• Sample Business Plans

Investment Company Business Plan

Executive summary image

The possibility for substantial financial gains is one of the main advantages of an investment company. As the company expands and gains customers, it has the potential to generate large fees and commissions based on investment portfolios.

Are you looking for the same rewards? Then go on with planning everything first.

Need help writing a business plan for your investment company? You’re at the right place. Our investment company business plan template will help you get started.

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Free Business Plan Template

Download our free investment company business plan template now and pave the way to success. Let’s turn your vision into an actionable strategy!

  • Fill in the blanks – Outline
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How to Write An Investment Company Business Plan?

Writing an investment company business plan is a crucial step toward the success of your business. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first section planned to offer an overview of the entire business plan. However, it is written after the entire business plan is ready and summarizes each section of your plan.

Here are a few key components to include in your executive summary:

  • Introduce your Business: Start your executive summary by briefly introducing your business to your readers.This section may include the name of your investment company, its location, when it was founded, the type of investment company (E.g., mutual fund companies, hedge funds, venture capital firms), etc.
  • Market Opportunity: Summarize your market research, including market size, growth potential, and marketing trends. Highlight the opportunities in the market and how your business will fit in to fill the gap.
  • Products and Services: Highlight the investment company services you offer your clients. The USPs and differentiators you offer are always a plus.For instance, you may include investment management, portfolio diversification, or tax planning as services and mention customized investment solutions as your USP.
  • Marketing & Sales Strategies: Outline your sales and marketing strategies—what marketing platforms you use, how you plan on acquiring customers, etc.
  • Financial Highlights: Briefly summarize your financial projections for the initial years of business operations. Include any capital or investment requirements, associated startup costs, projected revenues, and profit forecasts.
  • Call to Action: Summarize your executive summary section with a clear CTA, for example, inviting angel investors to discuss the potential business investment.

Ensure your executive summary is clear, concise, easy to understand, and jargon-free.

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2. Business Overview

The business overview section of your business plan offers detailed information about your company. The details you add will depend on how important they are to your business. Yet, business name, location, business history, and future goals are some of the foundational elements you must consider adding to this section:

  • Mutual fund companies
  • Venture capital funds
  • Private equity funds
  • Asset management companies
  • Pension fund managers
  • Describe the legal structure of your investment company, whether it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or others.
  • Explain where your business is located and why you selected the place.
  • Owners: List the names of your investment company’s founders or owners. Describe what shares they own and their responsibilities for efficiently managing the business. Mission Statement: Summarize your business’ objective, core principles, and values in your mission statement. This statement needs to be memorable, clear, and brief.
  • Business History: If you’re an established investment company, briefly describe your business history, like—when it was founded, how it evolved over time, etc.Additionally, If you have received any awards or recognition for excellent work, describe them.
  • Future Goals: It’s crucial to convey your aspirations and vision. Mention your short-term and long-term goals; they can be specific targets for revenue, market share, or expanding your services.

This section should provide a thorough understanding of your business, its history, and its future plans. Keep this section engaging, precise, and to the point.

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan should offer a thorough understanding of the industry with the target market, competitors, and growth opportunities. You should include the following components in this section.

  • Target market: Start this section by describing your target market. Define your ideal customer and explain what types of services they prefer. Creating a buyer persona will help you easily define your target market to your readers.For instance, individual individuals, institutions & corporations, etc can be the target market for investment companies.
  • Market size and growth potential: Describe your market size and growth potential and whether you will target a niche or a much broader market.The global investment market grew to around $3837 billion this year from around $3532 billion in 2022 at a CAGR of 8.6%.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify and analyze your direct and indirect competitors. Identify their strengths and weaknesses, and describe what differentiates your investment company services from them. Point out how you have a competitive edge in the market.
  • Market Trends: Analyze emerging trends in the industry, such as technology disruptions, changes in customer behavior or preferences, etc. Explain how your business will cope with all the trends.For instance, there is growing popularity for passive income; explain how you plan on dealing with this potential growth opportunity.
  • Regulatory Environment: List regulations and licensing requirements that may affect your investment company, such as securities laws, anti-money laundering laws, KYC, market regulations, etc.

Here are a few tips for writing the market analysis section of your investment company business plan:

  • Conduct market research, industry reports, and surveys to gather data.
  • Provide specific and detailed information whenever possible.
  • Illustrate your points with charts and graphs.
  • Write your business plan keeping your target audience in mind.

4. Products And Services

The product and services section should describe the specific services and products that will be offered to customers. To write this section should include the following:

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
  • Investment research and analysis
  • Wealth management
  • Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds
  • Investment advisory services: Investment advisory services might include professional advice on asset allocation, investment strategies, and portfolio construction. Both discretionary and non-discretionary investment advisory services available or not should be mentioned.
  • Additional Services: Mention if your investment company offers any additional services. You may include services like retirement planning, estate planning & wealth transfer, business succession planning, etc.

