Your business plan is your roadmap to what you want to achieve. It is much better if you know all of that curves on your entrepreneurial journey. You can expect everything and react in a way that will enable you to continue on the same road.
When we talk about the business plan, and how to write a business plan, I want to mention one thing. The form of your business plan is not something important. The content of your business plan is much more important and how you will use it to achieve your small business goals. So, your business plan needs to be an actionable plan, something that will motivate you to take action and bring results in the future.
In this post, I want to present a list of 30 steps that you need to take to write a business plan for your small business. Not any kind of plan, but the plan that will encourage you to see much more various aspects of your business.
30 Steps to Write a Business Plan for the Success
Do Your Preparatory Work Before You Start to Write a Business Plan
1. First, before everything else start observing about everything around your business. You need to know the environment in which your small business operate if you want to succeed. Many of this observation will become a part of the process when you start working to write a business plan for your company.
2. Write your goals on the paper. Don’t think about personal or business goals, only write them on a piece of paper. Later you will divide them into personal and business goals.
3. Think again, but now with a focus on your business goals that you put on the paper. Now is a time to re-read your goals, and clean them. So, you will have only a few most important goals that you want to focus on them as a starting point for your planning process.
4. Separate your personal goals from business goals. In this step, you will need to separate your personal from business goals. So, now you will have two lists with a few most important goals you want to achieve on a personal and business plan.
5. Think again about your personal and business goals. This is the last step you need to take in order to additionally check your goals. So, think again because the results from this step will be the basis when you will start to write a business plan.
Start With Descriptions of Your Business and Customers
6. Describe your business in one simple sentence. Can you describe your small business in one simple sentence? If you can’t then how you can expect your customers to understand what your company offers to them. So, spend some time to write what your small business can do for your customers in one simple sentence.
7. Describe the value that your business offer or will offer in the future. Try using customer’s perspective when you describe the value you are offering to your customers.
8. Describe your target market. What is the portion of the market you want to target with your business? Answer this question in several bullet points. Try to be descriptive and specific as much as possible for each bullet point you write.
9. Describe your ideal customers. Who are your ideal customers? Your ideal customers are customers that will get the biggest value for your products and services. They are the persons who will benefit the most from your company. So, they are the customers that have the biggest probability that will buy your products and services. Again, use bullet points to describe your ideal customers and be as much as possible specific.
Work on the Predictions Related to Your Business in the Future
10. Forecast and predict the future of your small business. Now think about forecasting and predictions for the future. If you want to beat the uncertainty, you need to research and analyze the data you already have. First, learn about the basic forecasting principles. Then, make the demand forecasting based on the market and customers you have identified previously.
11. Write your predictions on the paper. Now, it is time to write your predictions on a piece of paper. Focus on demand forecasting and sales forecasting based on your demand forecasting.
12. Spend some time researching outside your company. Internal data aren’t enough to succeed in predicting the future. So, you need to research also outside the data you have in your company. Start with your competitors. Observe your customers in real life, but also use today’s technology to see customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, customer happiness, etc.
13. Check your research findings with your predictions. Now when you have additional data from the outside your company, check them with your own predictions.
14. Tweak your predictions. If you find that tweaking is necessary because of your findings from the research from 12th and 13th steps.
15. How real are your predictions? Answer the question: Are the predictions something that reflects the reality, or will reflect as closely as possible the reality in the future, or they are simply your wishes? If they are something that reflects the reality you can continue with the next steps if they are not you need to go back to the step number 10.
16. Write your final predictions on a paper. When your answer the previous question you can start writing your predictions on the paper.
17. Put your sales forecast in the table on the monthly level. You can make a graphical presentation of the table if you want to improve your focus on your predictions. The results of this step will be included when you write your business plan.
18. Check your predictions. Think again. Now about whether the sales numbers from forecasting will fulfill your goals from point 5.
19. Decide to continue to write a business plan or not based on predictions. If the answer to the previous step is yes, you can continue. If the answer is no, then go back to the point 10.
Write Action Steps in Your Business Plan
20. Connect the goals with possible action steps. Think again before you continue to write a business plan about the possible action steps. What do you need to do if you want your goals to become true? Answer to this question and you will have many possible action steps for each of the goal you want to achieve.
21. Write everything that you need to do on the paper. Look again at the list of action steps and make some organization and cleaning. After this, you can put them in your business plan.
22. Define the responsibilities. Think again. Now about who will do what.
23. Near each of the tasks, write the names of the responsible persons. When you write a business plan, put the responsible person to each action step that you define in the previous step.
Define the Budget – Money Spending
24. What is your business budget? Think again about each of the defined action steps you need to take to implement the business plan you are writing now. But, think through the prism of money.
25. Budgeting when you write a business plan. For each of the tasks, write how much money each task will require in order to be completed.
26. Cost calculations. Now calculate your overall costs. Now when you know how much money you need to spend to implement your business plan, you can collect all items and find your overall costs.
27. Costs vs income. Check whether your total costs are covered by the sales projections based on the research and forecasting.
28. Time for decisions related to taxes. If the income from sales is higher than costs, calculate taxes. If not you need to go back to the point 10.
29. Is your business profitable? Check how much money will remain you.
30. Are you satisfied with your profitability? If this is not enough for you go back to the point 1.
As you can see this is a process. The process that will not end even you starts implementing your plan. You will always need to tweak and improve the process, and the plan that you are implementing.
What’s your experience when you write a business plan and overall business planning process? Also, you can check our basic business plan template.