So far in the Build Your Dream Company course, I have defined the purpose behind starting my business, assessed my own skills and experience in my industry, and researched resources, target customers, and pricing models for my business. Now, it’s time for me to write my business plan but…how do I get started?
First, I downloaded the WBC Business Plan Template. I stared at it for a long time, got overwhelmed, then hid it under some other papers and ignored it for awhile.
Next, I met with WBC Business Consultant, Deb Bilbao and she gave me some great advice on how to get started: “Pick the section you’re most comfortable with and throw up on the paper.”
She explained it doesn’t matter where where you choose to start on your business plan (beginning, end, or somewhere in the middle), the most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t need to be perfect. My business plan will go through many revisions as I get to know my business better, refine my idea, and get feedback from others.
Armed with new confidence and some additional tips to help me write, I sat down and started writing. I discovered it is isn’t nearly as overwhelming as I thought to begin with. Now, I’m over two pages in and have more confidence than ever in the future of my business.
Parts of a Business Plan
- Cover Page – Includes the business name, your name, names of other founding partners, your contact information, and the date of the plan; should be clean, clear, and professional.
- Table of Contents – Lists the major section of the plan with page numbers
- Hint: Page number starts on the Executive Summary page.
- Executive Summary – A condensed version of your plan. Someone should be able to read it by itself and understand what your company is all about.
- Market Analysis – Outlines the problem that your business aims to solve.Your Content Goes Here
- Business Description – Shows how your business will solve the problem you just outlined in the Market Analysis section.
- Management Plan – Explains who each member of your team is and how they are involved. Includes any advisors or mentors who are working with your company (that includes the WBC).
- Sales and Marketing Plan – Shows what market segment you are targeting and how you will reach your audience.
- Financial Plan – Outlines the expenses required to launch your business and financial statements for 3-5 years showing projected revenue, cost of goods/services sold, expenses, and net income.
- Hint: Time is money; remember to price out what your time is worth and include that in your plan.
- Execution Plan – Describes your goals, activities related to achieving those goals, and the timing for completing them.
Check back next week for additional myths/tips/best practices for writing a business plan. And don’t forget to download the Business Plan Template so you can get started writing your own!