Developing a business plan can seem daunting, but it’s an important step in starting or growing your business. This article will outline the steps necessary to create a business plan and discuss the benefits of having one. You’ll also learn when and how to update your plan, as well as where to get help creating it.
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals, strategies, and tactics. It’s important to have a business plan because it will help you map out the future of your business and track your progress over time. Your business plan should include:
- Your business model
- Your target market
- Your marketing strategy
- Your financial projections
- Your milestones
Creating a well-written and clear business plan will force you to think critically about your business and what you need to do to achieve your goals. It will also help you attract investors and partners, as they will be able to see your vision for the future of the business.
Where to Get Help Creating Your Business Plan
There are many resources available to help you create your business plan. You can hire a freelance business plan writer, use a business plan template, or use business planning software.
We recommend hiring a business plan writer if you have a complicated or ambitious business plan. A freelance writer may be able to help you create and execute your strategy and ensure that your plan is thorough and well-written. Check out business plan writers for hire here.
If you have a more straightforward business plan, you may be able to use a template or software. Business plan templates can be found online, and some software programs can help you develop your plan, as well.
Even with these resources at your disposal, you will need to make decisions on certain aspects of your plan. So, let’s discuss what you need to keep in mind when starting out with a business plan.
How to Get Started With a Business Plan
The first step is to decide what type of business plan you need. There are three main types of business plans:
- Mini plans: These are brief, one- to five-page plans that you can use to get started quickly. They are generally used for businesses that have limited funding and resources, such as startups. A basic mini-plan will outline your business idea, target market, and financial information.
- Pitch decks: These are 10- to 20-page presentations that you can use to pitch your business to investors.
- Full plans: These are detailed, 30- to 50-page documents that you’ll use to run your business. They include all of the information found in a mini-plan, as well as additional details on your marketing strategy and growth goals.
Once you have decided on the type of plan you need, you can start working on your plan by doing the following:
- Determine your target market and research your competitors–this is important for you to determine how to position your business in the market and what unique selling points (USPs) you have.
- Describe your business model and identify your key partners, if any. For example, if you’re starting an online store, you’ll need to identify the platform you’ll be using, your fulfillment partners, and your payment processor.
- Outline your marketing strategies and financial projections. There are many different methods you can use to market your business, and your financial projections will give investors an idea of how much money you need to get started and how much money you could potentially make.
The next step is to work with a business plan writer or template to flesh out your ideas and create a comprehensive plan. A specialized business plan writer may be especially useful for writing a catchy executive summary to grab the attention of potential investors.
For further details on developing a business plan summary, check out our post on How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan.
When Should You Update Your Business Plan?
As your business grows, you will need to update your business plan to reflect your new goals and strategies. You should update your plan at least once a year, or whenever you make major changes to your business. To update your plan, simply make a new copy of your original plan and make the necessary updates.
For example, you may need to update your marketing strategy or financial projections, and you may also want to add new milestones or change your target market based on new information you have about your industry. Whatever changes you make, be sure to keep your original plan as a reference so that you can see how far you have come.