10 Things to Include In Your Business Plan

You would never consider building a house without a blueprint. Nor should you consider building a business without a business plan.  Business plans provide the blueprint for what your business offers, who it serves, and how it operates.

Here are 10 things every business plan needs:

1. Develop Your Business Concept

Your business concept defines what your business is, what products or services it offers, and how it offers them. It also defines your unique selling proposition (USP) for how you’ll compete in the marketplace.

2. Analyze Your Competition

Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your business plan should spell out who your competitors are and what they offer. Consider what they do well; you’ll be competing with that. Consider what do they do poorly; that offers an opportunity for you to shine. Examine competitors’ pricing approaches; that helps you formulate your own.

3. What is Your Pricing Strategy

In any market, there are low-end, mid-range, and high-end providers. What is your approach? Will you be the low-end value play? Somewhere in the middle? Or, will you be a high-end prestigious provider offering superior quality and service?

4. Define Your Target Market

No business serves everyone! You always serve a subset of the market. In your business plan, define your target market in terms of geographic location; identifiable characteristics (called demographics) like age or income; and, behavioral/lifestyle characteristics (called psychographics) like whether they play golf or are price-conscious.

5. Determine Your Marketing Methods

Once your target markets are clear, then determine the best ways to reach them. As you evaluate methods, always consider whether a particular form of advertising has a great deal of likelihood of reaching the intended target. If so, research their costs and get it into the business plan.

6. Have a Start-Up Budget

If you are just starting out, you need to develop a budget in the financial section of your business plan for what it’s going to cost to get to opening day. This will help determine the need for any outside financing.

7. Analyze Your Ongoing Expenses

After startup budgeting, determine what your ongoing expenses will be, both monthly and annually. Keep in mind that some expenses are fixed and recurring. Others are sporadic or must be estimated.

8. Project Income

In the financial portion of your business plan, project your anticipated income, both monthly and annually.

9. Calculate Potential Profit or Loss

Once you have income and expense projections, you can project monthly and annual profit or loss.

10. Address Operational Issues

Your business plan should address how you operate on a day-to-day basis? Consider staffing needs, job functions, and how tasks like sales and customer support need to happen.

The 10 items above are all critical things to address in your business plan. While a plan can have additional information, and content can vary according to a plan’s use, these items serve as its foundation.

For help with your business plan and other things needed to get your business rolling, contact Wexum at 512-646-0902 today.

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