How To Write A Business Plan (2023 Guide)

Julia Rittenberg

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Updated: Aug 20, 2022, 2:21am

How To Write A Business Plan (2023 Guide)

Table of Contents

Brainstorm an executive summary, create a company description, brainstorm your business goals, describe your services or products, conduct market research, create financial plans, bottom line, frequently asked questions.

Every business starts with a vision, which is distilled and communicated through a business plan. In addition to your high-level hopes and dreams, a strong business plan outlines short-term and long-term goals, budget and whatever else you might need to get started. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to write a business plan that you can stick to and help guide your operations as you get started.

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Drafting the Summary

An executive summary is an extremely important first step in your business. You have to be able to put the basic facts of your business in an elevator pitch-style sentence to grab investors’ attention and keep their interest. This should communicate your business’s name, what the products or services you’re selling are and what marketplace you’re entering.

Ask for Help

When drafting the executive summary, you should have a few different options. Enlist a few thought partners to review your executive summary possibilities to determine which one is best.

After you have the executive summary in place, you can work on the company description, which contains more specific information. In the description, you’ll need to include your business’s registered name , your business address and any key employees involved in the business. 

The business description should also include the structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship , limited liability company (LLC) , partnership or corporation. This is the time to specify how much of an ownership stake everyone has in the company. Finally, include a section that outlines the history of the company and how it has evolved over time.

Wherever you are on the business journey, you return to your goals and assess where you are in meeting your in-progress targets and setting new goals to work toward.

Numbers-based Goals

Goals can cover a variety of sections of your business. Financial and profit goals are a given for when you’re establishing your business, but there are other goals to take into account as well with regard to brand awareness and growth. For example, you might want to hit a certain number of followers across social channels or raise your engagement rates.

Another goal could be to attract new investors or find grants if you’re a nonprofit business. If you’re looking to grow, you’ll want to set revenue targets to make that happen as well.

Intangible Goals

Goals unrelated to traceable numbers are important as well. These can include seeing your business’s advertisement reach the general public or receiving a terrific client review. These goals are important for the direction you take your business and the direction you want it to go in the future.

The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you’re offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit in the current market or are providing something necessary or entirely new. If you have any patents or trademarks, this is where you can include those too.

If you have any visual aids, they should be included here as well. This would also be a good place to include pricing strategy and explain your materials.

This is the part of the business plan where you can explain your expertise and different approach in greater depth. Show how what you’re offering is vital to the market and fills an important gap.

You can also situate your business in your industry and compare it to other ones and how you have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Other than financial goals, you want to have a budget and set your planned weekly, monthly and annual spending. There are several different costs to consider, such as operational costs.

Business Operations Costs

Rent for your business is the first big cost to factor into your budget. If your business is remote, the cost that replaces rent will be the software that maintains your virtual operations.

Marketing and sales costs should be next on your list. Devoting money to making sure people know about your business is as important as making sure it functions.

Other Costs

Although you can’t anticipate disasters, there are likely to be unanticipated costs that come up at some point in your business’s existence. It’s important to factor these possible costs into your financial plans so you’re not caught totally unaware.

Business plans are important for businesses of all sizes so that you can define where your business is and where you want it to go. Growing your business requires a vision, and giving yourself a roadmap in the form of a business plan will set you up for success.

How do I write a simple business plan?

When you’re working on a business plan, make sure you have as much information as possible so that you can simplify it to the most relevant information. A simple business plan still needs all of the parts included in this article, but you can be very clear and direct.

What are some common mistakes in a business plan?

The most common mistakes in a business plan are common writing issues like grammar errors or misspellings. It’s important to be clear in your sentence structure and proofread your business plan before sending it to any investors or partners.

What basic items should be included in a business plan?

When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business,  an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

should i have a business plan

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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1. Write an executive summary

2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

should i have a business plan

This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description, which should contain information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, it should cover the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

Your sales strategy.

Your distribution strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

You may also include metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How Much Do You Need?

Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

On a similar note...

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

Link copied

A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

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When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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6 Reasons You Really Need to Write A Business Plan

Published: October 14, 2020

Starting a busine ss can be a daunting task, especially if you’re starting from square one.

marketer writing a business plan

It’s easy to feel stuck in the whirlwind of things you’ll need to do, like registering your company, building a team, advertising, the list goes on. Not to mention, a business idea with no foundation can make the process seem incredibly intimidating.

Thankfully, business plans are an antidote for the new business woes that many entrepreneurs feel. Some may shy away from the idea, as they are lengthy documents that require a significant amount of attention and care.

However, there’s a reason why those who take the time to write out a business plan are 16% more likely to be successful than those who don’t. In other words, business plans work.

→ Download Now: Free Business Plan Template

What is a business plan, and why does it matter?

In brief, a business plan is a roadmap to success. It's a blueprint for entrepreneurs to follow that helps them outline, understand, and cohesively achieve their goals.

Writing a business plan involves defining critical aspects of your business, like brand messaging, conducting market research, and creating pricing strategies — all before starting the company.

A business plan can also increase your confidence. You’ll get a holistic view of your idea and understand whether it's worth pursuing.

So, why not take the time to create a blueprint that will make your job easier? Let’s take a look at six reasons why you should write a business plan before doing anything else.

Six Reasons You Really Need To Write a Business Plan

  • Legitimize your business idea.
  • Give your business a foundation for success.
  • Obtain funding and investments.
  • Hire the right people.
  • Communicate your needs.
  • It makes it easier to sell your business.

1. Legitimize your business idea.

Pursuing business ideas that stem from passions you’ve had for years can be exciting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a sound venture.

One of the first things a business plan requires you to do is research your target market. You’ll gain a nuanced understanding of industry trends and what your competitors have done, or not, to succeed. You may find that the idea you have when you start is not likely to be successful.

That may feel disheartening, but you can always modify your original idea to better fit market needs. The more you understand about the industry, your future competitors, and your prospective customers, the greater the likelihood of success. If you identify issues early on, you can develop strategies to deal with them rather than troubleshooting as they happen.

It’s better to know sooner rather than later if your business will be successful before investing time and money.

2. Give your business a foundation for success.

Let's say you’re looking to start a clean beauty company. There are thousands of directions you can go in, so just saying, “I’m starting a clean beauty company!” isn’t enough.

You need to know what specific products you want to make, and why you’re deciding to create them. The Pricing and Product Line style="color: #33475b;"> section of a business plan requires you to identify these elements, making it easier to plan for other components of your business strategy.

You’ll also use your initial market research to outline financial projections, goals, objectives, and operational needs. Identifying these factors ahead of time creates a strong foundation, as you’ll be making critical business decisions early on.

You can refer back to the goals you’ve set within your business plan to track your progress over time and prioritize areas that need extra attention.

All in all, every section of your business plan requires you to go in-depth into your future business strategy before even acting on any of those plans. Having a plan at the ready gives your business a solid foundation for growth.

When you start your company, and your product reaches the market, you’ll spend less time troubleshooting and more time focusing on your target audiences and generating revenue.

3. Obtain funding and investments.

Every new business needs capital to get off the ground. Although it would be nice, banks won’t finance loans just because you request one. They want to know what the money is for, where it’s going, and if you’ll eventually be able to pay it back.

If you want investors to be part of your financing plan, they’ll have questions about your business’ pricing strategies and revenue models. Investors can also back out if they feel like their money isn’t put to fair use. They’ll want something to refer back to track your progress over time and understand if you’re meeting the goals you told them you’d meet. They want to know if their investment was worthwhile.

The Financial Considerations section of a business plan will prompt you to estimate costs ahead of time and establish revenue objectives before applying for loans or speaking to investors.

You’ll secure and finalize your strategy in advance to avoid showing up unprepared for meetings with potential investors.

4. Hire the right people.

After you’ve completed your business plan and you have a clear view of your strategies, goals, and financial needs, there may be milestones you need to meet that require skills you don’t yet have. You may need to hire new people to fill in the gaps.

Having a strategic plan to share with prospective partners and employees can prove that they aren’t signing on to a sinking ship.

If your plans are summarized and feasible, they’ll understand why you want them on your team, and why they should agree to work with you.

5. Communicate your needs.

If you don’t understand how your business will run, it’ll be hard to communicate your business’s legitimacy to all involved parties.

Your plan will give you a well-rounded view of how your business will work, and make it easier for you to communicate this to others.

You may have already secured financing from banks and made deals with investors, but a business’ needs are always changing. While your business grows, you’ll likely need more financial support, more partners, or just expand your services and product offers. Using your business plan as a measure of how you’ve met your goals can make it easier to bring people onto your team at all stages of the process.

6. It makes it easier to sell your business.

A buyer won’t want to purchase a business that will run into the ground after signing the papers. They want a successful, established company.

A business plan that details milestones you can prove you’ve already met can be used to show prospective buyers how you’ve generated success within your market. You can use your accomplishments to negotiate higher price points aligned with your business’ value.

A Business Plan Is Essential

Ultimately, having a business plan can increase your confidence in your new venture. You’ll understand what your business needs to succeed, and outline the tactics you’ll use to achieve those goals.

Some people have a lifetime goal of turning their passions into successful business ventures, and a well-crafted business plan can make those dreams come true.

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20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan in 2023

Written by Dave Lavinsky

20 reasons why you need a business plan

What is the Purpose of a Business Plan?

The purpose of a business plan is to provide a clear roadmap for the company’s future. It outlines the vision, goals, and strategies of the business, guiding entrepreneurs and stakeholders in understanding its operations and objectives. A well-crafted business plan helps attract investors and funding by showcasing the potential for profitability and growth.

Top 20 Reasons Why you Need a Business Plan

1. to prove that you’re serious about your business.

A formal business plan is necessary to show all interested parties — employees, investors, partners and yourself — that you are committed to building the business. Creating your plan forces you to think through and select the strategies that will propel your growth.

