PREZENTIUM

How To Present A Business Plan: 9 Key Elements

  • By Judhajit Sen
  • April 22, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • A business plan serves as a roadmap for your business journey, outlining its purpose, operations, and future trajectory.
  • A business plan presentation, or pitch deck, is a condensed version of your plan that showcases essential details to potential investors or partners.
  • A compelling plan presentation is crucial for securing funding, attracting investors, and rallying support for your venture.
  • A successful presentation includes the executive summary, company overview, business opportunity, management and leadership team, product and service details, sales and marketing plan, funding request, financial projections, and the appendix. Each section plays a vital role in articulating your business vision and potential for success.

A business plan is like a map of your business journey. It’s a formal paper explaining what your business is all about and what it aims to do. Think of it as a kind of storybook about your business, where you tell people what it does, how it works, and where it’s headed.

Inside a business plan, you’ll find information about the business structure, who’s in charge, and how things are set up. It also discusses how the company plans to sell stuff and make money with fancy financial projections. Plus, it lists everything the business needs, like equipment and supplies, to do its job well.

A winning business plan is like a guidebook for your business adventure. When you write a business plan, it helps you figure out where you’re going, what you need to get there, and how you’ll know when you’ve arrived. And if you’re looking for extra cash for your business, having a solid plan can help persuade folks to invest in your big ideas.

Business Plan Presentation

A business plan presentation, sometimes called a “pitch deck,” is like a slideshow introducing your business basics. It’s something you show during a meeting, whether in person or on Zoom, to give folks the lowdown on your business.

A good presentation covers the essentials: what you’re all about, who you’re trying to reach, how your business works, and what you’re asking for. When you’re presenting your plan, you’re not just sharing your cool idea—you’re hoping to get your audience to help you out with something.

Importance of a Business Plan Presentation

Business Plan Presentation

A plan presentation is crucial for your business journey. It’s not just about jotting down ideas; it’s a strategic tool that can help you overcome hurdles and spot opportunities you might have missed. When you present your business plan successfully, you’re clarifying it for yourself and making a compelling case for potential backers—like lenders, investors, or partners—that your venture has what it takes to succeed.

Research backs this up: Studies suggest that entrepreneurs who create a business plan are more likely to build viable businesses and secure funding than those who don’t. It’s not just about writing it down; how you present your plan matters. A polished, professional-looking presentation can make all the difference whether you seek a business loan, pitch your business to investors, or wooing potential partners.

Your business plan is a roadmap for your business endeavors, guiding your decisions and actions.  It’s not just a document for internal use; it’s also a key asset in external interactions. From securing loans to attracting investors or leasing a commercial space, having a solid plan can open doors and set you on the path to success in various professional arenas.

Following are nine tips for presenting your business plan step-by-step.

Executive Summary: A Snapshot of Your Business

The executive summary is the highlight reel of your plan presentation, offering a quick glimpse into your business. It’s your chance to grab the attention of potential investors and lenders right from the start, so it needs to be engaging and informative.

Start by revisiting your plan and picking out the most significant bits. Consider what makes your business unique and why  it’s  poised for success. Highlight vital elements like your business concept, goals, and vision for the future. Describe your offerings and what sets it apart from the competition. Identify your target market and outline your strategy to reach them.

Give a snapshot of your financial standing and lay out your projected revenue and profits for the next few years. Be clear about how much money you need to achieve your goals. Introduce the members of your management team, emphasizing their relevant experience.

The executive summary  must include:

  • Your mission statement.
  • Details about your products or services.
  • Information  about your team.
  • Your plans for growth.

Keep it concise yet comprehensive, giving readers a clear understanding of your business and why they should invest.

Company Overview: Setting the Stage for Success

The company overview section of your business plan demonstrates why your venture is poised for greatness. Start by pinpointing the problem your business aims to solve and who will benefit from your solution. Provide demographic data about your target customers and highlight what differentiates your company from the competition, whether it’s specialized expertise or unique product features.

Offer a brief history of your business and detail your products or services. Explain how your offerings address the identified problem and outline your business model , such as direct-to-consumer sales or online distribution. Clarify your business structure, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, and why this setup is advantageous.

Use storytelling techniques to make the problem relatable to your audience and emphasize the significance of your solution. Describe how your offerings meets your customers’ needs and surpasses alternatives in the market.

Outline your revenue model, whether it’s through direct sales, subscription fees, or advertising revenue. Provide examples of early success, such as initial customers, pre-orders, or signed contracts, to demonstrate the viability of your business and build confidence in its prospects. This section sets the stage for the rest of your presentation, showcasing the potential for success and garnering interest from potential investors or partners.

Business Opportunity: Seizing the Moment

Tips for Presenting Business Plan

This section of your business presentation showcases the potential for growth in your chosen market. Begin by delving into your market analysis, which sheds light on the landscape of your industry. Research competitors’ actions, identify trends and understand what resonates with customers.

Investors look for growth potential of your business, so provide insights into your target market’s size and demographics. Conduct a SWOT analysis to highlight your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Detail how you developed projections, citing interviews or market research data to lend credibility.

Describe the industry’s current state and areas ripe for improvement. If your business operates locally, assess the market in your area and identify gaps or areas for enhancement. List competitors and explain how your business will stand out in the crowd.

Use data to illustrate your business’s performance compared to others in the industry. Incorporate facts and statistics from reputable sources to bolster your presentation’s credibility and professionalism.

Finally, articulate the size of your market and the specific business opportunities it presents. Utilize market research to quantify potential customers and identify target segments. This section paints a clear picture of the market landscape and underscores the vast opportunities awaiting your business’s success.

The Management and Leadership Team: Key Players in Success

Spotlight the individuals driving your business forward. Start by confirming your business’s legal entity status, whether it’s an LLC or another form. Then, introduce your ownership and leadership teams, clarifying roles with an organizational chart and providing resumes to showcase key members’ skills and experience.

Investors often prioritize the team behind a business over the idea itself. Highlight the expertise and talent of your management team through short bios that emphasize relevant experience and industry recognition. Consider including headshots to put faces to names and build rapport.

Describe your organization’s structure, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. If you plan to hire staff or rely on outside consultants , outline your staffing plans here. Investors are looking for assurance that you’ve consulted experts in your field needed to drive your business forward.

Ultimately, investors want to know why your team is the right one to bring your business idea to life. Use this section to showcase the capabilities and dedication of your team, emphasizing their ability to turn your vision into reality. The strength of your team can be the deciding factor in securing support for your business venture.

Product and Service Details: Delivering Value to Customers

Start by describing what you offer and how it meets the needs of your market. Highlight its unique features and the benefits it brings to customers. If you’re taking steps to protect your intellectual property, such as trademarks or patents, be sure to mention it. Similarly, if you’re investing in research and development to enhance your offerings, explain how this will benefit your business and customers alike.

Success depends on offering products or services that customers want or need. Explain the value your offerings provide, how they differ from competitors, and the buying cycle. Demonstrating your understanding of customer needs and preferences boosts confidence in your ability to deliver.

If you’re pursuing intellectual property protections like copyrights or patents, outline your strategy. Additionally, discuss any ongoing research and development efforts aimed at expanding your product line or improving existing offerings. This showcases your commitment to innovation and highlights potential avenues for future revenue growth. By clearly articulating your product and service details, you lay the groundwork for success and instill confidence in potential investors or partners.

Sales and Marketing Plan: Reaching Your Audience

In crafting your sales and marketing plan, remember that even the best product needs a push to reach customers. Outline your strategy for reaching, convincing, and retaining your target audience. Describe the steps leading to a sale, essentially designing your sales funnel, a crucial aspect of effective planning.

Give details on how you’ll spread the word about your offerings. Will you utilize paid online ads, social media promotions, direct mail, local print ads, radio or TV sponsorships, YouTube content, or other methods? List all chosen approaches.

Ensure clarity on the sales journey and why it resonates with your target and existing customer segments. If you’ve begun implementing these methods, share data on their effectiveness.

Include an overview slide of your marketing and sales plan , emphasizing how you’ll reach and sell to your target market. You’ve identified your audience; now explain how you’ll engage and convert them. This section underscores your commitment to connecting with customers and driving sales, essential for business growth and success.

Funding Request: Securing Support for Growth

Outline your financial needs and how you plan to use that money to fuel your business’s growth over the next five years. Clearly articulate the amount of funding required and its intended use, whether for marketing, research and development, hiring key personnel, or expansion into new markets or locations.

Specify whether you’re seeking equity, debt, or a combination of both, and outline the terms  you’re  seeking for the funding. Potential investors or lenders will want to understand the rationale behind the requested amount and the type of financing being sought.

If you’re contributing personal funds to the project, highlight this to demonstrate your commitment and confidence in the venture. It shows that you have “skin in the game “  and are invested in its success.

Explain the purpose behind the funding request, detailing how it will support your business objectives and drive growth. Whether it’s to enhance product development, scale operations, or increase market presence, clarify why the funding is necessary and how it aligns with your overall business strategy. This section is crucial for garnering support from investors or lenders, showcasing your vision and readiness to take your business to the next level.

Financial Projections: Mapping Your Business’s Future

Tips for Mapping Business Plan Presentation

Demonstrating profitability is paramount to securing funding for your business. If your company is operational, include financial statements like profit and loss, balance sheets, income, and cash flow statements.

For both established and new business, a five-year financial plan is crucial. Detail forecasted income and expenditures, breaking the first year into quarterly or monthly projections. Utilize professional-looking charts, graphs, and tables for clarity.

Even if your business lacks past financial data, preparing a budget and financial plan showcases your domain understanding. For new ventures, utilize resources like the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide or SCORE’s financial projections template. For existing businesses, provide income statements, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets, ideally covering the past three years.

Detail specific steps to achieve outlined financial goals, with more emphasis on the first year. Include interactive spreadsheets for a detailed financial analysis covering production costs, profits, planned investments, and tax projections.

A detailed sales forecast spanning up to five years helps attract outside support. If your business hasn’t launched yet, utilize market research for estimates.

In your presentation, highlight key financial data such as sales forecasts, profit projections, and estimated profitability timelines. Aim to pique interest and prompt further inquiries using facts and figures without overwhelming your audience with excessive details.

Appendix: Additional Resources for In-Depth Understanding

In the appendix section at the end of your presentation , provide supplementary materials to address potential questions and offer deeper insights into your business. Anticipate inquiries and include slides that offer the information you need, showcasing your thorough preparation and understanding of all aspects of your venture.

While the core slides of your PowerPoint presentation capture the essence of your business, the appendix offers additional resources to enrich understanding. Depending on your industry, include permits, licenses, deeds, professional certifications, media clips, patents, customer contracts, and other relevant documents. These materials offer investors and bankers a comprehensive view of your business’s potential.

Consider including a list of critical concepts and industry terms to aid understanding, mainly if your business operates in a niche field. This ensures clarity and fosters better comprehension among readers unfamiliar with industry-specific terminology.

Remember, the appendix is an opportunity to provide supplementary information that bolsters your presentation and demonstrates your thoroughness and preparedness. While the plan document may not be directly referenced, the planning process equips you to present and advocate for your business efficiently.

Navigating Your Business Journey: How To Present A Business Plan

Crafting a plan presentation is akin to mapping out your entrepreneurial journey. It’s more than just a slideshow; it’s your opportunity to portray a vivid picture of your business, its potential, and its path to success. Whether you’re seeking funding, pitching to investors, or rallying support from partners, a well-prepared presentation can make all the difference.

At its core, the presentation distills the essence of your venture into digestible bits, offering a snapshot of your business basics. It covers everything from your business concept and target audience to your revenue model and financial projections. But it’s not just about sharing information—it’s about persuading your audience to join you on your business adventure.

By outlining the importance of a plan presentation and dissecting its key components, we’ve delved into the strategic approach needed to craft a compelling pitch. From the executive summary to business projections, each section plays a vital role in articulating your vision and garnering support for your venture.

Armed with insights into what makes a successful plan presentation, you’re better equipped to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship. Whether you’re a veteran business owner or a debutant entrepreneur, a well-crafted presentation can pave the way for future growth and success. So, harness the power of storytelling , data, and strategic planning to chart a course for your business’s bright future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is a business plan, and why is it important?

A business plan is like a roadmap for your business journey, detailing what your business is about, what it aims to achieve, and how it plans to do so. Think of it as a storybook about your business, explaining its concept, structure, target market, marketing strategy, financial projections, and more. It’s essential because it helps you clarify your business vision, spot opportunities, overcome obstacles, and persuade potential backers to invest in your ideas .

2. What is a business plan presentation, and why do I need it?

A business plan presentation, also known as a “pitch deck, “  is a slideshow that introduces the basics of your business to potential investors, lenders, or partners. It offers a concise overview of your business concept, target audience, operations, and funding needs. It’s crucial because it allows you to present your business in a visually appealing and engaging format, making it easier for others to understand and support your venture.

3. What are the critical elements of a successful plan presentation?

A successful plan presentation comprises several key elements, including the executive summary, company overview, business opportunity, the management and leadership team, product and service details, sales and marketing plan, funding request, financial projections, and appendix. Whether you want to grab your audience’s attention or provide detailed insights into your business and its potential for success, each section serves a specific purpose,

4. How can I make my plan presentation more compelling?

Focus on storytelling, clarity, and professionalism to make your presentation more compelling. Use engaging visuals , such as charts, graphs, and images, to illustrate key points and data. Keep your language simple and concise, avoiding  jargon that may confuse your audience.  Practice your presentation beforehand to ensure smooth delivery and confidence. Finally, be prepared to answer queries and address concerns raised by your audience, demonstrating your knowledge and readiness to lead your business to success.

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Why wait? Avail a complimentary 1-on-1 session with our presentation expert. See how other enterprise leaders are creating impactful presentations with us.

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How to Make a Killer Business Plan Presentation (+Templates)

Learn how to make a business plan presentation with tips for slide design, structure, and engaging examples, as well as templates to bring your vision to life.

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7 minute read

How to make a business plan presentation

helped business professionals at:

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Short answer

What slides should a business plan presentation include?

