cash flow. Your financial plan should include a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, and it should be based on realistic assumptions and market trends.

To create a financial plan, you should consider your revenue streams, expenses, assets, and liabilities. You should also analyze your industry's financial benchmarks and projections and seek input from financial experts or advisors.

![Quantum Business Consulting Template - Strikingly]( https://user-images.strikinglycdn.com/res/hrscywv4p/image/upload/blog_service/2023-04-16-prl-quantum-business-consulting-strikingly (1).jpg)Image taken from Strikingly Templates

Strikingly website builder offers a variety of payment and e-commerce features, such as online payment integration and secure checkout. You can also use the built-in analytics dashboard to monitor your revenue and expenses and track your financial performance over time.

What is a Financial Plan?

A financial plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company's financial goals and objectives and the strategies and tactics for achieving them. It typically includes a description of the company's financial situation, an analysis of revenue and expenses, and a projection of future financial performance.

A financial plan can help businesses identify potential risks and opportunities, allocate resources effectively, and measure the success of their financial efforts. It can also provide a roadmap for the finance team and ensure everyone is aligned with the company's financial goals and objectives.

Importance of Creating a Financial Plan in Business Planning

Creating a financial plan is a critical component of the business planning process. It can help businesses identify potential financial risks and opportunities, allocate resources effectively, and measure the success of their financial efforts.

Here are some reasons why creating a financial plan is important in business planning:

  • Provides a clear financial direction. A financial plan can provide a clear direction for the finance team and ensure everyone is in sync with the company's financial goals and objectives.
  • Helps prioritize financial opportunities. By analyzing revenue and expenses, a financial plan can help businesses identify and prioritize financial opportunities with the highest potential for success.
  • Ensures effective resource allocation. A financial plan can help businesses allocate resources effectively and ensure that financial efforts are focused on the most critical and impactful activities.
  • Measures success. A financial plan can provide a framework for measuring the success of financial efforts and making adjustments as needed.

Examples of Financial Statements and Projections

Here are some examples of financial statements and projections that businesses can use in their financial plan:

  • Income statement. A financial statement that shows the company's revenue and expenses over a period of time, typically monthly or annually.
  • Balance sheet. A financial statement shows the company's assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific time, typically at the end of a fiscal year.
  • Cash flow statement. A financial statement that shows the company's cash inflows and outflows over a period of time, typically monthly or annually.
  • Financial projections. Forecasts of the company's future financial performance based on assumptions and market trends. This can include revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow projections.

Step 7: Writing Your Business Plan

The final step in the business planning process is to write your business plan. A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines your business's mission, vision, objectives, strategies, and financial projections.

A business plan can help you clarify your business idea, assess the feasibility of your business, and secure funding from investors or lenders. It can also provide a roadmap for your business and ensure that you stay focused on your goals and objectives.

Importance of Writing a Business Plan

Writing a business plan is an essential component of the business planning process. It can help you clarify your business idea , assess the feasibility of your business, and secure funding from investors or lenders.

Here are some reasons why writing a business plan is important:

  • Clarifies your business idea. Writing a business plan can help you clarify your business idea and understand your business's goals, objectives, and strategies.
  • Assesses the feasibility of your business. A business plan can help you assess the feasibility of your business and identify potential risks and opportunities.
  • Secures funding. A well-written business plan can help you secure funding from investors or lenders by demonstrating the potential of your business and outlining a clear path to success.
  • Provides a roadmap for your business. A business plan can provide a roadmap and ensure that you stay focused on your goals and objectives.

Tips on How to Write a Successful Business Plan

Here are some tips on how to write a business plan successfully:

  • Start with an executive summary. The executive summary is a brief business plan overview and should include your business idea, target market, competitive analysis, and financial projections.
  • Describe your business and industry. Provide a detailed description of your business and industry, including your products or services, target market, and competitive landscape.
  • Develop a marketing strategy. Outline your marketing strategy and tactics, including your target audience, pricing strategy, promotional activities, and distribution channels.
  • Provide financial projections. Provide detailed financial projections, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, as well as assumptions and risks.
  • Keep it concise and clear. Keep your business plan concise and clear, and avoid using jargon or technical terms that may confuse or intimidate readers.

Role of Strikingly Website Builder in Creating a Professional Business Plan

guide to business planning

Strikingly website builder can play a significant role in creating a professional business plan. Strikingly provides an intuitive and user-friendly platform that allows you to create a professional-looking website and online store without coding or design skills.

Using Strikingly, you can create a visually appealing business plan and present it on your website with images, graphics, and videos to enhance the reader's experience. You can also use Strikingly's built-in templates and a drag-and-drop editor to create a customized and professional-looking business plan that reflects your brand and style.

Strikingly also provides various features and tools that can help you showcase your products or services, promote your business, and engage with your target audience. These features include e-commerce functionality, social media integration, and email marketing tools.

Let’s Sum Up!

In conclusion, the 7 steps of the business planning process are essential for starting and growing a successful business. By conducting a SWOT analysis, defining your business objectives, conducting market research, identifying your target audience, developing a marketing plan, creating a financial plan, and writing your business plan, you can set a solid foundation for your business's success.

Strikingly website builder can help you throughout the business planning process by offering a variety of features such as analytics, marketing, e-commerce , and business plan templates. With Strikingly, you can create a professional and engaging website and business plan that aligns with your business objectives and target audience.

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The Ultimate Guide to Business Planning

business plan tools

Whether you’re a seasoned founder or just a starting-out entrepreneur, having a solid business plan is a no-brainer. It’s a document you don’t want to skip over—no matter what.

Most entrepreneurs think business planning is all about writing. But is it?

Absolutely not. Writing a business plan is just one aspect of business planning, like developing marketing strategies, defining vision, analyzing market trends, setting SMART goals, and others.

Don’t worry if it sounds like a lot; this business planning guide is right on the money to help.

To begin with, let’s understand what is a business plan.

What is a business plan?

Simply put, a business plan is a document outlining your business goals and details on how to achieve them. Your business plan is a living document that will prove to you and the world that your idea is not just a dream but a viable reality.

While it’s a written road map for your business from marketing, financial, and operational standpoints, it also helps investors understand your vision and holds the power to convince them to invest in your idea.