2. To Establish Business Milestones

The business plan should clearly lay out the long-term milestones that are most important to the success of your business. To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki, a milestone is something significant enough to come home and tell your spouse about (without boring him or her to death). Would you tell your spouse that you tweaked the company brochure? Probably not. But you’d certainly share the news that you launched your new website or reached $1M in annual revenues.

3. To Better Understand Your Competition

Creating the business plan forces you to analyze the competition. All companies have competition in the form of either direct or indirect competitors, and it is critical to understand your company’s competitive advantages. And if you don’t currently have competitive advantages, to figure out what you must do to gain them.

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4. To Better Understand Your Customer

Why do they buy when they buy? Why don’t they when they don’t? An in-depth customer analysis is essential to an effective business plan and to a successful business. Understanding your customers will not only allow you to create better products and services for them, but will allow you to more cost-effectively reach them via advertising and promotions.

5. To Enunciate Previously Unstated Assumptions

The process of actually writing the business plan helps to bring previously “hidden” assumptions to the foreground. By writing them down and assessing them, you can test them and analyze their validity. For example, you might have assumed that local retailers would carry your product; in your business plan, you could assess the results of the scenario in which this didn’t occur.

6. To Assess the Feasibility of Your Venture

How good is this opportunity? The business plan process involves researching your target market, as well as the competitive landscape, and serves as a feasibility study for the success of your venture. In some cases, the result of your planning will be to table the venture. And it might be to go forward with a different venture that may have a better chance of success.

7. To Document Your Revenue Model

How exactly will your business make money? This is a critical question to answer in writing, for yourself and your investors. Documenting the revenue model helps to address challenges and assumptions associated with the model. And upon reading your plan, others may suggest additional revenue streams to consider.

8. To Determine Your Financial Needs

Does your business need to raise capital? How much? One of the purposes of a business plan is to help you to determine exactly how much capital you need and what you will use it for. This process is essential for raising capital for business and for effectively employing the capital. It will also enable you to plan ahead, particularly if you need to raise additional funding in the future.

9. To Attract Investors

A formal business plan is the basis for financing proposals. The business plan answers investors’ questions such as: Is there a need for this product/service? What are the financial projections? What is the company’s exit strategy? While investors will generally want to meet you in person before writing you a check, in nearly all cases, they will also thoroughly review your business plan.

10. To Reduce the Risk of Pursuing the Wrong Opportunity

The process of creating the business plan helps to minimize opportunity costs. Writing the business plan helps you assess the attractiveness of this particular opportunity, versus other opportunities. So you make the best decisions.

11. To Force You to Research and Really Know Your Market

What are the most important trends in your industry? What are the greatest threats to your industry? Is the market growing or shrinking? What is the size of the target market for your product/service? Creating the business plan will help you to gain a wider, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of your marketplace. And it will allow you to use this knowledge to make decisions to improve your company’s success.

12. To Attract Employees and a Management Team

To attract and retain top quality talent, a business plan is necessary. The business plan inspires employees and management that the idea is sound and that the business is poised to achieve its strategic goals. Importantly, as you grow your company, your employees and not you will do most of the work. So getting them aligned and motivated will be key to your success.

13. To Plot Your Course and Focus Your Efforts

The business plan provides a roadmap from which to operate, and to look to for direction in times of doubt. Without a business plan, you may shift your short-term strategies constantly without a view to your long-term milestones. You wouldn’t go on a long driving trip without a map; think of your business plan as your map.

14. To attract partners

Partners also want to see a business plan, in order to determine whether it is worth partnering with your business. Establishing partnerships often requires time and capital, and companies will be more likely to partner with your venture if they can read a detailed explanation of your company.

15. To Position Your Brand

Creating the business plan helps to define your company’s role in the marketplace. This definition allows you to succinctly describe the business and position the brand to customers, investors, and partners. With the industry, customer and competitive insight you gain during the business planning process, you can best determine how to position your brand.

16. To Judge the Success of Your Business

A formal business plan allows you to compare actual operational results versus the business plan itself. In this way, it allows you to clearly see whether you have achieved your strategic, financing, and operational goals (and why you have or have not).

17. To Reposition Your Business to Deal with Changing Conditions

For example, during difficult economic conditions, if your current sales and operational models aren’t working, you can rewrite your business plan to define, try, and validate new ideas and strategies.

18. To Document Your Marketing Plan

How are you going to reach your customers? How will you retain them? What is your advertising budget? What price will you charge? A well-documented marketing plan is essential to the growth of a business. And the marketing strategies and tactics you use will evolve each year, so revisiting your marketing plan at least annually is critical.

19. To Understand and Forecast Your Company’s Staffing Needs

After completing your business plan, you will not be surprised when you are suddenly short-handed. Rather, your business plan provides a roadmap for your staffing needs, and thus helps to ensure smoother expansion. Importantly your plan can not only help you understand your staffing needs, but ensure your timing is right as it takes time to recruit and train great employees.

20. To Uncover New Opportunities

Through the process of brainstorming, white-boarding and creative interviewing, you will likely see your business in a different light. As a result, you will often come up with new ideas for marketing your product/service and running your business. It’s coming up with these ideas and executing on them which is often the difference between a business that fails or just survives and one that thrives.

Business Plan FAQs

What is a business plan.

A business plan is a document that details your business concept and strategy for growth.

A business plan helps guide your company's efforts and, if applicable, gives investors and lenders the information they need to decide whether or not to fund your company. A business plan template helps you to most easily complete your plan.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

A business plan provides details about your company, competition, customers and industry so that you make the best possible decisions to grow your company.

What is the Importance of a Business Plan?

The 3 most important purposes of a business plan are 1) to create an effective strategy for growth, 2) to determine your future financial needs, and 3) to attract investors (including angel investors and VC funding ) and lenders.

Why is a Business Plan Important to an Entrepreneur?

Business plans help entrepreneurs take their visions and turn them into tangible action plans for success.

About Growthink

Since 1999, Growthink’s business plan experts have assisted more than 4,000 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $2.5 billion in growth financing.

Need help with your business plan? 

Speak with a professional business plan consultant from our team.

Use our simple business plan template .

Check out our business plan examples .

Or, if you’re creating your own PPM, you can save time and money with Growthink’s private placement memorandum template .

Learn more about us via our Growthink Business Plan Review page

The World’s #1 Business Plan Template

Would you like to know the quickest and easiest way to create a winning business plan?

And how to use it to raise funding, improve your strategy, or both?

Well, we’ve developed the ultimate business plan template to help you do this. Simply click below to learn more.

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Business Plan Template & Guide for Small Businesses

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  • Building Your Business
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Why You Should Write a Business Plan

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

should i have a business plan

To Test the Feasibility of Your Business Idea

To give your new business the best chance of success, to secure funding, to make business planning manageable and effective, to attract investors, frequently asked questions (faqs).

The Balance / Getty Images

A business plan  is the blueprint for your business. Starting a business without a business plan is like building a house without a blueprint. Yet, unlike a house, a business isn't static. We often make the mistake of thinking of a business plan as a single document that you put together once when you're starting out and never touch again. But as the business develops, so should its business plan. In fact, any particular business may have multiple business plans as its objectives change.

Writing a business plan is time-consuming, but it's essential if you want to have a successful business that's going to survive the startup phase.

Key Takeaways

  • Writing a business plan reveals how tenable your idea is.
  • Updating and amending a business plan as the business develops and its goals change is vital to your success.
  • A good business plan helps you define your target market, competitive advantage, optimum pricing strategies, and better prepares the business for upcoming challenges.
  • A business plan helps you secure funding and attract new investors.

Writing a business plan is the best way—other than going out and doing it—to test whether an idea for starting a business is feasible. In this sense, the business plan is your safety net. If working through a business plan reveals that your business idea is untenable, it will save you a great deal of time and money.

Often, an idea for starting a business is discarded at the marketing analysis or competitive analysis stage , freeing you to move on to a new (and better) idea.

Unfortunately, many prospective business owners are so convinced that their idea for a product or service is a can't-miss proposition, that they don't take the time to do the necessary research and work through a proper business plan. The more you know about your industry, your prospective customers, and the competition, the greater the likelihood that your business will succeed.

Writing a business plan will ensure that you pay attention to the broad operational and financial objectives of your new business and the small details, such as budgeting and market planning. The process will ultimately make for a smoother startup period and fewer unforeseen problems as your business gets up and running.

The exercise of budgeting and market planning will help you define your  target market , your unique selling proposition, optimum pricing strategies, and outline how you intend to sell and deliver your products to customers. In addition, developing a budget for implementation will assist with determining your startup and operating capital requirements.

According to the Small Business Administration, one of the most-cited reasons why businesses fail is inadequate planning. By starting too soon and without a sufficient plan, your business is setting itself up for failure.

Most new businesses need startup and operating capital to get off the ground. Without a well-developed business plan, there is no chance of getting  debt financing from established financial institutions such as banks or  equity financing  from angel investors.

Established businesses often need money, too, to buy new equipment or property, or because of market downturns. Having an up-to-date business plan gives you a much better chance of getting the money you need to keep operating or expand.

Even an angel investor will want to ensure their money is going to a business that knows what it's doing. The easiest way to prove this is via a well-developed business plan.

Investors and financiers are always looking at the risk of default, and word of mouth is no substitute for written facts and figures in a properly prepared business plan.

A business plan is essential if you're thinking of starting a business, but it's also an important tool for established businesses. Viable businesses are dynamic; they change and grow. Your company's original business plan needs to be revised as you set new goals .

Reviewing the business plan can also help you see what goals have been accomplished, what changes need to be made, or what new directions your company's growth should take.

Whether you want to shop your business to venture capitalists or attract angel investors , you need to have a solid business plan. A presentation may pique their interest, but they'll need a well-written document they can study before they'll be prepared to make any investment commitment.​​​

Be prepared to have your business plan scrutinized. Both venture capitalists and angel investors will want to conduct extensive background checks and competitive analyses to be certain that what's written in your business plan is indeed the case.

