Many people start businesses without ever having a business plan, but without it the risks and the costs can be higher. A business plan is a written document that describes the business and it covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. This document can help the business owner to clarify the business idea, spot potential problems, set the goals and also measure the progress. Without a business plan, it will be difficult to secure investment or a loan from a bank and it also can be difficult to help to convince customers, suppliers and potential employees to support the business. So, having a good business plan is very important for the future of every small or big company.
Writing a business plan isn’t always easy to do and this is the first reason why people start business without having it. I could be difficult to write it, but it is necessary and everybody can do it. Let’s see know you need to know before writing your business plan.
Types of business plans
The business plan helps the business owner to run the business and it guides through each stage of starting and managing the business. There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs. There are 2 two main categories:
- Traditional business plan. This type of plan is very detailed, takes more time to write, and is comprehensive. Lenders and investors commonly request this plan.
- Lean startup business plan. This type of plan is high-level focus, fast to write, and contains key elements only. Some lenders and investors may ask for more information.
The traditional business is used more by business owners, compared to lean startup business plan.
Traditional business plans
Traditional business plans use a standard structure, and can be dozens of pages long. These are the sections of a traditional business plan:
- Executive summary. This section is used to tell the reader what the company is and why it will be successful.
- Company description. This section is used to provide detailed information about your company.
- Market analysis. This section is used to show what other businesses are doing and what their strengths are.
- Organization and management. This section is used to tell your reader how your company will be structured and who will run it.
- Service or product line. This section is used to describe what you sell or what service you offer.
- Marketing and sales. This section is used to describe how you’ll attract and retain customers. You’ll also describe how a sale will actually happen.
- Funding request. This section is used to outline your funding requirements.
- Financial projections. This section is used to convince the reader that your business is stable and will be a financial success. This is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business.
- Appendix. This section is used to provide supporting documents or other materials were specially requested.
Lean startup business plans
Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page. These are the sections of a lean startup business plan:
- Key partnerships. This section is used to note the suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors and similar strategic partners.
- Key activities. This section is used to list the ways the business will gain a competitive advantage.
- Key resources. This section is used to list most important assets, as staff, capital, or intellectual property.
- Value proposition. This section is used to make a clear and compelling statement about the unique value the company brings to the market.
- Customer relationships. This section is used to describe how customers will interact with the business.
- Customer segments. This section is used to specify the target market.
- Channels. This section is used to list the most important ways the customers are taken.
- Cost structure. This section is used to list the most significant costs you’ll face pursuing it.
- Revenue streams. This section is used to explain how the company will actually make money.
You can write your business plan using the information given in this post, or you can find many examples of traditional business plan and lean business plan in the internet.