Writing an effective business plan can seem like a daunting task, but if you break it down into the important elements, your plan will come together quickly and easily. Keep in mind that every business plan is a little different, but here are a few things you won’t want to leave out:
Identify the needs that your business fulfills
For a business to be successful, there has to be a need for the product or service the business will provide. Use this section to explain what need your business fills. If you’re not sure what the purpose of your business is, then you may want to reconsider before you launch.
How does your business fulfill the need?
Now that you’ve explained why your business is needed, you need to put down on paper how your business will fill the need. This is also a good place to put your mission statement.
While your mission statement can be somewhat vague, be clear about how you plan to execute your business. Provide objectives for the actions you’re going to take, and how those actions will address the need in your market.
Unless you’re the only business in your field, this is also a good section to talk about how your business can fill the need in the market better than your competition.
Distinguish your business strengths and weaknesses
This section is where you detail what it is about your company that makes you a viable business that will survive long-term. Talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and provide details. Consider your experience, staff and talent as well as current funding and overhead.
Do the same for your competition, but remember to be professional. It doesn’t look very good if you just bash your competition, so point out their strengths too, and also how you plan to address those strengths.
It’s important to set yourself apart from your competition, so don’t be shy or afraid to sell yourself. This is where you can show off your qualifications!
Name your stakeholders
Here is where you can talk about who is managing the business, and what their skills are. If you have a board or advisers, include them here as well.
Coming next week, we’ll finish our business plan series with the final touches you’ll need to write an effective business plan.
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