Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or just beginning to think about starting a business, demands come at you fast. Amidst the rush of to-do lists and meetings, determining how to write a business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels time-consuming and intimidating.
But nearly 70% of business owners who have been there and done that recommend writing a business plan before you start a business, according to a recent QuickBooks survey. After all, when done right, business plans have enormous payoffs and benefits.
And yet, more than 10% of prospective business owners said they do not intend to write a business plan. Another 10% aren’t sure if they need a plan.
It’s more than the old cliche: A failure to plan is a plan to fail. In fact, a wealth of data now exists on the difference a written business plan makes, especially for small or growing companies.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to write a successful business plan step-by-step, and turn your idea into a reality. You will learn:
- What is a business plan?
- What is the purpose of a business plan?
- Why do you need a business plan?
- Identifying the audience for your business plan
- Why you should use a business plan template
- How to write a business plan in 10 steps
- 1. Create an executive summary
- 2. Compose your company summary
- 3. Summarise market research and potential
- 4. Conduct competitive analysis
- 5. Describe your product or service
- 6. Develop a marketing and sales strategy
- 7. Compile your business financials
- 8. Describe your organisation and management
- 9. Explain your funding request
- 10. Compile an appendix for official documents
- Top tips for writing a business plan
- 3 tips to update your business plan
- QuickBooks for Small Business
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a comprehensive road map for your small business’s growth, development, and its way forward. It communicates who you are, what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it. It also helps you attract talent and investors.
In other words, a good business plan is the one that is:
- Simple to understand,
- Delegates work,
- Sets milestones, and
- Gives results for your business.
But remember that a business idea or business concept is not a plan.