  • Opening slide
  • Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  • Business overview
  • The challenge you're addressing
  • Market analysis
  • Your solution
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Team composition
  • Funding request and allocation

Your business plan presentation needs to be as strong as your idea

Having a well-crafted business plan is crucial, but if it's not presented effectively, it's like having a treasure map that no one can read.

Even the best ideas can fall flat if they're not communicated clearly, potentially burying your chance of getting your business off the ground.

Remember, presenting a business plan is more than just sharing facts and figures. It's about engaging your audience, whether they're investors or stakeholders, and making them believe in your vision.

But don't worry, you're not alone in this. This guide is here to help you master the art of business plan presentation. You'll learn how to structure your presentation, design slides that captivate, and conclude in a way that leaves a lasting impact and drives action.

Let's dive in!

What to include in a business plan presentation?

A business plan presentation is your chance to delve deep, showcasing not just the what and the how, but also the why of your business. It's your strategic playbook that can persuade investors, guide your team, and set the foundation for your business's success.

11 essential slides of a business plan presentation:

Opening slide: Set the tone with an engaging first impression.

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Define what sets your business apart.

Business overview: Offer a concise snapshot of your company.

The challenge you're addressing: Describe the problem your business solves.

Market analysis: Demonstrate your understanding of the industry and market trends.

Your solution: Detail how your product or service addresses the problem you’ve identified.

Marketing and sales strategy: Outline your approach to winning and keeping customers.

Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Specify your objectives and how you’ll measure success.

Team composition: Introduce key team members, their roles, and expertise.

Funding request and allocation: Explain your financial requirements and how the funds will be utilized.

Next steps: Guide the reader on the next steps after reviewing your plan, whether it's a meeting request, further discussion, or a specific action you want them to take.

What does a business plan presentation look like?

In today's fast-paced business world, static business plan presentations are losing their edge. Imagine having to constantly pinch and zoom on a mobile device just to see the details. It's frustrating and distracting.

People also get disengaged when faced with walls of text. They're there to hear a story, not read a novel.

Interactive presentations, on the other hand, bring your business plan to life. They encourage audience participation, adapt to the flow of discussion, and make complex ideas more digestible and memorable.

You can see what an interactive business plan presentation looks like below:

How to turn a business plan into a presentation

Transforming your business plan into a presentation is a crucial step in bringing your vision to life. It's not just about having a plan; it's about presenting it in a way that resonates with investors and partners.

Start by distilling the essence of your plan, focusing on key points like your mission, market analysis, and financial projections. Use engaging visuals and a clear narrative to make complex information accessible.

For detailed insights on how to write a business plan , check out our guide.

How to make a business plan presentation in 6 easy steps

Crafting a business plan is about blending vision and strategy into a narrative that captivates your audience. With Storydoc's AI business presentation maker, creating this narrative becomes intuitive and easy.

In the guide below, we'll show you how to turn your plan into an engaging presentation in 6 simple steps. Stick around to see how seamlessly Storydoc can bring your business story to life.

1) Describe your presentation’s objective

Kick things off by sharing with our AI the type of business plan you're looking to create. This is like setting the GPS for your journey, ensuring every part of your plan is aligned with your end goal.

2) Give an overview of yourself, your organization, and your offering

Introduce the essence of your business - who you are, what your company stands for, and the unique value of what you offer. This sets the stage for a personalized and relevant presentation.

Introduce yourself to Storydoc's AI assistant

3) Select a suitable design template

Dive into our collection of design templates and pick one that resonates with your business's personality.

Pick a Storydoc design template

4) Tailor your business plan presentation to your needs

Now, here’s where you add your personal touch. Fill in your details, tweak the design, and watch the magic happen as the template adapts to your content. This is where your business plan presentation starts to take on a life of its own.

Then, you can either upload your own multimedia elements or sit back as our AI assistant generates some for you.

Customizable Storydoc multimedia presentation

5) Add personalized elements

Next up, sprinkle in some personalization. It works just like personalizing a newsletter - you can insert dynamic variables that automatically fill up with your recipient's data.

This level of customization not only makes your presentation feel tailor-made for each reader but also adds a layer of engagement. As a matter of fact, it can get 68% more people to read your deck in full , and share it internally 2.3x more often!

Personalized Storydoc multimedia presentation

6) Review and refine your business plan presentation

Finally, take a step back and review your plan. Ensure it looks good, flows well, and clearly conveys your message.

The beauty of Storydoc is that it's a living document – if you spot a mistake or need to update information after sharing, you can. You're in control, ensuring your audience always sees the most polished and up-to-date version of your business plan presentation.

Storydoc multimedia presentation

Business plan design principles to turn average into impressive

Designing a business plan presentation is about more than just putting words on a page; it's about creating an experience that captures and holds attention. In today's digital age, the way you present your plan can be just as important as the content itself.

Let's explore how to design a business plan presentation that stands out in the modern business landscape.

1) Move from static to interactive

Gone are the days of static, text-heavy business plan presentations. Today's plans are interactive, engaging readers with clickable elements, dynamic charts, and even embedded videos.

This interactivity not only makes your plan more interesting but also allows readers to engage with the content in a more meaningful way.

Here's a great example of an interactive business plan presentation:

2) Use scroll-based design

Forget the hassle of pinching and zooming on a PDF. A scroll-based design, similar to a modern website, offers a fluid reading experience.

It's straightforward and aligns with how we naturally consume content online, making your business plan presentation easier and more enjoyable to read.

Here's an example of scroll-based design:

Business plan scrollytelling example

3) Make sure your business plan presentation is mobile-friendly

With so many people reading on their phones, your business plan presenttion needs to look good on any device.

Responsive design means your plan is easily readable on a phone, tablet, or computer, ensuring that your message is clear no matter how your audience accesses it.

4) Shift from local files to online documents

Step away from traditional Word docs or PDFs and embrace online documents. They're great for sharing, updating in real time, and collaborating with others.

Plus, they're accessible from anywhere, which is perfect for busy investors who are always on the move.

For more information, check out our comparison of the best business plan document types .

5) Embrace visual storytelling

Use visuals like infographics and charts to tell your business's story. They can turn complex data into easy-to-understand, engaging information. A well-placed visual can often do a better job of explaining your points than text alone.

Here's a great example of visual storytelling:

Business plan visual storytelling example

Best business plan software

Selecting the right tool to create your business plan presentation is vital for any startup. To ease your journey, I've compiled a list of the top business plan software, each designed to cater to different needs.

From comprehensive platforms guiding you step-by-step to dynamic tools that add interactive elements to your presentation, there's something for every entrepreneur.

The best business plan software currently available:

LivePlan.com

BizPlan.com

Upmetrics.co

GoSmallBiz.com

Business Sorter

MAUS Master Plan Lean

For a deep dive into each tool and to find the one that best fits your business's needs, explore our detailed guide to the best business plan software .

Interactive business plan presentation templates

The pressure to get your business plan presentation right can be overwhelming. After all, in many cases, you only get one shot to impress.

These business plan presentation templates offer a framework that takes care of the structure and design, allowing you to focus solely on fleshing out your strategy.

Whether you're pitching to investors, partners, or stakeholders, these templates give you the confidence that your plan is presented in the best possible light.

Grab one and see for yourself.

what do i need to present a business plan

Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

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Home Blog Business How To Craft & Deliver an Effective Business Plan Presentation (Quick Guide)

How To Craft & Deliver an Effective Business Plan Presentation (Quick Guide)

Cover for Business Plan Presentation guide

A vital element in today’s highly competitive business landscape is the ability to craft and deliver a business plan presentation. This applies to both entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. 

This guide describes essential aspects required to build a business plan presentation and deliver it to stakeholders. 

Table of Contents

What is a Business Plan Presentation?

Is a business plan presentation the same as a business presentation, executive summary, justification of the business proposal, swot analysis, the niche of the proposal & actors in the industry, competitors, competitive intensity, trend analysis and critical variables, value chain, market analysis, jobs-to-be-done, value proposition, revenue streams, cost structure, distribution channels, key partnerships for the business model, organizational structure & management, go to market and marketing plan, development plan, qa, and continuous improvement model, distribution plan, inventory management, initial funding and financing structure, projection of income and costs.

  • Evaluation of Projected Return vs. Required

Risk Evaluation

Sensitivity to critical variables, how to present bibliographical information in a business plan presentation, how to deliver a business plan presentation.

A business plan presentation is the medium we use to communicate a business plan to an audience. 

Presenters commonly ask what is the target length of a business plan presentation in terms of slides. Our expertise in this field tells us it’s advisable to work between 13-20 slides, remaining as concise as possible and using the help of visual aids. Let the graphics speak rather than fill your slides with text blocks.

No. A business plan presentation is used to communicate an identified business opportunity and how it is planned to be served in a way that generates profit. A business presentation is a more generic term, explained in our article about business presentation examples . 

How to Create a Business Plan Presentation

This section will list our recommended content for a successful business plan presentation. We broke it down into four stages which help the presenter build the story backing the business: a-. The opportunity and the competitive landscape analyzed, b- the business model designed and tested to serve the opportunity, c- the implementation plan of the business model, and finally, d- the financial and economic projections estimated that show the profitability of the opportunity.

For the purpose of this guide, the slides will refer to a case study of photo editing software. To replicate this slide deck creation process, you can speed up design decisions by working with the SlideModel AI Presentation Maker and tailoring it to your project.

So, how to make a business plan presentation? Let’s see a step by step guide.

Stage 1 – Identifying the Opportunity

After the title slide that defines how to start a presentation , any business plan should proceed by introducing the executive summary in a concise but impactful format.

The purpose of the executive summary is to inform the audience what to expect from the presentation and its conclusion.

Executive Summary slide in a Business Plan Presentation

Work with a maximum of two slides for this section, highlighting the key elements through visual cues. Check our guide on how to present an executive summary .

The next slide should disclose all the reasoning behind the business plan proposal, why this plan is being presented at this present moment, and projections of how the plan aligns with the current market trends.

Presenters can share the analysis done by the Market research team as long as it’s made clear which problem is relevant to the current market trends that this business plan aims to solve.

Mention all the references used to arrive at the conclusions expressed so data is backed with meaningful sources.

Justification of the Business Proposal slide

Any corporate PPT template can help you craft this slide, but presenters can also boost their performance through the use of infographics . If your solution for the selected problem involves a complex process, consider using a process flow template to expose the step-by-step justification of this proposal.

Use a SWOT template to showcase the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of this business opportunity.

SWOT Analysis slide in a Business Plan Presentation

Make sure the SWOT diagram is legible. Work your way to meet the same aesthetic style despite speeding up the process with templates. Mention the tools used for gathering the information for this SWOT Analysis in the footnote and ensure the audience understands which information elements help you reach conclusions in each quadrant. Check our guide on how to create a SWOT analysis and see if your business plan requires a SWOT or SOAR analysis . 

Every business plan is scoped under a niche or industry sector. With this slide, describe the sector in which the proposal is immersed. Communicate its value,  list the actors involved, and describe their high-level relationships.

Actors in the Industry slide in the Business Plan Presentation

List the analyzed competitors. Communicate their attributes. The competitors’ comparison in business plan presentation can be visually explained using tools from the Blue Ocean Strategy framework, like the Strategy Canvas . 

Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas in Business Plan Presentation

The competitive intensity of an industry sector is studied through the Porter’s 5 Forces model. This intensity expresses how attractive the industry is. Explain the conclusion in each force showcasing the model.

Porter's Five Forces Analysis in Business Plan Presentation

First, introduce the variables identified as important for the industry sector, citing the insight’s source. Secondly, drill down each variable and break down the different trend dimensions ( PESTEL ) 

  • Use a highly visual slide, like a dashboard template , to introduce factual data regarding the trends over a specific time period. Growth rates must be represented in time frames of over 180 days to evaluate the trend accurately.
  • List the critical variables (consumers, product, production capability, and financing) briefly.
  • Disclose how each variable can affect pricing and your position within the niche for that trend. Presenters can refer to case studies from successful competitor stories on how they responded to trend changes in the niche.

PESTEL Analysis slide for a Business Plan Presentation

When presenting the value chain, we ought to articulate the sequence of activities the company handles to create value within the business plan. Start by breaking down the value chain into its key components, briefly explaining the stages from inbound logistics all the way through customer service. It is important to highlight the linking point between each stage and express the value of coordinating team activities to enhance overall efficiency.

Value Chain Layout slide in a Business Plan Presentation

We can use flowchart diagram templates as visual aids for the audience so they can understand the process sequence. Check our guide on how to make a flowchart .

Present the identified Market and its Segments. Continue explaining how conclusions were driven through the analysis and sizing of the market.

TAM SAM SOM for Business Plan Presentations

Presenters can use target market analysis templates , market segmentation templates , or TAM SAM SOM templates to compare their target market with the total available market. 

We recommend you check our guide on market segmentation for this process.

Then drill down with a Persona definition.

This study can be made by creating ideal customers, describing their demographics and psychological factors that make them prospective candidates to purchase the product or service this business plan presentation refers to.

Here is our guide on creating buyer personas . 

The Jobs-to-be-Done theory explains why certain customers are attracted to products and services and how those elements solve core problems in the consumers’ lives. 

A Perceptual Map is a tool we can use to measure the consumer perception of different products/services in the same market. This can be particularly useful if our value proposal is to brand ourselves as cheaper alternatives to already existing solutions. Check our guide on perceptual maps for further information.

Check our guide on the Jobs-to-be-Done framework and add suggestions to the business plan presentation.

Stage 2 – Business Model

To describe the  Business Model in your Business Plan Presentation, use the business model canvas analysis tool. Display your design in one slide.

Business Model Canvas for a Business Plan Presentation

For specific sections of the BMC, you can add slides if you need to drill down for further details. In our experience, the following sections require a deeper level of explanation.

List the Segments targeted in your Business Model. You can include a slide with additional information and segment size. Reference the Market analysis explained earlier to justify the selection or which were the pivots applied.

Customer Segmentation slide in a Business Plan Presentation

In order to explain the reasoning behind the Value Proposition and how it serves the segments selected, you can use the Value Proposition Canvas tool to explain the logic behind this selection.