What are the sections of a business plan?

A comprehensive business plan should include the following sections:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Competitor analysis
  • Industry analysis
  • Product and services description
  • Financial data

What is the purpose of a business plan?

A business plan has four main purposes:

  • Tests the feasibility and model of your business idea
  • Attracts investors
  • Sets a plan for growth
  • Identifies capital needs

Small Business Administration. " Selecting a Business That Fits ."

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How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

African American entrepreneur climbing a mountain representative of writing a business plan to outline your entrepreneurial journey.

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated November 30, 2023

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: How to collaborate with AI on your business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information you need to cover in a business plan sometimes isn’t quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

If you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template to get you started, download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

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See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan.

should i have a business plan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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Why You Must Have a Business Plan It's more than a tool for getting funding. Think of it as the road map to your business's future.

By Stever Robbins • Nov 19, 2004

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Recently someone asked me why they needed a business plan if they were getting all the funding they needed from friends and relatives. It sounded to me as if they were thinking of a business plan as just a fund-raising tool. In fact, a business plan is much more than that: It's a tool for understanding how your business is put together. You can use it to monitor progress, hold yourself accountable and control the business's fate. And of course, it's a sales and recruiting tool for courting key employees or future investors.

Writing out your business plan forces you to review everything at once: your value proposition, marketing assumptions, operations plan, financial plan and staffing plan. You'll end up spotting connections you otherwise would have missed. For example, if your marketing plan projects 10,000 customers by year two and your staffing plan provides for two salespeople, that forces you to ask: How can two salespeople generate 10,000 customers? The answer might lead you to conclude that forming partnerships, targeting distributors and concentrating on bulk sales to large companies would be your best tactics.

As part of your operational plan, you'll lay out major marketing and operational milestones. When you're the founder, the only person holding you accountable to those results on a daily basis is you. So your plan becomes a baseline for monitoring your progress. If your prototype was to be complete by February 1, and it gets done early-on January 10, for example-you can ask yourself why. Was there an unexpected breakthrough? Did someone put in a heroic effort? Or did you just overestimate? What you learn will help you do an even better job next time.

But even more than a tool for after-the-fact learning, a plan is how you drive the future. When you write, "We expect 100 customers by the end of year one," it's not a passive prediction-you don't just wait for the customers to show up. It becomes your sales force's goal. The plan lays out targets in all major areas: sales, expense items, hiring positions and financing goals. Once laid out, the targets become performance goals.

And of course, a well-written plan is great for attracting talent. When a prospect asks to understand your business, you can hand them a plan that gives them an entire overview. Their reactions tell you something about how quickly and thoroughly they can think through your business's key issues. Plus, the written record of your goals coupled with a track record of delivering against those goals sends a message loud and clear: You understand your business and can deliver the results you promise. Great employees will respond to that message-as will banks and investors the next time you need to raise money.

So viewing your plan as a fund-raising tool is just the beginning of the story. You'll use the plan for so much more-for managing yourself, for operating the business and for recruiting. Before deciding to skip your planning phase, consider all the implications and what they mean for your future success.

Stever Robbins is a venture coach, helping entrepreneurs and early-stage companies develop the attitudes, skills and capabilities needed to succeed. He brings to bear skills as an entrepreneur, teacher and technologist in helping others create successful ventures.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.

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  • The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Solid Business Plan

Business Plans 201: The dos and don’ts of writing a solid business plan

should i have a business plan

We get it. That new business or venture that you’ve been dreaming about can be nerve-racking, but it’s possible. 

Starting a new business starts with an idea which comes to life with a strong business plan. Your business plan is more than a piece of paper or a writing exercise. It’s a roadmap that will keep you focused and give you a baseline for measuring success and achieving your goals. 

It isn’t a fixed or final artifact. Instead, think of it as a living document that you’ll revisit, learn from and adjust as your business grows. 

Writing your plan at first may take a lot of effort and it’s normal to go through several drafts. Consult your advisory team as they can support your plan’s development. And your plan will develop as you get new ideas, make new decisions and learn about changing business developments. 

Your plan is also key to unlocking funding. Whether you finance your business or solicit investors, either party will want to learn more about your plan before they invest. Effective language is key to communicating your business plan successfully to potential investors.

Follow these guidelines to start writing a solid business plan that communicates your vision and speaks to your audience.

The “dos” for writing a solid business plan

Be professional yet simple.

Writing with a professional tone allows investors to appreciate your vision and understand your short- and long-term goals. At the same time, it’s best to write in a simple manner. Aim for your plan to be understood by a non-expert. Replace jargon with active verbs. You can always get your final draft edited by a professional.

Refer to your business in third person

Writing in third person allows objectivity which can be more convincing and accepted by audiences like banks and investors. Avoid using “we” or “I” throughout your business plan. Writing in first person may come across as too personal. Remember to keep it business, not personal.

Be direct throughout your plan. Avoid ambiguous or vague language. Being direct allows you to be convincing about the steps you’ll take to bring your idea to life.

Supply evidence 

Do your research and present data to support your case. Showing statistics about your business, competitors, customers and industry allows investors to get a bigger picture of the survival and growth of your business.

Be realistic 

Avoid adding assumptions in your business plan. Instead of over-promising, show solid data backed up by research on how your business can be successful.

Practice makes perfect

Read your business plan out loud. Ask yourself these questions: Does it sound effective? Does it have the tone of confidence? Is it easily understood by your audience? What are the strengths and opportunities to tackle in your plan? Have a friend read your plan and summarize it back to you .

Be optimistic

The language of your business plan should be assertive, yet optimistic. Allow your passion to shine through in your business plan and show your advisor that you’re serious about bringing your vision to life.

The “don’ts ” of writing your business plan

Avoid acronyms and abbreviations.

Use industry specific abbreviations and acronyms only if necessary and if they’re part of your business operations. 

Don’t assume the reader knows your industry

Investors and advisors are here to support you. Allow them to understand what industry your business lives in. Provide in-depth knowledge of your industry so they can understand your business functions.

Don’t turn it into an essay

When writing your business plan and conducting industry research, sometimes it’s easy to get sidetracked and turn your plan into an essay. Make sure your business plan has a solid focus and includes all the required information. 

Avoid extensive research

Use only credible sources and findings for your research and analysis. It’s a great practice to use government-issued statistics and data. Use this data in your own language for business projections and goals. Simplicity is key.

Don’t be repetitive

Avoid repeating yourself throughout the plan. You can do this by reading your plan out loud and removing duplicate ideas. Include the key points and messages you need to relay.

Don’t forget about it

Be proactive and don’t forget to follow up with your advisor within the right time frame. Communicate with your advisory team and take advantage of your relationships with your investors, business partners and CIBC business advisor. 

Updating your business plan on a quarterly basis is a great practice for staying on track of your business growth. Our team is here to support you as you develop your plan and assemble your team.

To create a tailored plan for your business needs and help you achieve your goals, meet with us opens in a new window. . We’re here to help. Talk to a CIBC Business Advisor today by calling 1-866-992-7223 . Opens your phone app.

should i have a business plan

Written By Lauren Rabindranath

Lauren Rabindranath is a copywriter and communications consultant based in Toronto, Ontario, who works with clients across industries. Working with CIBC Business Banking, Lauren supports content development for online platforms, relating her personal experience as an entrepreneur to CIBC’s tailored services.

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What Should a Business Plan Include?

A business plan serves as a roadmap to successfully launch a business. It helps you overcome the challenges you might experience in your industry. Learn how to create and use a business plan for your startup.

One of the most fatal mistakes that aspiring entrepreneurs make in launching a startup is forgetting a business plan . You wouldn’t launch a ship at sea without establishing its routes and the direction you’ll steer it to. Without proper planning, your ship will end up adrift or worst, dramatically sink when the tides hit. And in a volatile commercial industry, the tides are constantly changing.

Avoid common startup mistakes by creating a business plan. A business plan not only strengthens your foundation but also helps you navigate the ever-changing field of business. Chances are your customers’ preferences will change over time and you have to keep up with them. Hence, a business plan also changes accordingly.

But how exactly do you create a business plan? Is there a template to follow? Should you enlist the help of other experts to write it? Today, we’ll look into what should be included in your business plan and how it should be written. The first step is by understanding what it is and what it is for.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is an official company document that breaks down all the goals of a business and how to achieve them. It basically lays out the groundwork for your idea to come alive. It’s often referred to as the “blueprint of the business”, summarizing your goals.

Although there are many ways to write it, its key point usually discusses the financial, marketing, and operational strategies of the business.   

What is it for?

A business plan serves as a guide for a growing company. It’s a consistent reference for business owners and stakeholders to base critical decisions on. It’s especially useful for early-stage startups to attract investors. When a company doesn’t have a proven track record, it can lay out its full potential instead.

Not only is the business plan useful for the initial launching of a business, but it also helps with pivotal changes. Since the market is perpetually changing, it’s crucial that your plan also evolves with it. Hence, the goals and methods of achieving will be updated. In some cases, a whole new plan is created if the company wants to drastically move in a new direction.   

What’s included in a Business Plan

Although there’s no fixed formula for writing a business plan, there are some identifiable key points. These are generally the items factored in its creation:

1.     Executive Summary

The executive summary outlines the whole plan. You start with a clear introduction of who you are, what you sell, and what your ambitions are as a business. This section includes your mission statement, product description, and the basic overview of your company’s structure. It should also include your financial plans .   

2.     Business Description

The business description provides detailed information about your industry. It must describe its current outlook as well as its profit potential. You will go into detail about your target market and other organizations or businesses you cater to. Also, this section briefly discusses what problem the business is trying to solve.  

3.     Market Analysis

A business must have a firm understanding of its target market and should be able to prove its sustainability. The market analysis provides trends and studies about the target consumers—their size, demographics, buying power, and frequent activities. This section also touches briefly on the competitors.

