Steps to Take Before Writing a Business Plan

Multiple business people planning on a whiteboard.

Writing a business plan takes some preparation and forethought. Prepare yourself before writing your business plan by following these steps.

Definition of a Business Plan

A business plan is the first step in the process of starting a business. The purpose of a business plan is to outline all the necessary information about your company to convince people that it's worth investing in.

A business plan for a startup company will include goals, revenue projections, current problems, and possible solutions. A written plan for this type of company includes an assessment of opportunities, risks, resources, and goals.

Plan Before You Write Your Business Plan

Planning is an important step in the process of writing your business plan. It allows you to organize your thoughts and organize your content in a way that will be easy to understand for others.

  • Planning often starts with brainstorming ideas and listing out all of the questions you have about the company.
  • Once you become familiar with what is needed, you can start developing a plan on how to get there.
  • Be sure that you are able to answer all of the questions that will come up when presenting your plan to people outside of your team.

Steps to Take Before Writing a Business Plan

Before writing a business plan, you should know what you are getting yourself into. It is important to answer the following questions before starting:

  1. What do you need to write?
  2. What are your goals in writing the plan?
  3. What is your audience for this plan or product?
  4. Who will be reading your plan?
  5. How will you distribute your plan once it is completed?
  6. Where can the plan be found on the internet after it has been published?
  7. Why will this plan be successful?

After answering the questions, you’ll be in a good headspace to write your plan. Start with the big picture before writing your business plan — then narrow down your focus while you write your plan.

PRO TIP: Use a business plan generator to save time writing out your business plan.

Things to Consider When Writing a Business Plan

When creating a business plan, it is important to consider the target audience and your business’s goals. This will help determine how you should present your ideas.

Some of the things to ask yourself before writing a business plan are:

  • What are your goals?
  • What does success look like?
  • How will you reach those goals?
  • What is the target audience for this plan?

It’s always best to focus on what makes your company unique or different from other companies in your industry. This can help bring in more customers, which will lead to greater profits.

There are many different factors that go into making a successful business plan but knowing what they are ahead of time can help you achieve your goals.

Bottom Line

It is a lot easier to write a business plan when you have an idea of what you want to achieve with it. Focusing on the big picture of what you want to accomplish before zeroing in on the specifics of the plan itself will help you write the plan more coherently. This will also help you focus on crafting the best business plan possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key elements of a business plan?

There are many elements that go into a business plan, but these key elements should be the ones that you think of first: your business idea, your target markets, and your competition.

There are several key elements to consider when it comes to making a great business plan.

Consider the following:

  • Your service, product idea, or concept
  • Your target market(s)
  • How you will distribute this product or service
  • How much revenue you aim to make
  • What competition will you face
  • How can you beat your competition

How often should you update your business plan?

Business plans are constantly evolving and updating them is essential for the success of organizations.

The business plan should be revised every three years to ensure it remains up-to-date with the current state of the business. However, it should be revised every six months if there are any changes in strategy or there are growth opportunities.

How do you write a business plan using a business plan template?

To use a business plan template, think about the type of business you are starting and then go through each section of the template filling in details specific to your business.

What is the difference between a business plan and an operations manual?

An operations manual is a guide book that covers every facet of your daily operations. It outlines what a typical day will look like and answers the questions you will run into while running your business.

A business plan is a much shorter document that details what your business does, what it hopes to achieve, who owns the business, and sets the direction for management.