That was about the business plan, let’s head straight to our resource guide.

It is a well-compiled document of business planning resources and tools to help you navigate the process of strategic planning.

Before we start, here are some business plan tools, resources, and templates to help you get started.

guide to business planning

Sample Business Plans A library of 400+ industry-specific business plan examples. Download Business Plan Template Get started with a free startup business plan template. Write your Plan Faster with Upmetrics A flexible business planning tool with AI capabilities. Download Business Plan E-Book Get a Free e-book on business planning. A complete business planning guide and resources

Write your business plan.

Discover the fundamentals of comprehensive business plan writing. These resources cover everything about business plan writing, from crafting an excellent executive summary to conducting market research, developing the product & services section, and projecting business financials.

  • Detailed Outline of a business plan
  • A comprehensive guide to writing a business plan
  • Crafting an exceptional executive summary for your business plan
  • Effective techniques for writing a business overview
  • How to conduct a robust market analysis
  • Conducting competitive analysis in a business plan
  • Developing the products and services section of your business plan
  • How to perform customer analysis for a business plan
  • Drafting an effective operations plan for your business
  • Writing a strong management section in your business plan
  • Crafting the financial section of a startup business plan
  • The Importance of a business plan appendix

Tips for writing a business plan

Find some extra tips for writing a business plan, including determining the ideal length of your plan, designing attractive cover pages, and the importance of confidentiality statements.

  • Determining the ideal length for your business plan
  • Designing an attractive cover page for your business plan
  • The importance of a confidentiality statement in your business plan
  • Exploring why you need a business plan

Types of business plans

Discover the different business plan types and learn how to create a simple and one-page business plan using a template and a step-by-step guide.

  • Understanding different types of business plans
  • Creating a Simple Business Plan for Your Lean Startup
  • Designing an Effective One-Page Business Plan

Business plan course and books

Have a tough time creating a business plan? Check out our comprehensive business plan course or the list of top books on business plan writing to get started.

  • Comprehensive business plan course
  • Top books to guide in business plan writing

Tips for presenting your business plan to investors

Have a business plan ready? Learn how to write a converting business plan presentation, cover letter, and funding requests with effective strategies for pitching your business to investors.

  • How to create an engaging business plan presentation
  • Writing a convincing business plan cover letter
  • Effective strategies for pitching to investors
  • How to write a compelling funding request for your business plan

Business plan examples for various industries

Need an industry-specific business plan example to get started? Discover our library of 400+ industry-specific business plan examples, and easily write the first draft of your business plan.

  • Sample business plans for Food and Restaurant industry
  • Real estate business plan examples
  • Software and Mobile App business plan samples
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  • Nonprofit business plan examples
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  • Hotel and Lodging business plan examples
  • Finance and Investing business plan samples
  • Consulting and Marketing business plan examples
  • Accounting and Insurance business plan examples
  • Other industries' business plan examples

Business plan writers and consultants

Discover the leading professional business plan writing and consulting service providers, understand the costs involved in the business plan creation process, and how you can reduce them.

  • List of professional business plan writing services
  • Understanding the costs involved in business plan creation

Business plan software & tools

Looking for business plan software? Learn more about business planning tools and AI business plan generators, and explore how you can utilize ChatGPT for business plan writing.

  • Comprehensive business plan software and tools
  • Understanding AI business plan generators
  • Exploring ChatGPT for business plan creation

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What is strategic planning? A 5-step guide

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. In this article, we'll guide you through the strategic planning process, including why it's important, the benefits and best practices, and five steps to get you from beginning to end.

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. The strategic planning process informs your organization’s decisions, growth, and goals.

Strategic planning helps you clearly define your company’s long-term objectives—and maps how your short-term goals and work will help you achieve them. This, in turn, gives you a clear sense of where your organization is going and allows you to ensure your teams are working on projects that make the most impact. Think of it this way—if your goals and objectives are your destination on a map, your strategic plan is your navigation system.

In this article, we walk you through the 5-step strategic planning process and show you how to get started developing your own strategic plan.

How to build an organizational strategy

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What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is a business process that helps you define and share the direction your company will take in the next three to five years. During the strategic planning process, stakeholders review and define the organization’s mission and goals, conduct competitive assessments, and identify company goals and objectives. The product of the planning cycle is a strategic plan, which is shared throughout the company.

What is a strategic plan?

[inline illustration] Strategic plan elements (infographic)

A strategic plan is the end result of the strategic planning process. At its most basic, it’s a tool used to define your organization’s goals and what actions you’ll take to achieve them.

Typically, your strategic plan should include: 

Your company’s mission statement

Your organizational goals, including your long-term goals and short-term, yearly objectives

Any plan of action, tactics, or approaches you plan to take to meet those goals

What are the benefits of strategic planning?

Strategic planning can help with goal setting and decision-making by allowing you to map out how your company will move toward your organization’s vision and mission statements in the next three to five years. Let’s circle back to our map metaphor. If you think of your company trajectory as a line on a map, a strategic plan can help you better quantify how you’ll get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be in a few years).

When you create and share a clear strategic plan with your team, you can:

Build a strong organizational culture by clearly defining and aligning on your organization’s mission, vision, and goals.

Align everyone around a shared purpose and ensure all departments and teams are working toward a common objective.

Proactively set objectives to help you get where you want to go and achieve desired outcomes.

Promote a long-term vision for your company rather than focusing primarily on short-term gains.

Ensure resources are allocated around the most high-impact priorities.

Define long-term goals and set shorter-term goals to support them.

Assess your current situation and identify any opportunities—or threats—allowing your organization to mitigate potential risks.

Create a proactive business culture that enables your organization to respond more swiftly to emerging market changes and opportunities.

What are the 5 steps in strategic planning?

The strategic planning process involves a structured methodology that guides the organization from vision to implementation. The strategic planning process starts with assembling a small, dedicated team of key strategic planners—typically five to 10 members—who will form the strategic planning, or management, committee. This team is responsible for gathering crucial information, guiding the development of the plan, and overseeing strategy execution.

Once you’ve established your management committee, you can get to work on the planning process. 