4.     Product Development

Investors need a clear idea of how you would create and maintain your product. The development plan section contains the details of the product’s design; its production methods, lifecycle, marketing, and development budget. This includes the overall strategy of how it will be sold in the market.

5.     Marketing Strategies

The product is only as good as how much it will sell. Therefore, this section describes how you will present your products and services to the market. This will discuss your marketing campaigns, distribution channels, and types of media you’ll tap into. You will summarize how you intend to reach your customers and pitch your products to them.

6.     Operations and Management

Your investors need an overview of how the business functions. The operations plan highlights the logistics of the company such as team responsibilities, division tasks, and operational expenses. This helps track down who is responsible for certain areas of the business.  

7.     Financial Plans

Money mobilizes the idea. Hence, it’s important to keep an accurate record of where it’s going. This section shows the company’s monetary plans and its future projections. This includes financial statements, balance sheets, and third-party business transactions. For startups, it will mostly contain the target profit and estimates of expenses.    

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

Now that we have an idea of the business plan template , it’s time to learn how to write it effectively. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re writing one for your business.

  • Keep it concise. It serve as a guide for the company and the investors. It needs to be easy to understand and direct to the point. You can’t afford to waste a reader’s time by creating a 100-page business plan. Instead, aim for a summarized version of your plan, only highlighting the important points and outlining the rest.
  • Avoid jargon. Ensure that everyone, especially investors, can understand your business plan. Do not include complex jargon in your content. Save the technicalities for the experts and simplify the terms in explaining your ideas.
  • Keep it up-to-date. As previously mentioned, business plans are not static. Over time, a lot of things in the industry will change and might make your original plans obsolete. Frequently update your business plan according to what’s new in the field and with new methods you’re employing. Remember, a business plan is only useful if it’s still relevant.  

Build your Business

Business plans are important when you’re starting your business from scratch. However, the success of your business still heavily relies on their execution. A lot of startups fail because they can’t push through with what was proposed in the business plans.

More than just articulating your ideas, you need to do a lot more to make them come to life. For one, you’ll need the capital to kick things off and make everything operational. Second, you’ll need to hire the best people to run your operations. Lastly, you have to find investors to sustain your business.

One way to ensure that your business plan is properly executed is by enlisting the help of business experts. Full Scale is an offshore software development company that specializes in helping startups.

We can provide the talent and resources needed to begin your operations. Whether you need project managers, marketing specialists, or technical experts; we’ve got them all. We’ll take care of all the processes of recruitment and management so you can focus on your core competencies.

Ready to begin your entrepreneurial journey? Get your FREE consultation today!

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Does your business plan need a push?

Writting a business plan can be a springboard exercise for your business, and it's not as difficult as people think. All it takes is a bit of method, and some efficient tools. The good news our free articles and paid course have you covered!

how long should a business plan be? How long is a business plan?

Resources on Business Plan Writing :

An article of the Accelerated MBA written by:

Antoine Martin (Ph.D) | Business coach

Antoine Martin (Ph.D) | Business coach

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In this article:

How long should a business plan be hint: smart is better than short.

How long should a business plan be? That question is typical, and every entrepreneur or business owner involved in a business plan writing process has to answer it sooner than later.

The stakes are high. If you consider that investors and bankers are permanently solicited and thus have a ton of business proposals on their desk (let alone in their inbox), then the quality, the ease of reading, and the length of a business plan are crucial. Not to say vital.

Is your business plan too long to read? You’re out.

Is it boring to read? Out.

Not visual enough? Out.

Not teasing enough? Out.

Not aligned with the code everyone expects you to follow?

Long story short? Business plan writing is a codified exercise, so your interlocutors will have specific (and standard) expectations as to what they want to read. And your job as the business owner is to provide them with just that.

Before getting into typical and ideal business plan lengths, let me give you a quick background reminder, though.

First, this article is part of a more extensive series of articles written to share  tips on how to write a business plan people will want to read . As business coaches, we repeatedly answer the same questions, and coming up with these resources felt logical. So please give them a look!

Second, in case the articles are not enough and you want to get your own business plan ready in no time, we also created  a very efficient business plan template and module (The Business Plan Builder)  to get you going fast, with two hours of business coaching videos, a template you can use immediately, automated financial tables and two designer-made renderings you’ll be able to adapt to your liking. The module will get you going immediately and pays for itself in no time. You have no excuse!

Back to our question now: how long should a business plan be?

In this article, we’ll give you various elements of answer.

We’ll answer the question the best we can, but we’ll also go through a brief reality check to tell you how long a typical business plan is (as compared to an ideal one) and how many pages yours should be if you want to give your business a chance with investors.

We’ll also talk briefly about the importance of pitching your operational plan in your business plan. Finally, we’ll conclude with some hints about the importance of storytelling.

Sounds good? Let’s get going.

The stake: How long should a business plan be?

So, how long should a business plan be, then? Well. Let us come back to the basics:  what is a business plan for? A business plan is an excuse to tell a story people about your business that people will want to remember.

How does that translate in terms of length? Your document should be long enough to convey your story and message. But it should also be short enough to keep people focused and attentive.

That’s not helping too much, we know. But read again. The answer is there (and in the next section, so keep reading).

Your document should be long enough to convey your story and message. If you get people excited about your project with just one page: fantastic. And if you need a few pages to get the same result, that’s fine too.

Your goal is to get people on board, so the stake is to pitch your story in just the right amount of words and pages needed to tease and get the excitement through. Once that occurs, your reader will ask you for more information, which gets you to second base. And then you’ll be able to get the relationship going.

However, there is no point in putting absolutely everything about your business in your business plan document. If the business plan is too long, you’ll lose your reader. And if the design is boring (i.e., black text on a white page), you’ll also lose the reader.

Having said that, the point is obviously not to start printing your business plan in blue on a pink background. It is to turn your business plan into something fancy to read. More on that later, but in short, you have everything to lose in not being concise and teasing!

So – how long is a business plan? Long enough to tease and turn people on. Short enough to keep them focused. That’s it. Period!

Okay, that’s still vague, so we’re going to give you the number you want. Keep reading.

Reality check: how long is a typical business plan, and how many pages should a business plan be?

Ready for the number you’re looking for?

Seven pages, plus the cover page (obviously) and the financial statements in an annex. That’s how long your business plan should be. Not less, not more. Here’s why.

So, how many pages should a business plan be?

As I’ve suggested before, your readers – investors and bankers – expect your business plan to match a code everyone in the industry abides by.

That code is there for a reason. It creates a standardized best practice that shows who’s done their research or not (insights on the investor’s side). And it gives business owners a framework to work with to structure their thinking (insights on the business owner’s side).

According to that code, your business plan should follow a precise outline and include the following seven points (and recommended pages):

  • An executive summary
  • A big picture presentation of the issue solved by the business idea
  • A description of your offering (the products & services) and target market analysis
  • A go-to-market strategy presentation (your business model, marketing plan…)
  • An operations presentation (including the company description)
  • A presentation of your management team
  • Your financial plan & projections, plus the corresponding financial documents & cash flow projections

All of them. Not less, not more. Seven!

And, because you don’t want people to die out of boredom, you want each topic covered over one page tops! So, seven topics, seven pages. Plus a cover page and the financial tables, which, as we just said, can be provided in the annex.

If you want to learn more about  business plan outlines and formatting , we wrote an entire article on the topic – follow the link.

How long is a typical business plan?

In comparison, though, the typical business plan is long, bland, and boring.

Most business owners are not aware of the code part of the exercise. Therefore, they have no idea about what they are expected to do. So they think a bit, try and find a free template and write their thoughts without being too careful about the amount of text they’re using.

Walk a mile in your investor’s shoes: how’s that type of business plan looking to you?

Yes, exactly.

The good news, though, is that you have a chance to stand out from the crowd now that you know. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started!

Beware of the one-page business plan trap!

Right. Before moving on to the next step – let me finish this point with a short comment on one-page business plans.

Long story short? These can be highly efficient as teasers if (if if if) you have a real strategic plan for your business and you can really (really really really) defend that strategic plan. Otherwise, just a page will lack depth and will likely be pointless.

Or, said differently, the stake is not to do a quick and dirty plan on a page. Instead, it is first to build an elaborate plan that allows you to consider your options for real. And then, to go straight to the point on one page designed to sell your story and tease your reader so bad they’ll want to know more. The logic is really close to the one you’d typically want to use to  create the executive summary of a business plan . Can you see the difference?

To explore the topic in more depth, We’ve also published an article to explain  how to use one page business plans  (and why they can be a trap). Have a look and see for yourself!

In short: How many pages is a business plan?

  • The typical business plan is usually way too long
  • Your ideal business plan should be concise: it’s a pitch and a teaser!
  • Aim for seven key topics, developed on seven pages. Period.

Pitching your operational plan in your business plan is critical.

So we just gave you a framework here: seven key topics, seven pages to tell a story and tease. But what’s the reader looking for exactly?

Again, it depends on who you are talking to.

Suppose you are looking to  write a business plan for a loan . In that case, your interlocutor is likely to be a banker – and their expectations are very specific. We dedicated an article to the topic (follow the link), so I’ll be brief.

A banker wants to see that the operational plan in your business plan will enable you to repay the loan asap. The point, therefore, is to make sure that your seven pages build confidence in your ability to deliver on that.

Now suppose that you are looking to  write an investor proposal . The perspective is dramatically different. An investor is not expecting you to repay a loan. Instead, they expect you to generate profit so they can get their money back a few years from now with an X factor as significant as possible.

There, the point is to show that  the operational plan in your business plan  is (beyond) likely to generate the drive needed to make a profit that makes their investment worthwhile.

As far as the length of your business plan document is concerned, your job is, therefore, to optimize the storytelling power of your presentation. Written and oral.

Again, the point is not to expend the document as much as needed to stuff everything inside it. Instead, it is to tweak and tailor your arguments to fit them nicely into your space. One page for one topic.

Ultimately, the goal is to tease and give people a reason to invite you to the next meeting, so be selective!

