But, how do you write a business plan? Research, research, research. Read everything you can about your industry and talk to your audience. Determine the purpose of your plan. Create a company profile. However, your profile can be used to describe your company in your business plan. Having your profile in place makes this step a whole lot easier to compose. Include testimonials from pre-market testing and interviews, and discuss any tentative arrangements that you have made with potential customers.
Seek these tentative arrangements as much as possible; telling a lender that you already have people lined up to buy your product can help to convince your audience that you are a solid investment.
Discuss your actual marketing plan, revealing exactly how you will send marketing messages to consumers and persuade them to try your product. Set up your financial plan presentation. The key word in this section is profitability. Will you be advertising online?
A key component to your advertising plan is your plan for measuring the success of your advertising. Public relations Getting the media to cover you—PR —can be a great way to reach your customers.
Getting a prominent review of your product or service can give you the exposure you need to grow your business. If public relations if part of your promotional strategy, detail your plans here. Content marketing A popular strategy for promotion is engaging in what is called content marketing. Content marketing is what Bplans is all about. Content marketing is about teaching and educating your prospects on topics that they are interested in, not just on the features and benefits that you offer.
Social media These days, having a social media presence is essentially a requirement for the vast majority of businesses. More and more, prospects are using social media to learn about companies and to find out how responsive they are. Strategic alliances As part of your marketing plan, you may rely on working closely with another company in a form of partnership.
This partnership may help provide access to a target market segment for your company while allowing your partner to offer a new product or service to their customers. Operations The operations section is how your business works. Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may or may not need the following sections.
Only include what you need and remove everything else. If you are sourcing products from manufacturers overseas, investors are going to want to know about your progress working with these suppliers. If your business is going to be delivering products to your customers, you should describe your plans for shipping your products. At a high level, you will want to describe how your technology works.
Remember, your goal is to keep your business plan as short as possible, so too much detail here could easily make your plan much too long. Distribution For product companies, a distribution plan is an important part of the complete business plan. For the most part, service companies can skip this piece and move on.
Distribution is how you will get your product into the hands of your customers. Every industry has different distribution channels and the best way to create your distribution plan is to interview others in your industry to figure out what their distribution model is. Here are a few common distribution models that you may consider for your business: Direct distribution Selling directly to consumers is by far the most simple and most profitable option.
You could consider passing the savings of selling directly on to your customers or you could simply increase your profit margins. You will still need to cover the logistics of how you will get your products to your customers from your warehouse, but a direct distribution model is usually fairly simple.
Instead, they prefer to buy through large distribution companies that aggregate products from lots of suppliers and then make that inventory available to retailers to purchase. Of course, these distributors take a percentage of the sales that pass through their warehouses. They often have relationships with retailers and distributors and work to sell your products into the appropriate channel.
A good example of this is car parts suppliers. While large auto manufacturers do build large components of their cars, they also purchase common parts from third-party vendors and incorporate those parts into the finished vehicle.
For example, it is very common to both sell direct and via distributors—you can purchase an iPhone directly from Apple, or go into a Target store and get one there. Milestones and metrics A business plan is only a document on paper without a real path to get the work done, complete with a schedule, defined roles, and key responsibilities.
Investors will want to see that you understand what needs to happen to make your plans a reality and that you are working on a realistic schedule. Start with a quick review of your milestones.
Milestones are planned major goals. For example, if you are producing a medical device, you will have milestones associated with clinical testing and government approval processes. If you are producing a consumer product, you may have milestones associated with prototypes, finding manufacturers, and first-order receipt.
Traction While milestones look forward, you will also want to take a look back at major accomplishments that you have already had. Traction could be some initial sales, a successful pilot program, or a significant partnership. Sharing this proof that your company is more than just an idea—that it has actual evidence that it is going to be a success—can be critically important to landing the money you need to grow your business.
Metrics In addition to milestones and traction, your business plan should detail the key metrics that you will be watching as your business gets off the ground. We will set up a meeting to go over the results and then tweak our approach accordingly. Your own proposal may look different than this depending on your proposal writing skills and services, but you can still use the example as a framework. Add in more details as needed. For example, a cyber security company would need to include information on penetration testing and how often it would be done to look for possible intrusions and hacks.
About us You said hello with the cover letter, but the about us section is where you get to really show off what makes your company the best in the biz.
Include information about your past successes, awards, and social proof in the form of client testimonials or short case studies. Too often in social media, good things come at a price — and that means paying for followers or favorable reviews of products.
However, if your industry has serious clients, this may not be appropriate. Pricing This is the section where specifics are key.
They often have relationships with retailers and distributors and work to sell your products into the appropriate channel.
Market analysis and market research If you are going to do a market analysis , start with some research. You can establish your pricing based on several factors. Yet, one is for presenting and specifically for getting funding from angels and VCs. Because of this expectation, investors want to know everything about your business.
You can mention any relevant education, industry-specific training, or certifications you have, your past successful projects of a similar nature, years of experience, and so on. The more that you can minimize your assumptions, the more likely it is that your business will succeed. Before you even think about writing your marketing plan, you must have your target market well-defined and have your buyer persona s fleshed out. Every business is solving a problem for its customers and filling a need in the market. For some products and services, you might want to describe use cases or tell a story about a real user who will benefit from and be willing to pay for your solution.
You can look at your costs and then mark up your offering from there.
You can establish your pricing based on several factors. For the most part, service companies can skip this piece and move on. Of course, these distributors take a percentage of the sales that pass through their warehouses. And each type of reader does have certain typical interests. If so, what best practices and data can help you create a winning document that will help your business get the funding you need and ensure your venture lasts? Positioning is how you will try and present your company to your customers.
Monitoring It is important to regularly maintain marketing activity for maximum growth. They often have relationships with retailers and distributors and work to sell your products into the appropriate channel. This is the most common misconception, but while there are areas of overlap like your executive summary the two are different. Pixabay Pixabay Business plans have long been a critical document for new businesses.
However, keep these alterations limited from one plan to another. Financial summary Highlight the key aspects of your financial plan, ideally with a chart that shows your planned sales, expenses, and profitability. If so, what best practices and data can help you create a winning document that will help your business get the funding you need and ensure your venture lasts? To ensure that you are solving a real problem for your potential customers, a great step in the business planning process is to get away from your computer and actually go out and talk to potential customers.
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