The 5 Things Every Small Business Plan Needs to Address

If you're looking to get a loan to start up a business, the bank is going to ask you for a business plan. You can't go in and just say something like "I'm going to sell coffee". Your business plan has to be specific and actionable, and show that you've thought through considerations like your expenses, your expected revenue, plans for growth, and marketing. If you're putting together a small business plan now, you might be overwhelmed with how much actually goes into it. Don't worry; here's a quick guide of the essential items your plan should cover.

1. An Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first section of your business plan, and it's often the first thing anyone reading it will see. It's a quick summary of your business, what you sell, your mission statement, and something about where you operate. It might also include information about your employees, your company leadership, and whatever else you deem important enough for someone to know right off the bat. Your executive summary should be one or two paragraphs long, depending on how much you want to put in. Here's a quick guide to writing an effective executive summary for your business plan. 

2. Market Analysis

You need to understand your target market and the industry your business is operating in if you want to be successful. A potential investor or a loan officer is going to want to see that you've done some good analysis of the market you'll be operating in. You need to understand the potential competition, their estimated revenue, and what they're doing that's making them successful. You also need to have a general idea of who is most likely to purchase your product or service. Knowing this information makes you better prepared to meet their needs and be successful with your small business.

3. Branding Plan

Your brand is how your customers feel about your business when they encounter it, whether that's through marketing or just down the street. Your business plan should at least address how you intend to make your company's brand stand out. You can go the extra mile and come up with a logo for your company ahead of time, and put it on your business plan to help drive the point home. That step doesn't even need to cost you any money, since with a great tool like LogoCreator, you can do it for completely free. 

4. A Description of Your Product

No business plan is complete without a fairly detailed description of what you're actually selling. This doesn't just include the product or service's name or description; you should cover how much it costs you to make or purchase, how much you're selling it for, and how much you expect to gross from each sale. Beyond the numbers, describe how your product improves your customers' lives or how it gives value. You should also cover your plans for anything you plan to copyright, patent, or trademark, to protect your intellectual property.

5. Funding Requirements

This is the main reason you wrote a business plan in the first place, so it's a necessary part of the plan. Your funding requirements outline describes how much money you need, what it will be used for, and how you intend to pay it back (or how much equity the investor will hold, if you're going that route). You also should include a description of your future financial plans for your company, including if you're planning to sell it. Having a detailed plan for the next five years is crucial to making a loan officer or an investor feel comfortable enough to trust you with their money.

Are you ready to start your business plan?

Creating a business plan can be challenging, but if you follow these steps you can get started today. A business plan should contain the goals of your business, the methods of reaching those goals, and the timeframe to complete those goals. To help add credibility to your business and strengthen your brand, don't forget to include building a website in your business plan!  

UpNext Designs is here to support you and help get your business online quickly. Let us help you build your website and grow your business online by contacting us today for a free consultation!

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