How to make the financial projections fit?

Financial projections are an essential component of your business plan  if you remember the list of topics and pages we provided earlier. Still, if you only have one page dedicated to the subject, how do you do? How do you fit all the financial tables into one page?

Well, the keyword we used earlier was ‘financial projections’, which is a matter of showing what targets you have in terms of turnover and EBITDA for the next three to five years.

Reminder: your turnover is the money that comes in, while the EBITDA is the profit leftover on your bank account after all the expenses are paid, but before the taxman claims their share. 

So, well, you could use that important page to throw in a graph showing both elements and a few other indicators. For example, your expected marketing plan budget, expected customer acquisition cost, expected margin or expected return on investment.

To go deeper, think about who your reader is.

If the business plan is written for a banker, show numbers related to your investment capacity and cashflow, and demonstrate your borrowing and repayment capacity.

If you are talking to investors, show that your financial estimates give your company some value and develop valuation numbers that show what’s in for the investors.

Note, however, that the financial statements and tables used to obtain your target numbers (Cashflow, P&L, and balance sheet) should not be displayed on your financial projections page. Instead, you can put them as annex documents at the end of the business plan.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering how you’ll come up with those financial tables in the first place, we’re providing the automated spreadsheets you’ll need in our Business Plan Builder module – you know what to do!

Smart is better than short: focus on storytelling!

So, how long should a business plan be? How long should a startup business plan be? How many pages should a business plan be? What’s the ideal length of a business plan?

The questions are all the same, so the answer is also the same. To wrap things up, you’ll probably want to keep three key ideas in mind.

Idea one: make your business plan long enough to pass your message, but make it short enough to keep people focused.

Idea two: seven topics, seven pages, plus the financial information (the tables) in the annex. That’s it.

Your business plan should be a teaser , not a profitability report, so the focus should be on building storytelling. This is what business plans are about if you think about it. So, more than making yours short, make it smart!

Idea three: coming up with a short business plan usually requires a lot of business planning work. You first need to build a complete business plan that gets all your ideas laid down before summarizing everything into something straightforward. Sounds unfun, we know, but that’s also an excellent opportunity to stand on the table and take some needed perspective on your business, so why not give it a try?

Meet The Business Plan Builder: 2 hours of tutorial videos and the tools you need to get started

Now – If you are looking for a push to get started with everything we’ve talked about in this article, the  Impactified  Business Plan package was created for you! It’s built around over 2 hours of explanatory videos and comes with a template you’ll be able to use to:

  • Figure out what you need to figure out – powerful, uh?
  • Understand the business plan code!
  • Write your business plan – with just the right amount of words and pages!
  • Build your financial estimates – with automated tables!
  • Create a visually appealing (designer-made!) document and deck people will want to read!

If you want to stop wasting your time, this is THE most simple business plan template, and you can’t afford to miss it!

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Topics related to How Long Should a Business Plan Be? Hint: Smart is Better Than Short!:

  • How long should a business plan be?
  • How long is a business plan? How many pages should a business plan be?
  • Do I need a business plan software?
  • Should I hire a business plan writer?

Need help with building & scaling your business?

At Impactified , we are on a mission to make you build, grow, and scale businesses you can be proud of, and we do that by making our business coaching expertise available to you, in person and through kick-ass self-coaching modules. You will love the experience either way, the only question is, what makes the most sense to you?

More Insights on Business Plan Writing

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Financial Projections: How to write the financial plan in business plan

Hey coach! I’m writing a business plan and I’m wondering how to build the financial projections part of the document. What’s the importance of financial projections exactly – I mean, isn’t it absolute BS? How do I write the financial plan in business plan, and even more importantly, how can I make sense of all those messy tables? Can you help me understand this? Thanks in advance!

business plan consultant near me business plan consultants

Do I Need a Business Plan Consultant? No, You Don’t!

Hey there Coach! I’m a small business owner and I need to find some support with my business plan. People suggested that I find a business plan consultant near me, but that’s a big cost and I’m not too sure about what to expect from that. What’s your opinion about business plan consultants in general? Is there any alternative you would highly recommend? Thanks!

how much does a business plan cost low cost business plan

How Much Does a Business Plan Cost? Just Under $100!

Hey coach! I was wondering – how much does a business plan cost? I need one, and I’m thinking about having it written for me, so I’d love your insights. Also, I’ve heard business plan writers cost a lot of money, so I’m interested if you have tips for writing a low-cost business plan! Thanks!

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should i have a business plan

Use Strategic Thinking to Create the Life You Want

  • Rainer Strack,
  • Susanne Dyrchs,
  • Allison Bailey

should i have a business plan

In corporate strategy projects, executive leadership teams work through a series of questions to determine how their businesses can succeed. Individuals can use a similar process to figure out how to live a meaningful life. It starts with defining what makes a great life for you and then outlining your purpose and vision. You must also look at your current “portfolio” — the areas in which you spend your time and energy — to see if you’re investing the best of yourself in the activities most important to you. You should consider what research says about how people tend to find meaning and joy in life. Finally, you’ll want to identify areas where you need to make changes, and then ensure you follow through with objectives and key results. This program, Strategize Your Life, has been tested with more than 500 people around the world. With a few hours of work, you can develop a personal life strategy and summarize it on a single page.

Seven questions can clarify what really matters to you.

In times of crisis, many of us ponder existential questions about health, security, purpose, career, family, and legacy. However, more often than not, such contemplation is short-lived. The demands of everyday life — the here and now — can overwhelm us, leaving little time to think about the long term and what we are working toward. As a result, when faced with life decisions both big and small, we are left with nothing to guide us but emotion or intuition.

Moving into a new career can feel impossible. A survey of more than 950 business school alumni explores why, and what can help.

  • Rainer Strack is a senior partner emeritus and a senior adviser at BCG, where he built up and led the global People Strategy topic for 10 years. In 2014 he gave a widely watched TED talk on the global workforce crisis . He formerly coheaded the Future of Work initiative for the World Economic Forum, and in 2021 he was inducted into Personalmagazin’s HR Hall of Fame. He is a fellow of the BCG Henderson Institute.
  • Susanne Dyrchs is an executive adviser, a coach, and a people strategy expert. She is also a BCG U faculty member and a coauthor of numerous publications on organizations, leadership, and talent. She has written a personal account of her transformational journey, Wir-Zeit [Us Time], which was published in 2021.
  • Allison Bailey is a senior partner and a managing director at BCG. She leads the firm’s People & Organization practice globally and is a coauthor of several publications on the future of work, the bionic company, digital learning, and upskilling. She is also a fellow of the BCG Henderson Institute.

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should i have a business plan

Small Business Trends

How to start a property management company.

how to start a property management company

If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more .

Are you considering starting a property management service?

It’s important to note that the roles of a property manager and real estate agents have several points of convergence. Both roles exist under the umbrella of the real estate industry and share certain prerequisites.

should i have a business plan

A broker possesses the qualifications to operate as a property manager. What follows is an outline of property management activities and guidance on launching a business that caters to rental properties or investment properties.

The future looks good . The property management market will be worth 21.4 Billion USD by 2025. So, if you are looking at how to make money in real estate , property management is one sure way to do it.

how to start a property management company

What is a Property Management Company?

So, what does a property management company do? Simply put, these individuals or teams shoulder the responsibility of managing a property that is owned by another party.

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Their jurisdiction includes various types of residential property, along with industrial and commercial spaces. Their tasks range from rent collection, property advertisement, to the regular cleaning and maintenance of the premises.

These companies are often the preferred choice for absentee landlords who seek expert management for their properties.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Property Management Company?

You need to consider capital and operating expenses to start this type of business. Property management enterprises start out with costs averaging $19,267 dollars.

These businesses often collaborate with real estate agents to facilitate the sale of apartment buildings and contribute to other related activities.

how to start a property management company buildings

17 Important Steps to Starting a Property Management Company

The process of starting a property management company is not a spontaneous one; it necessitates following a series of well-thought-out steps. Let’s delve into what these steps entail.

1. Research Other Property Management Companies

Before you can start your own property management company, you need to know what you’re up against.

That means market research into the property management industry. Potential property managers need to know who their direct and indirect competition are.

  • Who their customers are. These are your potential clients.
  • What products they offer. Do they sell properties too?
  • Their pricing. What’s a month’s rent worth?

Remember, direct competitors are other property managers. Indirect competition can include in house managers. And those who sell real estate.

2. Choose a Name and Brand Your Property Management Company

One of the first steps in setting up your property management company is to choose a name and build a brand around it.

An impactful, well-thought-out name can leave a lasting impression and help in establishing your identity in the market.

Here are a few tips for aspiring property managers looking to brand their new business venture. Remember, successful property management companies start their journey with a strong brand.

  • Make sure the name is unique. There’s legal issues about duplication in most states. Try a Google search to see what’s taken.
  • Choose the url carefully. It needs to be memorable. Don’t just focus on the SEO value. You’ll get traffic from one people remember. It shouldn’t be hard to spell or understand.

3. Write a Property Management Business Plan

Any successful property manager understands the value of a robust business plan in guiding their enterprise. Such a plan assists in multiple areas, including setting achievable goals, choosing an appropriate business model, and keeping the focus sharp.

In the following sections, we will cover a few crucial points that need to be addressed in a well-structured business plan.

  • Business Model and Service s. Add the general structure of your business here. Plus a few words on who you are and what you do.
  • Goals. Property managers need to have long and short term objectives. Landlord resources written down can help you put these together .
  • Structure . Most SMBs have specific positions. Outline them.

Those are some areas a property manager starting up should cover. Here’ s a generic business plan template site .

4. Form a Legal Entity and Register

To operate legally, you’ll need to select a suitable business entity for your company and registering it accordingly. This crucial step not only legitimizes your operations but also defines the framework within which your business will operate.

