Looking for a business plan template or format to write a compelling plan for your business?
Look no further as this business plan template will take you through a simple step-by-step guide to writing a solid business plan.
I know that a lot of entrepreneurs hate to write business plans. But it shouldn’t be so.
You don’t have to worry too much about what your business plan should entail. A standard business plan is simply about organizing and detailing the different parts of what makes up your business.
Take it step-by-step and you would come up with a solid business plan that will guide you throughout your business journey.
Now, let’s go straight to the business plan format we’ll be using.
Business Plan Format
There is no one way to write a business plan. Even though there are standard business plan templates and formats, a business plan can be written whichever way you want.
After all, it’s your personal plan for your business. Nobody should dictate what you put in it, except if you are writing to investors that require a specific business plan format.
The business plan template or format used in this article is a standard hybrid business plan that can serve as a business plan or a business proposal, depending on how you want to use it.
It is the standard business plan format provided by some business schools in Nigeria and abroad.
Lety take a look at the different parts of the business plan.
Your introduction, like the name suggests, helps you to introduce your business by describing an overview of what your business does.
It shouldn’t go too deep, as you would be detailing your business further down, but it should be able to help anyone understand what your business is all about.
Your business analysis section gives flesh to the structure of your business.
Here, you will describe how your business works, the functionalities and the unique features that make your business stand out.
Under business analysis, you have other sections that focuses on specific aspects of your business, such as:
Here you want to discuss how you price your product and what informs your pricing decision.
Do you have different prices for different products or services? Or are your products or services under one price umbrella?
How will your pricing evolve overtime due to customer changes, trends and the competition?
You want to be as dynamic as possible here.
Business Model & Profitability
How will your business make money?
Are you looking to sell products or services? To whom?
What channels of payment do you expect in the short and long term?
What are your expected annual customers in the first/next two years?
What is your expected annual revenue in the first/next two years?
What is your production like and how much does it cost to produce one unit of your product or service?
What is your profit margin? What percentage of your sales is not allocated to production, marketing, tax, and other business expenses?
Answering some of these questions will help provide some clarity on your business model and your path to profitability.
The team section of your business plan is where you should detail the identity and qualifications of the people in your core team.
How do they fit into the roles and responsibilities of leading your business?
What kind of experience do they have and what skill set do they bring to the business?
The more the experience and skills of your team members fit to their job roles, the more balanced the business would look.
Your business journey section helps you identify key milestones that your business has achieved so far.
It gives credence and history to the viability of your business, and shows how much business experience you’ve acquired so far.
Your business journey should show how long you’ve been in business and what your key business achievements are till date.
Your market analysis is a key part of your business plan that helps you and others know where your business is at, and the external forces that might influence your performance and business goals.
Your market analysis should contains some key subsections, such as:
Market Size/Target Audience
Your market size and target audience helps you know why and who your products or services are meant for.
By researching your market size, you can know how many products or services you can sell and an estimate of how much you can make.
Your target audience helps you create a niche or subsection of your market that can be served through targeted marketing.
How do you intend to win over customers?
How do you plan to get your products or services in the hands of your intended customers?
What’s your plan to overcome the market forces and competition?
What is your go-to-market strategy? How do you intend to launch your business?
What is your brand like? Is your brand unique enough?
How do you intend to grow your brand adoption and loyalty?
Here’s where you come up with the whole plan for marketing your products or services.
To have a clearer and more viable marketing plan, it is important to survey the market so you can understand the trends and the needs of your customers.
The SWOT analysis is a holistic x-ray of the nexus between your business and the market.
It helps you identify your Strengths relative to the competition, your Weaknesses relative to the competition, and the Opportunities and Threats that are present in the market.
Having a SWOT analysis included in your business plan brings a lot of clarity to your business operations and helps in your business decision-making.
It helps you to know where to compete, what areas to commit resources, and the unique advantages of your business in the market.
As the name suggests, the Business Needs section helps you identify what you need to continue building your business or to grow your business.
Do you need further cash injection to take the next step of your business?
Do you need to grow your team or add key personnel to your business?
Do you need to make a big change or pivot your product or service?
Here’s where you show it.
The future of your business is as important as its present.
You have to project your business into the future to be better prepared for it.
Also, you might have changes and additions you want to make to your business down the road.
Every good business should be able to keep evolving and adjusting with time, and so should yours.
If you have any plans for the future of your business, here’s where you should add it along with the necessary timelines.
Cash Flow Projection
Your cash flow projection section helps you detail your future cash inflows and outflows. It is the concluding part of your business plan.
It tells the story of your sales and the financial health of your business.
Your cash flow projection can be anywhere from the next 12 months to the next five years, depending on your choice.
Your cash flow projection section of your business plan is completed last because it depends on the previous sections for data.
For example, your business analysis, product pricing, and marketing strategy helps you know what your expenditures and income would be like, which you can then project into the future.
A business plan should be fun to write if you enjoy building a business.
Not only does it help you think through different aspects of your business, it helps you create and own a unique strategy for your business.
This business plan format should help you create a very solid business plan that gives you the right foundation for starting and growing a business.
If you need samples of specific business plan templates, then you should check out our business plans section.