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Sitting down to write a business plan can seem like a daunting task.  However, we know that most adults like to learn in increments, and that learning is better achieved through interaction.

Hal Shelton, author of "The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan" and SCORE mentor, has developed worksheets for each part of the business plan writing process.  

These “Your Turn” worksheets allow you to collect your thoughts, write down your ideas, and use the research and educational materials at hand to have a solid start in developing your business plan incrementally and at your own pace.

Click on each topic that corresponds with Hal's chapters to download the worksheets.

Introduction

Business Plans 101

What's Your Style?

Make No Mistake

Forget Me Not

First Steps

In a Nutshell

Get Organized

Like No Other

Going to Market

Go with the Flow

Team Players

Number Sense

Passion Time

The Inside Track

Private Reserve

Debt Financing Roundup

A Show of Hands

Heavenly Financing

Download these forms and save them as you go. When you are finished, you will have a solid business plan for you to present to your target audience and lead your business to success. 

For more information, visit  SecretsOfBusinessPlans.com . 

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association, SCORE.org

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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The SECRETS to WRITING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PLAN

A Pro Shares A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating A Plan That Gets Results

Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating A Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton, Amazon bestselling author, will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan.

Nearly 50 percent of new businesses fail within five years.  A well thought-out business plan can dramatically turn the odds in your favor. With this easy-to-follow guide, you will:

Discover why you need a business plan and the best style for you

Receive step-by-step guidance for creating each section of your plan

Write your plan as you go using worksheets in every chapter www.score.org/secrets_business_plan

Get proven strategies for obtaining bank loans and attracting investors

Spend less time writing your plan and more time setting up your business

Learn how to create a business plan for a nonprofit

The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan is

packed with actionable advice and real-life examples

from Shelton’s experience as a senior executive,

SCORE small business mentor, and angel investor.

the secrets of writing a successful business plan

#1 New Release on amazon.com

    INSIDE

the secrets of writing a successful business plan

Editor’s note: The man with a plan…to be an author

"...A MUST READ FOR BUSINESS OWNERS AND THOSE THINKING ABOUT STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESSES."

  - Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, SmallBizDaily.com and Former Editorial Director, Entrepreneur Magazine

READ MORE....

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 needing to write a business plan to get there.

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated April 17, 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

Free business plan templates and examples

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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.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

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.

Start your business plan with the #1 plan writing software. Create your plan with Liveplan today.

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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How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan to start a business . In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.

This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.

Executive Summary

business plan

The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.

Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

business plan

In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.

It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.

This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

  • Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
  • Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
  • Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.

Company Description

business plan

The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.

Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.

Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

business plan

Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).

Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.

Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.

Market Analysis

business plan

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.

This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.

Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

business plan

A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.

Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.

Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

  • Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
  • Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
  • Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
  • Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.

Opportunities:

  • Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
  • Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
  • Expansion into international markets.
  • Intense competition from established technology companies.
  • Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.

Competitive Analysis

business plan

In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.

By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Example: Key competitors include:

GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.

EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.

By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.

Organization and Management Team

business plan

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.

Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

business plan

Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

business plan

In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.

Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.

Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.

Logistics and Operations Plan

business plan

The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.

Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.

Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

business plan

In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.

Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.

This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.

By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:

  • Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
  • Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
  • Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.

These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.

Income Statement

business plan

The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.

Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.

Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

  • Revenue: $1,500,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
  • Gross Profit: $700,000
  • Operating Expenses: $450,000
  • Net Income: $250,000

This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.

Cash Flow Statement

business plan

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.

Example:  The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

Operating Activities:

  • Depreciation: $10,000
  • Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000

Investing Activities:

  •  Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
  • Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000

Financing Activities:

  • Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
  • Loan Repayments: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
  • Net Increase in Cash: $210,000

This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

business plan

1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.

2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.

3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.

6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.

7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

The template is divided into the following sections:

  • Mission statement
  • Business Overview
  • Key products or services
  • Target market
  • Financial highlights
  • Company goals
  • Strategies to achieve goals
  • Measurable, time-bound objectives
  • Company History
  • Mission and vision
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Pain points
  • Industry trends
  • Customer needs
  • Competitor strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Competitor products and services
  • Market positioning
  • Pricing strategies
  • Organizational structure
  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Management team backgrounds
  • Product or service features
  • Competitive advantages
  • Marketing channels
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Promotional activities
  • Sales strategies
  • Supply chain management
  • Inventory control
  • Production processes
  • Quality control measures
  • Projected revenue
  • Assumptions
  • Cash inflows
  • Cash outflows
  • Net cash flow

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.

Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.

A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.

business plan

Why You Should Write a Business Plan

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

  • Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
  • Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
  • Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
  • Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
  • Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:

  • Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
  • Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
  • Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
  • Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
  • Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
  • Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
  • Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
  • One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
  • Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
  • Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.

Using Business Plan Software

business plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.

1. LivePlan

LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.

2. Upmetrics

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.

Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.

5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz

Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:

  • It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
  • It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
  • It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
  • It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
  • It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
  • It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
  • It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
  • It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
  • It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
  • It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
  • It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
  • It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
  • It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.