In short, this section of your investment business plan must be informative, precise, and client-focused. By providing a clear and compelling description of your offerings, you can help potential investors and readers understand the value of your business.

5. Sales And Marketing Strategies

Writing the sales and marketing strategies section means a list of strategies you will use to attract and retain your clients. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing plan:

  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Define your business’s USPs depending on the market you serve, the equipment you use, and the unique services you provide. Identifying USPs will help you plan your marketing strategies.For example, customized investment solutions, expertise, or innovative investment strategies could be some of the great USPs for an investment company.
  • Pricing Strategy: Describe your pricing strategy—how you plan to price your services and stay competitive in the local market. You can mention any discounts you plan on offering to attract new customers.
  • Marketing Strategies: Discuss your marketing strategies to market your services. You may include some of these marketing strategies in your business plan—social media marketing, Google ads, SEO, email marketing, content marketing, etc.
  • Sales Strategies: Outline the strategies you’ll implement to maximize your sales. Your sales strategies may include direct sales calls, partnering with other businesses, consultative selling, etc.
  • Customer Retention: Describe your customer retention strategies and how you plan to execute them. For instance, introducing loyalty programs, discounts on annual membership, personalized service, etc.

Overall, this section of your investment company business plan should focus on customer acquisition and retention.

Have a specific, realistic, and data-driven approach while planning sales and marketing strategies for your investment business, and be prepared to adapt or make strategic changes in your strategies based on feedback and results.

6. Operations Plan

The operations plan section of your business plan should outline the processes and procedures involved in your business operations, such as staffing requirements and operational processes. Here are a few components to add to your operations plan:

  • Staffing & Training: Mention your business’s staffing requirements, including the number of employees, consultants, or data analyst needed. Include their qualifications, the training required, and the duties they will perform.
  • Operational Process: Outline the processes and procedures you will use to run your investment company. Your operational processes may include portfolio management, client onboarding, investment research & analysis, trade execution & settlement, etc.
  • Equipment & Software: Include the list of equipment and software required for investment business, such as servers & data storage, network equipment, trading platforms, customer relationship management software, portfolio management software, etc.Explain how these technologies help you maintain quality standards and improve the efficiency of your business operations.

Adding these components to your operations plan will help you lay out your business operations, which will eventually help you manage your business effectively.

7. Management Team

The management team section provides an overview of your investment business’s management team. This section should provide a detailed description of each manager’s experience and qualifications, as well as their responsibilities and roles.

  • Founders/CEO: Mention the founders and CEO of your investment company, and describe their roles and responsibilities in successfully running the business.
  • Key managers: Introduce your management and key members of your team, and explain their roles and responsibilities.It should include, key executives(e.g. COO, CMO), senior management, and other department managers (e.g. operations manager, portfolio manager, compliance manager) involved in the investment company business operations, including their education, professional background, and any relevant experience in the industry.
  • Organizational structure: Explain the organizational structure of your management team. Include the reporting line and decision-making hierarchy.
  • Compensation Plan: Describe your compensation plan for the management and staff. Include their salaries, incentives, and other benefits.
  • Advisors/Consultants: Mentioning advisors or consultants in your business plans adds credibility to your business idea.So, if you have any advisors or consultants, include them with their names and brief information consisting of roles and years of experience.

This section should describe the key personnel for your investment company, highlighting how you have the perfect team to succeed.

8. Financial Plan

Your financial plan section should provide a summary of your business’s financial projections for the first few years. Here are some key elements to include in your financial plan:

  • Profit & loss statement: Describe details such as projected revenue, operational costs, and service costs in your projected profit and loss statement . Make sure to include your business’s expected net profit or loss.
  • Cash flow statement: The cash flow for the first few years of your operation should be estimated and described in this section. This may include billing invoices, payment receipts, loan payments, and any other cash flow statements.
  • Balance Sheet: Create a projected balance sheet documenting your investment company’s assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Break-even point: Determine and mention your business’s break-even point—the point at which your business costs and revenue will be equal.This exercise will help you understand how much revenue you need to generate to sustain or be profitable.
  • Financing Needs: Calculate costs associated with starting an investment company, and estimate your financing needs and how much capital you need to raise to operate your business. Be specific about your short-term and long-term financing requirements, such as investment capital or loans.

Be realistic with your financial projections, and make sure you offer relevant information and evidence to support your estimates.

9. Appendix

The appendix section of your plan should include any additional information supporting your business plan’s main content, such as market research, legal documentation, financial statements, and other relevant information.

