When trying to get financing for your business, the first thing anyone will ask you for is a business plan. A business plan is like an extended resume for your company. It’s essentially a document that outlines all your future plans and intentions as an organization. Your business plan should clearly outline what you want to achieve with your company, how you intend to go about it, and what sort of return you expect on your investment. That sounds so much more complicated than it actually is. In the end, a business plan is just another type of essay that needs to follow some general guidelines in order to be effective. While the length and structure of a business plan may vary slightly depending on who you’re pitching it to, there are some core elements that remain the same no matter who reads it or where it’s from.
Step 1: Define Your Company’s Mission and Objectives
The first thing you need to do is clearly outline what it is your company does and why it exists. The main part of your business plan is the executive summary, which is essentially a condensed version of your entire business plan. Your company’s mission statement is the guiding principle behind every decision you make. It tells you what sort of products you should be making, how you should be marketing them, and how much you should be charging for them. By definition, mission statements are broad and general. They should be specific enough to guide the direction of your company while being vague enough to allow for creativity and growth. When creating your mission statement, think about what you want your company to stand for. Do you want to be the most eco-friendly company in the world, the most luxurious, or the cheapest? Once you know what you want your company to be known for, you can use that to make all of your other decisions. Your company’s objectives are specific, measurable goals that you want to achieve with your business over the next year or two. For example, a clothing company’s objective might be to increase its revenue by 25% over the next 12 months by expanding its marketing efforts.
Step 2: Build a Solid Marketing Strategy
The next thing you need to do is create a marketing strategy for your company. This section of your business plan should outline how you intend to distribute your product and how much money you expect to spend doing so. It should also include how you plan on measuring the success of your marketing efforts. First and foremost, you need to know who your target audience is. You cannot create a marketing strategy that appeals to everyone. As counterproductive as it may seem, appealing to everyone will get you nowhere. You need to know who you want to buy your product, where they are, and how to reach them. Your marketing strategy should also include what your product is and what it does, who your competitors are, your pricing strategy, and how you plan on distributing your product.
Step 3: Lay Out Your Company’s Financial Needs
The next thing you need to do is figure out exactly how much money your business needs. This section of your business plan should outline all of the expenses associated with starting and running your company. It should also include how much profit you expect to make with your product and what you plan to do with that profit. The first thing you need to do is determine how much money it will take to get your business up and running. You can do this by adding up all of the expenses associated with getting your product manufactured, hiring employees, and setting up your physical storefront (if applicable). Next, you need to determine how much money you’re going to need to keep your business running. This includes things like the cost of raw materials and utilities. You also need to factor in the cost of hiring employees and paying them a salary. Lastly, you need to determine how much profit you want to make with your product. This will depend on what sort of business you want to run. A high profit for a clothing store might be $1,000. A high profit for a car dealership might be $10,000,000.
Step 4: Propose Solutions to Your Company’s Problems
Once you’ve outlined the problems that your company is facing, you need to propose solutions for those problems. This section of the business plan should outline how you intend to fix the issues that are currently plaguing your company. It’s important to note that you don’t want to just list the problems that your company is facing. Instead, you want to propose solutions to those problems. This will show investors that you’re able to think critically and creatively. First, you need to outline the problems that your company is facing. These include things like low sales, difficulty hiring employees, and an inability to reach your target audience. Once you’ve outlined your company’s problems, you need to propose solutions to those issues. Solutions might include hiring an outside public relations firm to increase sales, offering more flexible work hours to make your company more attractive to potential employees, or using online ads to target your ideal customers.
Step 5: Summing Up
The final section of your business plan is your conclusion. This is the place where you summarize all of the information that you’ve presented to your investors throughout the rest of your plan. You want to make sure that your conclusion is clear and concise. You should also make sure that it’s well-written. Investors want to see that you’ve put hours into writing your business plan. They want to know that you’ve put just as much effort into your plan as you would into creating your product. Business plans are not easy to write, but they are essential if you want to get financing for your business. The more effort you put into writing your business plan, the more likely it is that you’ll get the funding you need to start your company.