From Startups to Industry Veterans: Why You Should Write A Busine


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From Startups to Industry Veterans: Why You Should Write A Business Plan

 February 27, 2024 |  Business Tips, Marketing, Franchise |  small business, business growth, money management, Google, Entrepreneur

By Sammi Marcellus, NPI, Inc.'s Recruitment Coordinator

When launching a new business, entrepreneurs embark on a demanding journey, defining goals, charting growth plans, and strategizing execution. A business plan condenses these key elements into a streamlined document for investors to assess.

While securing funding often necessitates a business plan, even established businesses benefit from revisiting and updating theirs. Let’s delve into what a business plan is, how to write one, and how each section empowers seasoned entrepreneurs to achieve their ambitions.

Understanding the Business Plan
The format of a business plan varies depending on its purpose. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a valuable resource for new business owners seeking funding, outlines two main types:

Lean Startup Plan: This concise, one- or two-page document provides a bird’s eye view of a business’s purpose and goals. It might not suffice for securing funding, but serves as a vital tool for entrepreneurs to revisit their goals and adapt their strategies as needed.

Traditional Business Plan: This comprehensive document dives deep into each facet of the proposed business. While requiring more effort, the detailed information and commitment to crafting it instill confidence in investors and provides clear direction for the entrepreneur. Notably, the information compiled in a traditional plan (which can span dozens of pages) likely overlaps with what an entrepreneur already considers crucial for success.

No two business plans are the same, and while the format and order of information should be different based on why the business plan is being written and the industry the business will be part of, there are a few sections that should be included. To get started with your business plan, map out your outline with these sections:

Crafting a Compelling Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide
A well-written business plan is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, both new and established. It serves as a roadmap for success, outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections. This guide will walk you through the key sections of a business plan, helping you craft a document that secures funding, attracts investors, and propels your business forward.

1. Executive Summary: Your Captivating Introduction
The executive summary is your business plan’s elevator pitch. It’s the first impression you make on potential investors, so it needs to be concise, engaging, and informative. Briefly cover your mission statement, the problem your business solves, the target market, and your competitive edge. Think of it as a mini-version of your entire plan, enticing readers to delve deeper.
Tip: While the executive summary appears first, it’s often easier to write after completing the detailed sections of your plan.

2. Company Description: Standing Out from the Crowd
In this section, delve deeper into your company’s unique selling proposition (USP). Here’s where you’ll detail your legal structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.), location, and key personnel along with their backgrounds and expertise. Existing businesses can showcase their history, awards, and milestones. New businesses should focus on the experience and skills that set them apart from competitors.

3. Market Research: Understanding Your Landscape
Market research is an ongoing process, but a solid foundation is crucial for any business plan. Here, you’ll analyze industry trends, identify your target audience, and conduct a competitive analysis. Determine who your biggest competitors are (USP), what products or services they offer, and their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis will help you carve out your niche and demonstrate the viability of your business model.

4. Products and Services Summary: What You Offer
This section details your core offerings and any ancillary services you provide. Explain the specific needs your products or services address, whether they’re new to the market, and how often customers typically utilize them. If seeking funding, include relevant industry statistics to provide context for investors unfamiliar with your business. Established businesses can use this section to identify gaps in their service offerings and explore potential add-on services.

5. Marketing and Sales Strategy: Reaching Your Audience
The marketing and sale strategy outlines how you plan to attract and retain customers

. While a vast topic, some key areas to consider include:

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Strategies for gathering positive online reviews (e.g., Google Reviews)
  • Website design and user experience
  • In-person marketing strategies (e.g., trade shows, networking events)
  • Physical marketing materials (e.g., brochures, flyers)
  • Social media marketing plan
  • Digital marketing advertisements

6. Financial Projections and Plans: The Numbers Game
No business plan is complete without a solid financial foundation. This section dives into your projected expenses (marketing, equipment, salaries, etc.), loan requests (if applicable) and repayment plans, and anticipated revenue. Accuracy is paramount, so consider consulting a certified public accountant (CPA) to ensure your financial projections are realistic and robust.

Keeping this section up to date years down the road can help owners determine if they are hitting their predicted bench marks and set new goals for further growth. Learn more about managing your money as a small business while still growing right here!

By following these steps and carefully crafting each section, you’ll develop a compelling business plan that positions your venture for success. Remember, a business plan is a dynamic document; revisit and update it regularly as your business grows and evolves.

Writing a business plan can seem like a herculean task at times, but doing the work early on can pay massive dividends down the road! Talk to our recruitment team if you’d like to see a fleshed out example, and learn more about franchising with NPI with a free info packet.

National Property Inspections operates nation-wide and is part of the most respected network of property inspection experts in North America! Visit our FAQ for some insights at a glance.

About the Author
Sammi Marcellus, Recruitment Coordinator
A member of the Nebraska Army National Guard since 2017, Sammi assists the NPI recruitment team through building relationships with military veterans who are interested in franchising. Sammi has a background in customer service and is an asset to the NPI corporate team with her ability to relate with active and former military, guiding them through our recruitment process.

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