Step 1: Assess your current business strategy and business environment

Before you can define where you’re going, you first need to define where you are. Understanding the external environment, including market trends and competitive landscape, is crucial in the initial assessment phase of strategic planning.

To do this, your management committee should collect a variety of information from additional stakeholders, like employees and customers. In particular, plan to gather:

Relevant industry and market data to inform any market opportunities, as well as any potential upcoming threats in the near future.

Customer insights to understand what your customers want from your company—like product improvements or additional services.

Employee feedback that needs to be addressed—whether about the product, business practices, or the day-to-day company culture.

Consider different types of strategic planning tools and analytical techniques to gather this information, such as:

A balanced scorecard to help you evaluate four major elements of a business: learning and growth, business processes, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.

A SWOT analysis to help you assess both current and future potential for the business (you’ll return to this analysis periodically during the strategic planning process). 

To fill out each letter in the SWOT acronym, your management committee will answer a series of questions:

What does your organization currently do well?

What separates you from your competitors?

What are your most valuable internal resources?

What tangible assets do you have?

What is your biggest strength? 

Weaknesses:

What does your organization do poorly?

What do you currently lack (whether that’s a product, resource, or process)?

What do your competitors do better than you?

What, if any, limitations are holding your organization back?

What processes or products need improvement? 

Opportunities:

What opportunities does your organization have?

How can you leverage your unique company strengths?

Are there any trends that you can take advantage of?

How can you capitalize on marketing or press opportunities?

Is there an emerging need for your product or service? 

What emerging competitors should you keep an eye on?

Are there any weaknesses that expose your organization to risk?

Have you or could you experience negative press that could reduce market share?

Is there a chance of changing customer attitudes towards your company? 

Step 2: Identify your company’s goals and objectives

To begin strategy development, take into account your current position, which is where you are now. Then, draw inspiration from your vision, mission, and current position to identify and define your goals—these are your final destination. 

To develop your strategy, you’re essentially pulling out your compass and asking, “Where are we going next?” “What’s the ideal future state of this company?” This can help you figure out which path you need to take to get there.

During this phase of the planning process, take inspiration from important company documents, such as:

Your mission statement, to understand how you can continue moving towards your organization’s core purpose.

Your vision statement, to clarify how your strategic plan fits into your long-term vision.

Your company values, to guide you towards what matters most towards your company.

Your competitive advantages, to understand what unique benefit you offer to the market.

Your long-term goals, to track where you want to be in five or 10 years.

Your financial forecast and projection, to understand where you expect your financials to be in the next three years, what your expected cash flow is, and what new opportunities you will likely be able to invest in.

Step 3: Develop your strategic plan and determine performance metrics

Now that you understand where you are and where you want to go, it’s time to put pen to paper. Take your current business position and strategy into account, as well as your organization’s goals and objectives, and build out a strategic plan for the next three to five years. Keep in mind that even though you’re creating a long-term plan, parts of your plan should be created or revisited as the quarters and years go on.

As you build your strategic plan, you should define:

Company priorities for the next three to five years, based on your SWOT analysis and strategy.

Yearly objectives for the first year. You don’t need to define your objectives for every year of the strategic plan. As the years go on, create new yearly objectives that connect back to your overall strategic goals . 

Related key results and KPIs. Some of these should be set by the management committee, and some should be set by specific teams that are closer to the work. Make sure your key results and KPIs are measurable and actionable. These KPIs will help you track progress and ensure you’re moving in the right direction.

Budget for the next year or few years. This should be based on your financial forecast as well as your direction. Do you need to spend aggressively to develop your product? Build your team? Make a dent with marketing? Clarify your most important initiatives and how you’ll budget for those.

A high-level project roadmap . A project roadmap is a tool in project management that helps you visualize the timeline of a complex initiative, but you can also create a very high-level project roadmap for your strategic plan. Outline what you expect to be working on in certain quarters or years to make the plan more actionable and understandable.

Step 4: Implement and share your plan

Now it’s time to put your plan into action. Strategy implementation involves clear communication across your entire organization to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and how to measure the plan’s success. 

Make sure your team (especially senior leadership) has access to the strategic plan, so they can understand how their work contributes to company priorities and the overall strategy map. We recommend sharing your plan in the same tool you use to manage and track work, so you can more easily connect high-level objectives to daily work. If you don’t already, consider using a work management platform .  

A few tips to make sure your plan will be executed without a hitch: 

Communicate clearly to your entire organization throughout the implementation process, to ensure all team members understand the strategic plan and how to implement it effectively. 

Define what “success” looks like by mapping your strategic plan to key performance indicators.

Ensure that the actions outlined in the strategic plan are integrated into the daily operations of the organization, so that every team member's daily activities are aligned with the broader strategic objectives.

Utilize tools and software—like a work management platform—that can aid in implementing and tracking the progress of your plan.

Regularly monitor and share the progress of the strategic plan with the entire organization, to keep everyone informed and reinforce the importance of the plan.

Establish regular check-ins to monitor the progress of your strategic plan and make adjustments as needed. 

Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed

Once you’ve created and implemented your new strategic framework, the final step of the planning process is to monitor and manage your plan.

Remember, your strategic plan isn’t set in stone. You’ll need to revisit and update the plan if your company changes directions or makes new investments. As new market opportunities and threats come up, you’ll likely want to tweak your strategic plan. Make sure to review your plan regularly—meaning quarterly and annually—to ensure it’s still aligned with your organization’s vision and goals.

Keep in mind that your plan won’t last forever, even if you do update it frequently. A successful strategic plan evolves with your company’s long-term goals. When you’ve achieved most of your strategic goals, or if your strategy has evolved significantly since you first made your plan, it might be time to create a new one.

Build a smarter strategic plan with a work management platform

To turn your company strategy into a plan—and ultimately, impact—make sure you’re proactively connecting company objectives to daily work. When you can clarify this connection, you’re giving your team members the context they need to get their best work done. 

A work management platform plays a pivotal role in this process. It acts as a central hub for your strategic plan, ensuring that every task and project is directly tied to your broader company goals. This alignment is crucial for visibility and coordination, allowing team members to see how their individual efforts contribute to the company’s success. 