Value Proposition Canvas slide for Business Plan Presentation

The Value Proposition outlines the unique benefit our product or service offers the market and why customers should choose our offer over potential alternatives. Since we have already analyzed the potential buyers and presented the market, it’s time to deliver that value proposition using our best assets: customer testimonials, report data, surveys, etc.

As testimonials often weigh the most in established brands, be sure to present this information through a narrative that showcases why your product or service had a positive impact on the life of that customer. You can use customer testimonial templates to give an extra boost through visual aids.

Customer testimonial slide in a Business Plan Presentation

Explaining how much the customers will pay for the product/services is critical to understanding the viability and profitability of the business. Showcase for each segment the pricing model and the engagement terms.

The Income Model expresses the sources of revenue for our business plan. This has to be in relationship with the pricing strategy for established businesses. Lean startups can work concerning their minimum viable product (MVP) and then elaborate with projections for future releases or changes in their income stream structure.

At this point, companies need to present the sources of revenue depending on their origin:

  • Product Sales
  • Subscription Model
  • Freemium Model
  • Partnerships with other brands in different niches
  • Advertising and Sponsorships
  • Monetization

Check our guide on pricing strategy models for more information about how to present this point. You can use revenue stream templates to represent this data in style.

Pricing table slide in a Business Plan Presentation

Drill down the cost structure categories and relate them to the Value Chain explained earlier. Show a cost breakdown chart to make it easier for the audience to understand their weight in the total costs.

As this step can be a bit complex to articulate, we recommend you check our guide on Cost Structure to see how you can resume all that information in one slide.

At the business model stage, distribution channels should be briefly introduced since they will be mentioned again in the Distribution Plan . In some industries, it is important to highlight which channels are chosen over others for the sake of revenue and faster operation.

Our Distribution Channels PowerPoint Template is a perfect resource for this.

Distribution Channels slide in Business Plan Presentation

Presenting the strategic partnerships for the business plan is a way to prove the plan’s potential reach and success factor. On this behalf, companies must list which resources they are sharing with their business partners regarding expertise, technology, distribution channels, or capital, as these elements will impact the cost structure.

You can use the Business Partnership PowerPoint Template to present this information in a professional-looking format.

Stage 3 – Implementation

The business plan is designed to offer a product, deliver a service, or combine both. At this stage, the business plan presentation drills down on how the organization will build/deliver the product/service implementing the business model outlined earlier.  

Describe how the company operates regarding human capital and its roles. Presenters must describe to the audience the hierarchical structure, responsibilities, and how they play a role within the value chain.

Org Chart in a Business Plan Presentation

You can use Org Charts to represent the roles and responsibilities in the organization visually. It is also advisable to highlight the expertise and experience of the management team, as it helps to build trust.

The Human Resource Plan must refer to your planned recruitment, training, and employee onboarding. Which talent will be required, and how is it planned to build the different teams of the structure.

HR Plan slide in Business Plan Presentation

Check the Go To Market Strategy guide and describe how the Business Plan will enter the market and overcome the initial barriers. Continue with the Marketing Plan limited to 1-2 slides resuming the plan’s tactics to increase brand awareness and the selected channels for this strategy. 

You can use the Marketing Plan Templates help to speed up the process by focusing on the content to fill rather than the design or creating complex charts from scratch.

Go-To Market Framework in Business Plan Presentation

Present the sales plan describing the full sales process, lead generation, nurturing customers, and conversion strategies.

Use Sales PowerPoint Templates to visually illustrate your sales process, like the Sales Pipeline Slide Template for PowerPoint , which depicts the process from lead acquisition to a closed deal.

Check our guide on Sales Plan for further information on this topic.

This step refers to presenting the product/service development plan, the Quality Assurance processes behind its validation, and your company’s commitment to a continuous improvement process based on surveyed data or customer feedback.

We can refer to testimonials, user case experiences our team successfully troubleshot, or experiences we learned from competitors in the same niche.

Presenting the distribution plan involves addressing logistics topics, supply chain , and sharing fulfillment strategies. Although we already presented the potential distribution channels, this is the step in which you detail how each will interact and their impact on the estimated revenue. 

Present one slide mentioning your company’s approach to these channels, if applicable:

  • Direct Sales (either physical store or e-commerce)
  • Retail Partnerships
  • Wholesalers or Distributors
  • E-Commerce marketplaces

This step involves two different approaches depending on the kind of industry we’re in. For traditional business, inventory management in a business plan presentation must highlight how the inventory will be handled to minimize transportation costs or overproduction. Projections must be shown per quarterly period and take into account seasonality if it has a significant impact on the required storage capacity.

On the other hand, e-commerce companies have to present their online infrastructure to secure the product’s availability 24/7, how customer tickets are handled when the customer cannot access the product, server costs, and how we prevent online leaks.

Stage 4 – ROI and Risk Evaluation

This section will outline the Financial Plan of your Business.

Showcase the financial structure, including equity, debt, and potential investors, at the moment of kick-starting this business. It is a good practice to consider the initial funding slide to be a brief summary of those points, with particular emphasis on the funding needs.

Cash Flow Diagrams , Comparison Chart templates , and Timeline templates to showcase when funds help to meet each of the plan’s milestones are good ideas to represent the elements on this slide.

Income and expense projections must be presented over a defined time period by using graphs or charts to clearly visualize the trends supporting each change.

Revenue and Expenses breakdown slide for Business Plan Presentation

Break down the revenue sources with clear, identifiable icons to showcase: product sales, subscription fees, advertisement, affiliates, etc. Sales estimations have to be realistic and conservative, as they will be contrasted with the production, marketing, administrative, and personnel costs to leave a gross profit margin calculation. 

Evaluation of Projected Return vs. Required 

Demonstrate the feasibility of your business plan. Start by presenting the profit margins in relation to the projection of income and expenses, then introduce the break-even analysis .

Presenters can make their message more relevant by presenting an ROI calculation and contrasting it with industry benchmarks in the same niche. By following this approach, presenters prove how the ROI offered by this business plan aligns with the investment’s risk projection.

Presenting a risk evaluation analysis in a business plan presentation involves introducing both risks and their mitigation strategies. 

Risk Management templates , like the ROAM framework, can help organize potential risk sources by their severity and impact on the organization. A pyramid diagram can be used to demonstrate how risk management can be delegated across the organization to completely eradicate the risk factor depending on its severity. 

The elements you should consider presenting are mainly regulatory changes, market changes, competitors (new or existing), and financial crises. 

The final point in our business plan presentation involves summarizing how key variables can influence the projected returns in our plan. Examples of these variables can be sudden increases in raw materials (affecting production costs and sales prices), a new pandemic (affecting workforce capacity and shortage of raw materials), geopolitical situations like war, etc.

We highly recommend presenting these critical variables using scenario analysis techniques according to measured data. Introduce best-case, worst-case, and most likely-case to give a full panorama of how your organization is prepared against any contingency.

An often overlooked point in a business plan presentation comes when listing the bibliographical information used to craft the business plan. Follow these steps to ensure a professional outcome for this slide or document.

  • Use a title like: “Bibliography,” “Source Credits,” or “References.” If your business plan presentation cites examples from other companies, use a “Works Cited” section.
  • References are usually shown in the APA style, but the MLE or Chicago style can be requested depending on your location or situation.
  • Maintain a consistent style in terms of reference style used, font, text size, and formatting options across the entire slide deck. Footnotes or in-text citations can be used for important data.
  • Verbally acknowledge your sources when required throughout the course of your presentation. This helps to establish credibility and respect for other people’s work rather than just dropping a slide with chunks of text.

This section will cover the most commonly asked questions on delivering a business plan presentation.

How many slides should my business plan presentation list?

This will depend entirely on your niche and the complexity of the business plan. Generally, work with at least 15 slides and no more than 30. It is best to use an extra slide rather than overcrowd an existing slide with tons of information.

What is the best format to present a business plan?

There are different options to present any business plan, so the selected option will mostly consist of the presenter’s preferred style and the audience’s age and interests.

  • PowerPoint Presentation : You can start from a blank slide and go all the way through a professionally designed PPT template . PowerPoint documents allow you to present images, text, audio, videos, and any kind of graphic to help you convey the core ideas behind the business plan. They can work with any PC or Mac device, as well as mobile devices.
  • PDF Documents: This can be a choice made in a hurry or by preference. Sharing a PDF document can work, but you must include the fonts used in the original document, as some compatibility issues can be present. 
  • Pitch Deck : Rather than doing a lengthy business plan presentation, a pitch deck consists of a maximum of 15 slides to deliver your proposal concisely. This is the typical approach we can see in TV shows like Shark Tank. 
  • Video Presentation : In some cases, using a video in a business plan presentation is relevant, especially if we are to introduce an innovative product in the market. You can use videos to showcase features, present services in a live format, introduce your team, and plenty of other options.

Are printables required in business plan presentations?

Although they are not required, using supplementary material in business plan presentations can be useful. You can prepare reference material for investors, especially involving complex data like graphs in an amplified format (and reference the slide in which they appear and vice versa).

Providing a printable to accompany your business plan presentation helps to give an image of professionalism and respect to your proposal.

What are the don’ts of writing a business plan?

The main purpose of this article is to craft and deliver a business plan presentation. Still, we would like to clarify some common errors seen in business plans that typically affect the performance of the presentation.

  • Using overcomplicated language : Jargon or unnecessary acronyms may confuse spectators who are not in touch with all the details relevant to a particular industry. 
  • Ignoring the audience : Not considering the variety of interests among investors, partners, and team members can hinder your presentation.
  • Neglecting/underestimating competitors : Any realistic business plan considers the existing competitors in their niche and perhaps potential newcomers. Not doing so will leave you unprepared to present a doable business plan.
  • Ignoring Risk Assessment : Omitting the Risk Assessment analysis and mitigation strategies does not respect the value investors and your team have. 

How long should the business plan presentation be?

As a general guideline, try to fit your business plan presentation between 20-30 minutes. Some complex plans may require additional time to be presented.

Does the presentation need to be tailored to different audiences? 

Using this tactic can be a winning factor for both investors and your team, as you prioritize effective communication for the roles they are relevant. Take these items into consideration for tailoring the presentation for specific needs.

In-Company Presentation

The focus should be on goal accomplishment and the strategies targeted to the team’s roles. Emphasize how teamwork is the pathway to success and how each individual contributes to the bigger picture.

If new technologies or knowledge are required as part of the business plan implementation, then this is the moment to disclose that information and inform the process to coach the team into it.

Board Meeting

Whenever delivering the business plan presentation to a board of directors, focus on the strategic goals, financial projections, and KPIs. 

Showcase how this business plan aligns with the company’s core values, mission, vision, and long-term strategy. 

Potential Investors

Presenting your unique value proposition, potential ROI, and highlighting the market opportunity is extremely important. Focus on selling your business model and vision with accurate financial projections and growth strategy. 

Dedicate some minutes to present your industry’s competitive landscape and answer why your product or service is a better offering than what competitors produce.

As we can see, creating a business plan presentation is a process that can be time-consuming if we lack the required business plan presentation tools to turn data into visually appealing formats. 

Remember to work concisely without losing the big picture of what you intend to explain. Your presentation is the entry point into the heart of your business; therefore, by adopting a structured approach, you can deliver an experience that engages, inspires, and builds confidence. 

Finally, let’s see some business plan PowerPoint presentation examples & business plan templates that you can use to speed up the presentation design process and save time.

1. Coffee Shop Illustration Business Plan Slides

what do i need to present a business plan

Create your new business plan presentation with quality vector illustrations for Coffee Shops. Ideal for cafeterias, coffee bars, barista giftshop stores, bookshops and more.

Use This Template

2. Real Estate Business Plan PowerPoint Template

what do i need to present a business plan

Realtors looking to start their own agencies should take a look at this attractive selection of slides with tailored real estate vector illustrations. These presentation plan slides show the different stages that a prospective buyer may incur, from hiring the services of a Real Estate agent, checking different properties, to finally buying a home.  Graphs and charts are included in vivid colors that are fully editable to meet the required branding.

3. Restaurant Business Model PowerPoint Template

what do i need to present a business plan

As we’ve seen with the previous cases, these vector images depicting typical restaurant activities can help us build a business plan presentation sample to discuss with our team prior to an important meeting. Save time and money by introducing these professional designs into your presentation.

4. One Pager Business Plan PowerPoint

what do i need to present a business plan

To briefly summarize the objectives of your business plan, work in-team with this one-pager business plan slide. Ideal to take notes, give a general picture of the current status of the business plan and key growth opportunities.

5. Business Plan PowerPoint Templates

what do i need to present a business plan

If you want to create the best business plan presentation, this slide deck can make that task 100% easier. Containing all the elements described in this guide, introduce your data and prepare to deliver a powerful speech.

6. Flat Bold Business Plan PowerPoint Template

what do i need to present a business plan

Another slide deck intended for those looking at how to make a business plan presentation that delivers a memorable experience. With a minimalistic design approach, it perfectly balances formal elements and impactful visual cues to help increase your audience’s retention rate.

7. Car Sharing Business Plan PowerPoint Template

what do i need to present a business plan

Create the next Uber-like car-sharing service with the help of these carpooling vector illustrations perfectly arranged in a cohesive business plan slide deck. Presenters can explain the ins and outs of their business model with highly detailed graphics that grab the attention of potential investors. Check it out now!

8. Beauty Salon Business Plan PowerPoint Template

what do i need to present a business plan

Business plan presentations don’t have to look formal or boring. This slide deck is geared towards beauty salon businesses, especially for those targeted to women. Chic design, bold color scheme, and extremely useful tools like a pricing list to present an idea like a subscription-based model where consumers see the total value of their investment.

9. CrossFit Business Plan PowerPoint Template

what do i need to present a business plan

Finally, we list an option filled with tools and gym vector illustrations for those looking to start a gym business or CrossFit academy. These illustrations were crafted with care to express the core idea on every single slide, such as human-shaped graphs to present relevant KPIs.

what do i need to present a business plan

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Start » startup, smart strategies for presenting your business plan.

