Top Ten Tips for Creating Your Business Plan

by Christina Heide 

Why should you have a business plan? A business plan provides clear objectives for well-planned business goals and strategies to be met to ensure financial success. It also provides reassurance to lenders and investors that requested funds are being used appropriately to meet these goals.

Below are ten tips to guide you through the process of developing your business plan.

  1. Prepare an executive summary 
    1. This is a quick overview of your business plan that touches all the high points.
    2. It should include an in-depth company profile and goals.
    3. Break down your goals into first-, second- and third-year plans. This is commonly referred to as your road map to success. 
  2. Research your industry
    1. Always know your competition and where you fit in.
  3. Know what differentiates your business from others in your field
    1. Provide detailed information and descriptions. Don’t assume the person reading your business plan knows all about your business; educate and enlighten them.
    2. Include: What do you sell/offer/provide? How does it benefit customers/consumers? Product life cycle? 
  4. Internal structure plan 
    1. Every company operates differently; describe your company’s management structure.
    2. Outline roles for key players in your company (CEO/COO/President/VP/CFO/HR, etc.).
    3. Provide owner and management resumes. Be sure to include the value each brings to the business. 
  5. Create a marketing/sales plan
    1. Outline your plan to market your business.
    2. Provide information on who will be doing your marketing (internal/external) and why you chose them.
    3. Be sure to include sales strategy, advertising, marketing partners, etc.
  6. Funding request
    1. If monies are needed, be sure to know the amount of loan request and purpose of the monies (working capital, FF&E —fixtures/furniture/equipment, tenant improvement, commercial real estate).
    2. Provide information on who will be providing needed monies and where you are in the process.
    3. If monies are not needed, provide an overview of how costs will be covered.
  7. Financial projection
    1. Outline the route needed to grow revenues. 
    2. Reiterate and explain in greater detail the first-, second- and third-year business plans.
  8. Include all adjunctive information
    1. Permits, licenses, leases, etc.
  9. Focus on presentation
    1. You want people to want to read your business plan and support your idea.
    2. Make it interesting and highlight key points.
    3. Provide enough detail for your business plan to guide you from first- to third-year success. (Revisit your business plan several times throughout each year to ensure you are staying on track.)
    4. Put it in a protective binder, Power Point presentation or USB drive and make sure all of the company key players have one, have read it and are ensuring its execution. 
  10. Use local resources to assist with preparing your business plan at no cost to you
    1. Small Business Development Center Phoenix 
    2. Small Business Administration Website
    3. SCORE Mentoring

Christina Heide is the vice president, senior commercial acquisition officer for Wells Fargo Bank Group. For more information, visit 

Speak Your Mind

In Business Dailies

Sign up for a complimentary year of In Business Dailies with a bonus Digital Subscription of In Business Magazine delivered to your inbox each month!

  • Get the day’s Top Stories
  • Relevant In-depth Articles
  • Daily Offers
  • Coming Events