By leveraging such a platform, you not only streamline workflow and enhance team productivity but also align every action with your strategic objectives—allowing teams to drive greater impact and helping your company move toward goals more effectively. 

Strategic planning FAQs

Still have questions about strategic planning? We have answers.

Why do I need a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is one of many tools you can use to plan and hit your goals. It helps map out strategic objectives and growth metrics that will help your company be successful.

When should I create a strategic plan?

You should aim to create a strategic plan every three to five years, depending on your organization’s growth speed.

Since the point of a strategic plan is to map out your long-term goals and how you’ll get there, you should create a strategic plan when you’ve met most or all of them. You should also create a strategic plan any time you’re going to make a large pivot in your organization’s mission or enter new markets. 

What is a strategic planning template?

A strategic planning template is a tool organizations can use to map out their strategic plan and track progress. Typically, a strategic planning template houses all the components needed to build out a strategic plan, including your company’s vision and mission statements, information from any competitive analyses or SWOT assessments, and relevant KPIs.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. business plan?

A business plan can help you document your strategy as you’re getting started so every team member is on the same page about your core business priorities and goals. This tool can help you document and share your strategy with key investors or stakeholders as you get your business up and running.

You should create a business plan when you’re: 

Just starting your business

Significantly restructuring your business

If your business is already established, you should create a strategic plan instead of a business plan. Even if you’re working at a relatively young company, your strategic plan can build on your business plan to help you move in the right direction. During the strategic planning process, you’ll draw from a lot of the fundamental business elements you built early on to establish your strategy for the next three to five years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. mission and vision statements?

Your strategic plan, mission statement, and vision statements are all closely connected. In fact, during the strategic planning process, you will take inspiration from your mission and vision statements in order to build out your strategic plan.

Simply put: 

A mission statement summarizes your company’s purpose.

A vision statement broadly explains how you’ll reach your company’s purpose.

A strategic plan pulls in inspiration from your mission and vision statements and outlines what actions you’re going to take to move in the right direction. 

For example, if your company produces pet safety equipment, here’s how your mission statement, vision statement, and strategic plan might shake out:

Mission statement: “To ensure the safety of the world’s animals.” 

Vision statement: “To create pet safety and tracking products that are effortless to use.” 

Your strategic plan would outline the steps you’re going to take in the next few years to bring your company closer to your mission and vision. For example, you develop a new pet tracking smart collar or improve the microchipping experience for pet owners. 

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. company objectives?

Company objectives are broad goals. You should set these on a yearly or quarterly basis (if your organization moves quickly). These objectives give your team a clear sense of what you intend to accomplish for a set period of time. 

Your strategic plan is more forward-thinking than your company goals, and it should cover more than one year of work. Think of it this way: your company objectives will move the needle towards your overall strategy—but your strategic plan should be bigger than company objectives because it spans multiple years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a business case?

A business case is a document to help you pitch a significant investment or initiative for your company. When you create a business case, you’re outlining why this investment is a good idea, and how this large-scale project will positively impact the business. 

You might end up building business cases for things on your strategic plan’s roadmap—but your strategic plan should be bigger than that. This tool should encompass multiple years of your roadmap, across your entire company—not just one initiative.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a project plan?

A strategic plan is a company-wide, multi-year plan of what you want to accomplish in the next three to five years and how you plan to accomplish that. A project plan, on the other hand, outlines how you’re going to accomplish a specific project. This project could be one of many initiatives that contribute to a specific company objective which, in turn, is one of many objectives that contribute to your strategic plan. 

What’s the difference between strategic management vs. strategic planning?

A strategic plan is a tool to define where your organization wants to go and what actions you need to take to achieve those goals. Strategic planning is the process of creating a plan in order to hit your strategic objectives.

Strategic management includes the strategic planning process, but also goes beyond it. In addition to planning how you will achieve your big-picture goals, strategic management also helps you organize your resources and figure out the best action plans for success. 

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The Business Planning Guide

Last Updated: February 16, 2024, 2:20 pm by TRUiC Team

Launching your career as an entrepreneur is serious and exciting business. Planning your business is an important step and necessary to:

  • Reduce the risk of business failure
  • Acquire business loans or investments

This guide simplifies the planning process and provides access to free tools to get you started.

The Business Planning Guide Image

Plan Your Business

This exercise will help evaluate your business idea so that you can create a strong business plan and enhance your potential for success. To help make your dream business a reality, we have simplified business planning into a four-part exercise.

  • Points of Leverage
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Financial Model
  • Compatibility with Personal Goals

Find Your Points of Leverage

Every business has natural points of leverage; it's what makes it a viable business idea in the first place. For example, this could be buying products in bulk cheaply and selling them for a higher price, or it could be providing convenience and a quality customer experience, such as in a restaurant or coffee shop.

By the time you finish your planning process, you should understand what your business's natural points of leverage are.

There are also competitive points of leverage that set your business apart from the competition. These could be an innovative product, a special skill set, a partnership, a new market insight, or anything else that will help you establish a competitive foothold in your industry and scale up your business.

Develop a Marketing Strategy

Now that you know the basics of your business idea, you need to answer three important questions:

  • Who are the people that need your product or service? In other words, what is your target market?
  • How will you reach your  target market ?
  • What will be the costs of bringing your business to your target market?

This is an important and often overlooked aspect of vetting a business idea. Without a strong strategy for connecting your business with prospective customers, you won’t be able to make enough sales to break even and turn a profit.

Know Your Financial Model

Every business needs to be able to sustain itself financially. A basic financial model is:

Revenue - Costs = Profit/Loss

First, you need to know your business’s costs. Those costs can be fixed (such as rent, equipment, etc.) and variable (supplies, staffing costs, etc).

Once you know your costs, you will know how much revenue you need to earn to break even and turn a profit.

Knowing your financial model and your break-even point will help you to determine if your business idea is actually worth pursuing.

Identify Your Personal Goals

The last step in evaluating your business idea is to identify your personal goals and values. What kind of life would you like to have five or ten years from now?

Once you know what you want to achieve in your personal life, you can determine whether or not your business idea will actually further your personal growth and development.

Starting a business is a challenging and potentially rewarding experience. The best way to guarantee success is to make sure that there is a strong correspondence between your business and professional ambitions and your ideal lifestyle.