Whether you're pitching investors or applying for a bank loan, it's important to nail your business plan presentation. Here are some tips for crafting and presenting yours.

 woman giving presentation to other professionals

For entrepreneurs who plan to apply for funding or raise investor capital, it's essential to write a solid business plan before launching a business . This document outlines the most important details about your new venture — including your mission, your founding team, your market research and, most importantly, your financial projections.

Once your business plan is written, you may be asked to present it in a variety of circumstances. Much like a professional resume, your plan will need to be tailored and tweaked to appeal to the specific audience you're trying to reach.

Whether you're preparing to write your first plan or refining your existing one, here are some expert-recommended tips for successfully presenting it to anyone who's evaluating your business.

When will you need to present your business plan?

A business plan should contain in-depth details about your business's market, revenue strategy and company structure to communicate the big picture, said Gerald Padilla, vice president of sales and marketing at Joorney Business Plans . The most common circumstances where you'll need to present your plan include:

  • Applying for a business loan, especially through a bank or the Small Business Administration .
  • Pitching investors and board members.
  • Renting a commercial space.

Matthew Wolf, head of advisory and senior consultant for Joorney Business Plans, said that even if your business plan is just an internal document for now, writing one forces you to think critically about how your business will achieve success, while also keeping you accountable.

[Read: 5 Business Plan Templates to Help You Plan for Success . ]

You should be able to clearly state who you are, what you do and why you are relevant.

David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks

Crafting the right business plan for your audience

If you want your business plan to be effective, you should customize and tailor it to the audience you're pitching, said Padilla.

"It's impossible to be everything to everyone," added David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks . "You should be able to clearly state who you are, what you do and why you are relevant."

Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

  • Lenders. Banks and the SBA require specific information in their business plan in order to approve a loan , said Padilla. It's important to understand those requirements and address each one within your business plan. "Debt providers are interested in your cash flow being sufficient to cover the principal and interest of the loan for the term," added Wolf.
  • Investors. In general, said Wolf, equity investors are interested in returns on investment, as well as debt coverage, which affects free cash flow and returns on investment. However, some investors may also be attracted to different aspects of your business. "Some may be endeared to the product or service concept, while others may invest in the team or CEO because they see the value in their qualities," Padilla told CO—. "Be sure to understand the investors you may be presenting to and their interests."
  • Landlords. Padilla noted that the potential landlord of a commercial space may ask for a business plan to understand the type of venture the business owner is proposing for use within the lease space. "They want to get clear details of the applicant's business activity before they accept the potential tenant's lease application," he said.

How to present your business plan

Regardless of your audience, there are a few key things to keep in mind when preparing to present your business plan.

First and foremost, you should ensure that all information included is credible and error-free.

"You want the business plan to reflect your professionalism and add to your credibility," said Padilla. "When using statistics, facts or figures, always cite the source of the data to support your ideas."

[Read: How to Write a Great Business Plan . ]

Reiling noted that you'll want to keep your plan simple so you can present it easily. Consulting resources like the SBA and SCORE can help you strike the right balance between simplicity and providing enough relevant information, he said.

"Bigger isn't necessarily better," Reiling added. "It's the content that matters."

On that note, Wolf advised making your plan as engaging as possible so you can capture the attention of the audience from the beginning.

"Be sure to have a clear go-to-market strategy and think deeply on your business's true competitive advantages," he said.

Finally, be sure to review your plan before each presentation to ensure you're providing the most accurate, up-to-date information on your business and its progress.

"Business plans should be living documents that are revisited and changed to reflect where a business is versus where it projected it would be," said Reiling. "It's the roadmap for a business."

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Business plan presentation: A complete guide for executives

Ever wondered what goes into creating a killer business plan presentation that leaves your audience in awe? Well, you're in the right place.

Sahul Hameed

Building presentations

Group of executives preparing a business plan presentation

Hey there, fellow business enthusiast! 🚀

Have you ever wondered what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest?

It's not just a great business idea; it's the ability to present that idea effectively through a stellar business plan presentation. In today's digital age, where first impressions matter more than ever, mastering the art of business plan presentations is crucial.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of crafting a winning business plan presentation that will leave potential investors, partners, and stakeholders eager to jump on board.

What is a business plan?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of presentations, let's start with the basics. A business plan is the blueprint for your entrepreneurial journey. It's a detailed document that outlines your business idea, strategy, and financial projections. It's like the GPS for your business, guiding you from start to success.

Purpose of a business plan: Why do we need one?

Now, you might be thinking, "Do I really need a business plan?"

Absolutely! A well-crafted business plan serves multiple purposes. It not only clarifies your business goals but also acts as a roadmap for your team. Moreover, it's a powerful tool to attract investors, secure loans, and demonstrate your expertise in your industry.

Types of business plans

When it comes to business planning, one size doesn't fit all. Depending on your specific goals and needs, there are various types of business plans to choose from. Let's explore some of the most common ones:

1. Startup business plan

Starting a new business venture? A startup business plan is your go-to document. It's like the blueprint for your entrepreneurial dream. This plan outlines essential elements such as your products or services, target market, competition analysis, and financial projections. Its primary purpose? To attract investors and secure the necessary funding to kickstart your business.

2. Strategic business plan

Looking at the bigger picture? A strategic business plan is your long-term roadmap. It not only sets your business goals and objectives but also outlines the strategies to achieve them. Think of it as your guiding star, ensuring that your business stays on track and steadily moves towards its goals.

3. Feasibility business plan

Before taking the plunge, it's wise to assess the waters. A feasibility business plan helps you evaluate the viability of your business idea. It dives into market analysis, competition assessment, and financial projections. This plan is often used to secure loans or grants, especially from banks or government agencies.

4. Operations business plan

Want to optimize your day-to-day operations? An operations business plan is your tool for streamlining processes. It covers everything from your products or services to supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, and customer service procedures. This type of plan helps enhance efficiency and productivity within your business.

5. Growth business plan

Ready to take your business to new heights? A growth business plan charts the course for expansion. It involves a thorough market analysis, competition assessment, and financial projections. This plan is instrumental in attracting investors or securing financing for ambitious growth projects.

6. Specialized business plans

Beyond the broad categories, there are specialized business plans tailored to unique needs. These include:

  • Marketing business plans : Focused on marketing strategies and tactics.
  • Financial business plans : Emphasizing financial projections and budgeting.
  • Product launch business plans : Geared towards launching new products or services.

Here is a guide on new market entry strategy presentation .

Types of business plans based on size

Business plans can also be categorized based on their size and complexity. Here are the main types:

1. Traditional business plan

Think of a traditional business plan as the comprehensive encyclopedia of your business. It delves into every aspect, from products and target markets to competition and financial forecasts. Typically, it's used to woo investors or secure funding from banks.

2. Lean startup business plan

For startups seeking a more streamlined approach, the lean startup business plan is the way to go. It's a shorter, more focused version of the traditional plan, highlighting key elements like the problem you're solving, your solution, and your business model. Ideal for early-stage businesses looking to attract investors.

3. One-page business plan

Short on time but big on ideas? The one-page business plan is a concise summary of your business. It covers essential information like products or services, target markets, competition, financial projections, and your team, all on a single page. It's perfect for quickly pitching your business concept to potential investors or partners.

Remember, the type of business plan you choose depends on your specific business goals, size, and the stage of your entrepreneurial journey. Whether you're just starting out or aiming for growth, there's a business plan tailored to your needs.

Why presentation is important for a business plan

Now, let's talk about the secret sauce that makes your business plan stand out – presentation.

Think of it this way: You've got a fantastic business idea, but if you can't convey it effectively, it's like having a treasure map but no one to read it. This is where a well-crafted business plan presentation comes into play.

But don't just take our word for it. Numerous studies and statistics underline the crucial role of business plan presentations in the success of entrepreneurs and businesses:

Higher chance of success

Companies armed with well-structured business plans are more likely to succeed. According to a study by Harvard Business Review , business owners who create a formal business plan have a 16% higher chance of succeeding than those who don't. It's like having a roadmap that not only guides you but also significantly increases your odds of reaching your destination.

Securing funding

If you're in the pursuit of investors or loans, a well-crafted business plan presentation is your golden ticket. It's the bridge that connects your vision, strategy, and financial projections to potential investors. This critical step can't be underestimated, as 72% of investors consider a business plan presentation an important factor in their decision to invest in a company, according to CB Insights .

Attracting and retaining top talent

Your team is the backbone of your business, and attracting top talent is a vital aspect of growth. A business plan presentation plays a pivotal role here. It offers prospective employees insights into your company's goals and values, helping them understand the bigger picture. In fact, 85% of employers state that they would be more inclined to hire a candidate who demonstrates a clear understanding of the company's business plan, as reported by Glassdoor.

The power of well-designed presentations

It's not just about having a presentation; it's about making it count. Well-organized, informative, and engaging business plan presentations have a higher chance of success. A study by the University of California, Berkeley, found that such presentations, when thoughtfully designed and expertly delivered, are more likely to persuade investors and attract top talent.

In essence, a business plan presentation is your voice, your vision, and your opportunity to shine. It's not merely a formality; it's the vessel through which you convey your passion and dedication to your business. So, craft it thoughtfully, present it passionately, and watch how it can transform your business journey.

How to structure an effective business plan presentation

Creating an impactful presentation requires more than just slapping together a few slides. You'll need to structure it thoughtfully. Here's a winning formula:

  • Title slide : The first slide should be eye-catching and informative. It's like the cover of a book – make it compelling.
  • Executive summary : In a nutshell, summarize your business plan. Keep it concise and captivating, like the teaser of a movie.
  • Business Idea : Dive into the heart of your business. Explain your idea in a way that sparks curiosity.
  • Market analysis : Who's your target market ? What is the size of your market? Show investors that you've conducted a thorough market analysis in your business plan .
  • Business model : Explain how your business operates. What sets your business apart? Highlight your competitive advantage .
  • Marketing and sales plan : How will you enter the market? What strategies will you use to promote your products or services ?
  • Financial projections : Lay out your financial plan. Investors want to see the numbers – revenue, expenses, and profit.
  • Management team : Introduce your team. Highlight their expertise and why they're crucial to your business.
  • SWOT analysis : Assess your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Conclusion : Summarize the key points and leave your audience with a sense of urgency to join your journey.

Do's and don'ts on a business plan presentation

Now that you know the structure, let's talk about some do's and don'ts to ensure your presentation hits the mark.

  • Use visuals : Charts and graphs speak louder than words.
  • Be concise : Avoid using too much text; let your slides complement your speech.
  • Rehearse : Practice makes perfect. Be well-prepared for questions.
  • Engage your audience : Make your presentation interactive. Ask questions and involve your audience.

Don't :

  • Overload with information : Stick to the essentials.
  • Read slides word-for-word : Your presentation should augment your words, not replace them.
  • Waste time : Keep your presentation within the allocated time frame.
  • Lack confidence : Believe in your business and your presentation.

1. Why is it important to make a business plan presentation?

A business plan presentation is your opportunity to showcase your business in its best light. It's not just about information; it's about capturing your audience's attention and conveying your ideas effectively. Think of it as a powerful tool to explain your business, highlight key aspects, and ultimately secure the support and funding you need. Whether you're presenting to investors or stakeholders, a well-crafted presentation can make a significant difference in conveying your unique value proposition.

2. How many slides should my business plan presentation have?

The number of slides in a business plan presentation can vary, but a common guideline is to aim for 10-12 slides . This range allows you to explain your business comprehensively without overwhelming your audience with too many details. It's essential to create an outline and plan your presentation strategically to fit your entire story within these slides. Remember, it's not about how many slides you have, but how effectively you use them to highlight the key points of your business plan.

3. What are some common mistakes to avoid when creating a business plan presentation?

One of the most common mistakes to avoid in a business plan presentation is overloading it with text and data. Instead, focus on using bullet points and visuals to convey your message clearly and concisely. Additionally, don't forget to include a value proposition that sets your business apart. It's crucial to answer the following questions: What services or products do you offer? Who is your target audience ? How do you plan to reach them? What channels will you use? By addressing these aspects and avoiding information overload, you'll be on the path to creating a winning presentation.

4. Do I need a specific presentation template for a business plan presentation?

While it's not mandatory, using a business plan presentation template can be highly beneficial. Templates provide a structured format that makes it easier to organize your content effectively. They often include slide designs tailored for different aspects of your business plan, such as market analysis, financial projections, and product development. By using a template, you can save time, ensure a professional look, and focus on the details about your business rather than the design of your slides.

5. How should I time my business plan presentation?

Timing your business plan presentation is crucial to keeping your audience engaged and respecting their time. Generally, a business plan presentation should last around 20-30 minutes to allow for questions and discussions afterward. However, it's essential to rehearse and ensure that you can present your content effectively within this timeframe. Make sure to plan and highlight the most critical points, keeping your audience's attention throughout the presentation. Remember, a well-paced and engaging presentation can leave a lasting impression and increase your chances of success.

Summarizing key takeaways

In this comprehensive guide, we've unraveled the art of crafting a compelling business plan presentation. From understanding the types of business plans to mastering the do's and don'ts, you're now ready to create presentations that leave a lasting impression.

Remember, a successful business plan presentation is not just about the slides; it's about telling a captivating story that resonates with your audience. So, go ahead, use those templates , slides , and presentation software to make your business idea shine.

And always keep in mind: Your business plan presentation isn't just a pitch; it's the first chapter of your entrepreneurial journey. Make it count!

Create your business plan presentation with prezent

Now that you're equipped with the knowledge to create a winning business plan presentation, you might be wondering where to start.

The answer? Prezent, the ultimate AI presentation software for enterprise teams.

With Prezent's 35,000+ slides and 100% compliance, you can save 70% of the time in making presentations while ensuring your brand is 100% on point. Our real-time sharing and collaboration features make teamwork a breeze, and you can access guides , e-courses, and templates that will make your presentation shine.

So, why wait? Whether you're using PowerPoint, Google Slides, or any other platform, Prezent has the templates and tools you need to create a business plan presentation that wows your audience.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needi

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated May 7, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

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  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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Table of Contents

How to make a good business plan: step-by-step guide.

A business plan is a strategic roadmap used to navigate the challenging journey of entrepreneurship. It's the foundation upon which you build a successful business.

A well-crafted business plan can help you define your vision, clarify your goals, and identify potential problems before they arise.

