Creating a strong business plan is a crucial step in the life of any entrepreneur. It provides an invaluable tool that can test the feasibility of your idea, identify pitfalls and challenges, and focus your objectives—all in service of getting your business up and running!
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Write your business plan in the third person to maintain a professional tone.
- Be accessible and clear. Avoid confusing jargon and spell out acronyms in full at first use.
- Write in paragraph form, using bullet points when you need to be more concise.
- Back up every claim you make.
- Be conservative with financial estimates.
- Be realistic with time and resources.
- Revise and modify your plan as circumstances change.
Key sections to include
Executive summary: Include it first but write it last! It should be 1-1.5 pages—one paragraph per main section of the plan—and should identify the key aspect(s) of each.
Company profile: Outline who you are and your company’s story, providing a compelling overview and description of your product/service and business. Include details on management, location, and your vision/mission.
Market research: Identify information gaps and provide information on your target market and competitors. Analyze your business using a SWOT template (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
Marketing strategy: Create a plan for making sales using the 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion). Create a pricing strategy and positioning statement which explains how your product/service fulfills a particular need of your target market.
Operations: Run through how your business will function. Include where it will be located, materials needed, human resources, processes, as well as legal and insurance considerations.
Financial projections: Create a budget that shows how much is required, where funds will be spent, and how much you will earn. What is your breakeven point? Try to include 24 months’ worth of projections.
Conclusion: Bring it all together by demonstrating that you have most factors under control, and end things on an inspired tone by referring to your company’s vision.
Appendix: Include detailed financial projections, CVs of key individuals, leases, industry studies, letters of intent, in-depth reports, etc.
Now, where to begin?
Start by creating a W5 document that answers the who, what, where, when, and why of your business. You’ll finish with an ideal starting point for your plan!
A YES business coach has the experience and know-how to help guide you through the process and refine your plan. Visit yesmontreal.ca to book a consultation today.