December is National Write a Business Plan Month

Office group planning with a goal in mind

December is National Write a Business Plan Month

Creating a business plan is one of the most important steps you will take when starting your own business. The business plan generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to reach its yearly milestones, including revenue projections.  A business plan is also an excellent way for your employees and partners to gain insight into the company’s goals, objectives, strategies, priorities, risks factors, etc., so they can contribute more meaningfully to the success of your business.

A Business Plan Should Include:

  • Executive Summary:  Your executive summary is a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals. 
  • Market Analysis:  Before launching your business, it is essential for you to research your business industry, market and competitors.
  • Company Description: Your company description provides information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves. 
  • Organization & Management: Every business is structured differently. Find out the best organization and management structure for your business.
  • Marketing & Sales: How do you plan to market your business? What is your sales strategy? 
  • Service or Product Line: What do you sell? How does it benefit your customers? What is the product life cycle? 
  • Funding Requests: If you are seeking funding for your business, find out what information you should include in your plan to help inform potential investors.
  • Financial Projections: If you need funding, providing financial projections to backup your request is critical. 
  • Appendix: An appendix is optional, but a useful place to include information such as resumes, permits, and leases. 

A well-thought-out plan also helps you to step back and think objectively about the key elements of your business venture and informs your decision-making on a regular basis. One of the benefits of creating a business plan is that it forces you to research and analyze your industry, your target market, and your competition. The more information you can gather upfront, the better positioned you will be to make sound decisions down the road.