But where do you start? How do you create a business plan that sets you up for success?

This article will explore the step-by-step process of creating a comprehensive business plan.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a formal document that outlines a business's objectives, strategies, and operational procedures. It typically includes the following information about a company:

Products or services

Target market

Competitors

Marketing and sales strategies

Financial plan

Management team

A business plan serves as a roadmap for a company's success and provides a blueprint for its growth and development. It helps entrepreneurs and business owners organize their ideas, evaluate the feasibility, and identify potential challenges and opportunities.

As well as serving as a guide for business owners, a business plan can attract investors and secure funding. It demonstrates the company's understanding of the market, its ability to generate revenue and profits, and its strategy for managing risks and achieving success.

Business plan vs. business model canvas

A business plan may seem similar to a business model canvas, but each document serves a different purpose.

A business model canvas is a high-level overview that helps entrepreneurs and business owners quickly test and iterate their ideas. It is often a one-page document that briefly outlines the following:

Key partnerships

Key activities

Key propositions

Customer relationships

Customer segments

Key resources

Cost structure

Revenue streams

On the other hand, a Business Plan Template provides a more in-depth analysis of a company's strategy and operations. It is typically a lengthy document and requires significant time and effort to develop.

A business model shouldn’t replace a business plan, and vice versa. Business owners should lay the foundations and visually capture the most important information with a Business Model Canvas Template . Because this is a fast and efficient way to communicate a business idea, a business model canvas is a good starting point before developing a more comprehensive business plan.

A business plan can aim to secure funding from investors or lenders, while a business model canvas communicates a business idea to potential customers or partners.

Why is a business plan important?

A business plan is crucial for any entrepreneur or business owner wanting to increase their chances of success.

Here are some of the many benefits of having a thorough business plan.

Helps to define the business goals and objectives

A business plan encourages you to think critically about your goals and objectives. Doing so lets you clearly understand what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.

A well-defined set of goals, objectives, and key results also provides a sense of direction and purpose, which helps keep business owners focused and motivated.

Guides decision-making

A business plan requires you to consider different scenarios and potential problems that may arise in your business. This awareness allows you to devise strategies to deal with these issues and avoid pitfalls.

With a clear plan, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions aligning with their overall business goals and objectives. This helps reduce the risk of making costly mistakes and ensures they make decisions with long-term success in mind.

Attracts investors and secures funding

Investors and lenders often require a business plan before considering investing in your business. A document that outlines the company's goals, objectives, and financial forecasts can help instill confidence in potential investors and lenders.

A well-written business plan demonstrates that you have thoroughly thought through your business idea and have a solid plan for success.

Identifies potential challenges and risks

A business plan requires entrepreneurs to consider potential challenges and risks that could impact their business. For example:

Is there enough demand for my product or service?

Will I have enough capital to start my business?

Is the market oversaturated with too many competitors?

What will happen if my marketing strategy is ineffective?

By identifying these potential challenges, entrepreneurs can develop strategies to mitigate risks and overcome challenges. This can reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes and ensure the business is well-positioned to take on any challenges.

Provides a basis for measuring success

A business plan serves as a framework for measuring success by providing clear goals and financial projections . Entrepreneurs can regularly refer to the original business plan as a benchmark to measure progress. By comparing the current business position to initial forecasts, business owners can answer questions such as:

Are we where we want to be at this point?

Did we achieve our goals?

If not, why not, and what do we need to do?

After assessing whether the business is meeting its objectives or falling short, business owners can adjust their strategies as needed.

How to make a business plan step by step

The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include.

1. Create an executive summary

Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

Keep your executive summary concise and clear with the Executive Summary Template . The simple design helps readers understand the crux of your business plan without reading the entire document.

2. Write your company description

Provide a detailed explanation of your company. Include information on what your company does, the mission statement, and your vision for the future.

Provide additional background information on the history of your company, the founders, and any notable achievements or milestones.

3. Conduct a market analysis

Conduct an in-depth analysis of your industry, competitors, and target market. This is best done with a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Next, identify your target market's needs, demographics, and behaviors.

Use the Competitive Analysis Template to brainstorm answers to simple questions like:

What does the current market look like?

Who are your competitors?

What are they offering?

What will give you a competitive advantage?

Who is your target market?

What are they looking for and why?

How will your product or service satisfy a need?

These questions should give you valuable insights into the current market and where your business stands.

4. Describe your products and services

Provide detailed information about your products and services. This includes pricing information, product features, and any unique selling points.

Use the Product/Market Fit Template to explain how your products meet the needs of your target market. Describe what sets them apart from the competition.

5. Design a marketing and sales strategy

Outline how you plan to promote and sell your products. Your marketing strategy and sales strategy should include information about your:

Pricing strategy

Advertising and promotional tactics

Sales channels

The Go to Market Strategy Template is a great way to visually map how you plan to launch your product or service in a new or existing market.

6. Determine budget and financial projections

Document detailed information on your business’ finances. Describe the current financial position of the company and how you expect the finances to play out.

Some details to include in this section are:

Startup costs

Revenue projections

Profit and loss statement

Funding you have received or plan to receive

Strategy for raising funds

7. Set the organization and management structure

Define how your company is structured and who will be responsible for each aspect of the business. Use the Business Organizational Chart Template to visually map the company’s teams, roles, and hierarchy.

As well as the organization and management structure, discuss the legal structure of your business. Clarify whether your business is a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or LLC.

8. Make an action plan

At this point in your business plan, you’ve described what you’re aiming for. But how are you going to get there? The Action Plan Template describes the following steps to move your business plan forward. Outline the next steps you plan to take to bring your business plan to fruition.

Types of business plans

Several types of business plans cater to different purposes and stages of a company's lifecycle. Here are some of the most common types of business plans.

Startup business plan

A startup business plan is typically an entrepreneur's first business plan. This document helps entrepreneurs articulate their business idea when starting a new business.

Not sure how to make a business plan for a startup? It’s pretty similar to a regular business plan, except the primary purpose of a startup business plan is to convince investors to provide funding for the business. A startup business plan also outlines the potential target market, product/service offering, marketing plan, and financial projections.

Strategic business plan

A strategic business plan is a long-term plan that outlines a company's overall strategy, objectives, and tactics. This type of strategic plan focuses on the big picture and helps business owners set goals and priorities and measure progress.

The primary purpose of a strategic business plan is to provide direction and guidance to the company's management team and stakeholders. The plan typically covers a period of three to five years.

Operational business plan

An operational business plan is a detailed document that outlines the day-to-day operations of a business. It focuses on the specific activities and processes required to run the business, such as:

Organizational structure

Staffing plan

Production plan

Quality control

Inventory management

Supply chain

The primary purpose of an operational business plan is to ensure that the business runs efficiently and effectively. It helps business owners manage their resources, track their performance, and identify areas for improvement.

Growth-business plan

A growth-business plan is a strategic plan that outlines how a company plans to expand its business. It helps business owners identify new market opportunities and increase revenue and profitability. The primary purpose of a growth-business plan is to provide a roadmap for the company's expansion and growth.

The 3 Horizons of Growth Template is a great tool to identify new areas of growth. This framework categorizes growth opportunities into three categories: Horizon 1 (core business), Horizon 2 (emerging business), and Horizon 3 (potential business).

One-page business plan

A one-page business plan is a condensed version of a full business plan that focuses on the most critical aspects of a business. It’s a great tool for entrepreneurs who want to quickly communicate their business idea to potential investors, partners, or employees.

A one-page business plan typically includes sections such as business concept, value proposition, revenue streams, and cost structure.

Best practices for how to make a good business plan

Here are some additional tips for creating a business plan:

Use a template

A template can help you organize your thoughts and effectively communicate your business ideas and strategies. Starting with a template can also save you time and effort when formatting your plan.

Miro’s extensive library of customizable templates includes all the necessary sections for a comprehensive business plan. With our templates, you can confidently present your business plans to stakeholders and investors.

Be practical

Avoid overestimating revenue projections or underestimating expenses. Your business plan should be grounded in practical realities like your budget, resources, and capabilities.

Be specific

Provide as much detail as possible in your business plan. A specific plan is easier to execute because it provides clear guidance on what needs to be done and how. Without specific details, your plan may be too broad or vague, making it difficult to know where to start or how to measure success.

Be thorough with your research

Conduct thorough research to fully understand the market, your competitors, and your target audience . By conducting thorough research, you can identify potential risks and challenges your business may face and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Get input from others

It can be easy to become overly focused on your vision and ideas, leading to tunnel vision and a lack of objectivity. By seeking input from others, you can identify potential opportunities you may have overlooked.

Review and revise regularly

A business plan is a living document. You should update it regularly to reflect market, industry, and business changes. Set aside time for regular reviews and revisions to ensure your plan remains relevant and effective.

Create a winning business plan to chart your path to success

Starting or growing a business can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, a well-written business plan can make or break your business’ success.

The purpose of a business plan is more than just to secure funding and attract investors. It also serves as a roadmap for achieving your business goals and realizing your vision. With the right mindset, tools, and strategies, you can develop a visually appealing, persuasive business plan.

Ready to make an effective business plan that works for you? Check out our library of ready-made strategy and planning templates and chart your path to success.

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6 Strategies for Presenting Your Business Plan When you're ready to approach people with your finished business plan, these six strategies will help you achieve the results you want.

By Entrepreneur Staff Feb 3, 2015

In their book Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors explain how to present your plan to investors or other individuals after you've completed it.

It doesn't matter how compelling your business plan is if the reader starts with a negative impression. A shopworn plan reeks of failure from the get-go. Make sure the cosmetics are right: Clean paper, crisp font, clear pictures and a professional (noncolloquial) presentation go a long way toward securing a fair reading or hearing of your business plan.

As always, when preparing your plan, keep your audience in mind. Businesslike is almost always best as a fallback decision on how to make a good first impression. Also ask in advance if the recipient wants a hard copy or an e-copy of your plan. In the digital age, we want to give people what they want.

Once you've prepared your plan for presentation, you need to put it in front of the right people. There are six steps for doing so:

1. Obtain leads and referrals. Find names, addresses and phone numbers of the type of investors you wish to target. Ask people you know for referrals. Network as much as possible.

2. Research your target. Learn as much as possible about how much money people have to invest, industries they're interested in and other requirements. Search venture capital directories, Who's Who , news articles, websites and similar sources.

3. Make your pitch. First, email or mail an introductory letter to your target letting them know you have a plan you'd like to send. Sending unsolicited, unanticipated business plans with a mere cover letter won't typically get your plan read. Not only are most people too busy to read whatever comes across their desk or lands in their inboxes, they also don't want to be sued someday for "stealing your ideas," even if they never read your plan.

A letter of introduction is your way of asking them if they'd be interested in reading your business plan. Within the letter, explain why you've selected them and what you have to offer, in a brief compelling manner.

You should also explain generally what you're looking for—an investor, a loan, a long-term supplier relationship or something else. Often this will be obvious from the circumstances. If you've received a personal referral, you'll want to include who gave you the referral very early on, probably in the first sentence following the salutation. Never underestimate the power of a personal referral from a friend, colleague or acquaintance. It may not land you an investor, but it gets your foot in the door. When emailing the individual, you might put the referral in the subject line.

In a world of "who you know" and the power of networking, many of the people you'll be sending your plan to will be referred by others. In some cases, you may even have some personal connection to the person other than a referral. For instance, perhaps you once met this individual while networking or worked together at a company or organization.

Finally, in the letter of introduction, you may want to detail the terms under which you're presenting your plan. For instance, you may say that you're not submitting the plan to any other investor. Or you may explicitly point out that you're currently seeking financing from a number of sources, including this one. If there's a deadline for responding to your plan, if you wish to stress that the plan is confidential and must be returned to you, or if you'd like to ask the recipient to pass it on to someone else who may be interested, this is the place to do so. Somewhere between sending the introductory letter and sending the plan—if the person agrees to see it—is where you can email a non-disclosure agreement if you plan to include one.

If you don't hear from them within a week or so, send a follow-up email, and try once more about two weeks later (in case they were out of town or swamped with other work). If this doesn't produce a meeting, look elsewhere.

4 . Try to meet people in person. Despite the fact that we're living in a text, email and conference-call age, you should still try to meet your recipient face to face, especially if you're seeking any type of funding. It's very hard to get such a commitment through a few texts or by email. Skype may work, but meeting in person for a major financial commitment is best. If they want to keep all communication electronic, then follow their lead.

5. Defuse objections. Although you may think you've answered everything in your plan, you haven't. Prepare a list of possible objections—potential competitors, hard-to-buttress assumptions and the like—that your investor may raise. Then prepare cogent answers. Have friends, co-workers and your team play devil's advocate and provide every possible objection or ask tough question, then formulate your answers.

6. Get a commitment. You won't get an investment unless you ask for it. When all objections have been answered, be ready to offer one last concession—"If I give your representative a board seat, can we do this today?"—and go for the close.

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

Streamline Your Business Planning Activities with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

  • Carmine Gallo

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Five tips to set yourself apart.

Never underestimate the power of great communication. It can help you land the job of your dreams, attract investors to back your idea, or elevate your stature within your organization. But while there are plenty of good speakers in the world, you can set yourself apart out by being the person who can deliver something great over and over. Here are a few tips for business professionals who want to move from being good speakers to great ones: be concise (the fewer words, the better); never use bullet points (photos and images paired together are more memorable); don’t underestimate the power of your voice (raise and lower it for emphasis); give your audience something extra (unexpected moments will grab their attention); rehearse (the best speakers are the best because they practice — a lot).

I was sitting across the table from a Silicon Valley CEO who had pioneered a technology that touches many of our lives — the flash memory that stores data on smartphones, digital cameras, and computers. He was a frequent guest on CNBC and had been delivering business presentations for at least 20 years before we met. And yet, the CEO wanted to sharpen his public speaking skills.

what do i need to present a business plan

  • Carmine Gallo is a Harvard University instructor, keynote speaker, and author of 10 books translated into 40 languages. Gallo is the author of The Bezos Blueprint: Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman  (St. Martin’s Press).