Use these free tools to get started with the planning process:

Business Model Canvas

Business Plan Generator

There are also paid options available for business planning. You can find a review of  popular business planning tools  here.

Business Plan Template

TRUiC’s Business Plan Generator Too l walks you through the process of creating your own business plan according to our preset template.

You can fill out the sections in any order you want. You can also save your progress and come back later to finish where you left off.

TRY OUT OUR FREE BUSINESS PLAN GENERATOR

TRUiC’s Business Model Canvas Creator is a simple tool based on the original design by Alexander Osterwalder.

Sketch out the big picture of your business idea to get a better vision of how successful it can be, and then download your work as an easy-to-read PDF.

You can also save your work and then return later on to finish your initial draft.

TRY OUT OUR FREE BUSINESS MODEL CREATOR

More From Forbes

How To Qualify For A Small Business Grant

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Starting a small business or a startup can feel both thrilling and overwhelming, especially when it comes to securing funding. While there are various options available, small business grants are a particularly attractive choice because they don't require repayment.

However, navigating the grant application process can be confusing.

Here is a straightforward guide to help you understand and qualify for small business grants:

1. understand what a small business grant is.

A small business grant is a sum of money given to businesses to help them grow and succeed. Unlike loans, grants are not required to be repaid, making them a highly desirable form of funding. Grants can come from government departments, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and foundations, each with their own set of objectives and criteria.

2. Determine Eligibility

Before diving into the application process, it’s crucial to determine if your business qualifies for grants. Eligibility can depend on several factors:

  • Business type and size: Most grants specify the type of businesses they support, such as nonprofits, tech startups, or retail stores. Additionally, your business might need to fall under certain size specifications, often based on the number of employees or annual revenue.
  • Owner demographics: Some grants are specifically aimed at supporting businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, or other demographic groups. These grants often aim to level the playing field and provide opportunities for those historically underrepresented in the business world.
  • Location: Many grants are location-specific, provided to businesses operating in certain regions, states, or communities, especially if the funding aims to stimulate local economic growth.

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The first unintended consequence of ai – and it’s huge, israel s attack on iran doesn t look unprecedented, 3. find relevant grants.

Locating grants that match your business type, goals, and background is the next step. Here are some strategies to find grants:

  • Use grant databases: Websites like Grants.gov , the Small Business Administration (SBA) site, and specific nonprofit organizations offer extensive databases of available grants.
  • Network: Joining women's business groups, chambers of commerce, and other professional networks can provide leads and tips from other entrepreneurs.
  • Local business development centers: These centers often have information on local grants and can assist in the application process.

4. Prepare Your Application

Preparing a compelling grant application is critical. Each grant has its own requirements, but generally, you will need to prepare the following:

  • Business plan: Most grants require a detailed business plan that outlines your business model, market analysis, financial plan, and growth strategy.
  • Financial statements: These may include profit and loss statements , balance sheets, and cash flow statements to demonstrate your business's financial health.
  • Grant proposal: This is a key element of your application where you articulate why your business deserves the grant, how the funds will be used, and how the grant will impact your business and community.

5. Adhere to Application Requirements

Pay close attention to the grant’s application process:

  • Follow instructions: Make sure your application meets all the specified requirements, including complete answers to all questions, required documents, and adherence to any specified formats.
  • Meet deadlines: Grant applications often have strict deadlines. Late submissions typically are not considered.

6. Await Decision and Plan for Future Opportunities

It can take time for the review process, so be patient. During this time, continue to seek other funding opportunities and consider ways to strengthen your business and future grant proposals.

The bottom line is that securing a small business grant is not just about finding free money; it's about presenting your business as a viable, promising enterprise capable of fulfilling the grant's purpose. While the process requires significant effort, the potential benefits make it worth pursuing. For women entrepreneurs ready to take their businesses to the next level, mastering the art of applying for grants is a valuable skill that can open doors to new possibilities and growth.

Melissa Houston, CPA is the author of Cash Confident: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Profitable Business and the founder of She Means Profit . As a Business Strategist for small business owners, Melissa helps women making mid-career shifts, to launch their dream businesses, and I also guide established business owners to grow their businesses to more profitably.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to

replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever.

Melissa Houston

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guide to business planning

The Ultimate Guide To Starting Your Own PC Building Business

guide to business planning

Are you passionate about computers and looking to turn that passion into a profitable venture? Starting your own PC building business might just be the perfect fit for you. A PC building business entails designing, assembling, and selling custom-built personal computers.

To ensure its success you, of course, need to have a great understanding of the PC building business.

But to stand out in the PC market, which is estimated at $204.07 billion in 2024, you’ll require more than just technical prowess. You also need a deep understanding of the PC building market, a good business plan, an effective marketing strategy, and a strong brand among other strategies.

This comprehensive article will walk you through all the key steps while providing great tips on how to start a PC building business successfully. Let’s get started!

1. Conduct market research and identify the niche

Before diving headfirst into starting your custom PC business, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research to understand the landscape and identify your niche.

Start by researching the demand for custom-built PCs in your niche market. Identify the types of customers who are interested in custom PCs. Are they gamers, content creators, professionals, or businesses? Also, analyze market demand and industry trends, like the popularity of certain components, gaming genres, or emerging technologies like VR or AI.

Then dive deep into understanding your target customers’ specific needs and preferences. What are they looking for in a custom PC? Is it high-performance gaming rigs, silent workstations, compact HTPCs, or something else entirely?

It’s also equally important that you understand the competitive landscape. So ensure you research existing custom PC builders. Identify their strengths, weaknesses, pricing strategies, and target demographics. Look for gaps or underserved segments in the market where you can differentiate your business and carve out a niche for yourself.

Then armed with that information, define your unique selling proposition (USP)—which helps you stand out from your competition. See how MAINGEAR mainly highlights their rear-side cable connectors.

guide to business planning

Your USP could be your superior craftsmanship, personalized customer service, exclusive partnerships with component manufacturers, or innovative customization options.

