The Business Plan: 5 Sections of Your Business Plan That Make It Work

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.

Writing a business plan is the first step in venturing into building a business. It’s also a requirement if you plan to apply for a business loan.

But a business plan can do more than get you a bank loan. A great business plan will help you plan your business from the end to the beginning.

A business plan is a fluid document that changes as you grow, uncovers challenges, discovers more of what you want and helps you find more of what you need to succeed.

Good businesses are started with the end in mind and worked backwards.

Sound crazy? It works! It’s the way successful entrepreneurs think. And it’s the way they make it to the top of their business world.

If they can do it so can you. Before you decide on which business plan template to use there are 5 necessary things to include when you design and build your business plan:

What Needs To Stop. Figure out everything in your business or life that you hate, you want to stop, or you are tired of. This means identifying what is causing you pain and making you depressed. Get to the root of it. Don’t be satisfied with or fool yourself into thinking the superficial stuff is what is causing your pain. Avoid that trap. Be honest with yourself. List as many things in your life that cause you stress, frustration or worry.

Go To The Source. Get to the heart of the matter. Know what you want. Figure out what you want day-to-day life to look like. Include everything that you want in your life, how you spend your time, and who you want to be around. Think about the things that make you happy, excited, blessed and fulfilled.

Connect The Dots. Look at these two lists and build your bridge. What is similar in both columns? For instance, if you want to feel rested and you’re tired of being run down all the time then you can see what not only needs to be done, but what you need to put in your business plan to ensure it gets done.

The Ideal Sale. This is similar to knowing your idea customer except it goes one step further. It’s important to know not only your ideal customer but the most effective process to get her to ‘yes.’ Is it relationship building? Is it a system? What will you do to make her a returning customer? When you get these answers, you have to assess which skills you already have, which ones need improvement and the new skills you need to learn to expand the best process.

Do It With Purpose. Your purpose defines the business you’re really in. Your purpose needs to be defined from your ideal customer’s point of view. It needs to clearly state what your product or service will do for that customer. How it will affect their lives. Knowing your purpose improves your performance. When you are clear about your purpose your productivity will climb because you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of everything you undertake.

These 5 sections are as important (in some cases more important) as the numbers, expenses, assets, estimates, and projections the banker wants to see. Having a clear picture of how the ‘end’ of your business will look makes beginning a whole lot easier.

 

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