Business plan

10 entrepreneurs share their top tips for writing their business plan

Business plans are more than just documents outlining your steps to launch and grow your startup. This plan acts as a map throughout the process and helps you figure out what to do when you face roadblocks or wrong turns.

Although a business plan is not necessary to start a business, it can be helpful in guiding you in the right direction and even securing adequate funding for your business. However, writing a business plan is not an easy task. To help you get started, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members have shared their top tips and tricks.

Photos courtesy of individual members.

1. Segment by business area and priority

We never had a formal business plan until the start of our second year. What we did have, however, were pieces of what would later become a formalized business plan as we prioritized things like marketing, target customers and messaging as well as financial modeling when the business had just started. If your business is a B2C-based e-commerce business, it will be essential that you understand product economics, such as lifetime value (LTV) and margins on all physical or digital products, as well as how you will reach your ideal customer. using marketing strategies. For B2B companies, you may want to prioritize customer acquisition costs (CAC) and how to grow your user base. – Alexander Young, Virti

2. Be clear about your selling points

Many investors these days don’t ask for a full business plan – instead they expect to see a 10-15 slide pitch deck, so I suggest writing a traditional, detailed business plan because more of an exercise for yourself than for investors. Having a business plan is important to sharpen your focus and focus on potential future issues. A comprehensive plan will help ensure that you are clear on your business’s selling points and go-to-market strategy. Knowing this information is crucial for future scenarios where you will have to answer all the difficult questions that investors might ask you. – Cooper Harris, Klickly

3. Know your audience

Is it a business plan that you will show to potential investors or is it for your own benefit? Will this plan be given to each new employee when they join the company or will it contain secret information? By establishing why you need this plan, you will likely come up with something constructive. A plan for investors will contain clear sets of specific financial projections as well as clear explanations of business goals. There will be less room for speculation and you will need to convey the basic offer in as attractive a format as possible. This is less the case with a plan for your own benefit or for your employees. Being clear about the hurdles your business will have to overcome and the fierceness of any competition will better prepare you for success. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International

4. Develop your unit’s economy

Know your anticipated revenue and full costs for each “unit” or transaction (ingredients/raw materials, labor, customer acquisition costs, shipping costs, etc.). Often, figuring out what the “unit” is for your business is the hardest part. It can be average transaction, subscriber, acquired account, tenant, etc. The economics of the unit are far more important than a high-level P&L based on a hot air forecast (although that pro forma P&L is also important). Unit economics forces you to get to the core of your business and make sense of it: how will you make money, how much will it cost, whether or not you profit from each transaction, and how much ‘units you must sell to cover your fixed costs and be profitable. – Saloni Doshi, Eco Enclose, LLC

5. Break down your vision into achievable goals

It is important to have a vision for your business – the long term plan, the peak you want your business to reach. But it’s equally important to break down your vision into achievable goals. The goals are more short term. They define the individual steps you need to accomplish to achieve that vision. When setting your goals, make sure they are directed towards your vision. List your main skills and limitations, and don’t overestimate yourself, although it’s always helpful to dream as big as possible. However, do not limit yourself to numbers. Don’t tell yourself that in two years, if you don’t have “x” profit, it’s a failed idea. Map out the gaps, write down ideas to help you pivot, and keep reassessing your industry for success. – Abeer Raza, TekRevol

6. Aim for substance rather than form

The substance is the heart and soul of the business plan. You are probably wasting time if you spend hours looking for a pre-made template or program on the Internet. What’s important is that your plan has substance, a marketable product, a systematic plan for increasing revenue, and an understanding of competitive pressures. One way to make sure you’re focusing on substance is to think about the pitch of your report. If you had to condense your outline into one paragraph, what would you say? Too many market analysis pages can cloud your strategy and distract from a business plan: how do you create a revenue stream before you run out of money? Making sure the substance of your plan shines will help your plan turn into an amazing reality. – Shu Saito, all filters

7. Give a detailed picture of your finances

Startups, corporations, or any company seeking market capital should incorporate a detailed picture of their financial situation. These factors are very important to stakeholders in any business before they trust you with their money. A business plan is the best way to help investors by showcasing your financial situation. But non-disclosure may cause doubts and distortions in the eyes of investors, and your investor may withdraw their interest. So, disclose all financial information. It is always advisable to consult an expert in these matters. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

8. Think big

Whatever your starting point, imagine what you hope your agency will look like one day. This will save you a lot of time to redesign processes and make changes. Here is a simple example. When we got our very first office, we moved in with a number of people on board. Then the business started to grow and evolve, and sooner than we knew we had to look for a bigger office. We were smarter this time and found a building with a lot more space than we needed. Why? Because we knew we would continue to grow. This is the kind of approach you should use with every major element of your business. If you are implementing a technology process or solution, think about how it will work for you in a few years. -Solomon Timothy, OneIMS

9. Get Feedback

Your business won’t live in a bubble and neither will your business plan. Getting feedback on your business plan can help you refine your vision and clarify your intent. You may even be able to fix potential issues before you start development. As you assemble your review team, gather a diverse set of viewpoints and think about how this group could help you move from phase one to launch. – Jack Tai, OneClass

10. Expect change

Business plans are great because they help you plan for the future of your business. Without a plan, it would be difficult to move forward or know where to start. However, keep in mind that things change. You may see yourself and your business somewhere in five years, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. You may need to move in a different direction for some unexpected reason. No matter what, remember that change is normal and going with the flow can help you instead of hurt you. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Shapes


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