Can I write a business plan by myself?

Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.

We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .

Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.

What questions should be asked in a business plan?

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

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

A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.

How is business planning for a nonprofit different?

Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.

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When it comes to running a business , planning is paramount. Businesspeople use plans to help them prioritize, guide decision-making, and secure investment. Of course, as with anything we do, life can get in the way. So it's important to have some level of flexibility in your plans and be ready to compromise when you have to.

However, without a solid plan to lay the foundations, it will be very difficult to keep your goals in sight and do your business the justice it deserves. With this in mind, check out the following gallery for some tips on how to write a successful business plan.

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The executive summary is arguably the most important section of a business plan. This is your choice to describe your business in a nutshell and grab investors’ attention.

Follow us and access great exclusive content every day

<p><span>The executive summary should communicate your business’ name, <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/lifestyle/507876/are-natural-products-always-better-than-synthetic-ones" rel="noopener">products</a> or services, and the relevant market, all within an elevator pitch-style sentence. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/177433?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> 11 cities around the world that may run out of water</a></p>

Elevator pitch

The executive summary should communicate your business’ name, products or services, and the relevant market, all within an elevator pitch-style sentence.

You may also like: 11 cities around the world that may run out of water

<p><span>There are a number of possible styles when it comes to drafting an executive summary, so take your time and list out all your options. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Experiment with styles

There are a number of possible styles when it comes to drafting an executive summary, so take your time and list out all your options.

<p><span>Enlist the help of some thought partners to review all the possibilities and determine which one is the best.</span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/244932?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Famous widowed women and their lives after loss</a></p>

Ask others for advice

Enlist the help of some thought partners to review all the possibilities and determine which one is the best.

You may also like: Famous widowed women and their lives after loss

<p><span>Once you have the executive summary in place, start to work on the company description. This is where you go into detail about your business. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Create a company description

Once you have the executive summary in place, start to work on the company description. This is where you go into detail about your business.

<p><span>In your company description, you should include your business’ registered name, your business address, and any key employees that will be involved. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/318590?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> 30 movie remakes you thought were original </a></p>

Key elements

In your company description, you should include your business’ registered name, your business address, and any key employees that will be involved.

You may also like: 30 movie remakes you thought were original

<p><span>It should also include the legal form of your business, i.e. whether it will be a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

It should also include the legal form of your business, i.e. whether it will be a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation.

<p><span>It is also a good idea to include information about ownership in this section, as well as a short description of the company history and evolution. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/349565?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Celebrity siblings that fame forgot</a></p>

Ownership and history

It is also a good idea to include information about ownership in this section, as well as a short description of the company history and evolution.

You may also like: Celebrity siblings that fame forgot

<p><span>As you move forward with your business, goals will become paramount. Whether financial or non-financial, goals are essential when it comes to assessing progress.</span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Brainstorm your business goals

As you move forward with your business, goals will become paramount. Whether financial or non-financial, goals are essential when it comes to assessing progress.

<p><span>It is helpful to think of goals in two different baskets: numbers-based and intangible. Numbers-based goals include financial goals, of course, but there are others to consider.</span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/399650?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Do you dare cross the Devil's bridge?</a></p>

Numbers-based vs. intangible

It is helpful to think of goals in two different baskets: numbers-based and intangible. Numbers-based goals include financial goals, of course, but there are others to consider.

You may also like: Do you dare cross the Devil's bridge?

<p><span>For example, you may want to attach a number to your brand awareness goals. Perhaps you want to hit a certain number of followers across your social media accounts.</span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Numbers-based goals

For example, you may want to attach a number to your brand awareness goals. Perhaps you want to hit a certain number of followers across your social media accounts.

<p><span>Intangible goals are also important for direction. They might include, for example, seeing your business’ advertisement reach the general public. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/402795?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> 10,000 eggs per day and other crazy cruise ship food stats</a></p>

Intangible goals

Intangible goals are also important for direction. They might include, for example, seeing your business’ advertisement reach the general public.

You may also like: 10,000 eggs per day and other crazy cruise ship food stats

<p><span>Next, you should have a section where you describe your product or service. What exactly will you be selling and how does it respond to market demand?</span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Describe your services or products

Next, you should have a section where you describe your product or service. What exactly will you be selling and how does it respond to market demand?

<p><span>If you have any patents or trademarks, you should include those in this section, as well as your pricing strategy and any visual aids. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/443877?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Studio 54: What really happened at the iconic club</a></p>

Patents and trademarks

If you have any patents or trademarks, you should include those in this section, as well as your pricing strategy and any visual aids.

You may also like: Studio 54: What really happened at the iconic club

<p><span>Next you should describe the results of your market research. Market research is essential if you want to ensure that your product or service fills a gap. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Conduct your market research

Next you should describe the results of your market research. Market research is essential if you want to ensure that your product or service fills a gap.

<p><span>Establish exactly which market you will be entering, and work out what differentiates your business from competitors. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/450728?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> The creepiest actors of all time</a></p>

Market differentiators

Establish exactly which market you will be entering, and work out what differentiates your business from competitors.

