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Writing a Business Plan


One of the first things you should do when you decide to open a business is to write a business plan. This plan will make you think through your entire business strategy and will help you identify weak points that you may not have thought through all the way. It is also a way for business owners to hold themselves accountable and set short-term and long-term goals. Business plans are also essential to attract capital investments to a new business. It will enable investors to see what you want to do, learn about the business owner’s goals, and see if there is a chance for the business to succeed.

Below are the following parts to a good business plan. Understand that you have to do all of the research and find all of the business plan’s information before you can sit down and write your plan.

 

Executive Summary

The executive summary should be a summary of your company and why it will be successful. It should also include the company’s short-term and long-term goals. The most important parts of your business plan make up this section, including location, product/service provided, and business leadership team. If your company has a mission statement, include it in the executive summary. Overall, this summary should be a complete overview that could draw potential investors into reading your entire business plan.

 

Company Description

This section should be an in-depth detailed explanation of what your business is. You should include things such as your business location. Are you in a corner storefront? Where are you on the main street, and how will this help you? Use this section to describe what your business will do for its market and what gives you a competitive advantage against your competition. In other words, describe what makes your business unique and why it will survive and thrive in Albion. For example, if you open a restaurant, what will set you apart from the Albion Malleable Brewing Company or Gina’s Pizza & Deli. This section is where you want to specifically tell your reader what sets you apart from your competitors.

 

Products and Services

In this section, you should go into detail about the product or service you will be providing. Explain why that product or service is needed and how it will benefit your customers. If there are any patents or trademarks involved in your business, include them in this section as well. 

 

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan is the part of the business plan where you need to study your business market. As I said in my previous blog, in Albion, a swimsuit business would not have a good market. However, maybe a restaurant that serves breakfast would. You need to analyze that market and explain how and why your business will survive in the market. This step includes familiarizing yourself with the competition in your market. If you provide the same goods or services as someone else in the market, you have to be aware that you will be sharing the demand for those goods and services. 

 

Operational & Management Plan

This section should describe how your business will run day-to-day. Are you hiring managers, or will you be the sole manager? What types of responsibilities will your employees have, or your managers, if you choose to hire some. How many employees will you need? This information is useful for an investor to know, and it is also crucial to know this information when hiring. Employees should know what is expected of them from the start to make sure the business operates smoothly. 

 

Start-up Expenses

Start-up costs are any costs associated with the start-up of your business. That includes bills, marketing costs, wages, buying the goods you plan on providing or the materials to perform your service, and the expenses of setting up the business. Besides start-up costs, there should also be a projection of future costs. Having a clear understanding of your start-up expenses will help you understand how much capital you will need to start your business. Then you can start looking at where you acquire that capital.

 

Financial Plan

To me, the financial plan is one of the essential parts of the business plan. It should show all of your expenses and what your potential revenue will be. This section should be able to show how your business will make a profit. If you already know, include how you plan on funding that start-up of your business. The financial plan is a critical analysis for both a business owner and an investor. The research will show if the company can make a profit and if it is a good investment. Investors want to make sure they can see a return on their investment. Businesses need to make sure that they can afford to run their business correctly. 

Business plans come in many different layouts, some being more in-depth than others. Above is a basic business plan layout that will help you when you want to start opening your own small business. There are many more articles and templates online that can assist you in the process as well!


Additional Resources

About the Author

Tasi Martinez is a senior at Albion College majoring in Political Science and Business. Martinez is also a member of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.

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