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How to Write a Great Business Plan in 4 Simple Steps
Step 1: Create an Outline
Every business plan must begin with an outline of each core element of the plan: Executive Summary, Company Overview, Industry Analysis, Market Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, and Financial Plan. Each one of these sections should be made into a title heading with sub-headings for all details and information that must to be included as part of that title heading. For example, the Company Overview should have a title heading with Recognition of Opportunity, Product and Service Overview, Value Proposition, and Business Model all sub-headings of this title section. After in-putting all of the sub-headings create a second row of sub-headings with questions, data points, thoughts, research needed, etc. that will help guide you during the writing phase of the business plan. Remember to keep everything indented and organized so that is it easy to follow.
Step 2: Build Out the Core Sections
By core sections I mean the Competitive Analysis, Industry Analysis, Market Analysis and Company Overview, written in this exact order. The Competitive Analysis is the building block on which the rest of the business plan is built and thus must come first. By analyzing competitors, your Company can determine what industry it is involved in; who comprises the current market; and what products and services are offered, and at what price points. Then, you will be able to optimally position your Company i.e. develop the business model, value proposition and competitive advantages. Keep in mind that once you finish these core sections you are about halfway finish with your Business Plan!
Step 3: Complete a Draft Document
Now that you have the core sections written out, proceed to write your Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Financial Plan, and Executive Summary, in this precise order. The Executive Summary must always come last as it will highlight the most influential and gripping points from the Business Plan. The Executive Summary needs to be clear, compelling, and written in a way that makes the reader want to keep reading. Keep in mind that this document is only a draft.
Step 4: Take the Business Plan from Draft to Final
Begin by sending the draft document to close friends, advisors, or management team members. Be sure send it to each person one at a time and give them a strict deadline for turnaround, one or two days should be adequate. Once the first person has made comments and edits (Track Changes are the easiest way), send the same version of the document to the next person make comments and edits. Continue this process until at least three people have read through it. This may seem a bit inefficient, but it is much easier to accept/decline or address comments on one document rather than three different versions. From this point, the content should be close to perfect and then it's just about sharpening up the look of the Business Plan. You want to utilize a cover page, table of contents, page borders, page headers with the Company name and logo, and page footers with page number. Some other great effects to include are call out boxes, relevant pictures, appropriate graphics, and a consistent page layout with color scheme.
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OR, Let Us Develop Your Business Plan For You
Our professional business plan consultants can create your entire business plan for you. We will make sure your business plan is sound and ready for investors so you can continue to focus on running your business. Over the past decade, we have created business plans for hundreds of entrepreneurs like you.
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