2. Craft a comprehensive business plan

We can’t discuss how to start a PC building business without covering creating a great business plan since it serves as the roadmap for your building journey. Here are some of the key details you must include in your comprehensive business plan as a custom PC builder:

  • Executive summary : Provide the key highlights of your business plan, including your goals, target market, USP, and financial projections.
  • Product and service offerings : Outline the products and services you plan to offer, including the types of custom PCs, customization options, additional services (e.g., overclocking, system optimization, warranty support), and pricing strategies.
  • Marketing strategy : Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote your business and attract a loyal customer base. This may include online marketing tactics such as SEO, social media advertising, email campaigns, content marketing, as well as offline strategies like networking events and word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Financial projections : Create detailed financial projections for your PC building business, including startup costs, operating expenses, revenue forecasts, and profit margins.
  • Operational plan : Define the day-to-day operations of your business, including inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service, and post-sale support.
  • Risk assessment and contingency plans : Identify potential risks and challenges that may affect your business, such as supply chain disruptions, changes in market conditions, or competitive threats. Then include contingency plans and mitigation strategies to minimize risks and ensure business continuity.

With a comprehensive business plan, you can demonstrate your readiness to investors, lenders, and other stakeholders. Additionally, it will guide your decisions, helping you confidently navigate any challenges you face.

3. Register your business

With your business plan in hand, it’s time to make things official by registering your business. This is essential when starting any sort of business, whether it’s an online business like a call center business or an offline business like a cleaning business .

Start by choosing a suitable business name and structure, whether a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of liability, taxation, and regulatory requirements, so choose wisely based on your specific circumstances.

Next, register your PC building business with the appropriate government authorities. The registration processes will vary based on your location and chosen business structure. So check with your local business registration office for guidance on the registration process in your area.

However, the process will typically involve filing registration forms, paying registration fees, and obtaining necessary licenses or permits to operate legally.

Additionally, consider trademarking your business name, logo, or any unique product designs or inventions to protect your intellectual property.

4. Source quality components and forge partnerships with suppliers

You’ll need to source a wide range of components to build high-quality custom computers tailored to your customers’ needs. Some of these components include RAM modules, solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs), central processing units (CPUs), graphics cards, motherboards, and cooling solutions.

To ensure you source quality components start by researching reputable component suppliers and distributors. Look for suppliers with a track record of reliability, quality, and customer satisfaction. Then consider factors like product selection, pricing, delivery times, return policies, and customer service.

You can use a platform like PC Builder to easily find the right supplier. Additionally, the platform offers building guides and gives feedback on the most compatible components for your PC.

guide to business planning

While it’s tempting to prioritize price when sourcing components, quality should always be your top priority. Invest in high-quality components from trusted brands to ensure great performance, reliability, and product longevity, customer satisfaction.

A poorly built PC device will only lead to poor system performance and slow processing, which affects tasks like gaming, video editing, and web browsing. In fact, even the fastest web hosting platform cannot compensate for a poorly built PC device.

Over time, build strong relationships with your component suppliers by making repeat orders, communicating regularly, and providing feedback. Establishing a good relationship with your suppliers can lead to better pricing, priority access, and personalized support, which will give you a competitive advantage.

However, it’s also key to know when to diversify your supplier base to mitigate the risk of supply chain disruptions, shortages, or quality issues.

5. Build your brand and market your services

Once your products are ready for the market, it’s time to focus on building brand awareness and visibility.

Start by creating a professional website showcasing your services, portfolio of past builds, and customer testimonials.

Your website should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and optimized for search engines to attract organic traffic and generate leads. Additionally, include helpful resources to show your customers how your products work or how well they work. For instance, you can record screen activities to prove your device is high-performing.

Digital Storm is a great example of an exceptional PC building business website. See how they use a clean design, images, product videos, consistent brand colors, and customer testimonials, among other design elements to capture potential customers’ attention.

guide to business planning

You can also use guest blog posts , social media platforms, online forums, and key industry events to spread the word about your business and engage with potential customers. Besides sharing valuable content, consider offering special promotions or hosting giveaways, as shown below, to incentivize purchases and encourage repeat business.

guide to business planning

Additionally, you can collaborate with tech influencers , bloggers, YouTubers, and streamers in the gaming and tech community to reach a wider audience and gain credibility.

6. Provide exceptional customer service and support

Providing exceptional customer service and support can set you apart from the competition. In fact, research shows that 80% of customers believe the experience a company provides is just as important as its products and services.

So how do you provide exceptional customer service and support? Here are a few effective ways:

  • Expert recommendations : Offer expert recommendations and guidance to help customers make informed decisions about their custom PCs. Use your technical expertise to suggest the most suitable components, configurations, and customization options based on their needs. This will ensure they get the best value for their investment.
  • Transparent communication : Keep your customers informed and updated throughout the PC building process. Provide regular updates on the status, any delays or issues encountered, and estimated completion times. Additionally, be transparent about pricing, component availability, and potential limitations to manage customer expectations effectively.
  • Quality assurance : Conduct thorough quality assurance checks on each PC build to ensure that it meets the highest standards of performance, reliability, and aesthetics. This also enables you to address any issues or defects promptly before delivering the system to the customer.
  • Post-sale support : Provide comprehensive post-sale support to assist customers with setup, installation, troubleshooting, and optimizing their custom PCs. You should also offer clear instructions, documentation, and tutorials on your website to guide customers through common tasks and issues they may encounter with their new systems.
  • Warranty services : Reassure your customers they are making the right investment by offering generous warranties. Clearly communicate warranty terms and conditions, including coverage periods, repair or replacement policies, and any exclusions or limitations, to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Responsive communicatio n: Respond promptly to customer inquiries, feedback, and support requests through various channels, including phone, email, live chat, and social media. Quick responses demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction, which helps you easily earn their trust.
  • Continuous improvement : Continuously seek customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and opportunities to enhance your custom PC building services. Then actively implement the changes to match customer expectations in the future.

Keep in mind, happy customers are more likely to return for future purchases, recommend your business to others, and contribute to your long-term success and growth.

Starting your own PC building business can be a rewarding and lucrative endeavor. While it’s not an easy task, like with any venture, it is not impossible.

By following our steps on how to start a PC building business, you can easily turn your dream of owning a successful PC building enterprise into a reality.

