About 1 in 5 businesses in the United States will fail within the first year. However, if you have a business plan, your chances of success are even higher.
Without one, it’s up to chance and if you have the right idea and connections. A business plan proves that your idea is something legitimate and gives you a clear road map to take you there.
If you’re planning on starting a business that you want to be successful, keep reading and we’ll tell you what you need to write in your business plan.
1. Market Analysis
Every successful business needs a market analysis to look at the industry and the competitors. The analysis of the market will highlight where your company fits into the market and can help you successfully sell and market your products.
You should also include different trends that are influencing the industry. This will also help you find opportunities and how to take advantage of them.
2. Executive Summary
The executive summary should be at the beginning of your business plan, and it’s the most important part of the business plan. This summary will give an overview of the business plan.
You should write the executive summary as the last thing in your business plan so that you can easily summarize it. Your summary will include your mission statement and all of the products and services you plan to offer.
3. Company Description
You should have also a section to put your company description. This description should detail what you plan to do and what your business is. This will also highlight why you’re in business and why your business will stand out amidst the rest of the competition.
You should also have your mission here in just a few short sentences. Take time to revise your company mission so that you can share it with your employees and have it be the guiding force for all of your company actions.
In addition to your company description, you should also list out your industry, the business’s vision, the team, your background information, and the history of the company.
4. Target Market
Another important key to a successful business is highlighting your target audience. Define your ideal character and all of the characteristics that they have so you know how to sell to them.
For example, identify their demographics, what they buy, and other key aspects of them. You’ll also want to list out how you’ll be able to reach them.
5. Sales Plan
The sales plan portion of your business plan should cover how you’re going to market and sell your products.
You should include any strategies that you plan on using as well as the pricing. The pricing will be important because if it’s too expensive, it’ll be harder to sell any products.
You should also outline strategies for how you will successfully make the sales. For example, are you going to rely on marketing or sales strategies like cold emails? Are you going to use tools like marketing automation?
You also want to define your business’s unique selling point that makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.
6. Organizational Structure
You should also include a company-wide structure outline for your company. The only time you wouldn’t need to worry about that is if you’re the only person in the company.
If you plan to hire employees, then you should think about how they fit into the operation. You can identify what tasks each person will perform and who will report to who. This makes it easier for new employees to get familiar with your company.
7. Competitor Analysis
You also need an analysis of your competitors. This will help you determine how your products and services fit into the market.
You should outline your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. This can also help your marketing team understand what strategies to implement and how to stand out from your competition.
You can also explore what issues you might face in the industry because of your competitor’s positioning.
8. Management Team
Your business plan should also describe the management team. Determine which manager handles which section of the company. You can also outline their experience and credentials.
You should include any external people that you’re working with as well, like consultants or advisers.
9. List of Products and Services
While your products and services might change in the future, you should list which ones you currently have. Along with them, you should also highlight some of the key features that make them stand out.
List what’s different about these products and why someone would choose these over a competitor’s. How will your price these products so that they can actually start making your business profitable?
If you’re planning on launching new products, you may also want a process for how to launch a new product and ensure that it’s profitable.
The last section of your business plan is a great place for all of your appendices. This is where you can add future information to your business plan and get more support.
You can include things like resumes of important stakeholders, marketing research, financial documents, product information, legal documentation, permits, or different marketing material.
Discover How to Create a Successful Business Plan
A good business plan will help you run a successful business, but being a business owner is still stressful.
Thankfully, we’re here to help you while running your small business.
If you’re interested in more business trips, make sure that you check out some of our other articles!