  • Sole Property Management Business . Business losses and profits go on the personal tax returns of a sole proprietor.
  • A Partnership. Got a few commercial properties to look after? Partners claim business income on personal taxes. They are liable for claims too.
  • Limited Liability Corporation. Contrary to popular belief, an LLC isn’t an incorporated business. The property management company’s owners have limited financial and legal liability.
  • Corporation. Business and personal taxes get filed separately.

how to start a property management company

5. Open a Business Bank Account

As a property management company, you could be working with various clients, including real estate investors owning multiple investment properties or individuals with residential property concerns.

Regardless of the client base, a business bank account is essential for managing your company’s financial operations. This involves more than just securing a business credit card.

For instance, some states require funds from lease agreements to be is kept separate from security deposits, necessitating careful financial management.

6. Make Sure You Have the Licenses and Permits Required in Your State

Property owners expect the professionals managing their real estate properties to hold the necessary licenses and permits. Compliance with these legal requirements is key to building trust with your clients.

In this context, having a real estate license, although not always necessary, can be an added advantage.

Property Management License: This is a requirement for some boards. You’ll need to pass a property manager license exam. Real estate investors favour these.

Real Estate Brokers License: This is a common requirement. The exam usually contains both property management and other questions. Here’s some easy steps to get a real estate broker’s license.

Leasing Agent License: Some states require these that specifically focus on activities in a defined real estate market.

7. Create a Business Website and Choose a Location

In the initial stages, an online presence can help you save on commercial office space and tap into the digital market, where most property management companies now operate.

Having a professional website will not only save you money but also expand your reach to potential clients. However, remember to consider associated costs such as search engine optimization for your website and hosting fees, which are essential to increasing your visibility online.

A business email hosting service is good. The setup fee should be low .

8. Consider Ongoing Costs and Fees

Your business will need to balance costs and fees to stay afloat. Here’s some of what you’ll need to look at.

  • Ongoing Management Fee. The money you get paid. Charge a flat rate or a commission on the rental value.
  • Lease Renewal Fees. Be sure to clarify these. Usually they can be a flat rate or a percentage of rent.
  • Legal Fees. You don’t need to pay these. They’re optional, but a real estate lawyer can help. Max cost is $1,500 USD.
  • Utilities . This is a cost if you’re going brick and mortar. Water, heat and hydro. Property taxes too.
  • Advertising. Business cards, signage and digital marketing are just a few possibilities. The national average for a business sign is $438 dollars.

Don’t forget to add in your tools and a leasing fee if there’s no existing tenant.

how to start a property management company

9. Get Your Taxes in Order

Understanding and organizing your tax obligations is vital for running a successful property management company. Taxes in the property management sector can be complex, and they vary depending on your business structure and location. Here are key points to consider:

  • Research Local Tax Laws: Ensure you are aware of the state and local tax laws applicable to property management businesses in your area.
  • Consider Hiring a Tax Professional: An accountant or tax specialist can help navigate the complexities of real estate taxes, deductions, and credits.
  • Organize Your Records: Keep detailed financial records, including all income, expenses, and receipts.
  • Understand Self-Employment Taxes: If you’re a sole proprietor, be prepared to handle self-employment taxes, which cover Social Security and Medicare.
  • Regular Tax Filings: Ensure timely quarterly or annual tax filings to avoid penalties.
  • Explore Tax Deductions: Identify potential tax deductions specific to property management, such as operating expenses, travel, and office costs.

If you’re self employed manager of your own company, there are separate rules .

10. Purchase Business Insurance

Just like any other business, procuring business insurance is an absolute necessity for a property management company. This protective measure ensures that your business can withstand unexpected financial blows, thereby providing a safety net for your venture.

  • Errors and Omissions Insurance . Also called professional liability insurance. Protects against property manager mistakes.
  • General Liability Insurance . Covers day to day services.
  • Tenant Discrimination Insurance . Not necessarily covered under the general liability policy.

11. Plan Your Accounting System

Setting up an efficient accounting system is crucial for managing the financial aspects of a property management company. An effective system will help you track income, expenses, and profitability. Here are some important steps to consider:

  • Choose the Right Accounting Software: Select software that can specifically cater to property management needs, like tracking rent payments and maintenance expenses.
  • Maintain Separate Accounts: Keep client funds, such as security deposits and rent collections, separate from your business operating funds.
  • Regular Financial Reporting: Generate monthly financial reports to stay informed about your business’s financial health.
  • Monitor Cash Flow: Keep a close eye on your cash flow to ensure you have enough funds to cover operating expenses and plan for future investments.
  • Hire a Professional Accountant: Consider hiring an accountant familiar with real estate and property management to manage your books and provide financial advice.

Keeping the books straight is important. Look for software that can capture records for individual properties.

12. Set Up Your Business Phone System

Given the nature of a property management business, maintaining consistent communication is key. Opt for a business phone system that offers useful features like a mobile app, voicemail-to-email service, and the flexibility to add or remove users as per your business needs.

13. Hire Staff

Now, let’s talk about staffing. Here are some of the key roles you’ll need to fill to ensure the smooth operation of your property management company. In certain circumstances, you might need to look into obtaining a National Interest Exemption (NIE).

14. Finalize Your Services and Pricing Structure

Once you have a clear understanding of your services, it’s time to associate costs and fees with each service. This will allow you to calculate revenue forecasts and make necessary adjustments to the numbers, ensuring your pricing remains competitive while also profitable.

15. Consider Property Management Software

Financial tracking is crucial when dealing with rental properties, making property management software an invaluable tool. Features like rent collection and tenant tracking are essential to efficiently manage your property portfolio.

16. Market Your Business

An effective marketing strategy can significantly boost your real estate sale activities. Ensure your website is well-optimized for search engines and designed to be mobile-friendly, as the majority of users now access the web via mobile devices.

17. Expand Your Portfolio

Every property owner seeks a successful property manager to maximize their return on investment (ROI). Starting a property management business becomes more straightforward when following the steps listed here.

As your portfolio expands and your clients’ monthly rental income spikes, you’ll find more property owners queuing up to bring you on board.

start a property management company street

Starting a property management company requires careful planning, strategic implementation, and a constant eye on evolving market trends.

This path may seem daunting, but by following the steps outlined in this guide, you’re positioning yourself for success in the vibrant field of property management.

Always remember that, at the core, this business revolves around people and properties – a seamless blend of strong relationships and meticulous care for assets.

As your business takes root and begins to flourish, you’ll find the journey equally rewarding as the destination itself. Go forth and conquer the world of property management with confidence and competence!

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What matters most? Eight CEO priorities for 2024

should i have a business plan

What matters most? It’s a question we’ve been investigating for a few years now (here are reports from 2022  and 2021 ). This year, we’re reminded that what matters most are family, friends, values, principles, and commitments.

One of our commitments is to CEOs. It’s a tough job and getting tougher all the time . Just in the past few years, they’ve had to cope with a global pandemic, busted supply chains, war, stubborn inflation, and many other disruptions. Any one of these is enough to derail a CEO’s agenda. Taken together, it’s the most difficult operating environment we can remember.

Both of us talk to hundreds of CEOs every year, and many of our colleagues do the same. We admire how CEOs are leading their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders. We’ve consolidated the views that have come out of these conversations and are pleased to offer what we’ve heard about how companies can do better for society, communities, and employees—and the prosaic business of how they can pay for it all, and reward investors too.

Here are eight priorities for CEOs in 2024.

Gen AI goes from proof of concept to scale

The biggest story of this year (or decade) was the arrival of generative AI (gen AI). This is the real deal, folks. Thousands of companies in every industry and in every part of the world are already using a simple gen AI interface to radically transform every imaginable business activity. But while innovators dominate headlines, it’s scalers that dominate markets. CEOs need to figure out three things, posthaste: which parts of the business can benefit , how to scale from one application to many , and how the new tools will reshape their industry .

How to outcompete with technology

As the digital era enters middle age, most companies have at least started a digital and AI transformation. But few are getting the results they want; that’s usually because they haven’t done the fundamental organizational rewiring needed to extract maximum value from the hard work of digitizing the enterprise. This year, our colleagues published a bestselling book Rewired: The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI . It’s a collection of our best insights for digitizing the enterprise. Digital winners grow revenues and cut costs  faster than others.

The biggest capital reallocation in our lifetime

That’s what we said last year  about the energy transition. The bill has only gone up since then, for the simple reason that amid uncertainty, investors and companies have held back from committing their capital, even as the Earth grows hotter. Let’s be clear: what needs to happen is the creation of thousands of new green-technology businesses, in every part of the emerging business system. We have ideas about where , how , and when  companies should invest.

What’s your superpower?

Think of any company you admire, and you can likely rattle off one or two superpowers  that make it uniquely successful. Toyota and its Toyota Production System. LVMH and its exquisite craftsmanship and the entrepreneurship of its brand leaders. Disney and imaginative customer experiences. A distinctive capability can lift a company out of the mire of clogged, commoditized markets and on to the high ground of outperformance. Exceptional implementation  is part and parcel of building a new capability.

Learn to love your middle managers

Waffle House, an American restaurant chain, is famous for never closing; some say its doors have no locks. It should also be famous for its management philosophy. The restaurant’s grill operators are the stars of the show; after years of training, the best get to be called “Elvis of the grill.” After that, they don’t get promoted; how do you top being King? But most other companies would likely promote such people into senior management roles that they don’t want and are not suited for. Companies need to rethink their philosophy  about middle managers and recognize them for what they actually are : the core of the company.

Geopolitics: Beating the odds

As Niels Bohr once said, it’s very hard to make predictions, especially about the future. As CEOs watch the changes unfolding in the global geopolitical order, all agree with the sentiment. What comes next? One thing is for sure: events have an uncanny way of defying the expectations of experts. In the face of that, management teams and boards  should consider black swans and gray rhinos  in their scenarios and build geopolitical resilience  that will serve them well, no matter which side of the coin comes up.