You may also like: The creepiest actors of all time

<p><span>Use this section of the plan to describe how your business will situate itself in the industry and why it will have a competitive advantage. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Unique selling point

Use this section of the plan to describe how your business will situate itself in the industry and why it will have a competitive advantage.

<p><span>Then come the financial plans. In addition to financial goals, it is important to have detailed plans that set out your weekly, monthly, and annual spending.</span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/480340?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Why is wild swimming suddenly so popular?</a></p>

Create financial plans

Then come the financial plans. In addition to financial goals, it is important to have detailed plans that set out your weekly, monthly, and annual spending.

You may also like: Why is wild swimming suddenly so popular?

<p><span>There are several different costs to consider, the main one usually being rent. If you will have an office or a warehouse, this is normally your first big cost. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Big costs first

There are several different costs to consider, the main one usually being rent. If you will have an office or a warehouse, this is normally your first big cost.

<p><span>If you plan for your business to be fully remote, the replacement cost for your rent will be the software that keeps your online operation running. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/481467?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Should we still be eating tuna?</a></p>

Remote businesses

If you plan for your business to be fully remote, the replacement cost for your rent will be the software that keeps your online operation running.

You may also like: Should we still be eating tuna?

<p><span>Next on your list should be marketing and sales costs. Investing in people to get your brand name out there is as important as having a business that runs properly. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Sales and marketing

Next on your list should be marketing and sales costs. Investing in people to get your brand name out there is as important as having a business that runs properly.

<p><span>Although it is impossible to anticipate which unknowns will arise, if there is anything COVID-19 has taught us, it’s to expect the unexpected. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/485677?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Iconic places that (probably) never existed</a></p>

Be prepared for the unknown

Although it is impossible to anticipate which unknowns will arise, if there is anything COVID-19 has taught us, it’s to expect the unexpected.

You may also like: Iconic places that (probably) never existed

<p><span>From pandemics to extreme weather, there will always be unanticipated costs to your business. Be sure to factor these possible costs into plans so you’re not caught offguard.</span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Unanticipated costs

From pandemics to extreme weather, there will always be unanticipated costs to your business. Be sure to factor these possible costs into plans so you’re not caught offguard.

<p><span>Now that you have the structure for your business plan, here are some final tips. Firstly, make sure your plan is as clear and direct as possible. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/496127?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> The biggest hit songs from the '80s</a></p>

Final thoughts

Now that you have the structure for your business plan, here are some final tips. Firstly, make sure your plan is as clear and direct as possible.

You may also like: The biggest hit songs from your childhood

<p><span>While working on your business plan, make sure you have as much information as possible, so you can simplify it to the most relevant information.</span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Keep it simple

While working on your business plan, make sure you have as much information as possible, so you can simplify it to the most relevant information.

<p><span>It is also imperative that your plan is spelling and grammar error-free. Check, check, and check again before sending anything to investors or other stakeholders. </span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/498327?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Curious facts about ancient Greece</a></p>

Eliminate errors

It is also imperative that your plan is spelling and grammar error-free. Check, check, and check again before sending anything to investors or other stakeholders.

You may also like: Curious facts about ancient Greece

<p><span>In summary, business plans are essential for businesses of all sizes. They help to define where your business is and where you want it to go. </span></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Remember your goal

In summary, business plans are essential for businesses of all sizes. They help to define where your business is and where you want it to go.

<p><span>As any business owner will tell you, running a business requires vision, and having a roadmap to focus that vision will set you up for success.</span></p><p><span>Sources: (<a href="https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/how-to-write-a-business-plan/" rel="noopener">Forbes</a>)</span></p><p><span>See also: <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/lifestyle/514142/the-surprising-first-products-of-these-major-companies">The surprising first products of these major companies</a></span></p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/499660?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=527209en-in"> Radical figures from the Renaissance</a></p>

As any business owner will tell you, running a business requires vision, and having a roadmap to focus that vision will set you up for success.

Sources: (Forbes)

See also: The surprising first products of these major companies

You may also like: Unlocking the Renaissance: Who were the visionaries behind history's most revolutionary era?

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The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results

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Hal Shelton

The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan That Gets Results Paperback – January 25, 2017

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  • Print length 320 pages
  • Language English
  • Publication date January 25, 2017
  • Dimensions 7 x 0.73 x 10 inches
  • ISBN-10 0989946037
  • ISBN-13 978-0989946032
  • See all details

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About the author, product details.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Summit Valley Press (January 25, 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0989946037
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0989946032
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.23 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7 x 0.73 x 10 inches
  • #812 in Starting a Business (Books)
  • #1,503 in Systems & Planning
  • #4,156 in Entrepreneurship (Books)

About the author

Hal shelton.

Hal Shelton is a seasoned executive with corporations, nonprofits, and investment organizations. He uses his knowledge and expertise to help small businesses be successful.

In the corporate world, Hal was CFO of a NYSE listed alternative energy company for which he quarterbacked its IPO. Hal also held senior financial management positions with an oil and gas company and was on the board of directors of a NASDAQ listed technology company where he led its successful “going private” transaction.