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How to Effectively Pitch a Business Idea

Business professional pitching idea in office

  • 27 Aug 2020

You’ve identified an underserved need and validated your startup idea . Now it’s time to talk about your business to potential investors. Yet, how do you effectively communicate your idea’s promise and possible impact on the market?

Pitching a business idea is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of any entrepreneur’s journey. It’s what stands in the way between your vision and the financing needed to turn it into a reality. Although daunting, there are steps you can take to ensure a greater chance of success.

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What Makes a Great Pitch?

To make a successful pitch, entrepreneurs must exhibit several characteristics to convince investors to fund their innovative ideas .

Every entrepreneur needs an intricate understanding of their idea, target market, growth strategy, product-market fit , and overall business model . This differentiates your business concept and solidifies the steps needed to make it a reality. The perfect pitch shows investors your proof of concept and instills confidence that they can expect a return on investment .

Check out our video on pitching below, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more explainer content!

Another crucial component of a successful pitch is understanding the venture capital (VC) ecosystem.

“It’s critical for entrepreneurs to understand the background and motivations of venture capitalists so when entrepreneurs seek them out to help fund their venture, they know what to prioritize in a firm and how to build a strong, trusting relationship,” says Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer Jeffrey Bussgang in the online course Launching Tech Ventures .

To secure funding and support, here are essential steps to ensure your pitch is effective.

How to Pitch a Business Idea

1. know who you’re pitching.

Some entrepreneurs try to get in front of every investor, despite their industry expertise or firm’s investment stage. Consider that, when you accept an investment, it’s about more than money; you enter a partnership. You must perform your due diligence and research potential investors before making your pitch.

Graphic showing three questions to ask potential investors

When researching, ask yourself:

What industries do they invest in?

A VC firm’s industry focus depends on what the partners’ niche is and where their passions lie. Some firms specialize in a particular sector, such as financial technology (fintech) or education technology (edtech).

For example, Rethink Education is a venture capital fund that invests in early- and growth-stage edtech startups, while Blockchain Capital is dedicated to financing companies innovating in the crypto market. Others are generalists and span several industries.

Knowing the types of companies the firm invests in can help you tailor your pitch and zero in on their presumed priorities.

What stage do they invest in?

If you’re in the earliest stages of business development, you won’t receive growth equity, which is reserved for mature companies that need capital to expand operations, enter a new market, or acquire another business. Before making your pitch, have a rough estimate of the money and resources you need to launch, and then align yourself with investors who can help at that particular stage.

What’s the investor’s track record?

Dig deeper into the investor’s experience and investment history to determine the types of companies they typically finance, the background knowledge they might already have, and whether your personalities will mesh. This information will enable you to modify your pitch and determine if this is the right person or fund to partner with.

“The best venture capitalists become trusted partners and advisors to the founders and team,” says HBS Professor William Sahlman in the online course Entrepreneurship Essentials . “They help recruit key employees. They introduce the company to potential customers. They help raise subsequent rounds of capital. In some cases, they signal that the firm they've backed is a winner, which helps make that assertion true.”

Given the benefits and high stakes, the more you know going into a pitch, the better.

2. Consider How You Present Yourself, Not Simply Your Idea

Although your ideas and skills matter , your personality is equally as important. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review , venture capitalists’ interest in a startup “was driven less by judgments that the founder was competent than by perceptions about character and trustworthiness.”

Investors also want to know they’re entering a partnership with the right people. Jennifer Fonstad, co-founder of Aspect Ventures , acknowledges in Entrepreneurship Essentials that her investment firm “thinks about team and team dynamics as being very critical.”

Investors want to know whether the founders have worked together before, if your startup’s early hires have complementary skill sets, and whether you’ll be flexible, open-minded, and willing to embrace different perspectives.

Think about this as you prepare your pitch. If investors poke holes in your idea, will you get defensive? When they ask for financial projections, will you exaggerate the numbers? Hopefully, your answers are “no”—firms want to partner with founders they can trust who are open to guidance and mentorship—but if you’re second-guessing your reactions, consider what you might be asked and practice your responses.

As Sahlman reinforces in Entrepreneurship Essentials : “Most experienced investors look at the people first and the opportunity second. Even when a team is young and inexperienced, an investor depends on them to make the right decisions.”

3. Tell a Story

When describing your business idea, zero in on the problem you address for your target audience and how you solve it better than the competition. You could do this by presenting a real-life scenario in which you describe the pain point a current or prospective customer faced and how your product or service fixed the issue. This can help engage investors on a personal level and inspire them to see your idea’s potential.

By complementing your spreadsheets and charts with a compelling story, you can paint a fuller picture of your startup’s future and more effectively highlight its business opportunity.

4. Cover the Details

While it’s important to set the stage, you also need to cover the specifics. In your pitch deck, concisely define your value proposition and share a memorable tagline for investors to leave the meeting with.

According to Bussgang in Launching Tech Ventures , every pitch to an investor should contain the following:

  • Intro: Focus on answering important questions like who you are, why you’re asking for funding, and what your founder-market fit is.
  • Problem: Talk about your ideal customer’s pain point and how you plan to solve it.
  • Solution: Explain how your idea is a compelling solution and why it’s better than existing solutions.
  • Opportunity and Market Size: Provide your total addressable market (TAM), serviceable addressable market (SAM), and serviceable obtainable market (SOM) through research.
  • Competitive Analysis: Understand your unique differences in the market that can help you sustain a competitive advantage.
  • Go-to-Market Plan: Clarify how you’re going to reach your customers.
  • Business Model: Describe how you’re going to make money.
  • Financials: Define what your financial projections are and how you’re going to provide returns for investors.
  • The Ask: Detail how much funding you need, how long it will last, and what milestones you hope to achieve.

“VCs will expect entrepreneurs to clearly define the milestones they need to achieve with each round of funding,” Bussgang continues. “Entrepreneurs should know what experiments they will run to reach these milestones and what they expect the results will be.”

5. Show the Roadmap

Although you’re in your business’s early stages, investors want to know how they’ll cash out in the end.

“To truly understand the motivations behind VC firms, remember that they are professional investors,” Bussgang explains in Launching Tech Ventures . “Their objective is to generate the maximum return for their limited partners with a dual fiduciary duty to their investors and the company.”

To clinch your pitch, highlight your exit strategy and the options available.

Graphic showing three common exit strategies for businesses

The most common exit strategies include:

  • Acquisition: When one company buys most or all of another company’s shares to gain control of it
  • Merger: When two existing companies unite into one new company
  • Initial Public Offering (IPO): When a private company issues its first sale of stocks to the public and can start raising capital from public investors

Related: What Are Mergers & Acquisitions? 4 Key Risks

3 Kinds of Pitches for Entrepreneurs

While all effective pitches share foundational elements, you should use different types depending on the scenario. To increase your chances of success, tailor your pitch to your audience and the available time frame.

1. The Elevator Pitch

This is one of the most popular pitches. Use this when you need to communicate their startup’s value in 60 seconds or less.

An effective elevator pitch should be concise, convincing, and convey your startup’s value proposition and differentiators. For tech business ideas, mention the innovative technology that sets your concept apart. At the end, include a call to action, such as the amount of capital required to launch.

2. The Short-Form Pitch

You should portray your business idea’s value to prospective clients and investors as efficiently as possible. This means summarizing the most important elements of your idea in a way that makes them want to hear more. Highlight the market size, how you’ll create barriers for competition, your plan to monetize the business, and how much financing you need.

Short-form pitches can run from three to 10 minutes; if you’re pitching in a competitive setting, note any length requirements. These shorter pitches can pique investors’ interest and earn you the chance to present a long-form pitch.

3. The Long-Form Pitch

Sometimes, you’re fortunate enough to have more than a few minutes to pitch your idea. If this opportunity presents itself, it’s crucial to make the most of your time and address every aspect of your business plan.

“You’re not just trying to start any business,” Bussgang says in Launching Tech Ventures . “You’re trying to create a business that’s profitable, sustainable, and valuable.

Zero in on your story and share a real-life scenario. Detail the market size to illustrate demand and clear examples of how you’ll attract and retain customers, particularly in light of competitors. This will show you’re planning for—and ahead of—future challenges.

You should also have a blueprint for testing product-market fit and early results, along with a detailed monetization plan. Lastly, share your exit strategy and the amount of capital needed to, one day, achieve it. Your long-form pitch should communicate your business concept clearly and concisely, open the possibility for follow-up questions, and capture the investors’ interest.

Consider preparing all three pitch lengths to be ready for any opportunity. It’s important to stay agile so you can modify your pitch to fit specific length requirements.

Which HBS Online Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Landing the Pitch

Every investor prioritizes different data and information. Yet, if you start by choosing the right investor and then align their needs with your proposed market opportunity, value proposition, and exit strategy, you have a chance at landing the pitch.

“In some ways, startup success depends just as much on whether your hypothesis about the future is right, as it does on whether your idea is a good one,” Bussgang explains in Launching Tech Ventures .

As a result, it’s important for you to do your due diligence before pitching your business idea to investors.

If you’re interested in learning more about what investors look for and how you can create value, explore Entrepreneurship Essentials and Launching Tech Ventures , two of our entrepreneurship and innovation courses . Not sure which is the right fit? Download our free course flowchart to determine which best aligns with your goals.

This post was updated on July 28, 2023. It was originally published on August 27, 2020.

what do i need to present a business plan

About the Author

  • Small Business
  • How to Start a Business

How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps

Building an effective business launch plan

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Conducting Market Research

Crafting a business plan, reviewing funding options, understanding legal requirements, implementing marketing strategies, the bottom line.

what do i need to present a business plan

  • How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps CURRENT ARTICLE
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example
  • Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One
  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Meaning, Types, Impact
  • How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan
  • Business Startup Costs: It’s in the Details
  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites
  • Starting a Business with No Money: How to Begin
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Business Credit
  • Equity Financing: What It Is, How It Works, Pros and Cons
  • Best Startup Business Loans
  • Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros & Cons, and Differences From an LLC
  • Partnership: Definition, How It Works, Taxation, and Types
  • What is an LLC? Limited Liability Company Structure and Benefits Defined
  • Corporation: What It Is and How to Form One
  • Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide
  • Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide
  • How to Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business: Essential Tips
  • How to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Starting a business in the United States involves a number of different steps spanning legal considerations, market research, creating a business plan, securing funding, and developing a marketing strategy. It also requires decisions about a business’ location, structure, name, taxation, and registration. Here are the key steps involved in starting a business, as well as important aspects of the process for entrepreneurs to consider.

Key Takeaways

  • Entrepreneurs should start by conducting market research to understand their industry space, competition, and target customers.
  • The next step is to write a comprehensive business plan, outlining the company’s structure, vision, and strategy.
  • Securing funding in the form of grants, loans, venture capital, and/or crowdfunded money is crucial if you’re not self-funding.
  • When choosing a venue, be aware of local regulations and requirements.
  • Design your business structure with an eye to legal aspects, such as taxation and registration.
  • Make a strategic marketing plan that addresses the specifics of the business, industry, and target market.

Before starting a business, entrepreneurs should conduct market research to determine their target audience, competition, and market trends. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) breaks down common market considerations as follows:

  • Demand : Is there a need for this product or service?
  • Market size : How many people might be interested?
  • Economic indicators : What are the income, employment rate, and spending habits of potential customers?
  • Location : Are the target market and business well situated for each other?
  • Competition : What is the market saturation ? Who and how many are you going up against?
  • Pricing : What might a customer be willing to pay?

Market research should also include an analysis of market opportunities, barriers to market entry, and industry trends, as well as the competition’s strengths, weaknesses, and market share .

There are various methods for conducting market research, and these will vary depending on the nature of the industry and potential business. Data can come from a variety of places, including statistical agencies, economic and financial institutions, and industry sources, as well as direct consumer research through focus groups, interviews, surveys, and questionnaires.

A comprehensive business plan is like a blueprint. It lays the foundation for business development and affects decision-making, day-to-day operations, and growth. Potential investors or partners may want to review and assess it in advance of agreeing to work together. Financial institutions often request business plans as part of an application for a loan or other forms of capital. 

Business plans will differ according to the needs and nature of the company and should only include what makes sense for the business in question. As such, they can vary in length and structure. They can generally be divided into two formats: traditional and lean start-up. The latter is less common and more useful for simple businesses or those that expect to rework their traditional business plan frequently. It provides a vivid snapshot of the company through a small number of elements.

The process of funding a business depends on its needs and the vision and financial situation of its owner.  The first step is to calculate the start-up costs . Identify a list of expenses and put a dollar amount to each of them through research and requesting quotes. The SBA has a start-up costs calculator for small businesses that includes common types of business expenses.  

The next step is to determine how to get the money. Common methods include:

  • Self-funding , also known as “ bootstrapping ”
  • Finding investors willing to contribute to your venture capital
  • Raising money online by crowdfunding
  • Securing a business loan from a bank, an online lender, or a credit union
  • Winning a business grant from a donor, usually a government, foundation, charity, or corporation

Different methods suit different businesses, and it’s important to consider the obligations associated with any avenue of funding. For example, investors generally want a degree of control for their money, while self-funding puts business owners fully in charge. Of course, investors also mitigate risk; self-funding does not.

Availability is another consideration. Loans are easier to get than grants, which don’t have to be paid back. Additionally, the federal government doesn’t provide grants for the purposes of starting or growing a business, although private organizations may. However, the SBA does guarantee several categories of loans , accessing capital that may not be available through traditional lenders. No matter the funding method(s), it’s essential to detail how the money will be used and lay out a future financial plan for the business, including sales projections and loan repayments . 

Businesses operating in the U.S. are legally subject to regulations at the local, county, state, and federal level involving taxation, business IDs, registrations, and permits.

Choosing a Business Location

Where a business operates will dictate such things as taxes, zoning laws (for brick-and-mortar locations), licenses, and permits. Other considerations when choosing a location might include:

  • Human factors : These include target audience and the preferences of business owners and partners regarding convenience, knowledge of the area, and commuting distance.
  • Regulations : Government at every level will assert its authority.
  • Regionally specific expenses : Examples are average salaries (including required minimum wages), property or rental prices, insurance rates, utilities, and government fees and licensing.
  • The tax and financial environment : Tax types include income, sales, corporate, and property, as well as tax credits; available investment incentives and loan programs may also be geographically determined.

