A Successful business doesn’t happen by accident or luck. If you want to launch a successful business, you need a succinct business plan. You need to form your idea into a plan.
Here is a twelve-point structure for writing your business plan:
Section One: Company Overview
1. What Does Your Business Do?
a. Describe your business in one to two sentences.
b. Describe your business in one to two paragraphs.
c. What makes your business unique?
2. Who Are You?
a. What is your company’s mission, vision and core values?
3. Customer Pain
a. What is your customer’s problem, and how is your organization solving it?
4. Organizational Chart
a. Who is currently on staff?
b. What positions do you expect to fill in the near?
c. What current positions are sitting empty?
Section Two: Product and Operational Strategies
1. Product Overview
a. What do you make or provide?
b. What makes it better, stronger, and different?
c. If you’re making a product, where will you source or manufacture it?
d. If applicable, describe your packaging and shipping.
e. Is any technology required to process payments or sell your product?
2. Customer Overview
a. Who is your customer?
b. How old are they?
c. Where do they live?
d. What are your customer’s beliefs, hobbies, fears, and passions?
e. What do market trends tell you about your customer?
f. Who is not your customer?
3. Marketing Overview
a. How will people learn about your start-up?
b. What metrics will help you evaluate your progress?
c. What two to three social media channels will become your main line of communication?
d. What influencers could you realistically partner with to bring more awareness to what you’re doing?
e. Where will you spend advertising money, and how much?
4. SWOT Analysis(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
a. List five to ten of your company’s greatest strengths.
b. List five to ten of your company’s weaknesses.
c. List five to ten marketplace opportunities available to your customer.
d. List five to ten of your company’s greatest threats.
Section Three: Financial Projections and Capital Needs
1. Financial Projections
a. How much revenue will your start-up make in 1,3,6 and 12 months after launch?
b. What will be your expenses by 1,3,6 and 12 months after launch?
c. What is your monthly margin(the percentage difference between costs and expenses)?
d. How much net profit will be made in this 1,3,6 and 12-month span?
2. Competitive Environment
a. List at least three potential competitors, along with their strengths and weaknesses.
b. What three things can you copy from your competitors to make your business stronger?
3. Capital Needs
a. How much money do you need to launch and sustain your business for the first year?
b. How will you generate income during your first year in business?
4. Use of Funds Schedule
a. How will you spend your money each month? (Document every dollar.)
Set aside ninety minutes or so to create the first draft of your plan. The most reliable way to predict the future is to plan it.