Tue 13 Oct 2015 | By:

How to Write a Business Plan: A Quick Guide

How to Write a Business Plan

Good for you, props for being brave enough to do your homework and conduct a smidgen of research before tackling a professional-grade business plan. In this article I’m going to take you through a quick 3-step process that shows you how to get it done using LivePlan as an example.

Afterwards we’ll get briefly go through seven of the most important parts of any serious business plan. It’s be fun and informative and just might be the catalyst for big moves in the right direction this year. Enjoy!


Step #1

Gather Powerful and Proven Example Plans

Example LivePlan Templates and Themes

Sure, you can Google around for example plans, but have they been tested? What’s to say one format or theme is better than any other?

Now, all major planning software providers give you examples, but LivePlan adds much more value. First, their example plans are tested and have already proven they work. Secondly, they’ve collected over 500 templates donated by their users that you can work off of and customize. It really helps!


Step #2

Focus On the Structure of Your Business Plan

Example Business Plan Structure

Once you’ve found a template that looks good and works with your brand’s color scheme, it’s time to focus on the structure of your plan. How complex should it be? The plan we created using LivePlan is 20 pages long, but that’s to suit our platform and our needs. Point is to approach this process by adding layers. From theme, to outline, to…


Step #3

Fill in Each Section Organically

Example Business Plan Table of Contents

Unless you’ve got a meeting with investors in 48 hours, there’s no reason to go nuts. Creating an optimized pitch can be harder than it sounds. Remember that you plan isn’t set in stone. Part of the beauty of LivePlan software is that it’s cloud-based and comes with amazing sharing/collaboration tools. Your plan, like your business, is a work in progress.

Now let’s go through a basic set you can use to get things moving if you’re feeling a little stuck. Don’t worry though, LivePlan’s system guides you through smoothly without fuss or need for tech-savvy.

Executive Summary

As its name implies, the executive summary is a brief description of your business, typically a 1 to 2-page stand-alone document which often includes a short pitch, the problem you’re addressing, solutions, target market/demographics, competition, team, financial summary and funding requirements. Here’s a screenshot from the example LivePlan shows on their site:

Sample Executive Summary

Company Overview

A company overview describes legal structure, history/background and location. This is also the shortest section which may also include other subtopics such as the Mission Statement and/or overall vision.


The products/services section is the center of your plan because this is where you’ll introduce what you’re trying to sell in the market. Numbers help, but you’ll also need a convincing pitch that explains why the product/service is essential. Included in this section are the solutions to your business proposal, competition and future products and services.

Potential/Target Market

Before you can nail this section down you have to conduct formal market analysis which requires some research. Identify small and big market segments and study why and how your products/services could be of help to them.

Marketing Strategy

Includes: reaching target segments, sales plan, pricing plan, marketing activities and partnerships. Discuss positioning and promotions, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media etc.

Management team

As much as investors focus on ideas, they also look for excellent management teams. You may have a great ideas but can you execute and turn them into reality? The management team section covers major members of your team with basic bios and highlighted roles.

Financial Plan

A solid financial plan contains an accurate sales forecast, a personnel plan, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, balance sheets and an exit strategy. Contrary to the belief that to be able to write a financial plan you have to be an expert in business, you can actually write one even if you have zero experience through platforms like LivePlan!

Need Help Writing Your Plan?

Did I go crazy-deep into the process? No, it would only have taken up more of your time and allowed you to procrastinate even longer. There's really no reason not to jump into the LivePlan platform and see for yourself how awesome it is for professionals like you. Actually, students, non-profits and even writers find it very useful as well, plus with their 60-day money back guarantee you can tinker risk free.

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About Ryan James

Half hardworking hermit, half avid adventurer, Ryan founded Startup Savant to simplify entrepreneurship and pay it forward by donating a portion of all revenue to support children's education via DonorsChoose.org.