  • Add a table of contents for the appendix section to help readers easily find specific information or sections.
  • In addition to your financial statements, provide additional financial documents like tax returns, a list of assets within the business, credit history, and more. These statements must be the latest and offer financial projections for at least the first three or five years of business operations
  • Provide data derived from market research, including stats about the industry, user demographics, and industry trends.
  • Include any legal documents such as permits, licenses, and contracts.
  • Include any additional documentation related to your business plan, such as product brochures, marketing materials, operational procedures, etc.

Use clear headings and labels for each section of the appendix so that readers can easily find the necessary information.

Remember, the appendix section of your investment firm business plan should only include relevant and important information supporting your plan’s main content.

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This sample investment company business plan will provide an idea for writing a successful investment company plan, including all the essential components of your business.

After this, if you still need clarification about writing an investment-ready business plan to impress your audience, download our investment company business plan pdf .

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Frequently asked questions, why do you need an investment company business plan.

A business plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful investment business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

Overall, a well-written plan can help you make informed decisions, which can contribute to the long-term success of your investment company.

How to get funding for your investment company?

There are several ways to get funding for your investment company, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

Small Business Administration (SBA) loan

Crowdfunding, angel investors.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available, check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

Where to find business plan writers for your investment company?

There are many business plan writers available, but no one knows your business and ideas better than you, so we recommend you write your investment company business plan and outline your vision as you have in your mind.

What is the easiest way to write your investment company business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any investment company business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software .

About the Author

investors business plan

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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7 Things Investors Are Looking for in a Business Plan

7 Things Investors Are Looking for in a Business Plan

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A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s mission, goals, finances, revenue, and market data.

The primary purpose of a business plan is to convince banks and/or investors to loan you money, but there are several other benefits.

Business plans help create accountability within an organization, offer a holistic view of the company, and can repeatedly be used as a frame of reference.

Ultimately, a business plan mitigates risk. It summarizes all business areas and details how those areas ( marketing , operations) impact growth.

And there’s no way around it; if you want to fund from an investor, especially if you’re just starting your business , you need a business plan.

Any entrepreneur would be lucky to meet with an angel investor or venture capitalist. But the initial pitch, meeting, and presentation are all the tip of the iceberg.

What comes next is most important.

The potential investor will want a detailed business plan and will conduct due diligence to ensure you’re a worthy investment. With that in mind, here’s what investors are looking for in a business plan:

Strong Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first portion of your business plan and should be captivating enough to give a solid first impression.

Think of your executive summary as your website landing page. If visitors come to your website and can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll move on to the next best thing.

Your executive summary should introduce the company and explain what you do and what makes you unique. It gives investors a complete overview of your business and should summarize key details in other business plan sections. This section is typically one page long and should be written last.

Start your executive summary by introducing yourself; follow up with an explanation of why your business matters and how it fills a gap in the market or solves a particular problem. Take a business plan example for inspiration for writing a practical executive summary.

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Complete Financial Forecast

Whether you have no sales or are generating revenue in the hundreds of thousands, every investor will scrutinize your financial plan to determine financial feasibility accurately. This section of your plan needs to be fully fleshed out and leave no grey area or room for further questions.

It’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of an investor. Based on your financial outlook, do you see yourself as a risky or promising investment? Your financial forecast should include the following:

Projected profit and loss statement Projects how much revenue you’ll generate and the profit you’ll make on those sales

Break-even analysis A detailed look at how many products you need to sell to cover fixed and variable production costs

Projected balance sheet Estimate of total assets and liabilities

Cash flow statement Details all cash inflows and outflows

Business ratios Calculations that illustrate the relationship between items (i.e., total sales and the number of employees).

To accurately build out your financial forecast, you must assess your market share (your market research section is also crucial to investors). Start from the bottom by highlighting your total addressable market and the percentage you’ll be targeting. Then you can dive a little deeper by outlining your segmented addressable market and share of the market. Investing sites can also help you better perceive the state of the market and other data for a more accurate forecast.

Want free financial templates for your business plan?

You will find a terrific collection of important templates, including a SWOT analysis, sales forecast template, profit and loss template, cash flow template, and balance sheet template, in this comprehensive guide on how to write a business plan.

investors business plan

Customer Acquisition Costs

Investors want to know how much it will cost to acquire new customers.

Understanding your customer acquisition costs (CAC) helps you grow healthy and scalable and shows investors that you know exactly what it takes to get a customer on board.

Knowing your CAC is more important than ever; the cost of acquiring new customers has increased by 60% over the past five years .

Customer acquisition costs are determined by examining the total cost of sales and marketing necessary to acquire new customers. You can calculate your CAC by dividing the total cost of marketing and sales by the number of customers acquired.