Picking a Business Structure

The structure of a business should reflect the desired number of owners, liability characteristics, and tax status. Because these have legal and tax compliance implications , it’s important to understand them fully. If necessary, consult a business counselor, a lawyer, and/or an accountant.

Common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietorship : A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that has just one owner, who pays personal income tax on its profits.
  • Partnership : Partnership options include a limited partnership (LP) and a limited liability partnership (LLP) .
  • Limited liability company (LLC) : An LLC protects its owners from personal responsibility for the company’s debts and liabilities.
  • Corporation : The different types of corporations include C corp , S corp , B corp , closed corporation , and nonprofit .

Getting a Tax ID Number

A tax ID number is the equivalent of a Social Security number for a business. Whether or not a state and/or federal tax ID number is required will depend on the nature of the business and the location in which it’s registered.

A federal tax ID, also known as an employer identification number (EIN) , is required if a business:

  • Operates as a corporation or partnership
  • Pays federal taxes
  • Has employees
  • Files employment, excise, alcohol, tobacco, or firearms tax returns
  • Has a Keogh plan
  • Withholds taxes on non-wage income to nonresident aliens
  • Is involved with certain types of organizations, including trusts, estates, real estate mortgage investment conduits, nonprofits, farmers’ cooperatives, and plan administrators

An EIN can also be useful if you want to open a business bank account, offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan, or apply for federal business licenses and permits. You can get one online from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) . State websites will do the same for a state tax ID.

Registering a Business

How you register a business will depend on its location, nature, size, and business structure.  For example, a small business may not require any steps beyond registering its business name with local and state governments, and business owners whose business name is their own legal name might not need to register at all.

That said, registration can provide personal liability protection, tax-exempt status, and trademark protection, so it can be beneficial even if it’s not strictly required. Overall registration requirements, costs, and documentation will vary depending on the governing jurisdictions and business structure.  

Most LLCs, corporations, partnerships, and nonprofits are required to register at the state level and will need a registered agent to file on their behalf. Determining which state to register with can depend on factors such as:

  • Whether the business has a physical presence in the state
  • If the business often conducts in-person client meetings in the state
  • If a large portion of business revenue comes from the state
  • Whether the business has employees working in the state

If a business operates in more than one state, it may need to file for foreign qualification in other states in which it conducts business. In this case the business would register in the state in which it was formed (this would be considered the domestic state) and file for foreign qualification in any additional states.

Obtaining Permits

Filing for the applicable government licenses and permits will depend on the industry and nature of the business and might include submitting an application to a federal agency, state, county, and/or city. The SBA lists federally regulated business activities alongside the corresponding license-issuing agency, while state, county, and city regulations can be found on the official government websites for each region.

Every business should have a marketing plan that outlines an overall strategy and the day-to-day tactics used to execute it. A successful marketing plan will lay out tactics for how to connect with customers and convince them to buy what the company is selling. 

Marketing plans will vary according to the specifics of the industry, target market, and business, but they should aim to include descriptions of and strategies for the following:

  • A target customer : Including market size, demographics, traits, and relevant trends
  • Value propositions or business differentiators : An overview of the company’s competitive advantage with regard to employees, certifications, and offerings
  • A sales and marketing plan : Including methods, channels, and a customer’s journey through interacting with the business
  • Goals : Should cover different aspects of the marketing and sales strategy, such as social media follower growth, public relations opportunities, and sales targets
  • An execution plan : Should detail tactics and break down higher-level goals into specific actions
  • A budget : Detailing how much different marketing projects and activities will cost

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business?

Business start-up costs will vary depending on the industry, business activity, and product or service offered. Home-based online businesses will usually cost less than those that require an office setting to meet with customers. The estimated cost can be calculated by first identifying a list of expenses and then researching and requesting quotes for each one. Use the SBA’s start-up costs calculator for common types of expenses associated with starting a small business.

What Should I Do Before Starting a Business?

Entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business should fully research and understand all the legal and funding considerations involved, conduct market research, and create marketing and business plans. They will also need to secure any necessary permits, licenses, funding, and business bank accounts.

What Types of Funding Are Available to Start a Business?

Start-up capital can come in the form of loans, grants, crowdfunding, venture capital, or self-funding. Note that the federal government does not provide grant funding for the purposes of starting a business, although some private sources do.

Do You Need to Write a Business Plan?

Business plans are comprehensive documents that lay out the most important information about a business. They reference its growth, development, and decision-making processes, and financial institutions and potential investors and partners generally request to review them in advance of agreeing to provide funding or to collaborate.

Starting a business is no easy feat, but research and preparation can help smooth the way. Having a firm understanding of your target market, competition, industry, goals, company structure, funding requirements, legal regulations, and marketing strategy, as well as conducting research and consulting experts where necessary, are all things that entrepreneurs can do to set themselves up for success.

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Calculate Your Startup Costs ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Fund Your Business .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Grants .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Loans .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Pick Your Business Location .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Choose a Business Structure .”

Internal Revenue Service. “ Do You Need an EIN? ”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Get Federal and State Tax ID Numbers .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Register Your Business .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Apply for Licenses and Permits .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Marketing and Sales .”

what do i need to present a business plan

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How Trump's conviction could change the dynamics of the 2024 race

By Olivia Rinaldi , Jacob Rosen , Katrina Kaufman

Updated on: May 31, 2024 / 11:57 AM EDT / CBS News

Former President Donald Trump has been found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in his Manhattan criminal trial, adding another layer of uncertainty to an already unprecedented campaign.

As a c onvicted felon , Trump is not prevented from continuing to campaign for president , since the Constitution does not prohibit candidates from running for president even if they are convicted of a crime. In fact, there is precedent for a candidate running from behind bars: In 1920, Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs ran for president from a federal penitentiary in Atlanta.

Trump is the first former U.S. president to be found guilty of felonies, and the first major party candidate to run for office after being found guilty of a crime. Here's how his conviction could change the 2024 campaign:

How Trump can campaign after his conviction

Now that he's convicted, Trump is all but certain to appeal the decision handed down by the jury, and he is likely to be able to return to the campaign trail as the process plays out. 

The next development in the case will come at sentencing, currently scheduled for July 11. Justice Juan Merchan has wide discretion over when sentencing occurs and what the punishment looks like. Trump faces a maximum of up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each of the 34 felony charges of falsification of business records. The sentencing options available to Merchan include prison, probation, conditional discharge, fines or house arrest.

The judge could put limitations on his travel, such as restricting Trump from leaving the state and taking his passport, but Merchan has said he doesn't want to interfere with his ability to campaign.

"I would think that the judge wouldn't dare interfere with his right to speak to the American public because it's the right of the voters to be informed as well," said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School and an expert on corporate governance and white collar crime.

In a recent survey of dozens of cases brought by Manhattan District Attorney's Office in which falsifying business records was the most serious charge at arraignment, attorney and author Norm Eisen found that roughly one in 10 of those cases resulted in a sentence of incarceration.

"I think that is fascinating," said Caroline Polisi, a criminal defense attorney and professor at Columbia Law School. "A lot of commentators say the reason he won't be incarcerated is because the logistics of it with respect to the Secret Service would be too much. On the other hand, if you're saying he should be treated like any other defendant, we have a lot of data saying that 90% of other defendants would not get jail time in this situation."

The impact of the conviction on Trump's ability to campaign could largely hinge on what sentence Merchan ultimately hands down, and when Trump would serve it.

"In the context in which he is found guilty and then sentenced to no jail time, I don't think it's going to cause a bit of difference," added Polisi. "There might be some minor issues. He might not be able to vote for himself. But other than that, I don't think it's going to cause any problems."

When determining Trump's sentence, the judge could take into account his numerous gag order violations — which led Merchan to threaten him with jail time if the violations continued — and his lack of demonstrated remorse or respect for the legal system. Throughout the trial, Trump referred to Merchan as "conflicted" and "corrupt" and to the case itself as a "sham." 

"In New York, a 78-year-old defendant, who's a first time offender, committed a non-violent offense, and has an otherwise, well, distinguished record — in some regards being an ex-president is distinguished. In that kind of world, there'd be no chance of an incarceration sentence," said Coffee. Trump turns 78 on June 14. "They can use probation, they can use fines. But there may be a view of many judges that you have to show that no one's above the law, and even the future president should have a taste of prison."

Even if Merchan does order Trump to serve time behind bars, the sentence could be deferred until his appeal has run its course.

"In other cases, when you don't have someone running for the White House, it would be more or acceptable to put him immediately into incarceration," said Coffee. "You certainly could put special conditions on what he could do or put him under house arrest, but I think until we get to the actual election, we're going to have to let Donald Trump run around and campaign."

The conviction's possible impact on Trump's poll numbers and support

Trump has predicted that a conviction in this trial could boost his poll numbers. 

"Even if convicted, I think that it has absolutely no impact. It may drive the numbers up, but we don't want that. We want to have a fair verdict," Trump told CBS Pittsburgh in an interview earlier this month.

Trump's support among his Republican base has been remarkably resilient in the face of his various criminal cases. In the months following his four indictments last year, Trump maintained his commanding lead in the Republican primary, capturing the nomination despite the dozens of criminal charges he faced.

Many Trump supporters who CBS News has interviewed since the trial began have said a guilty conviction will not change how they vote in November, adopting the former president's grievances as their own.

"Stormy Daniels has already been reviewed and stuff. It's kind of coincidental," Michigan resident Lori Beyer said at a recent rally in Freeland, Michigan, adding she would vote for Trump regardless of the conviction. "I don't think it's going to impact it, as far as I'm concerned."

Whether a conviction changes the minds of voters who are not committed to the former president remains to be seen. A recent CBS News poll found that the majority of Americans believed Trump is "definitely or probably" guilty of the charges he faced in New York. The overwhelming majority of Democrats — 93% — believed Trump was guilty, while 78% Republicans said he was not. Independents were split, with 53% believing he was guilty and 47% saying he wasn't. 

Opinions about whether Trump was guilty or not were already highly partisan, according to Kabir Khanna, deputy director of elections and data analytics for CBS News. Most people who believed Trump was guilty also thought the jury would convict him, and vice versa. 

Additionally, Khanna said people who followed the trial closely were the most polarized in their views.

"Together, these factors could blunt the impact of the verdict on the views of an already divided public," Khanna said. "Some voters may be swayed by the news, but I wouldn't expect a sea change." 

Other polling supports that notion. A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey released Thursday found that 67% of registered voters nationwide said a Trump conviction would not make a difference in how they vote. Among independents, just 11% said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to vote for Trump.

The conviction also gives the Biden campaign a potentially potent new weapon in their arsenal: the ability to label Trump a convicted felon. Mr. Biden remained largely silent about the Trump trial while it was ongoing, but NBC News reported last week that he planned to become more aggressive about Trump's legal woes after the trial concluded, while acknowledging that Trump would be on the ballot regardless of how his legal cases played out.

Trump has used the trial to help boost his fundraising, and will likely look to capitalize on the conviction. The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee saw an influx of donations after jury selection began, with the two entities raising $76 million in April. His campaign had about $50 million cash on hand at the beginning of May as he prepared to get back out on the campaign trail after the trial.

The former president repeatedly used the developments in the trial to raise money, including when he was held in contempt for violating the gag order against him.

"I'd get arrested ONE MILLION TIMES before I'd let those filthy dogs get their hands on you," one typical fundraising appeal read. 

Trump's other criminal cases

The New York case might be the only one of Trump's four criminal prosecutions to reach a conclusion before voters cast their ballots in the fall, giving the guilty verdict added weight.

The two federal cases brought by special counsel Jack Smith remain in limbo. 

In Washington, D.C., Trump faces charges related to his actions to remain in power after the 2016 election. Trump has argued that he is immune from prosecution, and the Supreme Court is currently weighing his claim.

The high court heard arguments in the immunity dispute on April 26 and is expected to issue a decision on the matter before the end of the court's term, likely in June. If the case is allowed to move forward, there is a slim possibility that the district court could schedule the trial before November. If the justices side with Trump and find him immune from prosecution, the charges would be dropped.

In Florida, Trump faces federal charges stemming from his retention of classified documents after he left the White House. Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, has indefinitely postponed the trial. She ruled in early May that picking a trial date would be "imprudent and inconsistent with the court's duty to fully and fairly consider" numerous unresolved pre-trial motions. Those motions include Trump's efforts to dismiss the case altogether, as well as issues related to what classified information can be revealed at trial.

In the third case that remains outstanding, Trump faces state charges related to the 2020 election in Fulton County, Georgia. The trial in that matter is also on hold as Trump seeks to have District Attorney Fani Willis removed from the case. Georgia's Court of Appeals recently granted Trump's appeal of a decision that had allowed her to remain, bringing the trial to a temporary halt.

Trump's two federal cases could largely be in voters' hands if they are not resolved by November, a fact that raises his personal stake in the outcome. If he wins and returns to the White House in January 2025, Trump could order the Justice Department to seek to drop the charges altogether.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all of the criminal cases against him.

  • Donald Trump

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General election latest: Minister hangs up on Sky's Sam Coates after being told poll has predicted he'll lose his seat

A YouGov poll has predicted an enormous majority for Labour - and several big names Tories to lose their seats. One of them, Grant Shapps, hung up on our deputy political editor Sam Coates after being told live on the phone.

Monday 3 June 2024 21:01, UK

  • General Election 2024

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Election news

  • Bulletin: Catch up on the main news from the campaign trail
  • Labour set for biggest majority in 100 years - YouGov poll
  • Minister predicted to be voted out hangs up live on Sky News
  • The top Tories under threat | Why this poll is a big deal | '31 days to save Tory party'
  • Farage to stand at general election | Taking over as Reform leader
  • Be in the audience for our election leaders event
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker and Brad Young

Expert analysis

  • Jon Craig: Grim record aside, Farage has made a canny choice
  • Rob Powell: Farage U-turn is a really significant development
  • Adam Boulton: 'Starmtroopers' are purging Labour

Election essentials

  • Trackers: Who's leading polls? | Is PM keeping promises?
  • Follow Sky's politics podcasts: Electoral Dysfunction | Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more: Who is standing down? | Key seats to watch | How to register to vote | What counts as voter ID? | Check if your constituency is changing | Your essential guide to election lingo | Sky's election night plans

By Gurpreet Narwan , political correspondent

We've just witnessed what is probably the most dramatic moment of the general election campaign so far - Nigel Farage, a figure of fear for the Tories, is entering the fray ( read more here ).