For nonprofits, Hal is a board member and mentor for the SCORE Association – a volunteer organization that provides education and training to small businesses. Hal helps small businesses take advantage of new business opportunities, develop business plans, and find and qualify for financing, with the goal of increasing the business’s value and adding jobs. Also, Hal served on the board/CFO for a health clinic.

Hal is a member of Blu Venture Investors (BVI). This active angel investing group supports early-stage entrepreneurs in the Mid-Atlantic Region, with a primary focus on technology companies. Hal serves on the board of directors for three of these companies.

Hal holds a BS from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from the University of Chicago, and an honors diploma from the University of Vienna, Austria.

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7 Top Business Plan Books for New-age Entrepreneurs

Ultimate Guide On Writing A Business Plan

Free Ultimate Guide On Writing A Business Plan

  • October 18, 2023

12 Min Read

7 Best Business Plan Books for new-age Entrepreneurs

Business Plan books are the first thing to go for once you have decided on the idea you want to pursue as an entrepreneur.

Starting up as an entrepreneur is not as simple as it seems. Transforming your idea into a business that creates value for the world is a long process.

The process is full of uncertainties, hurdles, and burnout. To make consistent efforts without giving up, you need a plan you can rely upon.

The ultimate guide to starting a business

A plan that helps you in making wise decisions in your entrepreneurial journey is known as a business plan.

It also helps in refining processes and keeps you in line with your business goals.

Now, how would you create a business plan?

Well, you can anyhow get to know what it contains. However, to easily create a business plan that covers all aspects of your business, you must read these books.

In this article, we are going to discuss the 7 top business plan books written for ambitious entrepreneurs like you!

Best Business Plan Books

  • Art of the Start 2.0
  • The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies
  • The Founder’s Dilemma
  • The One-Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur
  • The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan
  • Anatomy of a Business Plan
  • The Complete Book of Business Plans

1. Art of the Start 2.0

Art of the start 2.0

Goodreads rating: 3.87/5

The author of this book is American millionaire Guy Kawasaki. Though his name is enough for anyone to stand up from their seats let me tell you a few things about him.

  • He worked with Apple in 1984 as a part of the marketing team for Macintosh computers.
  • He is the author of 12 books including The Art of Social Media, and Enchantment.
  • He is currently working as the chief evangelist of Canva which is a graphic designing software.

Now coming to what this book holds for you, it’s one of those books that focus on transforming your business idea into a full-fledged organization.

Guy Kawasaki explains why it is important to have a vision and how you, as an entrepreneur, can feed your team with the same vision.

If your team does not adhere to the same vision, there will always be chaos in the workspace.

You must also share stories about your product and your journey. Everyone loves stories. You don’t have to write a 300-page book but a few social media posts, and videos that resonate well with your target audience.

The book also guides entrepreneurs while hiring. It tells you to hire people who are new in the industry. They are most likely to innovate new products as they consistently ask questions.

Key Highlight:

This book will help you in writing a business plan along with guiding you in various steps of entrepreneurship. This book holds something for every aspect of entrepreneurship.

It also stresses how you can use the internet and cloud tools to make the processes more accessible and more efficient. In the modern era, businesses are equipped with tools that are affordable and accessible to everyone.

Moreover, the book also throws light on socializing and partnering with the right people for leadership roles or to get funding.

By reading this book, you will feel more powerful as an entrepreneur and will be ready to take on challenges that come along with entrepreneurship.

This book doesn’t sound like rhetoric and probably that’s why this book received appreciation from all across the world.

Book Link- Art of the Start 2.0

A reader’s review:

The focus is on tech entrepreneurs. While much of the advice is applicable to other industries, the book will hit the bullseye specifically with those starting technology businesses.

Anita Campbell (via Goodreads)

2. The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies

The successful Business Plan Secrets and Strategies

The author of the book is Rhonda Abrams who has written more than 12 books on entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur herself, the knowledge she shares is absolute gold and trustworthy.

She also writes one of the most popular columns in the US known as Small Business Strategies.

Let us now discuss what Rhonda Abrams has taught in her book.

The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies is a complete guide for anyone stuck in writing. It is one of those books that give you a push to start working on your idea.

This book contains various worksheets and charts which makes it consumable as well as practical.

You will get enough examples of various parts of a business plan , giving you an in-depth idea of what it looks like and how it is written.

This book not only teaches you to write a business plan that reminds you about your vision but also this plan can help you get investors on board.

It also equips you with strategies to get funds at the best possible rates and also to minimize the costs involved in running a business.

It gives you an in-depth understanding of positioning your brand in the market to gain the attention of your target audience and thus derive maximum profit.

Moreover, you can also use it for competitions related to showcasing plans for their businesses. The book is used by many entrepreneurs and is recommended to every small business.

Book Link- The Successful Business Plan

There’s enough information here to help you get almost any business started. This is a proven source, for it’s been through several re-prints since 1991.

