How to Build a Solid Business Plan

A business plan is an essential document that helps new business owners clarify their vision, strategy and finances, and provides them with a blueprint to launch their services while helping them stay on track. Many new businesses and startups may find that their business plan evolves over time as they get clear on their target market, refine their unique selling point (USP), optimise their marketing strategy and more.

If you are starting out on the entrepreneurial path and hoping to launch your new business soon, it pays to come up with a solid business plan first. In this article, we have set out some top tips to help you achieve just that.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan outlines the goals of a new business, and its pathways and timelines for achieving them. It will typically contain information such as a market analysis, financial projections, operational structure and marketing plan, acting as a useful roadmap for the owners. 

Aside from its benefits within the organisation, a business plan is also an important document when it comes to funding as it is something potential investors and lenders will wish to review to assess the viability of their investment.

What to Include?

A well-crafted business plan will contain certain elements. The mains one are outlined below:

Executive summary

This section provides a high-level summary of a business. It will include a mission statement, describe the concept of the business and the products or services it offers. It should also contain other key information such as financial projections, and plans for growth.

Company description

This section will contain basic information about the company including its registered name, location, and names of key personnel. It will also outline the business structure such as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or incorporated company.  If you are considering an LLC structure for your business, you can find out the cost of LLC by state by visiting this site.

Business goals

Here, you will outline your short and long-term goals for the business. By following a SMART framework, you can ensure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. The less vague your goals are the more likely you are to remain focused and reach your targets.

Market analysis

Before launching a business, a market analysis should be undertaken to understand the current business environment, identify key competitors and the target audience. 

Marketing plan

A new business needs a marketing strategy which outlines the various channels it will employ to attract and retain its customers such as digital marketing, social media, and traditional advertising avenues. It should also include details around pricing and around sales and distribution strategies.

Financial plans and projections

This is often a crucial section when it comes to financing and one that lenders and investors will look over with a keen eye. As a new business, you may have little to show on your cash flow statement and balance sheet but you should provide estimates for your first few years of operations. If you are seeking funding, your financial plan is where you state how your business will repay any loans or generate healthy returns for any  investors.

By including these elements in your business plan you can feel confident your business gets off to the best start.