Whether you’re a long-time business owner or starting to think about launching a business, to-do lists pile up fast, and determining how to write a business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels overwhelming.
But nearly 70% of business owners who have been there and done that recommend writing a business plan before starting a business. When done right, business plans have enormous payoffs. In fact, a wealth of data now exists on the difference a written business plan makes, especially for small or growing companies.
First, know your audience
Start with a clear picture of the audience your plan will address. Is it a room full of angel investors? Your local bank’s venture funding department? Or is it you, your leaders, and your employees?
Defining your audience helps you determine the language you’ll need to propose your ideas as well as the depth to which you need to go to help readers conduct due diligence.
Once you’ve got your audience in mind, you can start your business plan, which should include: