How to Write Business Plan PDF: Professional Guidelines
Successful business people know that the key to a prosperous business is a well-thought-out business plan, which provides a detailed description of each step to be taken. This document contains a written outline of the course of action, which means that a business owner is already aware of the potential opportunities as well as risks and is prepared to face them.
People who have recently started their business usually do not know how to write business plan PDF professionally, yet this document is crucial if they want to attract investors. A careful analysis of the business environment and meticulously planned stages of development instill confidence in people, which means that they become more willing to invest in you and your idea. To put it simply, a business plan is the corner stone of your business and if your intentions are serious, be prepared to create a good and flexible plan.
With a good business plan, you can understand your company and its activity better, which means that you are more prepared to run it. Similarly, a business plan is a useful tool to help you set achievable goals and measure progress. Finally, you can rely on the business plan when making decisions and use it to evaluate the results.
Analyze, Think, and Prepare
If you want to put the entire strategy of your business on paper, you will have to overview all components that are crucial to success:
- Goals and objectives. What are you hoping to achieve? What is your desirable progress for the next 5 years?
- Value proposition. What unique value does your business offer to the customers? Think about the most compelling characteristics of your business that make it different from the rest of businesses in the industry.
- Forecasting and marketing. Pay particular attention to goals setting as it will help you target your operations more precisely and reach the intended audience faster.
- Financial activity. Calculate the approximate amount of money involved in future business operations, including the amount you are prepared to spend and expected profit.
- Personnel. A clear and convincing business plan is likely to attract the right talent and suitable people are exactly what you need to help your business prosper.
If you need help with any of the steps mentioned above, you can try using online apps or find someone to write a business plan for you.
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Components of a Well-Written Business Plan
The following list of essential components will be helpful for anyone who wants to know how to write business plan PDF.
Your readers will want to receive a short snapshot of your business. Executive summary should describe the goals of your business, the amount of financial backing it will require, the final results you are planning to achieve, and so on. Prepare a succinct summary (the length may vary from couple of sentences to one page) to make it easier for your readers to understand what they are dealing with. Keep in mind that executive summary has to be clear, so omit insider jargon.
It might be a good idea to write this section last, after you learn how to write a conclusion for a business plan. Nevertheless, executive summary will appear first in your document.
Provide more details about your company in this section. You may want to start with the description of the history, showcase your experience, and include an overview of your plans. For instance, you can discuss the trends in the industry now and share your prediction about what it will look like in 5 years.
Next, say who your target audience is. Which of their needs will your startup satisfy? How will your services and products suit their needs? Also, do not forget to highlight your competitive advantage by saying what makes you better than your competitors in the industry.
Check out some powerful written business plan example before you start working on this section because it has to demonstrate that you really believe in the success of your business. Do not be shy and name all characteristics that will help you become a thriving business, including your location, the qualification of your staff, uniqueness of your products, and so on.
Effective competitive analysis is necessary to know who else is in the same business and what you should do to attract and retain customers. As you analyze your competitors, try to be objective. The basic measurable factors you can include are as follows:
- Market share
- Customer demographics
- Their positioning on the market
- The type of products
- Sales volume
- Business value
- Strengths and weaknesses
Once you know your competitors, you should analyze your own business in the same way. A business plan is no place to conceal the strengths of your competitors because your investors have to see that you know the risks your business is about to face. Yet, include not only your threats but opportunities as well. It is also recommended to provide a description of rules that regulate that the market.
Now you have to convince the investors that there is more to your project than just a good idea by describing the team that is going to implement it. Let your outstanding leadership skills as well as enthusiasm of your team shine through. You also have to show that you are committed because the business requires considerable capital investment. To make this section of your business plan informative and persuading, include:
- Board and management team members’ profiles. If you are planning to have a board of directors, share their profiles with a description of their experience, history in this project as well as their contribution to it. If you are running a small business that does not have a board, you can include a description of an unpaid advisory team who invests their knowledge and expertise, thus making your business more credible.
- Organizational structure. An organizational chart speaks volumes of your business concept. Include an organizational chart where you provide a brief description of each member and their contribution to the company activities. In such a way, you will show that there are people committed to every aspect of the operational process.
- Legal information. Include a description of the proprietor(s). Is your business a part of a corporation? Is the partnership general or limited? Share this type of information along with the description of structure in this section.
Describe your product and its advantages showing how it fulfils customer needs and why it is better than the product your competitors offer. Include your copyright and other intellectual property and mention relevant legal issues, for example, nondisclosure agreement.
Your marketing plan should cover such areas:
- Market penetration. What will be your strategy to enter the market and how will you attract customers?
- Business growth. Once you have entered the market, you should start developing your business and the marketing plan has to describe how you are going to do that.
- Distribution channels. Explain how your product or services will be distributed on the market, including their route from manufacturers to retailers.
- Communication. Which message will you convey to raise customer awareness about the product? Think about such means of communication as promotions, packaging, advertising, etc.
Now focus on how your product will be sold. Take into consideration the options below:
- Sales force. If this option suits you, will the sales force be independent or internal? How many people will you recruit?
- Retailers. Consider the ways to deliver your product to the customers. Will this be a brick-and-mortar store or do you prefer working online? Will this be a b2b or b2c marketing?
- e-Commerce. If you want your business to be present online, you have to entrust your digital marketing strategy to professionals so that your transactions are absolutely safe. Your online store should look credible because customers will not spend their money on products and services form a company that does not have a good reputation and history. Professionals will also create a website that will help you achieve your goals, e.g. gather leads or sell products.
- Prices. Follow these guidelines when developing your pricing strategy:
- The prices should cover the costs
- Do not lower the prices without lowering the costs
- Even though sales are your number-one priority, the price should not be the primary instrument for winning the competition. You can take into account other factors, such as your product endurance and changes on the market.
If you create a business plan for the purpose of funding request, include the following information:
- The amount of money you need
- The funding type
- The terms of cooperation
- Future funding needs (over the next 3-5 years)
- A detailed plan of using the money
- Repayment plans
If you are the owner of a self-funded business, you still have to draw a detailed financial plan, even though you do not receive investors’ approval.
This is the critical component of your business plan. Your plan should cover the three main forecasts, and each of them should correspond to your funding request (if applicable):
- Cash flow. Draw a detailed map of the cash flow know exactly where money comes and goes on a daily basis. This will also help you see the financial peaks and valleys.
- Profits and losses, aka income statement. To put it simply, this is a scorecard that demonstrates the sales and expenses. Complement it with revenue, capital, and costs to show your investors how much your company earns and spends over certain periods.
- Balance sheet. If you look carefully at an example of written business plan PDF, you will notice that this section is usually broken down into three elements: assets (tangible possessions of you company); liabilities (any debts your company has); equity (the difference between these two elements).
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Putting Your Plan to Action
Now that you know how to write business plan PDF, you should also find the best way to put it to action. But first, ask a trusted advisor to read it and share their opinion. Try to get an objective feedback on your management skills, knowledge of the market, your strategy and its appropriateness for the market. Once you are confident in your plan, start taking actions step by step.