Write a Business Plan in 31 Steps

It takes a plan to write a business plan, but it’s not rocket science.

Writing a business plan isn’t hard, but it is more complicated than writing a shopping list. Do one of these 31 steps each day, and in a month, you’ll have a business plan to be proud of.

Preliminary Tasks

  1. Complete market research and analyses
  2. Clarify key matters relating to products/services and technology
  3. Form the basis of the management team
  4. Prepare a strategic plan as framework for detailed plan
  5. Decide the central purpose of the plan and its target audience
  6. Locate professional advisers to assist with the planning
  7. Acquire any software tools needed to help prepare the plan
  8. Research and compile a list of possible recipients of the plan
  9. Ascertain any specific needs of likely key recipients

Writing the Plan

  1. Create a framework for the plan e.g. table of contents
  2. Identify possible appendices, attachments etc.
  3. Estimate page lengths for each key section
  4. List main issues and topics to be covered within key sections
  5. Assign work programs based on the framework and lists
  6. Draft preliminary sections (excluding summary) within the front of the plan
  7. Draft all key sections in the plan’s body in a logical sequence
  8. Compile financial projections, funding proposals and related appendices
  9. Check the preliminary draft for completeness and plug gaps
  10. Stand back and take a detached overview of the draft
  11. Let an outsider or adviser critique the latest draft
  12. Redraft, fine tune and spell check
  13. Write the executive summary and plan’s conclusion
  14. Get an independent assessment of the final draft

Reviewing the Plan

  1. Is the plan nicely presented – bound, page numbered etc.?
  2. Has the plan been spell checked in its final form?
  3. Is the plan’s length appropriate to its purpose ?
  4. Have the business’s (funding) needs been clearly stated ?
  5. Does the plan’s summary stimulate interest ?
  6. Have all key questions been anticipated ?
  7. What likely objections remain unresolved ?
  8. Will the plan provoke the desired responses?

Source: PlanWare.

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