If a well-composed business plan is the first step toward creating a successful business, then you need to know how to write a business plan in order to get started on the road to success.
Day 1: Gather Information
Whether you've been in business for one year or you're planning a future business, gather all of the financial information you currently have. This can be:
- receipts for sales
- receipts for business expenses
- bank statements
- a general ledger
- start-up funding
- marketing information
Day 2: Write a Simple Business Plan
The simple business plan is akin to a brainstorming session. It will serve as the outline for your formal business plan.
- The first section of a simple business plan is a written statement defining your business and your goals for the future.
- In the second section, briefly describe your target market.
- The third section details your financial information, start-up expenses, sources of funding and projected operating expenses for 6 months to one year.
- In the fourth section, briefly outline your marketing strategy.
- In the fifth section, estimate your revenue potential for each product or service you offer over one year.
Day 3: Choose a Template or Software
Next, pick a business plan format. You can purchase business plan software or use the business plan template from www.bplans.com, which is SBA approved, to format your business plan. Once you find business plan software or a template, write a cover page, legal disclosure page, table of contents, the definition of your business, products and services, goals, and a table of your start-up costs.
Day 4: Market Analysis
Research your intended target market to find out their age, gender, annual income, what they do for a living, what they do in their leisure time, whether are not they have children and why they would use your product or service. Much of this information can be found through an online database vendor like www.marketresearch.com. Create a table with this information that projects sales, pricing and repeat purchasing within your target market.
Day 5: Marketing Strategy and Projected Sales
Define your marketing plan and include the costs of implementing your plan. Then, create a table for projecting sales over a period of 6 months to one year, based on both your target market projections and your marketing strategy implementation.
Day 6: Determine Sources of Funding
Because most small businesses take at least one full year to break even, be clear about how you will fund your business in its start-up phase. List your business start-up costs, funding sources, assets and liabilities in table form. In addition, create an estimated profit and loss table for your first business year.
Day 7: Refine Your Business Plan
Refine any rough areas of your business plan so that it reads crystal clear and make certain there are no typos. Then, print out the number of copies you want and bind them neatly.
Now that you know how to write a business plan in 7 days, all you need to do now is get to work!