Jeffrey Brown (via Goodreads)

3. The Founder’s Dilemma

The Founder’s Dilemma

Goodreads rating: 4.01/5

The book, The Founder’s dilemma, is one of the best business plan books by Noam Wasserman. Apart from this, he has written another bestseller known as Life is a startup.

Noam Wasserman served as a professor at Harvard Business school for 13 years and is currently working at the University of Southern California as a founding Director at the Founder Central Initiative.

The book he wrote is an absolute beauty. Not because he has told some hidden secrets but because he has addressed a problem that many entrepreneurs often ignore.

And that problem is the company’s leadership. You might have a billion-dollar business idea and even have cracked the tech for it, but you might still fail because of listening to the wrong advice.

If you want your business to not suffer due to wrong decisions made by top leadership, you must read this book.

This book will help you in deciding whom you want to work with, and how to share the equity among co-founders and employees without being emotional.

However, this book might not be useful for small businesses but is a gem for someone planning to launch a high-growth business.

Book Link – The Founder’s Dilemma

I’ve never seen a book before that was particularly helpful – to a founder – about the wide range of issues a founder will face.

Brad Feld (via Goodreads)

4. The One-Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur

The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur

Goodreads rating: 3.86/5

The author of this mind-blowing book is none other than Jim Horan.

Known for his expertise in solving complex business problems , Jim has helped many entrepreneurs in turning their businesses into profit-making machines.

Jim Horan has also been a Fortune 500 executive and has written six books in the One Page Business Plan for Creative Entrepreneur series.

This book is quite different from other books as it is written for entrepreneurs who do not understand a lot about business figures but want to get started soon.

There’s a saying that if you cannot write your business plan on a single page, you are probably doing it wrong.

The book enables you to write it in a couple of hours which includes your mission, objectives, and plans.

It will be crisp and easy to understand for your investors as well as the team. In this fast-moving world, it becomes really uncomfortable to give a week preparing a business plan.

You have the idea and with the help of this book, you can turn the idea into a business in no time.

Having said that, this book is not recommended to someone who is building a high-growth company or a business with many manufacturing units.

This book is specially designed for small businesses to increase their profits and improve their vision.

Book Link – The One-Page Business Plan

One of my favorites! I have used these templates many times. It really forces you to be concise and focus on your vision. Highly recommend!

Teri Temme (via Goodreads)

5. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan

The Secrets to writing a successful Business Plan

Goodreads rating: 3.70/5

The author of this book Hal Shelton is an extremely experienced executive who has worked with many corporations, non-profits, and investment companies.

Hal Shelton completed his BS from Carnegie Mellon University and then pursued an MBA from the University of Chicago.

The secrets to writing a successful Business Plan focus on each section of the plan to help you create one that stands out in front of the investors.

The book also informs you about the common errors entrepreneurs make while writing. These errors sometimes cost very high as they might create confusion for investors as well as for the team.

You will also learn to do the market analysis and write the same in your plan. You will be able to answer questions like how big is the market and whether it is sufficient to run a successful business or not.

Investors receive a lot of business plans and going through each one of them is not feasible. Therefore writing an executive summary becomes extremely important.

The executive summary is an easy way to grab investors’ attention and help them understand your business without going through lengthy documents.

If you are launching a non-profit organization, this book can help you in many ways as a section of the book is dedicated to non-profits.

Moreover, the book also consists of secret strategies for writing a business plan and getting bank loans or funding from investors.

Book Link – The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan

This book provides a very solid foundation to write your plan. The author also provides excellent examples and instructions as to what to and not to do in writing your business plan

Kirk G. Meyer (via Goodreads)

6. Anatomy of a Business Plan

Anatomy of a business plan

The author of this book, Linda Pinson, has worked very closely with the U.S. small business administration to write the government business plan publication.

She has also been honored as Education Advocate of the year and SBA regional women in Business advocate of the year.

Apart from this book, she has written many books on entrepreneurship such as Keeping the books and steps to start a small business startup.

This is one of the best business books for people who do not know anything about business plans.

This book provides you with an in-depth understanding of different business plans and will enable you to choose your ideal kind.

After reading the book, you will learn to update your plan according to the needs of your business and the position of your brand in the market.

The author also highlights the importance of mentioning the table of contents and executive summary in navigating smoothly through the book.

Apart from this, it also throws light on how you can efficiently market your business. You will also learn how to mention the financials of your company which is an important thing to do.

The Anatomy of a Business Plan also contains five real-life business plans which give you an understanding of how successful businesses can be explained in a few pages.

You also get a few worksheets which makes the overall experience of reading the book delightful.

Book Link – Anatomy of a Business Plan

This book is like “a mentor for your business plan”. Really informative and helpful.

Marvin Musfiq (via Goodreads)

7. The Complete Book of Business Plans

The complete book of business plans

Goodreads rating: 3.47/5

The authors of this book are Brian Hazelgran and Joseph A. Covello. Both of them have a great understanding of how businesses operate in this book. They have told us that one size doesn’t fit all.

That means business plans for different businesses cannot be written in the same way.