The road to growth

It’s a funny thing: growth is always job one for CEOs, but the path to get there is never clear. Sometimes it’s about seizing market share ; sometimes it’s about expanding into new markets ; sometimes it’s about making a left turn  into something completely new. The one constant is the ten rules of growth . How will the rules play out in 2024? For many, it will mean rule 4: turbocharge your core, by using technology to power growth . For others, it might mean rule 6: grow where you know, by improving sales productivity . And, as always, the most constant of all is rule 9, acquire programmatically, as the latest installment of our 20-year research effort  demonstrates.

A new lens on the macroeconomy

Nearly four years after COVID-19 rewrote history, some CEOs are still waiting for macroeconomic certainty. That’s unlikely to happen—and that’s OK. Leading firms capitalize on uncertainty: they assess their risk appetite, then invest near the bottom  of cycles. Most rely on scenario planning , not least because the exercise usually reveals the core actions that companies need to take no matter which way the economy trends. CEOs might want to populate their models with the new scenarios we’ve developed to look at the ways the global balance sheet  might develop. Over the past two decades, assets on the global balance sheet grew much faster than GDP—the real economy. But the continuation of that trend is uncertain. Yet another curve ball is the rapid shift of assets from the banking system  to private markets , and what that means for public companies.

We hope this article and the in-depth readings available within it give CEOs and executives some clarity on the big issues on their 2024 agenda. And don’t forget that CEOs need to look after the little things and take care of themselves too.

Homayoun Hatami

This article was edited by Mark Staples, an editorial director in the New York office.

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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Organization > What is an operational plan (and should you make one)?

What is an operational plan (and should you make one)?

As a leader of an organization or department, there are several things you must do to ensure that things are running seamlessly. Having an operational plan is a good way to set objectives for the group you’re in charge of. Learn what an operational plan is and whether it’s necessary to have one.

Post-it notes on a piece of paper

What does an operational plan do for your group?

An operational plan is a detailed document that outlines the day-to-day, short-term activities and processes of an organization or a specific department. They are made to present a roadmap for achieving the specific goals and objectives set out in high-level plans. Operational plans are typically focused on a period of one year or less and provide a clear direction for how to implement the broader strategies and initiatives of the organization.

What is included in an operational plan?

Every group’s operational plan is different, but most of the general points are applicable for all. Some things you might include in your operational plan include:

  • Goals and objectives: The main purpose of an operational plan is to explain how your organization’s goals and objectives will be accomplished within the defined timeframe. What needs to be achieved, and is the organization equipped to handle it?
  • Tasks and responsibilities: The plan breaks down the objectives into a list of specific activities, tasks, and projects that need to be completed. Plans should also provide clarity on who is responsible for what in order to ensure accountability and clear lines of authority.
  • Communication: Each plan should outline how progress will be communicated, both internally and externally. Regular reporting and updates are essential for tracking progress and making adjustments as needed.
  • Allocation of resources: Include information about budget, personnel, equipment, and materials that are needed to carry out any planned activities.
  • Contingency plans: Operational plans can also include contingency or risk management strategies to address unforeseen issues or challenges that may arise during the implementation of the plan.

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What is the difference between an operational plan vs. strategic plan?

Operational plans and strategic plans go hand-in-hand but are not the same thing. A strategic plan mainly focuses on the long-term goals that must be accomplished by your group, and an operational plan fills in the gaps to explain how these goals will be met. If you create a strategic plan for your group, an operational plan should always follow it.

Should your organization have an operational plan?

Any department or organization that is expected to meet a number of goals should take the time to create an operational plan. Having a clear understanding of what must be done to have a successful year is important, as it helps you look into the future of your organization. Creating an operational plan to fill in the gaps of your strategic plan will give you and the members of your organization a solid foundation to work off of.

How to start an operational plan for your organization

After going through the strategic planning process, it’s time to brainstorm the methods for achieving your long-term and short-term goals. Since operational plans contain so much information, it can be helpful to incorporate as many details as possible using several different mediums. Including visuals like Gantt charts and infographics can make it easier to see what needs to be done at a glance. If you’re having trouble organizing your thoughts, you can go off of a project planning template to get some guidance as you think of ideas.

Documents like operational plans can help you stay organized while building up your goals. Find more organization tips to get ideas on managing your day-to-day tasks and plans.

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Get ready to file in 2024: What’s new and what to consider

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IR-2023-235, Dec. 11, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers to take important actions now to help them file their 2023 federal income tax return next year.

This is the second in a series of reminders to help taxpayers get ready for the upcoming filing season. The Get ready page on IRS.gov outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make filing easier in 2024.

Here's what's new and what to consider before filing next year.

IRS Online Account enhancements

Taxpayers and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) holders can now access their Online Account and view, approve and electronically sign power of attorney and tax information authorizations from their tax professional.

With an Online Account, individuals can also:

  • View their tax owed and payment history and schedule payments.
  • Request tax transcripts.
  • View or apply for payment plans.
  • See digital copies of some IRS notices.
  • View key data from their most recently filed tax return, including adjusted gross income.
  • Validate bank accounts and save multiple accounts, eliminating the need to re-enter bank account information every time they make a payment.

Avoid refund delays and understand refund timing

Many different factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives a tax return. Although the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a 2023 federal tax refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some returns may require additional review and may take longer to process if IRS systems detect a possible error, the return is missing information or there is suspected identity theft or fraud.

Also, the IRS cannot issue refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund – not just the portion associated with the EITC or ACTC. The IRS expects most EITC and ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by Feb. 27, 2024, if the taxpayer chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

Last quarterly payment for 2023 is due on Jan. 16, 2024

Taxpayers may need to consider estimated or additional tax payments due to non-wage income from unemployment, self-employment, annuity income or even digital assets. The Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov can help wage earners determine if there's a need to consider an additional tax payment to avoid an unexpected tax bill when they file.

Gather 2023 tax documents

Taxpayers should develop a record keeping system − electronic or paper − that keeps important information in one place. This includes year-end income documents like Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks or other payers, Forms 1099-K from third party payment networks, Forms 1099-NEC for nonemployee compensation, Forms 1099-MISC for miscellaneous income or Forms 1099-INT for interest paid, as well as records documenting all digital asset transactions.

When they have all their documentation, taxpayers are in the best position to file an accurate return and avoid processing or refund delays.

1099-K reporting threshold delayed

Following feedback from taxpayers, tax professionals and payment processors and to reduce taxpayer confusion, the IRS delayed the new $600 Form 1099-K reporting threshold for third party settlement organizations for calendar year 2023.

As the IRS continues to work to implement the new law, the agency will treat 2023 as an additional transition year. This will reduce the potential confusion caused by the distribution of Forms 1099-K sent to many taxpayers who wouldn't expect one and may not have a tax obligation. As a result, reporting will not be required unless the taxpayer receives over $20,000 and has more than 200 transactions in 2023.

Given the complexity of the new provision and the large number of individual taxpayers affected, the IRS is planning for a threshold of $5,000 for tax year 2024 as part of a phase-in to implement the $600 reporting threshold enacted under the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

It is important for taxpayers to understand why they received a Form 1099-K , then use the form and their other records to help figure and report their correct income on their tax return. It is also important for taxpayers to know what to do if they received a Form 1099-K but shouldn't have .

There's no change to the taxability of income. All income, including from part-time work, side jobs or the sale of goods is still taxable. Taxpayers must report all income on their tax return unless it's excluded by law, whether they receive a Form 1099-K, a Form 1099-NEC, Form 1099-MISC or any other information return.

Understand energy related credits

Taxpayers who bought a vehicle in 2023 should review the changes under the  Inflation Reduction Act of 2022  to see if they qualify for the credits for new electric vehicles purchased in 2022 or before or the new clean vehicles purchased in 2023 or after . To claim either credit, taxpayers will need to provide the vehicle's VIN and file  Form 8936, Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit , with their tax return.

If taxpayers made energy improvements to their home , tax credits are available for a portion of qualifying expenses. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 expanded the credit amounts and types of qualifying expenses. To claim the credit, taxpayers need to file  Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits , Part II, with their tax return.

Speed tax refunds with direct deposit

Filing electronically and choosing direct deposit is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund. Direct deposit gives individuals access to their refund faster than a paper check.

Those without a bank account can learn how to open an account at an FDIC insured bank or through the national Credit Union Locator tool . Veterans should see the Veterans Benefits Banking Program for access to financial services at participating banks.

Prepaid debit cards or mobile apps may allow direct deposit of tax refunds. The prepaid debit cards or mobile apps must have routing and account numbers associated with them to enter on the tax return. Check with the mobile app provider or financial institution to confirm which numbers to use.

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State Rundown 12/14: Tax Policy Debates Ramp Up for 2024

December 14, 2023

ITEP

.ITEP Staff

Even as revenue collections slow in many states, some are starting the push for 2024 tax cuts early. For instance, policymakers in Georgia and Utah are already making the case for deeper income tax cuts. Meanwhile, Arizona lawmakers are now facing a significant deficit, the consequence of their recent top-heavy tax cuts.

There is another path for states to take. And whether we’re talking about wealthy families, multinational corporations, or superstar athletes, location decisions are rarely driven by tax rates. Latest case in point: baseball’s Shohei Ohtani, who decided to remain in California, with its progressive personal income tax, by signing a record-breaking 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers. Reminder: Athletes like Ohtani pay state income tax to the location where their games are played, meaning that the bulk of his tax bill will be in the Golden State for home games in Dodger Stadium.