All eyes will now turn to the polls, where Reform UK is performing at around 12%.

It hasn't made any major breakthroughs so far - and this vote share will not translate into a seat.

However, speaking to Sky News after the announcement, Mr Farage was adamant the party would now ascend and win more than the 3.9 million votes UKIP took in 2015.

It was at that election that Douglas Carswell - after defecting from the Tories - won a seat for UKIP. It is in this seat that Farage is now bidding to be an MP after seven failed attempts to enter the Commons.

Clacton will be viewed as a soft target for Reform. This was a strong Leave voting area and the Conservative candidate, Giles Watling, is a Remainer.

Reform UK is polling above the national average in this seaside town - YouGov and Sky News' MRP poll puts its share here at 19.5%. But the "Farage factor" cannot be underestimated. He could really win here.

All of this will send shivers down the spines of those in Tory HQ, but Sir Keir Starmer may be rubbing his hands with glee.

Polling already suggests that Reform could cost the Tories 100 seats by splitting the right wing vote across the Red Wall and Essex. It explains why the Tories were pushing the message hard that "a vote for Reform is a vote for Labour".

Farage has turned that on its head. The election is a foregone conclusion and the Tories are too divided to be serious in opposition, he says.

Instead, given the Tories have already lost, Farage argues that a vote for the Tories is the real wasted vote.

That's his pitch to voters who he is now inviting to join his "political takeover".

It was a week ago that the government was announcing its plans to reintroduce national service - after a fashion - if they won the election.

The idea is for all 18-year-olds to volunteer at least once a month, and some to join the military for the year.

Since then, pollsters at JL Partners have asked the country for their opinions on the policy.

As part of its survey, it asked 2,013 people to check boxes against answers for which statements they agreed with.

People could tick as many boxes as they want.

Some 32% of people - a total of 651 of the 2,013 - ticked the box saying it made them feel more negative about the Tories.

Meanwhile, 23% - 467 people of the 2,013 - said it made them feel better about the Conservatives.

To break that down, that's 184 more responses that thought badly of the Conservatives after the national service announcement than thought better of it - a nine point gap.

And then 24% of people - 479 - ticked the box saying it made no difference to their views.

Some 12% - 236 - said it made them feel better about Labour, while 3% - 51 - said it made them feel worse about Sir Keir Starmer's party.

And 12% - 243 - said they did not know.

Read more about the national service announcement below.

Sir Keir Starmer could be heading to Downing Street with a majority of 194 seats, bigger than what Tony Blair achieved in 1997, according to the first polling projection by YouGov of the campaign.

The projection shows a historic Labour landslide, with the party getting the highest number of seats of any party at an election in history.

At the same time, the Tories are trying to boost ratings by talking about culture wars while Labour is talking about real wars in terms of what they would do for defence. And Nigel Farage has announced he's standing for Reform UK.

On the Sky News Daily, Niall Patterson talks to Sky's chief political correspondent Jon Craig about the poll and today's developments, and to Scarlett Maguire, director of the polling organisation JL Partners.

Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts

Nick Thomas-Symonds is a shadow minister for Labour.

He is asked by Sophy about the major victory estimated for Sir Keir Starmer by YouGov today.

Mr Thomas-Symonds says: "Not a single vote has been cast in this general election - it hasn't been cast by post, and obviously no votes will be cast on the day until 4 July.

"Now, of course we are confident - but we are most certainly not complacent.

"I've been out all day today, my colleagues are out in their own constituencies and around the country.

"And we will continue to fight hard for every single vote until the close of polls at 10pm on 4 July.

"We will never take the voters for granted."

Grant Shapps says a vote for Reform is a vote for Keir Starmer.

The Tory minister's comments come after Nigel Farage announced he was standing for parliament a little earlier today.

The only possible outcomes on 5 July are either Keir Starmer or Rishi Sunak become prime minister, Mr Shapps says.

On backing Reform, he says the party's voters would only end up with the Labour leader "being handed more power to do things you really don't want him to do with this country".

One of the cabinet ministers predicted to lose his seat by today's YouGov poll is Grant Shapps .

Speaking to Sophy Ridge , Mr Shapps says he has "always thought of it as being marginal".

Mr Shapps was the MP for Welwyn Hatfield before parliament was dissolved, and is contesting the seat again.

He says that polling in his seat that took place recently had him down as winning it.

But Mr Shapps deploys one of the most well-worn of political phrases - that "the only poll that matters is the one on election day".

But he admits knowing it is one that is oft deployed, saying he is trying not to sound "too much like a politician".

Mr Shapps is asked about what happened earlier, when he rang Sky deputy political editor  Sam Coates  live on air.

The defence secretary says he was presented with an "opportunity to go live on air" that "was not entirely planned" - but was pleased to "come on anyway" once Sophy's show began.

You can watch the earlier moment below:

Before hearing from Defence Secretary Grant Shapps , a reminder of what Labour had to say about his brief today.

Sir Keir Starmer said he would be prepared to deploy nuclear weapons if needed to defend the UK.

The Labour leader said the nuclear deterrent programmeis "vital" to the UK's defence so "of course" he would be prepared to use it.

He would not go into detail about what circumstances would require him to take that sort of action if he became prime minister.

But his comments show his determination to demonstrate Labour as a "changed party" from when it was led by Jeremy Corbyn - a life-long opponent of nuclear weapons.

Read more from our political reporter Faye Brown :

Election analyst Michael Thrasher says YouGov's poll is "pretty grim reading" for the Tories.

The Conservatives are predicted to lose huge numbers of seats, with their lowest vote share ever.

Professor Thrasher says "31 days to save the Conservative Party" is now the brief for Rishi Sunak, and the message he needs to use to rally his MPs and party members.

The Tories are "facing annihilation" if the polls don't change.

But "Sunak's message just isn't cutting through to the electorate," says Thrasher.

"They have to come out with a positive message, and they have to work on converting people who are thinking of voting for these small parties (like Reform) into reverting to the Conservatives."

Nigel Farage standing in Clacton will "concentrate the minds" of Conservatives to erode the base of Reform, he says.

As for Labour, "they don't have to do anything really".

A "safe pair of hands" message looks like being enough to win with the polls as they are.

Nigel Farage today announced he was standing to be an MP in Clacton - his eighth attempt at running for parliament.

Our chief political correspondent Jon Craig has dug out the seven other times Mr Farage has tried to get a seat in Westminster.

The first was in Eastleigh in 1994, then Salisbury in 1997, Bexhill and Battle in 2001, South Thanet in 2005, Bromley and Chislehurst in the 2006 by-election, Buckingham in 2010 and South Thanet in 2015.

He lost all of them.

Clacton, Essex, where he is competing this time, was previously held by UKIP between 2014 and 2017.

Jon says that Mr Farage has made a "canny" choice by picking the seaside town to stand, as it's the kind of place Reform should expect to do well.

It has a large population of over-65s and not many graduates.

However, the Conservatives do have a majority of close to 25,000 - so it will be a big contest.

The other candidates announced for Clacton are:

  • Matthew Bensilum, Liberal Democrats;
  • Natasha Osben, Green Party;
  • Jovan Owusu-Nepaul, Labour Party;
  • Giles Watling, Conservatives.

Our deputy political editor Sam Coates says YouGov is "putting its reputation on the line" with the poll we're discussing tonight.

It's projecting a historic majority for Labour, and a devastating result for the Conservatives and SNP.

So what makes it different to the plethora we've had already? 

Well, this one is done with the MRP method.

MRP stands for the somewhat word salad-y "Multi-level Regression and Post-stratification".

In simple terms, this is how it works:

  • YouGov asks lots of people, across the country, how they intend to vote. It also asks them questions about who they are so they can paint a picture of the voter;
  • The pollsters use these pictures to know which characteristics match with someone voting a certain way - this is the regression bit;
  • YouGov then combines this with a second piece of information it has - a breakdown of all the constituencies and the kinds of people who live in each one;
  • These portraits of how people vote - based on where they live, gender, age and many other factors - are matched with the descriptions of all the different constituencies to produce an estimate for how each seat intends to vote. This is the stratification;
  • From there, YouGov provides the estimate of how the general election could turn out.

A huge number of people are asked for their opinions to build up the pictures used in MRP, which makes it more representative.

It's why tonight's poll has Tory MPs quite so nervous - and you can watch Sam break it down in full below:

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what do i need to present a business plan

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Your Horoscope This Week: June 2 To 8

Aries sun & rising:, taurus sun & rising:, gemini sun & rising:, cancer sun & rising:, leo sun & rising:, virgo sun & rising:, libra sun & rising:, scorpio sun & rising:, sagittarius sun & rising:, capricorn sun & rising:, aquarius sun & rising:, pisces sun & rising:, more from spirit, r29 original series.

IMAGES

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COMMENTS

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    Identify the action requested. The aim of this letter is that you want them to take the time to view your business plan. That's all. This isn't the point to demand funding. Ideally, they will take the time to meet so that you can present the business plan in person. Provide a professional and polite closing.

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    2. What is a business plan presentation, and why do I need it? A business plan presentation, also known as a "pitch deck, " is a slideshow that introduces the basics of your business to potential investors, lenders, or partners. It offers a concise overview of your business concept, target audience, operations, and funding needs.

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    An often overlooked point in a business plan presentation comes when listing the bibliographical information used to craft the business plan. Follow these steps to ensure a professional outcome for this slide or document. Use a title like: "Bibliography," "Source Credits," or "References.". If your business plan presentation cites ...

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    Pick and choose any and all of the slides you need to use in your business plan presentation. You can also bring in slides that you've previously saved to your slide library to help customize your presentation even further. 3. Customize the Template. Lastly, customize your template's font and color.

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    Instead, use photos, charts and graphs, or diagrams to explain your business and the problems you are solving. 4. Use large, easy to read font. Always use a relatively large font in your presentation - 30pt or larger. Your audience shouldn't have to strain to read what's on your slide.

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    Regardless of your audience, there are a few key things to keep in mind when preparing to present your business plan. First and foremost, you should ensure that all information included is credible and error-free. "You want the business plan to reflect your professionalism and add to your credibility," said Padilla.

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    It's time to create your new business presentation, and it's easier than you may think with Renderforest. Follow the below quick steps to create the actual presentation of a business plan to your potential investors to secure funding. Step 1. Choose a Business Plan Presentation Template.

  9. How To Make a Business Plan Presentation (With Tips)

    5. Practice your business plan presentation Practicing your business plan presentation by rehearsing the slides is helpful. In doing so, you familiarize yourself with the information and the business plan. Consider the time and your audience and make your presentation informative and concise. Keep on schedule and prioritize the most important ...

  10. Mastering the Art of Business Plan Presentation: A Definitive Guide

    Management team: Introduce your team. Highlight their expertise and why they're crucial to your business. SWOT analysis: Assess your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Conclusion: Summarize the key points and leave your audience with a sense of urgency to join your journey.

  11. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It's also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. After completing your plan, you can ...

  12. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  13. How to present your business plan effectively

    Stick to business —Focus on proving your case. It's good to be passionate about your business, but it's your facts and figures that will get you the money. Be realistic —Your forecasts should clearly show how your business or project will be profitable for both you and your counterpart. These forecasts must be rational and backed up by ...

  14. How to Present Your Business Plan

    This is your more formal pitch presentation that you make to investors. Cover the same elements included in your summary memo and in the executive summary of your business plan. Plan on 20 minutes ...

  15. How To Make A Business Plan: Step By Step Guide

    The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include. 1. Create an executive summary. Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

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    Once you've prepared your plan for presentation, you need to put it in front of the right people. There are six steps for doing so: 1. Obtain leads and referrals. Find names, addresses and phone ...

  17. How Do You Make Business Plan PowerPoint Presentations With PPT

    Here are five of the best PowerPoint business plan designs on Envato Elements to help you create your business plan presentation: 1. Business Plan PowerPoint Template. The success of a business plan presentation often hinges on the professionalism of the slide. This template is sure to hit the mark with well-designed slides. If you're learning ...

  18. Write your business plan

    Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts. Example traditional business plans. Before you write your business plan, read the following example business plans written by fictional business owners.

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    1. Create Your Executive Summary. The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans. Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

  20. Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One

    Business Plan: A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business, usually a new one, is going to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written plan from a ...

  21. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

    Write the Executive Summary. This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what's in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. Add a Company Overview. Document the larger company mission and vision.

  22. What It Takes to Give a Great Presentation

    Here are a few tips for business professionals who want to move from being good speakers to great ones: be concise (the fewer words, the better); never use bullet points (photos and images paired ...

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    By complementing your spreadsheets and charts with a compelling story, you can paint a fuller picture of your startup's future and more effectively highlight its business opportunity. 4. Cover the Details. While it's important to set the stage, you also need to cover the specifics. In your pitch deck, concisely define your value proposition ...

  24. How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

    The best way to accomplish any business or personal goal is to write out every possible step it takes to achieve the goal. Then, order those steps by what needs to happen first. Some steps may ...

  25. How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps

    The first step is to calculate the start-up costs. Identify a list of expenses and put a dollar amount to each of them through research and requesting quotes. The SBA has a start-up costs ...

  26. How Trump's conviction could change the dynamics of the 2024 race

    Whether a conviction changes the minds of voters who are not committed to the former president remains to be seen. A recent CBS News poll found that the majority of Americans believed Trump is ...

  27. General election latest: Starmer 'prepared to use nuclear weapons if

    Rishi Sunak is pledging to change the Equality Act to state that "sex" means "biological sex". Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer is reaffirming his commitment to the UK's nuclear deterrent. And a YouGov ...

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    Aries, this week's Jupiter-Pluto trine on June 2 allows you to blend your desire for greater self-expression with your need to know who your true friends are. Start off the week doing something ...