Start by conducting market research and identifying a niche. Then craft a business plan, register your business, source quality components, forge supplier partnerships, build your brand, market your services, and provide great customer service and support.

Above all stay adaptable, stay curious, and stay connected to keep building great PC products for your customers. Best of luck!

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Nicholas Prins

I'm the founder of Launch Space. We work with global companies helping them scale lead generation through SEO and content marketing. Head over to the homepage to find out more.

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What to Do When Your 401(k) Leaves Something to Be Desired

Over the course of a career, the high fees and a lower-quality menu of investment options found in some plans can shrink your balance significantly.

Chris Gentry sitting on a table with his feet up on a chair.

By Mark Miller

Chris Gentry is meticulous about his craft — he’s a professional woodworker at a small company in Brooklyn, N.Y., that makes custom dining and coffee tables, cabinets and interiors.

He creates pieces on his own from start to finish and enjoys that freedom. “It’s nice to have control over the way something should be done,” he said.

Mr. Gentry, 36, is equally conscientious about saving for retirement. He has contributed the maximum allowable amounts to his employer’s 401(k) plan over the past two years and also topped out a Roth individual retirement account. He hopes to buy an apartment and start a family soon with his partner. “It seems like all that will be expensive, so I’m trying to get an early start on retirement savings while I can,” he said. Between the two accounts, he has managed to save $80,000.

His employer kicks in a generous 5 percent of his salary to the 401(k) no matter how much Mr. Gentry contributes. But he worries about the plan’s high-cost mutual funds. “They’re expensive compared with what I can get in the I.R.A.,” he said. He even wonders if he should contribute to the plan at all. “I’m not sure how to determine at what point the fees become so expensive that the benefits of the 401(k) are outweighed by the fees.”

Fees are one of the most important factors of successful retirement investing. They determine how much ends up in your pocket after mutual funds and 401(k) plan providers take their cut. The bite especially hurts younger workers, who face the risk that high fees will compound over time.

“Fees compound in the same way that returns compound,” said Scott Puritz, managing director at Rebalance , a firm that often works with clients on 401(k) rollovers and advises companies on ways to improve their plans. “People are numb to the differences, but it’s a major determinant of long-term returns.”

Costs are usually much higher in plans sponsored by small businesses, like the 10-person firm where Mr. Gentry works. His plan doesn’t offer low-cost passive index fund choices. He is invested solely in a target date fund made up of actively managed mutual funds that have lagged the overall market’s returns during the past decade. The fund charges an annual expense fee of just over 1 percent.

That amount is typical for small plans, according to data compiled for the 401(k) Averages Book, which surveys companies that provide plans to employers. For example, the survey shows that among plans with 10 participants and $1 million in assets, average investment costs are 1.10 percent. At larger firms, those fees are far lower: At companies with 1,000 to 5,000 plan participants, target date fund fees average just 0.33 percent, according to data compiled by the Investment Company Institute and BrightScope. (Target date funds shift gradually toward bonds from stocks as a worker approaches an expected date for retirement.)

It’s not unusual for small plans to carry total expenses far higher. “We often see plans that charge 2 or 3 percent all in — sometimes more,” Mr. Puritz said.

A key reason for the varying amount of fees is the fixed costs of administering a plan and how those costs are spread across companies of different sizes. “If I have a small coffee shop plan with $100,000 in assets, the costs are spread across fewer people compared with a very large company,” said Joe Valletta, principal with Pension Data Source, which publishes the 401(k) Averages Book. “The big plan has higher fixed costs, but it’s spread over a lot more employees and a larger asset base.”

Mr. Gentry is fortunate to work for an employer that offers any kind of plan. Only about half of private-sector U.S. workers are covered by an employer retirement plan at any given time, and the gap is driven by lower participation in the system by small employers, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College . Workers often gain and lose coverage as they change jobs.

The coverage gap helps explain why many workers reach retirement with savings unlikely to last the rest of their lives. According to the Federal Reserve, the median retirement account holdings for workers aged 55 to 64 years old was $185,000 in 2022.

But fees also play a leading role, especially for young workers who face the compound effects over many years of saving. The difference in account balances when they retire can be staggering.

The New York Times worked with Rebalance to create a hypothetical example, illustrating the career-long effect of plans with a variety of fee levels. We considered a 28-year-old worker with a starting salary of $75,000 who saves diligently in her 401(k) account throughout her career. She contributes 6 percent of her salary annually and receives a 3 percent matching contribution from her employer. The scenario shows the effect of what she will have at three possible retirement ages. At 65, her portfolio is nearly 66 percent smaller in a high-cost plan compared with the lowest.

High Fees Can Take a Huge Bite Out of Your 401(k)

We used the example of a hypothetical 28-year-old worker who saves diligently in her 401(k) account throughout her career. At the time of her retirement, her 401(k) balance varies greatly depending on how high the plan’s fees are and when she retires.

guide to business planning

Hypothetical balances at retirement

Plan balances in millions of dollars

Percentage difference from the low-fee plan.

guide to business planning

Low fees (1.25%)

High fees (3%)

Medium fees (2%)

Plan balances in

millions of dollars

Percentage difference from low-fee plans.

Determining the fees that you pay is not simple. Fees can be charged for plan administration, investments and sometimes for individual services provided to participants; all 401(k) plans are required to send an annual notice that explains the fees that can be deducted from your account, but understanding them is another matter.

“It’s very difficult for people to understand their fees unless they’re investment professionals, which most retirees are not,” said Lisa M. Gomez, assistant secretary for employee benefits security at the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Secure 2.0 legislation of 2022 directed the department to examine ways to improve plan information, including how to understand fees. It expects to report to Congress with recommendations by the end of 2025, Ms. Gomez said. The department publishes a guide to 401(k) fees and has a toll-free line with advisers who can help participants understand their fees (866-444-3272).

But asking your employer about fees is a good starting point. “You have the right to know what you’re paying, so go to your human resources department, and ask them to tell you about your options and what they cost,” Mr. Puritz, the managing director at Rebalance, said. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority offers an online tool that analyzes how fees and other expenses affect the value of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds over time.

Your plan is mediocre. What now?

