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Getting Started

Business Plans: Setting Your New Business Up For Success

In order to obtain financing, many lenders require that you present them with a written business plan. A comprehensive business plan is the roadmap that explains how you plan to structure, manage, and grow your business.

 

It’s definitely worth your time to write one, as in most cases this is the key to getting your business funded, or even enabling yourself to bring on new partners. Use your business plan as an opportunity to showcase why funding your business makes sense – and don’t be afraid to brag just a little bit.

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While we’ll walk you through how to structure a small business plan in just a moment, it’s important to add that you don’t need to stick strictly to this structure. What’s most important is that your business plan fits your company. Feel free to move things around or add sections when the time comes for you to write your own. Make sure it meets your needs!

 

The U.S. Small Business Administration sorts most business plans into one of two classes: traditional or lean startup. Choosing a traditional business plan will be much more work, but it will also give you the opportunity to go into more detail, and display as many of your business’s strengths as possible. Lean startup business plans are less common than traditional, but as you can imagine, they’re far less detailed and can take around an hour to complete.

 

For more information on the traditional versus lean formats, check out sba.gov. Additionally, you can find a detailed example of a business plan for your specific industry here.

 

For now, check out our business plan template and use it to help build your own as you read this guide.

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Business Overview

Starting off, you’ll need to create a business overview. In the overview, you’ll want to explain what your business is in a brief summary, along with your objectives and goals for it.

 

Remember to include your service, basic information like your business’s location, as well as your tagline or mission statement. Give a basic, high-level overview of your business’s financial situation, and explain the competitive advantages you hold.

 

You might want to ask yourself questions like:

  • What kind of home service business are you starting?
  • What services do you offer?
  • Is it commercial or residential?
  • What sets your business apart that will make it successful?

Operations

This section gives you an opportunity to discuss your business’s operational structure. Here, you can highlight your team and the unique experience they bring to the table that will contribute to your company’s success or even show gaps that need to be filled by funding.

 

Give a comprehensive look at the advantages of your structure, and innovations or improvements like using a top-notch business management software.

 

A few questions you might want to answer include:

  • What legal structure does your business have (e.g. LLC, S-corp)?
  • What does your business leadership team look like? What are they in charge of managing?
  • Will you require additional staff to run your business? What skills do they need?

Market Analysis

In this section, you’ll want to give a brief overview of your market. Take the time to conduct customer and competitor market research, which will help you to define your consumer’s behavior as well as economic trends.

 

Even if you don’t end up writing a business plan, market research will help you avoid future pitfalls by identifying them in advance. Utilize demographic data like age, marital status, interests, or any other factors that you think are relevant to your company.

 

  • How large is the demand for your service? Who are your customers?
  • What problem does your service solve? What share of the market could you obtain?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your services’ advantages?

 

You may even want to include a SWOT analysis, which gives a market analysis overview detailing your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to its success.

Marketing & Sales Strategy

In this section, you’ll want to outline how you plan to price, position, and market your products and services. You might talk about your pricing structure and the marketing avenues you plan to utilize like print marketing or Google PPC (pay-per-click) ads.

 

If you haven’t already, you should get started by creating a Facebook Business Page, as well as a website. 

Financial Plan

Under this section, you’ll want to detail your current financial projections (typically for the next 3-5 years), funding requirements, and how you plan to use funding.

 

Be sure to include:

  • How much you need to start/run your business
  • Description of how you plan to use the funds
  • Current (and future) loan requirements and anticipated needs in the future
  • Annual business revenue and profit (if available)
  • Loan repayment plans
  • Disclosure of other debt or outstanding investments
  • Proof of collateral
  • Bank statements
  • Current financials and future projections for the next 3-5 years

 

Now that you’ve created your business plan, you’ll be ready to start getting your business funded! To help with this part, we’ve created a comprehensive guide on how to apply for business loans and grants through your local, state, and federal governments, as well as tax credit options to help you save money while you’re getting started.

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