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Building Your Business Plan

Your business plan is more than a document; it’s a roadmap, planning tool, and foundation for your organization. It’s instrumental in helping provide vision and direction for your business. We’ll share two types of business plans that can help you understand who you are, what you’re offering, who your audience is, where you’re going, and how you will get there. 

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document describing an organization’s goals and how to achieve them. It’s like a guideline for financial, operational, and marketing planning while establishing organizational structure and growth. 

Why Are Business Plans Important?

Business plans are vital for businesses, especially new or transitioning one’s because they:

  • Allow you to process through crucial business elements
  • Attract investors and business partners
  • Are often required for banks and investor capitalists
  • Help an organization’s team and leadership get on the same page
  • Establish goals and strategic objectives to achieve them
  • Help you manage your company

It’s important to note that you treat a business plan as a living document that functions best when reviewed and updated regularly. 

The 2 Main Types of Business Plans

You’ll want to choose the business plan format that fits your organization’s needs. There are two common types of business plans: traditional and lean.

The Traditional Business Plan

The traditional plans utilize a standard format and describe details for each segment. As a result, they can be lengthy and take more time to put together. However, you might consider using the traditional plan if you want to incorporate more detail, if you need financial support, or want an all-inclusive outline. 

The 9 Key Elements of a Traditional Business Plan

The Small Business Administration (SBA) identifies nine components within traditional plans. However, feel free to use the sections that make the most sense for your organization. 

1. Executive summary

In this section, you’ll include:

  • Your mission, vision, purpose, and value statements
  • Employee and management information
  • Your product or service
  • Financial information

2. Company description

In addition to including information about your business, you’ll want to cover:

  • What problems you solve
  • Who you plan to serve
  • Your differentiator

3. Market analysis

You’ll want to research as much as you can about your target audience. When you understand who your consumers are, you’ll know how to better serve and resonate with them. You’ll also want to conduct a competitive audit to discover what opportunities and additions you can incorporate into your organization. 

4. Organization and management

Describe the organizational structure of your business, including information about your leadership and team members. Incorporate as much information as possible here!

5. Service or product line

Identify what products or services you offer, including any legal information, as well as how your business will help your audience reach their goals and desires. 

6. Marketing and sales

You’ll need to outline what marketing and sales strategies you’ll require to support your achievements and success. 

7. Funding request

Identify the funds you’re requesting, how you’ll utilize them, and how they’ll benefit your business and customer. 

8. Financial projections

Establish data, insights, and information about where your business is financially. 

9. Appendix

You’ll showcase any supporting information that helps your business plan in your appendix. 

Lean Business Plans

Like the traditional plans, the lean plans use a standard format. However, you can develop the following key factors in much less time. As a result, lean plans are a great way to start the business plan process. 

The 9 Key Elements of a Lean Business Plan

While you can use different lean formats, the SBA outlines the following nine sections. 

1. Key partnerships

List the individuals and organizations you work with, including suppliers and subcontractors, to help you attain your goals. 

2. Critical activities

Identify the critical activities and differentiators that make you unique from your competitors. 

3. Important resources 

Document resources that you can use to add value for your consumers. 

4. Value proposition

Distill your unique value into an impactful statement that will clearly communicate who you are, what you provide, and how you add value to your audience. 

5. Customer relationships

List the type of experience customers will have with your business. For example, will they interact with you primarily online or in-person? 

6. Customer segments

Similar to the traditional plan, you’ll want to do your research and discover who your audience is so you can best serve them.

7. Channels

How will you reach your audience once you’ve defined who your audience is? Which platforms are they most active on? You’ll identify these answers and more in the research you’ve compiled during the above step. 

8. Cost strategy

Outline your cost strategy, including ways to reduce expenditures while increasing the value for your customers. 

9. Revenue streams

You’ll need to identify how you’ll earn revenue, incorporating supporting data and information. 

A sound business plan will help equip your organization with a roadmap for success. At Belfield Management, we can help you create an impactful business plan. You can use a well-built business plan to share goals and planning with your teams.  Good communication and buy in from your teams will make you more productive and profitable. Our team has over 170 years of cumulative experience, along with over 7,500 business stories. We stand behind our pledge to support you and your organization for long-term success. For more information on how we can help your business, click here