The Business Planning Process

It will also be the first thing that prospective investors, partners, and lenders see about your business, so you should take the time to get it right. This section should answer all these questions to familiarize readers with your business and make it relevant.

You’ll flesh out the whole summary in Step 8, but you should get a head start on it by writing one to two sentence answers for each of the following questions: Step 3: Tell Your Company’s Story with a Company Description The next section of your business plan should be a company description. Step 4: Explain Your Operations and Management Structure Now that you’ve introduced your company, it’s time to give a little bit more detail about its operations and management structure.

A strategic plan also helps business leaders determine where to spend time, human capital, and money. Many small businesses get snared in this same trap. Focus on where you want to take your organization over time. Define the expected objectives that clearly state what your organization must achieve to address the priority issues. The strategies, action plans, and budgets are all steps in the process that effectively communicates how you will allocate time, human capital, and money to address the priority issues and achieve the defined objectives. There are hundreds of business books dedicated to the topic. From this analysis, you can determine the priority issues—those issues so significant to the overall well-being of the enterprise that they require the full and immediate attention of the entire management team.

But, how should small businesses approach strategic planning? Developing a strategic plan might seem like an overwhelming process, but if you break it down, it’s easy to tackle. For an accurate picture of where your business is, conduct external and internal audits to get a clear understanding of the marketplace, the competitive environment, and your organization’s competencies (your real—not perceived—competencies). This sets the direction of the enterprise over the long term and clearly defines the mission (markets, customers, products, etc.) and vision (conceptualization of what your organization’s future should or could be).

How to Write a Business Plan in 8 Simple Steps Now that you know why having a business plan is important, it’s time for you to sit down and create one. Step 1: Brainstorm and Write Everything Down First up, stop and think. Who will its customers be, and how will you reach them? You’ll also have plenty of time to hone your ideas in subsequent steps.

Make a list of everything you can think of about your business. Step 2: Outline the Executive Summary The executive summary is a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. What is the user experience with your business like?

Also, you can work with an accountant or business consultant to develop this section of your plan, but remember that it will evolve as your business grows.

Step 7: Include Resources and References The last section of your business plan should be an appendix with any documents, studies, surveys, licenses, and research referred to elsewhere in the plan.

Additionally, if you already have a business, but have never created a business plan for it, it’s never too late to do so.

Creating a business plan now will get you organized and ready for 2018 and beyond.

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