This book contains 12+ plans that give you an idea of how you write one for yourself.

This book also focuses on how you should bring people into your business and what vision you should have to run the business for decades.

Moreover, when you read the book you will have to ask a lot of questions to yourself. The book will compel you to ask questions yourself that are immensely important before writing it.

Once you give satisfactory answers to the questions asked, you will feel more motivated to start a business , and writing a business will look like a cakewalk.

The above quote shows how important it is to plan your business and create a visionary plan for your business.

Book Link – The Complete Book of Business Plans

Great book encompassing everything about writing business plans.

Denny Troncoso (via Goodreads)

Bottom Line

All the Business plan books that we discussed above are going to help you in some way or the other.

But don’t worry you don’t need to read all of them. Just figure out where you stand and where you would want to go and select a book accordingly.

Innovative tools present in the industry like Upmetrics have helped many entrepreneurs in business and financial planning. If you need more help writing a perfect business plan, check out Upmetrics NOW and grow 2X faster.

Build your Business Plan Faster

with step-by-step Guidance & AI Assistance.

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About the Author

the secrets of writing a successful business plan

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Free Webinar | May 7: How to Write Your One-Page Business Plan Workshop Did you know entrepreneurs with business plans are 260% more likely to launch? Join our workshop on May 7th and learn how to create a one-page business plan that will help you get your business off the ground. Register now!

By Entrepreneur Staff • Apr 16, 2024

Do you wish you could run a business that would make the most of your skills, experience and earn you the money that you're really worth?

Or perhaps you've already started your own business but it seems like no matter how hard you work you're no closer to the dream that inspired you to start your company in the first place.

If you're not hitting your goals, it's not due to a lack of ambition, you just need a better plan to make it happen.

Specifically, a business plan.

Related: Join our workshop on May 7th and learn how to create a one-page business plan that will help you get your business off the ground. Register now!

A study from BusinessDIT revealed that:

Entrepreneurs with business plans are 260% more likely to launch

71% of fast-growing businesses have plans

With the right business plan, you'll be more likely to launch and grow faster once you do.

So, why don't you have an updated plan? There are a few common reasons.

"I'm too busy"

"It's too confusing"

"I have too much else going on"

It's time to end the excuses so you can achieve predictable revenue growth without going back to school for an MBA.

Join Our Free How to Write Your Business Plan Workshop

During this workshop, you'll learn how to create a one-page business plan that will help you perfect your strategy, marketing and business processes.

You're just one hour away from having the clarity needed to reduce confusion, improve your offer and maximize your revenue potential.

You'll also receive a customizable one-page business plan so you can immediately apply what you've learned.

Now is the time to work on your business so the time you spend working in your business will be more efficient and rewarding.

Imagine knowing that at any given time, you're taking the right actions that are directly aligned with the vision you had when you first started your business.

There's no need to imagine. Just sign up for the workshop and then commit to applying what you've learned.

All registered attendees will get a recording of the presentation and a copy of the one-page business plan template. And if you know of anyone else who should attend, share this with them so they can hold you accountable.

Sign up now and turn your business idea into action.

Sign Up Now

About the Speaker:

Terry Rice is a high-performance coach to entrepreneurs, keynote speaker and journalist at Entrepreneur magazine. He's also the host of Reclaim + Advance, a podcast that helps entrepreneurs overcome setbacks and perform at their highest level.

Prior to becoming a creator-entrepreneur, Terry's previous experience includes internal consulting roles at Adobe and Meta.

In addition to his role as Director of Growth and Partnerships at Good People Digital, Terry is an instructor at New York University, speaks at events for leading companies - including Amazon and Google - and has been featured as a subject matter expert by Good Morning America, Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal.

Based in Brooklyn, he is a husband, father of five children, and is an advocate for mental and physical fitness.

Entrepreneur Staff

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More From Forbes

How to perform effective risk management during event planning.

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Sonali Nair is the Chief Executive Officer at Segment Agency .

If the past few years have taught us anything, expect the unexpected. That unpredictability extends to events and reminds us that effective risk management is an often unspoken key to success. Whether we're talking about severe weather disruptions, political instability or, of course, the impact of a global pandemic, the reality is that even the most meticulously planned events can face unforeseen challenges.

However, unmitigated risks can lead to logistical nightmares, damaged brand reputation, financial losses and harm to staff and attendees. Consider the Woodstock '99 music festival in Rome, New York—a clear example of event holders' absolute failure in planning for potential risks. With a range of issues, including a lack of drinking water, proper accommodations or fire prevention, this infamous event is often called " the day the Nineties died ."

A robust risk management strategy protects the investment of time and resources of those planning or executing an event. It also helps ensure attendees' safety and overall satisfaction. Let's look at some of the nuances of risk management in event marketing and how to identify potential risks—and best prepare for them.

The Critical Role Of Risk Management

Risk management is about more than averting disaster at an event; it's about ensuring you can craft experiences for your audience that are memorable for the right reasons. In 2021, 67% of event professionals said they include safety and security measures in their meetings and event policies. But effective risk management goes beyond merely identifying potential hazards and drafting safety policies.

