A business plan provides a roadmap for your small business. It’s a formal document that outlines your goals for the business, how you plan to achieve them, and the timeline for hitting those goals. While creating a business plan may seem daunting, there are a variety of resources to help you do it.
The good news is that there’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. The key is choosing a format that best presents your vision for the company and how you plan to make it a reality.
Types of business plans
Most business plans fall into one of the following categories:
- Traditional business plans, as the name implies, are the most common format. This structure requires some research and planning before getting started and is meant to capture a lot of detail. Traditional business plans are typically several dozen pages long.
- Lean startup business plans are not as common but still use a standard structure. These plans provide summaries of only the most important aspects of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to write and can usually be captured on one page.
4 resources for writing a small business plan
- The U.S. Small Business Administration is a great resource for how to write a business plan. The administration’s website includes sample business plans and a step-by-step guide to help you develop yours.
- Another resource that you may find helpful is Entrepreneur magazine’s article “7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan.” This article covers how to determine the purpose of your business plan, how to develop a strategic marketing plan, and how to convey your passion for your concept within your plan.
- The experts at NerdWallet published “How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step,” which details how to write an objective statement and what should be included in your business’s financial analysis and financial projections, among other tips.
- Lastly, SCORE, a nonprofit network of volunteer business mentors, provides a business plan template to help walk you through the entire process. Using this resource, you’ll develop your business plan by completing the template’s 11 worksheets.
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