Congratulations, you’ve decided to start your own business! What’s your plan? First, it’s time to create your business plan. A business plan is an important stepping stone to making sure you are successful in your journey. The plan should consist of a three to five-year blueprint that will help outline your business and help grow revenue. Concerns like receiving loans and budget costs are reasons why it is important to have an updated business plan.

Below are nine essential steps to creating a business plan that will help your organization prosper.

Executive summary: The way it sounds is the way it should be created. The executive summary is an extensive summary of your business plan. What are your business goals, the background of your organization, your future plan, and why your ideas are beneficial to the business? Though the summary should be put first, and it is the most important part, it’s recommended you write it last, so you can bring awareness to the strengths of your business plan.

Company Description: Your company description should explain the benefits of your organization, which market areas need your business, and how your organization has a competitive edge that stands out from the rest and to your future customers.

Market Analysis: This is the section that includes knowledge and research of your target market, your expected market share and pricing structure. Your market analysis should also have a broad competitive analysis within your target market and potential governing restrictions you may run into.

Organization and Management: Your business’s organizational structure, ownership information and details about your management team should be included here. Make sure you advertise who has helped you through your business journey and will continue to be there for you and your organization throughout the years.

Service or Product Line: In this section, you need to clarify what your product or service consists of, how it will help benefit your current and future customers, and why your product or service is needed in your marketplace. The service or product line is where you need to sell your company.

Marketing and Sales: Creating an overall marketing and sales strategy is the goal of this section. Your marketing strategy should include a market penetration and growth strategy, your channel members and distribution, and what your communication proposal is. Your sales strategy should have the tactics of your sales plan that you plan to implement.

Funding Request: This section only needs to be completed if you will be looking for your business to be somewhat funded. You will need to explain how the given money will be used, give a detailed report if you believe there will be any funding requests over the next few years, and highlight your business financial plans.

Financial Projections: This section only needs to be included if you are going to fill out a funding request, but it is still a great idea to think about the financial outlook for your business. Projects should include financial data, a financial information analysis and a trend and ratio examination for all your needed financial statements that should be in, you guessed it, your business plan.

Appendix: The last step to your business plan is the appendix. Note, you do not have to create an appendix, only if you feel like it is absolutely needed. For a successful appendix, you need to have a list of references, pictures of your products, financial information, needed permits/patents, contracts and everything else that is essential to tying up the plan.

Creating a business plan can be stressful but remember that it is essential to stick to your business identity and be true to yourself. Designing a strong plan that highlights your company’s goals, aspirations, how you will get there, and your business identity will help you have a strong foundation as you build the business.

Don’t forget that if you ever get stuck or need help, reach out to us here at Launch. We will gladly sit down with you and give you feedback, as well as introduce you to members that could benefit you and your business. Trust us, it’s one of the many reasons why we’re here. Other resources include our local Small Business Development Center, or the Small Business Administration at sba.gov.

And, we’re always here to help you with your business planning and connecting you to other resources. You can contact us now or connect with us on Facebook, email (info@launchterrehaute.com) or phone (812-244-2762). We can’t wait to hear from you!