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In my blog post What Is a Business Plan“, I extensively discussed what a business plan is from a theoretical standpoint and why it’s crucial for businesses.

If you’re here, it means you’re already familiar with this information and you’re seeking guidance on how to write an effective business plan.

I also assume you’ve searched for information already, but what you found might have been generated by artificial intelligence and lacked real-world relevance.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help you with this free blog post written by me personally, drawing from my experience as an entrepreneur, without the use of AI.

By the end, you’ll have a detailed template to write your own comprehensive and effective business plan.

Let’s get started!


Business Plan Template

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a crucial section of the business plan and likely the only part that the bank will read, so it should be the second page of your business plan right after the cover.

Of course, it should be the last section you write because it needs to encompass all other sections but be formatted as the second page.

Its purpose is to summarize everything that follows, providing banks or potential investors with a general overview of your business (it should not be longer than one page).

Within it, you should include these elements:

  • Business Concept: What does the company do? What is the business model?
  • Company Goals and Vision: What does the company aim to achieve? What are its objectives?
  • Product Description and Differentiation: What does it sell and what is its Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? What are the distinctive features of the product?
  • Target Market: Who are the customers?
  • Current Financial Situation: What are your current revenues?
  • Projected Financial Situation: What revenues do you expect to generate?
  • Funding Request: How much money do you need to bring the product or service to market?
  • The Team: Who is involved in the entrepreneurial activity?

2. Company Information

The first section following the summary provides an overview of the company and a detailed description of the project idea, explaining why you aim to enter the market and what sets your company apart from competitors.

It lists reasons why it should be a good investment opportunity.

Here are the elements to include in this section:

  • Company structure (include the legal form applicable in your country and why you chose that form).
  • Nature of your business (what do you sell?).
  • Industry sector.
  • Slogan, mission, and company values (for more details, read blog posts How to Make a Slogan and What is USP – Unique Selling Proposition“).
  • Information on how the company was founded or its history.
  • Short-term and long-term business objectives (for more details, read blog post What Makes a Business Successful“).
  • The team, including key collaborators and their salaries.

Some of these points are straightforward facts, while others require further elaboration, especially regarding the vision, mission, and values of the company.

However, I have posted in-depth blog posts on these topics, so you shouldn’t have any trouble understanding them.

Remember to explain with passion and enthusiasm why the company exists, what you hope to achieve, and what matters to you.

3. Market Analysis

Market analysis is the heart of the business plan.

Contrary to common belief, market analysis helps understand your competitors: what marketing strategies they use, where they advertise, what they write in their ads, and how their marketing funnel works.

I have written a detailed blog post with a step-by-step process for conducting a comprehensive market analysis, which you can read here: How to Do a Market Analysis“.

4. Products and Services

In the next section, you need to talk about your products and services.

Now, pay attention.

A golden rule of copywriting is not to “explain” your products/services but to tell their benefits.

Why?

Because otherwise, no one would understand a thing.

Imagine trying to sell industrial refrigeration units and explaining the technical details of the physics that govern the electrical components and the motor of your refrigeration units to the bank manager who is supposed to give you financing.

All you would achieve is getting escorted out of their office by security.

Talk about the product but write in a simple and understandable way, explaining the benefits for customers.

Use the benefits + features framework that I explained in this blog post: What Is a Sales Page“.

5. Marketing Strategy

Next up, let’s focus on marketing.

This section will be used to describe your marketing strategy, outlining how you plan to attract potential customers and convince them of the value of your solution.

In this section, you need to:

  • Explain your unique selling proposition.
  • Detail the media channels you will use to advertise your product or service.
  • Specify your advertising budget requirements.
  • Describe your approach to advertising.
  • Outline your budget for email marketing strategies, PR, and other forms of public relations.
  • Define your long-term customer retention goals.
  • Project your profit margins.

Don’t worry – I’ve prepared a blog post that explains in detail the marketing strategy you need to write in your business plan and tailor to fit your company or entrepreneurial idea: What Is a Marketing Strategy“.

6. Title: Financial Plan

No matter how great your idea is, the survival of your business depends on its profitability, regardless of the effort, time, and money you invest.

Banks favor businesses they expect to be profitable in the near future.

The level of detail needed in your financial plan depends on your audience and goals.

Generally, it should include three main financial elements:

  • Income Statement
  • Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow Statement

These elements outline expected costs and revenues, highlighting break-even points and potential cash flow fluctuations.

It’s crucial that projections are realistic and based on solid data, considering both potential risks and market opportunities.

If you inflate profit projections with falsehoods, the bank manager will notice immediately.

It’s like trying to rob a thief’s house…

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