Josephine O. Edwards
Guest Writer, The Xpress Train

Do startups really need business plans? After all, many startups have taken off without one. But the truth is, this is a risky thing to do. While business plans do not assure success, they can make all the difference in your journey into entrepreneurship. 

So how do you write one? Well, stick with me, and I’ll tell you how.

First off, what goes in a business plan? All business plans have the following sections;

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Objectives
  • Products and Services
  • Marketing Plan
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Operational Plan
  • Management Team
  • Financial or Fiscal Analysis

Once your business plan has these sections, it is ready to go. So let’s talk about each section in more detail.

  1. Executive Summary: This is where your startup is introduced. Don’t stretch things out for too long here, just summarize your vision for your startup. Your executive summary should also discuss
  • Which sector you will operate in.
  • Which products (or services) you will be selling.
  • What your target market will be
  • The potential for growth of your industry
  • What the scalability of your startup is like

You can also talk about your motivations and future steps in this section. Just remember to keep things brief.

  1. Business Objectives: This section is vital to both your team and your reader. You should cover what your company goals are and the objective you intend to achieve. Your objectives define you, your startup and will reveal the strength of your team, so sell yourself well.
  2. Products and Services: All talks about the business product comes up here. Your aim is to introduce and describe the product to your reader. Make sure that you use clear and straightforward terms. Your potential investor may not understand industry terms, so avoid them if possible. This is where you set your product apart from the competition. You should clearly differentiate your product or service from that of the competition. If your product is a novel innovation, then explain why it is needed and why people would use it.
  3. Marketing Plan: this should be pretty straightforward. Explain how you intend to get our product out there and into various homes and offices. Define your target market, highlight your strategies and describe how you will position your startup to grab a piece of the market.
  4. Competitive analysis: In this section, you will discuss the competition. No proper business plan is complete without one. Cover all the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Competitive analysis is more for you than for your readers. It will help guide how to set apart your products and marketing strategies. And your potential investor will know that you are ready to take the market by storm.
  5. Operational Plan: This section will cover how you intend to run your business. Talk about all aspects, such as Logistics, Legalities, and Inventory. Anything that will help your business run should go here. Take all the time you need to cover every little detail. Being detailed will impress your investors as well as help you see any gaps in your operations.
  6. Management Team: This section should highlight the function of each team member and how they contribute to your daily operations. Board of directors, your technical team, and the marketing team, everyone working with your business should show up here.
  7. Financial or Fiscal Analysis: Most investors are interested in this part. Here’s where you tell them how your funds will be spent and how you will generate profit. Spreadsheets, charts, everything goes; give all financial information regarding your startup.