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A comprehensive strategy includes contingency plans so you can efficiently tackle the unexpected. Event planning that incorporates more-thorough risk assessment and management can ensure enhanced operational efficiency and projects a more professional brand image to attendees, guests, investors and sponsors. Additionally, events that run smoothly are more likely to stay within budget, avoiding costly last-minute changes or cancellations.

Identifying Potential Risks When Event Planning

Accurately identifying potential risks for your event is like setting the foundation for success. Your risk assessment plan should include everything from logistical challenges and technology failures to financial/budget overages, reputational concerns, natural disasters and health-related emergencies (it's impossible to forget everything that Covid-19 canceled). There are various tools and strategies you can use for risk assessment. Here are some examples.

• A SWOT Analysis: Consulting with your team to conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis. This process helps you critically identify and categorize all possible internal and external factors that could impact your event.

• A PESTLE Analysis: Performing a Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental assessment offers a broader perspective of potential risks. It can help you understand the more prominent macro-environmental factors that could impact your event.

• Risk Matrices : Once you've identified potential risks relevant to your situation, you can plot the likelihood of these risks occurring against their likely impact.

With the right tools in place and adequate strategic planning, event marketers can accurately identify potential risks and ensure they're equipped to deliver a successful, safe event.

Developing A Comprehensive Crisis Management Plan

A comprehensive crisis management plan is a critical aspect of risk management for event marketers It's often the difference between swift recovery and prolonged disaster. There are three key steps to developing an effective plan.

1. Put Together A Team: Establish a crisis management team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

2. Perform Assessments: Conduct a thorough risk assessment, identifying potential crises and outlining mitigation strategies.

3. Determine Solutions: Develop a detailed response plan for each identified risk, including both immediate actions and long-term recovery strategies.

Be sure your plan includes a comprehensive communication strategy that outlines how to deliver information to staff, attendees, applicable stakeholders and the media/public. It should be clear, concise and adaptable to different scenarios. For example, in 2018, high winds forced Coachella to delay the opening of its on-site camping. This was clearly communicated to attendees and the public via a variety of media outlets, including social media.

Flexibility and adaptability are crucial in crisis and risk management. If you're an event planner or marketer, you likely already have contingency plans for specific situations, like backup mics for speakers or extra programs printed. When it comes to accurate crisis management, the concept is the same, just on a bigger scale. You must be ready to modify your plans as situations evolve.

Insurance Considerations

Once you have your crisis management in place, it's an excellent time to consider the necessary insurance relevant to your event. While required for regulatory compliance, it's also a significant strategic move to safeguard your organization against unforeseen financial risks. Understanding what is and isn't covered is critical to prevent surprises should you have to make a claim.

Always read the fine print and seek clarity on any unclear terms. Be sure to look at the following details closely.

• Liability: You need to know what claims are covered related to injuries or property damage caused by the event.

• Cancellation: Increasingly crucial in uncertain times, this can protect you against financial losses from cancellations or postponements.

• Property: This covers damage to the venue or rented equipment.

• Health And Safety: This coverage is essential for medical incidents/accidents that staff and attendees endure.

Investing time and resources in understanding and choosing the right insurance coverage is about more than just compliance. It will help ensure your event's financial stability and sustainability under any circumstances.

Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

Adeptly navigating risk management in the event industry is more than just dodging obstacles that may come your way. It's about turning challenges into opportunities for innovation and improvement. One example is the innovation found in hybrid and virtual events that arose at the height of the pandemic. When circumstances forced organizations to pivot, they found remarkable success and made long-lasting impacts on the future of the event industry. A proactive approach to risk management can lead to groundbreaking advancements and new, creative ways to reach and engage with your intended audience.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

Sonali Nair

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  3. Business Plan: Business Plan Writing- Learn the Secrets of Writing a

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  4. The Secrets of Writing a Successful Business Plan

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  5. The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Successful Business Plan

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  1. Eight Components of a Successful Business Plan/INFOGRAPHIC

  2. How to Write an Effective Business Plan

  3. Top 10 Business Plan Software for Mergers and Acquisitions (2024)

  4. How To Write A Business Plan In 10 Simple Steps!

  5. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan

  6. Crafting a Powerful Business Plan for Success

COMMENTS

  1. The Secrets of Writing a Successful Business Plan

    Read full bio. Hal Shelton, author of "Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan" and SCORE mentor, has developed worksheets for each part of the business plan writing process. These worksheets allow you to collect your thoughts, write down your ideas to have a solid start in developing your business plan incrementally and at your own pace.

  2. The Secret Of Writing A Successful Business Plan: Don't Be Generic

    iStock. The best business plans, according to Hal Shelton, a SCORE mentor, angel investor and author of " The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan ," aren't generic. "There are ...

  3. 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 ...

  4. The Secrets to Writing A Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step

    The Secrets to Writing A Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Plan That Gets Results - Kindle edition by Shelton, Hal. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Secrets to Writing A Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step-By-Step Guide To ...

