Before business plans can be written, it is important to know and understand all of the components of a business plan. A business plan is necessary to the success of a new business because it gives the business owner a point of reference, provides an outline of necessary paperwork to file (copyright, trademark, patents, and more) and helps investors see whether or not the startup business is worth their time and money.
Business plans should include the following elements:
The business name should fit well with the industry, product or service offered. Think about marketing and advertising. Will branding the business name be easy? Do a search to ensure the business name is not under copyright or trademark and is legal for use.
Where do you see the business in the next six months? Year? 5 Years? 10 Years? Think about as many different aspects of the business as possible, and determine how you want the business to develop.
Business Goals and Objectives
The business goals and objectives will be greatly determined by the information in the business vision section. The goals will be what to accomplish, and the objectives will be how the progress or success of these goals will be measured.
What do you want to do with the business? How to do want to portray the business to customers? Think about what your mission is with the business. Why are you starting it?
Consider the need for the product or service in your area. Consider how many other businesses around you are providing the same service or product. Is there really a need for your business? Who will be interested in your product and how will you go about conducting research? How can you make yours different?
Branding Ideas/Marketing Plan
Develop a strategy for marketing the business. If there are any ideas you have for logos, slogans or products, note them as branding ideas to help the brand come together and build loyalty. How is this business different from the competition?
Determine the amount of money needed to start the business, and be prepared to show where the start up capital will go. Determine how much money will be needed to keep the business afloat for a year or two with no income from customers. Determine pricing and profit margins.
Plan of Action
Develop a plan for what happens when a variety of scenarios arise over the course of the business. What happens if a bill cannot be paid? What happens if the business fails? What happens if someone wants to buy the business? What happens if the business grows too much, too fast? Having a plan in place (for a variety of possibilities) plays a major role in how a number of situations are handled.
A business plan should be written in simple, easy to understand language, because investors may not be from that particular industry (and don't need to be bothered with the jargon). The best business plans are simple and to the point. Update the business plan each year to see how far the business has come and to keep new goals in sight at all times.