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Writing your business plan

Planning for Success

❶This section addresses how you plan to manage your employees and human resources processes.

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Format section titles in Roman Numeral order. Write your company description as the first section. To do this, describe your business and identify the marketplace needs for your product or service. Briefly describe your key customers and how you intend to succeed.

Joe's coffee is located one block from the local University, and aims to provide a comfortable environment for students, professors, and downtown employees to study, socialize, or simply relax between classes or meetings. By focusing on excellent ambiance, close location, premium products, and superb customer service, Joe's coffee will differentiate itself from its peers. Write your market analysis. The purpose of this section is explore and demonstrate knowledge of the market your business is operating within.

You should be able to answer questions like, who is your target market? What are their needs and preferences? How old are they, and where are they located? Make sure to include a competitive analysis that provides research and information on immediate competitors. List your main competitors strengths and weaknesses and the potential impact on your business.

This section is extremely important, as it outlines how your business will gain market share by capitalizing on competitor's weaknesses. Describe your company's organizational structure and management.

This section of the business plan focuses on key personnel. Include details about the business owners and its management team. If the owners and managers and have extensive backgrounds in the industry or a track record of success, highlight it. If you have an organizational chart, include it. Describe your product or service. What are you selling? What's so great about your product or service? How will customers benefit? How is it better than your competitors products or services? Do you currently have or anticipate developing a prototype, or filing for a patent or copyright?

Note all planned activities. For example, if you are writing a plan for a coffee shop, you would include a detailed menu that would outline all your products. Before writing the menu, you would include a short summary indicating why your particular menu sets your business apart from others.

You may state, for example, "Our coffee shop will provide five different types of beverages, including coffee, teas, smoothies, soda's, and hot chocolates. Our wide variety will be a key competitive advantage as we can provide a diversity of product offerings that our main competitors are currently not offering". Write your marketing and sales strategy. In this section, explain how you intend to penetrate the market, manage growth, communicate with customers, and distribute your products or services.

Will you use sales representatives, billboard advertising, pamphlet distribution, social media marketing, or all of the above? Make a funding request. If you will use your business plan to secure funding, include a funding request.

Explain how much money you need to start and maintain your small business. Provide an itemized summary of how start-up capital will be used. Give a timeline for your funding request. To accurately complete this step, in some cases it might be necessary to hire an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.

For one full year, provide monthly and quarterly statements. Each year after that, yearly statements. These documents will be placed in the Appendix Section of your business plan. Include projected cash flows for at least 6 years or until stable growth rates are achieved and if possible, a valuation calculation based on discounted cash flows. Write the executive summary. Your executive summary will serve as an introduction to your business plan. It will include your company's mission statement and provide readers with an overview of your products or services, target market, and goals and objectives.

Remember to place this section at the beginning of your document. When was the business first conceptualized?

What are some notable growth benchmarks? Start-ups will focus more on industry analysis and their funding goal. Mention the company's corporate structure, its funding requirement, and if you will provide equity to investors. Existing businesses and start-ups should highlight any major achievements, contracts, current or potential clients and summarize future plans.

This is the very last section and it's meant to provide additional information. Potential investors might want to see this information before making a decision. The documents you include here should support claims made in other sections of the business plan. There should a section clearly outlining the risk factors affecting your venture and your mitigation plans. This also indicates to the reader how well prepared you are for contingencies.

Review your business plan for spelling and grammatical errors. Do this several times before deciding on the final version. Rework or completely rewrite content to ensure it works from the perspective of the reader. This is especially true if you are creating a "presentation plan".

Read your document aloud. This allows you to detect if any sentences do not flow together well, and it also makes any grammatical mistakes more obvious. Make a copy and give it to a trusted friend or colleague to proofread and provide feedback.

Create a cover page. The cover page identifies your document and gives it aesthetic appeal and professionalism. It also helps your document to stand out. Your cover page should include: The words "Business Plan" centered in large bold font, along with your company name, company logo, and contact information. Not Helpful 11 Helpful What is a marketing business plan sample for a boutique and fashion store? Not Helpful 14 Helpful You can start with something small.

Business cards, website, or anything that will alert people about your company. You can even post flyers at your local church or grocery store. A business must be registered to make sure that it is legal and a viable choice for investors and customers. Not Helpful 3 Helpful Follow the steps in this article but craft it to make it specific to hardware.

Not Helpful 3 Helpful 3. Where does a tech company start? I need money for servers to run the service, but I need the service to earn money. If you don't have your own starter money or ways to create the income, the next best thing would be to find some investors and people willing to lend you money to start your business.

The executive summary is an overview of the key points contained in your business plan and is often considered the most important section. It is usually the first section that a potential investor or lender will read, and may be the only section to be read if it is not prepared properly.

This important summary should:. You will want to describe your business concept, competitive advantage, legal structure e.

This section should briefly but clearly describe what your business is all about. This segment should include the following elements.

This section should give readers a very brief overview of your business — where you've been, where you are now, and where you're going in the future. Describe the activities you will use to promote and sell your product or service. You should touch on each of the "four Ps" of the marketing mix:. Your marketing strategy should also include information about your budget — how much money have you budgeted for marketing and sales costs?

You may also want to include a profile of your "ideal customers". You can create profiles based on customer type — consumers, retailers, or wholesalers — or base your segments on demographic information such as age, location, and income level.

Keep in mind that solid market research is the backbone of an effective marketing strategy. Your business plan should outline your current operational requirements as well as your projected requirements for the next 3 to 5 years.

Your inventory management and accounting systems should have the ability to produce up-to-date reports. Conducting a SWOT analysis is an important part of business planning.

A properly prepared SWOT analysis shows investors that you have realistically and objectively considered these elements. Banks and other lenders understand that businesses will encounter difficulties at some point, and want to know how you will deal with these challenges.

Remember that overestimating strengths and opportunities or ignoring potential problems will undermine your credibility. This section addresses how you plan to manage your employees and human resources processes. You should also discuss your short-term and long-term plans for employee recruitment, training, and retention.

If appropriate, discuss any advisors, mentors, consultants that offer you support. Don't underestimate the importance of this part of your plan.

Investors need to know that you and your employees have the necessary balance of skills, drive and experience to enable your business to succeed. It is also advisable to outline any recruitment or training plans, including timelines and costs.

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Writing your business plan. From Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Although business plans vary in terms of length and scope, all successful business plans contain common elements. The plan should take into consideration your particular business and its environment.

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For more information on writing your business plan and other business topics, contact Canada Business Ontario today. Telephone services are available in English or French.

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Business Plan Writer. Our interactive Business Plan Writer has been designed to simplify the business planning process. Not only is this tool dynamic, allowing you to customize your plan, we’ve also provided tips & tricks and plenty of examples to guide you as you write. The Canada Business Network also offers a guide to writing your business plan as well as good examples of industry specific business plans. Obtain supporting information You’ve probably already conducted informal market research on your own.

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Writing a Business Plan. Your business starts with an idea. To turn that idea into a profitable company, you need to be able to explain it to potential investors, bankers and other professionals. Jul 11,  · Expert Reviewed. How to Write a Business Plan for a Small Business. Three Parts: Preparing To Write Your Business Plan Writing Your Business Plan Finalizing Your Business Plan Community Q&A A business plan refers to a written document that comprehensively outlines what your business is, where it is going, and how it will get there%().