How to Write a Business Plan
Table of contents
This is where you need to put in the extra work to outline all the information investors will be looking for. Even if you simply want to learn how to write a business plan for your own purposes, this is a process which can boost your potential for success. At least if done properly.
The Business Model Canvas
Developed by Alexander Osterwalder, the Business Model Canvas is a foolproof business plan template. Therefore, anybody who wants to learn how to write a business plan should start here.
Below, we will discuss each of the components of the Business Model Canvas. As you are drafting your business plan, these are all of the factors which you need to include.
1. Why is your Service Valuable?
The first step in launching a successful startup is to have a product or service which is valuable. Think of things this way, your target customers should be happy to hand over their hard-earned cash to your business.
Let’s use a popular example to illustrate what we are talking about. If you are reading this article, you probably pay for internet service. Internet is so valuable to the global market that it is even considered by many people to be a necessity. One that people don’t have any problem paying for.
2. Indentifying Your Partners and their Interests
A typical startup will be run by more than one person. If you have partners who are assisting you, it’s important that you spend plenty of time considering who they are and what their interests are in your startup.
For best results, surround yourself with people who share a similar set of dreams and goals for the future. This type of relationship is great for business since you will naturally understand each other and know how to assist each other.
When it comes to business partners, there is a general rule of thumb to consider. If they are genuinely interested in helping you and the startup succeed, and are capable of doing so, then they are a good partner to keep around.
If your partners only want the money or to be part of a get-rich-quick scheme, you are best off searching for people with a long-term mentality.
3. Production and Delivery Process & Costs
The process for production and delivery of your product or service needs to be very clear and consise. If you want your startup to be successful, this needs to be a cost-effective and efficient process.
Many startup owners make the mistake of not considering something like this. Production costs, delivery costs, and the process required for handling these tasks can quickly add up.
Outline a plan for what this process looks like, all the costs you need to pay out of pocket, and the time investment that is necessary. With a clear production and delivery routine, there will never be any surprises or confusion when business starts rolling in.
4. Customer Service Process
Customer service is one of the most important factors which indicate the potential for your startup’s success. CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, for example, focused on quality customer service while he was building Amazon.
If you want to learn from one of the most successful people in the modern world, consider your customer service. Treat your customers with respect. Don’t be deceitful or deceptive. Listen to your customers and consider their feedback.
Put your customers first. If your customers are happy, they are more likely to refer others to you. At the same time, unhappy customers won’t recommend you. Word of mouth can be very powerful. This is why each customer interaction is delicate and deserves the proper care.
5. Labeling Target Customers
If you spent lots of time planning out your product, this step of your business plan should be easy to handle. If you know who your target customers are, you will be much more effective when it comes to things like marketing and advertising.
Determine who your target customers are, where they live, what their interests are, why they want to buy your service, when they want to buy it, how often they want to buy it, and so on.
6. Operation Costs
From the smallest startup to the biggest corporation in the world, running a business isn’t free. There are operation costs and committments which you need to account for.
This can include things like website hosting, employee salary, production costs, and so on. It’s important that you know each of the production costs and needs for your startup.
Having a clear list of prodution costs and needs will help you set a monthly expense budget that is sustainable and free of surprises.
7. Channels of Communication
Having an effective customer service model is important. To do this, you will need to determine which channels you will handle this. Here are are some of the most common communication channels:
- Raising awareness of your brand.
- Letting customers evaluate your service.
- How you deliver your value propisition.
- Invoicing and collecting payment.
- After-sale followup.
Typically, startups will be actively involved in all possible steps. From the initial communication to the final invoice and thank you, a successful startup will be active in all possible communication channels.
It’s also important ot note that certain communication channels don’t require human effort. For example, a startup website with a clear value proposition won’t need to manually educate each of their potential customers. This is done automatically on your website.
8. Identifying Necessary Resources
The resources you need at your disposal for providing your product or service are another important thing to consider as you learn how to write a business plan.
These resources don’t all have to be money-related. Perhaps the most important resource is human labor, expertise and experience, or even physical workspace. The idea here is to list each of the necessary resources to help your business create value.
9. Pricing & Accepted Payment Methods
One of the main points in running a business is so that you and your staff can have the freedom to live life without financial woes. For this reason, the last thing to include in your business plan is the pricing and payment process.
This step may involve a little more care than you might imagine. You will need to do lots of competitor research, for example, to come up with your prices.
Depending on your niche and what you want to sell, your prices and payment process can change drastically. Determine what your prices are, and which payment methods you will accept.
Final Points & Advice
If this is your first serious startup, learning how to write a business plan is an important part in the overall startup funding process. While securing investors and finding the capital to launch your ideas into a successful business, a detailed and consice business plan is important.
Here at Penta, we understand the stress and struggles which come with owning a startup. For this reason, we offer free online business accounts, providing startup owners company multi-cards, discounts and special offers on popular B2B services, and much more.