How to Create a Successful Business Plan

A good business plan enables you to build a strong foundation for your business, provides it integrity and helps to make you responsible towards your business. So, a proper business plan is inevitable in the success of a business. Charting a business plan can be nerve-racking, but with the right steps, it is a cake-walk.

Major sections of a business plan:

1. Executive Summary: Being the most critical section of a business plan, it is the first section that a reader sees. For the sake of perfection, you can write this section after you complete all other sections. It should provide a snapshot of your business, a mission statement, business history, current profile, founder’s details, locations, services offered, number of staff, future plans, and current profile in brief.

2. Market Analysis: This section indicates how well you have researched the prevalent market conditions. The chances of success, details of your industry, growth rate, market shares, current market trends, customer details, details of competitors and their products, comparative study of the products with respect to their strengths and weaknesses and so on can be included.

3. Company Description: This section provides a high level perspective of your industry and company, which helps the reader understand the relation between the two. It includes nature of your industry, company history, target customers, potential solutions that you will offer to target customers, and so on.

4. Organization and Management: This section should deal with how your staff is organized. The organization hierarchies, division of labor, profiles of managers, Board of Directors and Company Owner are to be included. This section should also include details of salary, perks and incentives.

5. Marketing and Sales Management: This section should help you to decide the marketing strategies for the sale of your goods and services.

6. Product Details: As the name indicates, this section describes the products or services that your business proposes to offer. You will need to provide details of current market research, benefits of products to customers, competitive advantages and copy rights or trade secrets with respect to your product.

7. Funding request: This section includes all that a bank or investor would need to know to understand the funding requirements of your business.

8. Financials: This section provides support, if you request for outside funding. Unless it is a startup company, this section should include your company’s financial track record for the past few years.

9. Appendices: This is where you will include all those details which you will not be able to fit into the other sections, but your readers might want to see.

While charting your business plan, you should think of the various audiences like bankers, investors, and professionals. Keeping properly formatted, short paragraphs is highly recommended in a business plan. You can include bulleted points to highlight the important points. It is nice to include complex data in the form of tables, or charts.