How to Write a Business Plan
Business Plan Template
We’re in business to help our clients get a business plan that works for them. If you need a business plan to help you plan out your business, following these directions should help you. If you know you need financing, pay special attention to the section on “Financials,” because lenders are looking for professional quality financial statements. If you need help, please contact us through our website, or call us toll-free at +1 (800) 661-9842.
How Long is a Business Plan?
The length of the plan depends on the size and complexity of the business. An average business plan for a start-up business with projected sales of $200,000 to $2,000,000 would be 20–30 pages. If the business uses or provides new technology, the business plan could be much longer. A plan needs to be just long enough to explain the business to an investor or lender.
A typical business plan for a business has the following sections:
One to two pages. The executive summary should tell your story. It should show your passion and get the reader’s attention. It describes what you do, how you are going to do it, how much money you will make and how much funding you need. This is the one section that every viewer will read. If it doesn’t work for them, they won’t read any more of your plan.
This explains the structure of the business and its history. Location, facilities, and business profile.
Products and Services
What products and/or services are you selling? Why should customers buy them from you? What differentiates you from the competition? Don’t say things like, better service, better prices. Be specific. What is your real differentiator?
Here is where your market research pays off. Be as specific as you can about your market. Don’t say something like: “The automotive industry is a $100 billion industry and we are a part of it.” Be specific in your business plan, for example: “We provide air fresheners that hang on the car’s rear-view mirror. This is a $20 million market.” Quote your sources for any statistics.
Analyze your potential customers. Who is the primary market for your business? What are their demographics? Their psychographics? What is their profile?
How are you going to attract customers? What is your pricing policy? How will you distribute the product?
How will the business actually run? Are there any specialized processes? Do you need an organization chart?
Who are the managers of this new business? What expertise and experience will they bring to the business? This section is like a mini resume for each of the management team where you demonstrate how the various business roles will be filled. It is quite acceptable to have advisors or consultants listed here.
What are you aiming for and when will you do it. Be specific. Say things like: “We will have monthly sales of 1,000 units by the fourth month of operation and will be profitable by the sixth month.”
There are always risks, so it is best to explain the risks and your strategies to handle them.
(If you are looking for equity investors). How and when do your investors make their money? How much will they make? A cautionary note: An “Angel” investor tends to expect at least 10 times their investment. You might think that’s too much, but the reality is that many businesses fail completely and the investor gets nothing back.
This section is absolutely critical. At a minimum, you need:
- Funding Requirements
- Month by month pro-forma income statement for the first year
- Quarterly income statement for the first 3 years
- Month by month cash flow forecast for the first year
- Balance Sheet
We specialize in building custom business plans for people and companies throughout Southern Ontario. the GTA, Metro Vancouver, the Okanagan, Vancouver Island and all regions across Canada. Our business plans really work for your business, because we ask the tough questions and help you answer them. Our business plans give you the results you want.
For more information on business plans, check out some of the articles below:
- Do you really need a business plan?
- How to write the marketing plan.
- Forecasting for business plans:
If all this seems like a lot of work, we’re happy to write your business plan for you. Remember that there are a lot of good reasons to have a business plan.