Major State Tax Proposals and Developments

  • After previously expecting a $10 million surplus for the fiscal year, a budget forecast from ARIZONA ‘s Joint Legislative Budget Committee is now predicting a $400 million deficit due in large part to the newly implemented 2.5 percent flat income tax, lagging sales tax revenues, and a significant increase in school voucher spending. – MARCO GUZMAN
  • GEORGIA Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans to prioritize an acceleration to the state’s income tax cuts. In 2022, lawmakers passed legislation to consolidate the state’s graduated personal income tax structure to a flat tax and phase-down the new flat rate until it reaches 4.99 percent in 2029. Gov. Kemp’s proposal would bring the rate to 4.99 percent a year earlier. – NEVA BUTKUS
  • UTAH Gov. Spencer Cox and state lawmakers have announced their budget and legislative priorities for the upcoming year, which include setting aside $160 million for yet another cut to the state’s flat income tax rate from 4.65 percent to 4.55 percent and an expansion of the state’s Child Tax Credit to include children up to 5 years old . – MARCO GUZMAN

State Roundup

  • The CALIFORNIA Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the state is presently facing a $58 billion budget deficit from fiscal year 2023 to fiscal year 2025.
  • Cannabis revenues in ILLINOIS generated $452 million for the 2023 fiscal year according to the state revenue department, which exceeds the $316 million in alcohol revenue collections.
  • MARYLAND legislative budget analysts are projecting the state to face a budget shortfall of $322 million for the upcoming legislative session, and the shortfall is expected to continue growing in the following years.
  • In a recent ruling, NEW HAMPSHIRE courts found that the state’s per pupil allocation is too low and unconstitutional. If the ruling remains intact after an expected appeal by the state, the state legislature would need an additional $537 million to fund public education. In response, a Democratic lawmaker is drafting legislation that would restore the state’s interest and dividends tax, which is currently set to be eliminated in 2025.
  • NEW YORK lawmakers have proposed repealing the property tax exemptions of large private universities in New York City, with the funds directed to the public City University of New York. The proposal—which would raise $327 million—would require both passage in the legislature and a statewide ballot initiative to amend the state constitution.
  • The OHIO Senate passed legislation amending the recreational marijuana legalization program that Ohio voters approved in November. The legislation would increase the sales tax rate on marijuana from 10 percent to 15 percent and allow counties to levy a 3 percent sales tax to fund entertainment, arts, and culture.
  • A group representing KENTUCKY cities have sued Airbnb, alleging that the firm has not paid occupancy taxes in numerous jurisdictions in Kentucky.
  • In WASHINGTON , the Seattle City Council budget committee discussed a proposal to enact a local capital gains tax , building on the state provision taxing gains over $250,000. The Seattle committee also recently approved an increase in the city’s progressive JumpStart payroll tax to fund support services for public school students.
  • WEST VIRGINIA’s Senate Minority Leader proposed a refundable tax credit based on family’s childcare expenses.

What We’re Reading

  • A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities quantifies the extensive tax cuts that have swept the states in recent years. The research finds that twenty-six states cut their personal and (in some cases) corporate income tax rates over a three-year period, resulting in $124 billion in collective lost revenue by 2028. Many states, including Nebraska, have pointed to the report to identify the damage done.
  • The North Carolina Budget & Tax Center lays out of the benefits of a strong Earned Income Tax Credit. The piece also explains how North Carolina prohibits local governments from using this powerful anti-poverty tool at the expense of low- and moderate-income families.

If you like what you are seeing in the Rundown (or even if you don’t) please send any feedback or tips for future posts to Aidan Davis at [email protected] . Click here to sign up to receive the Rundown via email.

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  1. 11 Business Plan Templates

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  2. How to Create a Business Plan in 1 Day [Updated 2022]

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  3. How to Write a Business Plan

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  4. Creating a Business Plan: Why it Matters and Where to Start

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  5. What Should Be in a Great Business Plan

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  6. What has to be in a business plan? Here is a business plan outline with

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  1. কি ভাবে ব্যবসা করবেন #shortvideo #shots #bussinesidea #business #motivation

  2. How to Grow Your Business, Strategic Planning and Healthy Conflict

  3. WHY Write a Business PLAN for Your NEW BUSINESS

  4. Business Plans

  5. Business Plan

  6. Can You Afford a Fortuner? The Salary You Need to Buy One Revealed! #finance

COMMENTS

  1. How To Write A Business Plan (2023 Guide)

    Bottom Line Frequently Asked Questions Every business starts with a vision, which is distilled and communicated through a business plan. In addition to your high-level hopes and dreams, a...

  2. Write your business plan

    Your business plan is the tool you'll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice. Pick a business plan format that works for you There's no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What's important is that your plan meets your needs.

  3. Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One

    Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider...

  4. 5 reasons you need a business plan

    1. It will help you steer your business as you start and grow. Think of a business plan as a GPS to get your business going. A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You'll use your business plan like a GPS for how to structure, run, and grow your new business.

  5. How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

    1. Write an executive summary 2. Describe your company 3. State your business goals 4. Describe your products and services 5. Do your market research 6. Outline your marketing and sales plan 7....

  6. What is a business plan

    Your business plan is an important document for lenders and investors, as it tells them who you are, how you do business, and what your business finances look like. It also helps them to more ...

  7. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

    That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks: Product goals and deadlines for each month. Monthly financials for the first two years. Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years. Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years. Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create ...

  8. 14 Critical Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

    So, do you really need a business plan? Is it really worth the investment of time and resources? Can't you just wing it and skip the whole planning process? Good questions. Here's every reason why you need a business plan. 1. Business planning is proven to help you grow 30 percent faster

  9. 5 Reasons You Need a Business Plan for Long-Term Success

    A business plan is the best, and generally, the only acceptable way to provide this information. 2. A Business Plan Helps You Make Decisions. There are some sections in a traditional business plan that you simply cannot complete if you are on the fence, undecided, or not fully committed to a certain point. Business plans help you eliminate the ...

  10. 6 Reasons You Really Need to Write A Business Plan

    Six Reasons You Really Need To Write a Business Plan. Legitimize your business idea. Give your business a foundation for success. Obtain funding and investments. Hire the right people. Communicate your needs. It makes it easier to sell your business. 1. Legitimize your business idea.

  11. 20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan in 2023

    A formal business plan is necessary to show all interested parties — employees, investors, partners and yourself — that you are committed to building the business. Creating your plan forces you to think through and select the strategies that will propel your growth. 2. To Establish Business Milestones

  12. Why You Should Write a Business Plan

    A good business plan helps you define your target market, competitive advantage, optimum pricing strategies, and better prepares the business for upcoming challenges. A business plan helps you secure funding and attract new investors. To Test the Feasibility of Your Business Idea

  13. How to Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Step 7: Financial Analysis and Projections. It doesn't matter if you include a request for funding in your plan, you will want to include a financial analysis here. You'll want to do two things here: Paint a picture of your business's performance in the past and show it will grow in the future.

  14. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It's also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals.

  15. What to Include in Your Business Plan

    A plan should cover all the important matters that will contribute to making your business a success. These include the following: 1. Your basic business concept. This is where you discuss the ...

  16. Before You Start, Write a Business Plan

    Now you have concrete goals, measurable objectives, market research, and financial forecasts. Your business plan not only tells you where you are going, it tells you how to get there. 9 Ways a Business Plan Can Help. A good business plan projects your company's growth for the next five years. It will help you: Define your business idea in detail

  17. Why You Must Have a Business Plan

    It sounded to me as if they were thinking of a business plan as just a fund-raising tool. In fact, a business plan is much more than that: It's a tool for understanding how your business is put ...

  18. The Dos and Don'ts of Writing a Solid Business Plan

    Refer to your business in third person. Writing in third person allows objectivity which can be more convincing and accepted by audiences like banks and investors. Avoid using "we" or "I" throughout your business plan. Writing in first person may come across as too personal. Remember to keep it business, not personal.

  19. When Should Entrepreneurs Write Their Business Plans?

    May 18, 2018 Audi Santoso / EyeEm/Getty Images Summary. It pays to plan. Entrepreneurs who write business plans are more likely to succeed, according to research. But while this might tempt...

  20. What Should a Business Plan Include?

    A business plan serves as a guide for a growing company. It's a consistent reference for business owners and stakeholders to base critical decisions on. It's especially useful for early-stage startups to attract investors. When a company doesn't have a proven track record, it can lay out its full potential instead.

  21. How Long Should a Business Plan Be? Hint: Smart is Better ...

    If you consider that investors and bankers are permanently solicited and thus have a ton of business proposals on their desk (let alone in their inbox), then the quality, the ease of reading, and the length of a business plan are crucial. Not to say vital. Is your business plan too long to read? You're out. Is it boring to read? Out.

  22. Use Strategic Thinking to Create the Life You Want

    This program, Strategize Your Life, has been tested with more than 500 people around the world. With a few hours of work, you can develop a personal life strategy and summarize it on a single page ...

  23. How to Start a Property Management Company

    2. Choose a Name and Brand Your Property Management Company. One of the first steps in setting up your property management company is to choose a name and build a brand around it. An impactful, well-thought-out name can leave a lasting impression and help in establishing your identity in the market.

  24. Eight CEO priorities for 2024

    Here are eight priorities for CEOs in 2024. Click each card to learn more. Gen AI: The start of something big. Innovators dominate headlines. Scalers dominate markets. Technology's generational moment with generative AI: A CIO and CTO guide The organization of the future: Enabled by gen AI, driven by people. Outcompeting with technology.

  25. What Is an Operational Plan?

    An operational plan is a detailed document that outlines the day-to-day, short-term activities and processes of an organization or a specific department. They are made to present a roadmap for achieving the specific goals and objectives set out in high-level plans. Operational plans are typically focused on a period of one year or less and ...

  26. Get ready to file in 2024: What's new and what to consider

    Last quarterly payment for 2023 is due on Jan. 16, 2024. Taxpayers may need to consider estimated or additional tax payments due to non-wage income from unemployment, self-employment, annuity income or even digital assets. The Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov can help wage earners determine if there's a need to consider an additional tax ...

  27. State Rundown 12/14: Tax Policy Debates Ramp Up for 2024

    UTAH Gov. Spencer Cox and state lawmakers have announced their budget and legislative priorities for the upcoming year, which include setting aside $160 million for yet another cut to the state's flat income tax rate from 4.65 percent to 4.55 percent and an expansion of the state's Child Tax Credit to include children up to 5 years old ...