Top 5 Things to Include in Your Business Plan

If you’re really serious about making money with your new business, you must take the time to write a good business plan. A business plan is a roadmap that covers all the aspects of your business, and is vital if you’re planning on applying for a small business loan.

A business plan is also something which intimidates many new business owners who have no clue as to what to put in their business plan. Depending on the nature of your business, your business plan can be an elaborate write-up and analysis topping 100 pages, or it can be a narrative of 10 – 20 pages. What are 7 “must-haves” for your business plan?

1. Mission Statement

A mission statement is where you state your purpose for starting this business. Perhaps you’re starting a dog-treat bakery to sell home-made dog treats because you feel there are too many harmful additives put in pet food. Or, perhaps you’re starting a hypnotherapy practice because you strongly believe in the power of the mind to heal, change bad habits or increase motivation. Your mission statement doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to reflect your reasons for starting your business. If all you can think of is “I need to make money somehow,” then you might want to consider a different business.

2. Describe Your Business

This is where you describe in detail all the aspects of your business. Are you a service-oriented business (therapist, hair-stylist, consultant, etc.)? Do you sell products? Give a description of your products. Do you use a wholesaler or dropshipper? Do you manufacture the products yourself? What makes your business unique?

3. Short-term and Long-Term Goals

This is where you state your long- and short-term goals. For the short term you would list your goals for the next few months to a year. You might have as your goals finding a business name, applying for a business license, taking some SBA classes to learn more about running a business, securing office space, or whatever you might need to begin your business. You might also include the income you expect to earn in your first year of business. For your long-term goals you might want to pick a three-year to five-year goal. Your goals could include future product lines and any future marketing plans. It might include opening new stores, offices, or starting new websites.

4. Potential Customers

This is where you list who your customers will be. Who will buy your product? Who needs your services? What are they looking for? Why do they need your product? This helps you focus on the type of marketing you need for your customers.

5. Competition Analysis

This is where you analyze your competition. How can you know your chances for success if you don’t know what you’re facing in the way of competition? In the example of the hypnotherapy practice you would want to identify all the hypnotherapists in your area. You would also want to include psychotherapists or alternative-health professionals who may also appeal to your potential clients, as well as hypnosis CDs offered on the internet. This can help you spot the areas where the competition is less. For example, if you’re a hypnotherapist and find the competition is stiff for weight-loss or smoking cessation programs, try to find a niche which is less competitive.

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