  5. Starting A Business

    Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating A Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton, Amazon bestselling author, will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan. Nearly 50 percent of new businesses fail within five years.

  6. 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 ...

  7. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan

    Hal Shelton's best-selling book The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan is a proven and essential road map of how to understand, develop and communicate an effective business plan. This new edition also provides updated information on funding options, as well as a bonus section covering key start-up issues.

  8. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan summary

    The "The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan" book summary will give you access to a synopsis of key ideas, a short story, and an audio summary. Gain a complete understanding of "The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan" by Hal Shelton from Blinkist. The "The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan" book ...

  9. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pr…

    Secrets to Writing a Successful Business A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan and attaining funding.This second edition maintains the original laser focus on writing the plan.

  10. How to Create a Business Plan: Examples & Free Template

    Tips on Writing a Business Plan. 1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively. 2.

  11. The Secrets to Writing A Successful Business Plan: A Pr…

    Secrets to Writing a Successful Business A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan and attaining funding. This second edition maintains the original laser focus on writing the plan.

  12. The Secrets to Writing A Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step

    The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan is packed with actionable advice and real-life examples from Shelton's experience as a senior executive, SCORE small business mentor, and angel investor. Read more. Previous page. Print length. 319 pages. Language. English. Publication date. 30 January 2014. File size. 24707 KB. Page Flip.

  13. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step

    Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan. Nearly 50 percent of new businesses fail within five years. A well thought-out business plan can dramatically turn ...

  14. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step

    Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan and attaining funding. This second edition maintains the original laser focus on writing the plan. It also adds much material on the vibrant crowdfunding platforms as ...

  15. Writing a Successful Business Plan: 8 Answers From a Small Business

    As a SCORE small business mentor, he has worked with more than 1,000 small business owners and has learned firsthand the importance of an effective business plan. I had the chance to sit down with Hal to discuss his new book, The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan, and to learn more about what it takes to create the perfect business ...

  16. The secrets to writing a successful business plan

    The secrets to writing a successful business plan : a pro shares a step-by-step guide to creating a plan that gets results by Shelton, Hal, 1943- ... The 4-1-1 : where to go for business plan help ; Make no mistake : common business plan writing errors ; Forget me not : smart things to do when writing your plan ; First steps : starting with a ...

  17. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan

    Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan. Nearly 50 percent of new businesses fail within five years. A well thought-out business plan can dramatically turn the odds in your favor.

  18. PDF SUCCESSFUL business plan

    praise for successful business plan v " In December 1991, I came upon the book Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies. It is the closest to what I know works in the real world, at least in high-tech industries. " — Barb Tomlin, e-Business Strategy Consultant and President/CEO, Westward Connections, Inc. "

  19. 10 Simple Tips to Write a Successful Business Plan

    1. Know your competition. You need to name them and point out what makes you different from (and better than) each of them. But do not disparage your competition. Continue reading. 2. Know your ...

  20. 10 Smart Things to Do When Writing and Updating Your Business Plan

    In today's post, I'd like to take a deeper look at 10 smart things you can do when writing, and rewriting, your business plan. 1. Write a clear two-page executive summary. Your goal in the executive summary is to energize the reader to read the whole plan. Make a persuasive case upfront for why the business will be successful and why you ...

  21. Top tips for writing a successful business plan

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  22. The Secret To Writing A Business Plan

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  23. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares A Step

    Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan: A Pro Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Plan that Gets Results by Hal Shelton will open your eyes to insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business plan and attaining funding.This second edition maintains the original laser focus on writing the plan. It also adds much ...

  24. 7 Best Business Plan Books for Every Entrepreneurs Should Read

    The Founder's Dilemma. The One-Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur. The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan. Anatomy of a Business Plan. The Complete Book of Business Plans. 1. Art of the Start 2.0. Goodreads rating: 3.87/5. The author of this book is American millionaire Guy Kawasaki.

  25. PDF Elements of a Successful Business Plan

    expect a well written business plan on which to base their decisions. Sales Tool . A business plan may be used to convince people to become involved with your business. You may want and need concessions from suppliers or customers -- a business plan may help you get them. It also may be used to recruit key employees, directors and advisors.

  26. Business Plan: Business Plan Writing- Learn the Secrets of Writing a

    **Discover Secrets of Writing a Successful Business Plan! ** You would probably be thinking that the only thing that's standing between an entrepreneur and success are certain colored charts, multiple spreadsheets and financial projections for months together. Yet, this couldn't be any further away from truth. In fact, even with the most elaborately crafted business plans, the venture might ...

  27. Free Webinar

    Join Our Free How to Write Your Business Plan Workshop. During this workshop, you'll learn how to create a one-page business plan that will help you perfect your strategy, marketing and business ...

  28. Secrets To Success: What Profitable Businesses Do Differently

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  29. A Beginner's Guide to Creating a Project Communication Plan

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  30. How To Perform Effective Risk Management During Event Planning

    There are three key steps to developing an effective plan. 1. Put Together A Team: Establish a crisis management team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. 2. Perform Assessments ...