If your employer’s plan offers an annual matching contribution, save enough to capture it — doing otherwise leaves money on the table. “If they are matching dollar for dollar or 50 cents on the dollar, that’s a 100 percent or 50 percent return with almost zero risk,” said Heath Biller, a financial planner with Fiduciary Financial Advisors in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Pay careful attention to your investment choices, and look for the least expensive options. If possible, find a low-cost index fund that tracks the entire stock market. “Even if the investment menu is larded with high-expense funds, you may be able to find an index fund or a decent quality target date fund series,” said Christine Benz, director of personal finance and retirement planning at Morningstar.

You can also push for change. Mediocre 401(k) plans can get better. Employers are usually the fiduciary with a legal responsibility to consider only the interest of participants, and it’s in their own best interest to take your misgivings under consideration. “You can raise your concerns about high fees or poor investment options with your employer and ask if the company is able to consider adjustments,” Mr. Biller said.

After you’ve captured the employer match, consider low-cost options outside your 401(k) for additional saving. This year, you can contribute up to $23,000 to a 401(k) and $7,000 to an I.R.A.; savers 50 and older can contribute more via catch-up contributions. Eligibility to deduct the I.R.A. contributions phases out at certain income levels . Establishing one low-cost I.R.A. also lets you roll balances over to a single account as you change jobs through the course of your career, which is a great way to stay organized.

If you have self-employment income in addition to wages, a Simplified Employee Pension I.R.A . or Solo 401(k) offer routes around the I.R.A. contribution limits. Solo 401(k) accounts have higher contribution limits and are not available if you operate a company with employees; the government reporting requirements vary between these two options.

Yulia Petrovsky, a financial planner in San Francisco, has many clients working for large technology companies who also have side businesses. “Some of them are doing start-up work,” she said. “Some have marketing or other consulting gigs, especially when in between jobs, so these accounts can be a real slam dunk.”

Taxable investment accounts offer another route around I.R.A. contribution limits, especially for older retirement savers. Unlike 401(k) and I.R.A. accounts, they don’t come with an upfront tax benefit. Investment gains are subject to capital gains rates, although these are more favorable than ordinary income tax rates imposed on withdrawal from tax-deferred accounts.

Tax deferral is less important for older investors, who have less time to benefit from the tax-deferred compounding available in such accounts than younger investors.

It’s also possible to use tax-efficient investments in taxable accounts, such as broad-market equity exchange-traded funds, which have become very tax efficient, and municipal bonds — which generally are not subject to federal income taxes — for fixed income, Ms. Benz added.

“It’s not that difficult to simulate some of the tax-sheltering characteristics of a tax-deferred account in a taxable account,” she said.

A Guide to Making Better Financial Moves

Making sense of your finances can be complicated. the tips below can help..

Credit card debt is rising, and shopping for a card with a lower interest rate can help you save money. Here are some things to know .

Whether you’re looking to make your home more energy-efficient, install solar panels or buy an electric car, this guide can help you save money and fight climate change .

Starting this year, some of the money in 529 college savings accounts can be used for retirement if it’s not needed for education. Here is how it works .

Are you trying to improve your credit profile? You can now choose to have your on-time rent payments reported to the credit bureaus  to enhance your score.

Americans’ credit card debt and late payments are rising, and card interest rates remain high, but many people lack a plan to pay down their debt. Here’s what you can do .

There are few challenges facing students more daunting than paying for college. This guide can help you make sense of it all .

2024 Top Gold IRA Companies For First-Time Investors: Retirement Guide Launched

Gold IRA Companies Bulletin has released a new guide detailing the top gold IRA options for retirement planners in 2024.

guide to business planning

Houston, United States - April 13, 2024 —

The new guide covers nine of the most well-known gold IRA options and discusses the three main highlights that differentiate them from one another, combined with expert insights from the site owner Doug Young, who has 20 years of experience in the field.

More information can be found at https://goldiracompaniescompared.com/news-items/gold-silver-bulletins/best-gold-ira-companies

The guide comes one month after a period of high growth for gold. In March, the price rose by 10%, and Doug says that most experts are predicting the bullish run to continue - hence why he has created the detailed breakdown of what he perceives as 2024's best options.

Doug explains that now is a good time for investors to allocate some of their portfolio to gold, with JP Morgan projecting the price to reach $2,500 per ounce by the end of 2024, and this is reflected in the buying rate seen with central banks across the world. "Gold is widely regarded as a safe haven," Doug explains, noting that it's a reliable store of value during times of economic uncertainty. "Ultimately, its scarcity, durability, and universal acceptance make it an attractive investment choice - and one worth considering this year."

The guide identifies Augusta Precious Metals, Goldco, and American Hartford Gold as the most recommended options for beginners. Doug highlights the number of years they've been in business, their Better Business Bureau ratings, how many TrustLink reviews they've got, and several other factors before diving deeper into the specifics of each provider. He also covers their minimum investment requirements, noting that while Augusta Precious Metals has a minimum of $50,000, Goldco and American Hartford Gold have lower thresholds of $25,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Gold IRA Companies Bulletin highlights Augusta Precious Metals as the top provider for 2024 based on the company's commitment to transparency, noting that it undergoes regular compliance audits, as well as its long-term partnerships. For beginners in particular, it offers expert guidance on precious metals and has a reputation for customer support for the lifetime of each account.

Doug added: "My desire is to provide valuable insights and recommendations to help you choose a trustworthy gold IRA partner, backed up by the many years of experience and expertise I have gained in the course of evaluating a vast array of gold IRA companies."

Interested parties can learn more at https://goldiracompaniescompared.com/news-items/gold-silver-bulletins/best-gold-ira-companies

Contact Info: Name: Doug Young Email: Send Email Organization: Gold IRA Companies Bulletin Address: 3139 W Holcombe Blvd, Houston, Texas 77025, United States Website: https://goldiracompaniescompared.com

Release ID: 89127037

Should any errors, concerns, or inconsistencies arise from the content provided in this press release that require attention or if a press release needs to be taken down, we kindly request that you immediately contact us at [email protected]. Our efficient team will be at your disposal for timely assistance within 8 hours – taking necessary measures to rectify identified issues or providing guidance on the removal process. We prioritize delivering accurate and reliable information.

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