Business Plan Writing
What is a Business Plan?
A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a valuable way to think through the critical elements of your business.
Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is an intelligent choice.
Why is a Business Plan important?
A Business Plan will outline your business’s mission, vision, and goals, in addition to expanding on the topics detailed in the Business Model Canvas. The beauty of the Business Model Canvas is that the BMC can directly translate to a full-fledged business plan to tell your business’s story. It gives entrepreneurs the ability to lay the foundation of their business and analyzes each aspect of their business. A business plan will also let the entrepreneur track their goals and measure their success as the company develops.
Traditional Business Plan Format
The executive summary is an introductory paragraph or two that gives the reader an overview of your business. It contains the business’s “elevator pitch” and explanation of its brand, competitive advantage, goals, and time frame. The executive summary should be written last, after completing all other portions of the Business Plan, so that you can effectively summarize your business. Below is an outline of how you can potentially format your executive summary. Please consider that this is an outline and should be expanded upon in greater detail.
[Business name] is a [describe business in 2-3 sentences]. This business is unique in that [elaborate on the value proposition and your competitive advantage in 2-3 sentences]. Our goal is to [describe business goals and future outlook 1-2 sentences].
This document describes the various aspects of the value chain and [Business name] model from a high level. This document will include the following key components of the business discussed in detail:
Through discussion of these areas, we believe that [Business name] has a crucial understanding of the entire business process and will be able to compete readily with its industry rivals.
The business overview is where you get to showcase the operations of your business. It's essentially the “meat and potatoes” of your Business Plan. The business overview section can be broken down into 3 main components: mission/vision/goals, organizational personnel & structure, and operations of the business.
This subsection should not be very lengthy, 1-2 pages at the most. Simply list your mission statement and develop your vision and goals for the business moving forward if you have not already done so.
The mission statement describes the long term goals of your business by addressing what your business does for its customers and employees and what you want out of your business. Often confused with the mission statement, the vision should describe the future outlook of the business if the mission statement is achieved. The goals or key objectives are specific activities and results that can be measured and tracked. Goals are arguably the most important part here as it conveys a lot about you as a leader and where the business is headed.
Organizational personnel & structure
Organization – Here, briefly indicate the type of business registration. Additionally, you should outline your business’s organization, essentially how the business is set up.
Structure – In this subsection, be sure to showcase any members of the board, owners, founders, and staff roles that you deem relevant and appropriate. This includes background information, qualifications, responsibilities, why that person is a value-add to your business, etc. One way to express the organizational structure is by creating a chain of command diagram
Operations of the business
In business operations, you should elaborate on all of the components detailed in the Business Model Canvas, excluding cost structure and revenue streams. They are listed below:
Industry Analysis and Strategy
The Industry Analysis and Strategy sections demonstrate your knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the industry and how you hope to capitalize on these opportunities while avoiding threats. The goal is for you to thoroughly understand the competitive landscape and articulate a strategy.
This subsection provides you the opportunity to prove that the components in your business overview are founded on and backed by data, statistics, trends, themes, and more. The types of analyses to consider including in your business plan are listed below:
Structural Analysis (Porter’s 5 Forces) – the primary objective here is to understand the intricacies of the industry and convey them through your business plan. This includes how businesses in your industry are succeeding or failing and analyzing your target customers as well.
Competitor Analysis – this analysis details the various direct and indirect competitors in your industry by addressing who they are and what they are good at. Here, you can evaluate how your business compares to established and emerging businesses. Be sure to highlight why your business is better than the others.
After analyzing the fashion industry, your business plan should outline the strategies your business will employ. Be sure to focus on your brand, your business’s differentiation, and the benefits of a particular strategy. The types of strategies to consider are listed below:
In the final section of your Business Plan, you should primarily focus on the bottom portion of the Business Model Canvas: cost structure and revenue streams. For investors, loan associates, or other entities, this is one of the most important sections of your business.
In a typical business plan, this section is composed of financial statements and calculated projections. However, since your business is still in the