Business Plan Information
A Business Plan is also known as a:
- Business Proposal
- Marketing Plan
- Business Outline
- Business Strategy
What is a Business Plan?
A Business Plan is a written document that outlines a company's goals and how it plans to achieve these goals. The outline also encompasses several other aspects of a company's future agenda, and can serve as a tool for internal decision-making, or as a business proposal to pitch to potential investors.
Who needs a Business Plan?
Those who are starting a business or who have an existing business, including sole proprietors, general partners, limited liability company (LLC) members, and even corporations, should have a Business Plan to map out their strategies and goals for their company.
When should I use a Business Plan?
A Business Plan is essentially a tool for planning and education. It can be used to build the framework for your new or existing enterprise, and to set goals for your business.
It can also be used by your startup as a way to present your ideas, sales projections, and plans for achieving your objectives to potential investors for funding purposes.
Ultimately, whether you plan to launch a company, transition from being a freelancer to a small business owner, or wish to recreate, improve, and organize your current business, a Business Plan is a helpful document for steering your business forward and informing others of your plans.
How long should a Business Plan be?
The length of your Business Plan depends on the size of your company, and how you intend to use your plan. It can be as simple or as comprehensive as you would like.
The more you put into it, the more your business may derive use from it because there is a clear strategy laid out for you to follow.
If you intend to use your plan as a business proposal to enlist investor funding, it is recommended that you should have a more concise and detailed plan.
What is included in a Business Plan?
While a Business Plan may vary in how it is organized, the proposal typically includes:
Executive Summary: This is a portion of the plan that summarizes your company. It can include an overview of your company's management structure, a description of your product/service, your goals, and a summary of your finances and marketing strategy.
Business Description and Mission Statement: This is a brief rundown of your business's history, ownership, and its mission or vision statement.
Product or Service: Here you can include a breakdown of what your product or service is, its unique features, any patents you may have, as well as any future products you want to develop.
Marketing Strategy: Your marketing strategy is how you plan to get your product or service in front of customers. This is where you can include your ideas for promotion (online/traditional methods), as well as how you physically plan to sell your product or service (brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, etc.).
Competitors Analysis: This section describes your competition and how you intend to compete against their current strategies.
SWOT: SWOT is an acronym for "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats." A SWOT analysis evaluates these specific aspects of your business.
Operations Overview: An operations overview provides a glimpse into the daily operations of your business, including the management and staffing structure, human resources plan, your physical operational facility, and your production methods, such as quotas or manufacturing details.
Financial Plan: Your financial plan may include your company's income (profit and loss) statements. It can also encompass your capital requirements if you are pitching your ideas to investors. In that case, you may describe the investment amount you require and how you plan to repay this capital in a repayment plan.
How do I write a Business Plan?
There are many tools available to help you write a Business Plan, including LawDepot's online Business Plan template, which guides you through the process, and allows you to customize a document specifically to your business's needs.
How often should I update my Business Plan?
Your Business Plan should be a working document that you consistently refer to and periodically revise as your situation changes. Whether this is once a year, or every quarter, it's important to adjust your plan as necessary so it always reflects your business's current and future direction.
Updating your plan keeps your company and employees focused on the same goals, and may even enliven your business as you hit milestones, and work towards achieving new ones.