Why is a Business Plan a “Must Have” for Every Entrepreneur?

A clear, well-written business plan can have many positive benefits. However, many entrepreneurs with new businesses (or not-so-new ventures) do not have one. 

A business plan can provide goals and guidelines to meet and aspire to. It can help you make decisions as you grow. Your business plan can educate others about your business as well as help you qualify for recognition or honours in your industry (i.e. grants or awards)

Now that you understand how a business plan can help you, put on a pot of coffee or tea, and spend some time gathering the information you need to create one. 

What do I need to include in my business plan? 

You will need to know the essentials of a business plan to guide you – what to include, what you do not need to include, how much information to include and places you can go for help. Remember who your audience is, and what your purpose is. Have people that you trust who do and do not know much about your business review the document, and use their feedback to improve it. 

Here are the sections to include in your business plan:

Executive summary – open this section with a one-sentence overview that sums up what you do. For example, here is Uber’s; Uber – The Smartest Way to Get Around. It describes what they do, and articulates what makes them unique (also known as their value proposition)

Follow this statement with the problem your business solves in the market, describe your product or service and identify your ideal client. 

Business description – a short overview of your industry that touches on the present outlook as well as future possibilities. You also need to provide information about sub-markets within the industry (i.e. new products or developments that may affect your business)

Market strategies – this section will require collaboration, so it may take longer to write. Stay focused on completing it by reaching out to other entrepreneurs and trusted advisors. Get their help to define your target market and state how you plan to succeed in this industry. 

Competitive analysis – you will write about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in your market. Include the tactics that you will use to elevate your business and how you plan to grow your business. 

Design plan – this section provides investors with a description of how you design your product(s) or service(s), chart its development, marketing approach and a development budget to propel your business to reach your goals.  

Operations and management plan – this is how your business functions. It will focus on logistics, team members (if applicable) and expenses related to operating the business. 

Financial factors – include a spreadsheet that shows your planned sales, expenses and profits. If you need to provide more details about how your business makes money, add it here. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. If you want someone to invest, this section needs to prove why it is a safe, worthwhile investment. 

Appendix – use this final section for product images or additional information relevant to your business here.   

Finding Your Inspiration 

We have discussed what needs to go into a business plan. However, if you feel like you need more guidance before you get started, I highly recommend reading The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur by James Horan. I like this book because the tips can be adapted to many industries. 

If you have not written a business plan before (or you haven’t updated your plan recently), a new year is a wonderful reason to create or review your plan with fresh eyes and a renewed sense of commitment. Your business is well worth the time and effort you will invest into this task!  

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter

Leave a comment

Overwhelmed by the transition to entrepreneurship?

I’ve been there. When I left the corporate and small business worlds to start my own business, I didn’t know what I was in for. I saw other women living lives that I wanted to be mine, and wondered, “How are they doing it?” Knowing something had to give, I totally changed the way I’m running and building my business.

As a mother, blogger, mentor, speaker and business owner, I am used to balancing the demands of many roles. It is hard to “do it all,” and I have learned how to adjust to those expectations. Stick with me and you’ll be diving into your business with fresh eyes and a growth-centered mindset faster than you ever imagined!

It all came to a head in the Fall of 2015. With my daughter’s autism diagnosis and my postpartum depression following my son’s birth, my Spring/Summer that year had been pretty rough. I was feeling pretty kicked around — to say the least. As I was crawling out of the dark and twisty places life had cornered me in that year, I knew that everything had changed.

For many reasons, I couldn’t go back to my corporate life. One of the biggest reasons was that my perspective on how I was going to live my life had changed. A shift had happened. My time away from my children was going to be spent doing things that I was passionate about. Doing things that got me pumped about life. In May of 2016, I went out on my own and started my business. It was great. I was finally doing things that had me pumped about my time away from my kids. I had the flexibility to spend more time with them. At the end of the day, I had the energy to work in my household and my marriage.

But, while I was living my passion and excited about my life again, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Previously, I was a teacher, a sales professional, marketing leader and client services manager. By setting clear objectives, I succeeded in each role, even though they were in different industries.

But being an entrepreneur was a whole new world. I felt the loneliness. I had self-doubt. I didn’t know where to start…and I wasn’t the only one in this boat.

Whether I’m out speaking to a room full of female entrepreneurs or leading a workshop, one of the things that I hear over and over again from these amazing women is how great it is to be out from behind their desks and surrounded by a group of like-minded women. And as our conversation continues, it becomes clear that they are looking for a tribe of women that they can connect and collaborate with regularly in an environment that is welcoming, encouraging and safe enough to let their walls down and share. I needed a community like this too. One that encourages fellow members as they conquer fears, overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. A tribe that leaves me with a new comfort level and the confidence I’m craving to expand my growth and limits — both personally and professionally.

And most importantly, I wanted a place that would offer me more than inspiration. One that would give me the actionable advice, education and mentorship, support and accountability that we all need.

And from these conversations and my own needs, Fempire Builders was born.

You see, it’s not just me. And it’s not just you. We are not alone. And when we come together, it’s a powerful thing. With the Fempire Builders community supporting me and holding me accountable, I have experienced the business growth that previously I had only dreamed about.

Just as it has been for other Fempire Builders, it will be the same for you, too. Wait and see!