Your CAC can also help simplify your decision-making process, optimize your marketing strategies to focus on customer lifetime value, and paint a complete picture of your payback period (the amount of time it takes to recover the cost of an investment).

Strong Execution

A business plan is like an image. And as the age-old saying goes, “An image is worth a thousand words.”

Similarly, your business plan reveals much about who you are as a business owner. Let’s say that you have strong sales and an optimistic financial forecast. Is your business plan missing the necessary documentation and data points that support this? Is it rife with grammatical errors and improper formatting?

Execution is telling. How you communicate your business and your mission is just as important as the details within the plan. A hastily written or ambiguous business plan will result in more questions and hesitance.

If you can’t take the time to write a solid business plan, what else will you take shortcuts on?

The Financial Ask & Answer

The financial ask and answer addresses two crucial questions: How much money are you asking for, and what will you do with it?

The investment you’re seeking should be clear in your business plan (typically mentioned in the executive summary and expounded upon in the financial plan). How you intend to use the money should also be clear and logical.

Investors need to know that you’ll spend their money responsibly and that there’s proof that how you spend the money will result in revenue growth. Every dollar should be allocated to a specific destination for a good reason.

For instance, you cannot ask for a $500,000 investment without explaining how and why you arrived at this number. The business plan in the below example of a functional company called Culina states how much they’re asking for and why. In this case, Culina is raising $15 million to ramp up hardware manufacturing, improve UX and UI, expand marketing efforts, and fulfill pre-orders before the holiday season.

section of business plan

Strong Management

Your business plan should prove that you have a strong management team.

Many investors run their portfolios with a people-first mentality. This means that who you are is just as important as what you offer. Your business plan’s “Management” or “Team” section is great for humanizing your company and highlighting your strengths.

What makes your team especially capable of running and guiding this business toward profitability? What’s your background? Have you won any awards or participated in any incubator programs? Do you have relevant experience (either in running a business or working in the industry)?

Answer these questions to show investors that you’re uniquely qualified to lead.

Thorough Understanding of Your Market

Is there a market for your product or service, how can you reach your market, and what share of the market do you have a stronghold on?

Demonstrating a thorough understanding of your market and target demographic is crucial. Many businesses have failed because they didn’t conduct market research or speak to their customers and clients. Product validation should precede fundraising efforts.

“Market size” is a basic number that every investor looks for. Your competitive analysis , market research, metrics, and customer surveys should all be factored into the equation.

If you’re struggling to understand your market and position, you can start by gathering primary data from the Census and Labor Bureau. Many industries also have formal associations and publish their research online. You can purchase these studies or commission a market research firm to spearhead your research.

An interested investor can make or break your business and should be taken seriously. You wouldn’t rush through an Ivy League college application and shouldn’t submit a hastily written business plan.

Take the time to detail every aspect of your business and consider working with a business plan writer to ensure you communicate your message effectively. If an investor is impressed with your business plan, chances are you’ll score pivotal funding.

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

investors business plan

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A business plan is a document that outlines a company's goals and the strategies to achieve them. It's valuable for both startups and established companies. For startups, a well-crafted business plan is crucial for attracting potential lenders and investors. Established businesses use business plans to stay on track and aligned with their growth objectives. This article will explain the key components of an effective business plan and guidance on how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document detailing a company's business activities and strategies for achieving its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to launch their venture and to attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan helps keep the executive team focused on short- and long-term objectives.
  • There's no single required format for a business plan, but certain key elements are essential for most companies.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place before beginning operations. Banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before considering making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a company doesn't need additional funding, having a business plan helps it stay focused on its goals. Research from the University of Oregon shows that businesses with a plan are significantly more likely to secure funding than those without one. Moreover, companies with a business plan grow 30% faster than those that don't plan. According to a Harvard Business Review article, entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than those who don't.

A business plan should ideally be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect achieved goals or changes in direction. An established business moving in a new direction might even create an entirely new plan.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. It allows for careful consideration of ideas before significant investment, highlights potential obstacles to success, and provides a tool for seeking objective feedback from trusted outsiders. A business plan may also help ensure that a company’s executive team remains aligned on strategic action items and priorities.

While business plans vary widely, even among competitors in the same industry, they often share basic elements detailed below.

A well-crafted business plan is essential for attracting investors and guiding a company's strategic growth. It should address market needs and investor requirements and provide clear financial projections.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, gathering the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document is best. Any additional crucial elements, such as patent applications, can be referenced in the main document and included as appendices.

Common elements in many business plans include:

  • Executive summary : This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services : Describe the products and services the company offers or plans to introduce. Include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique consumer benefits. Mention production and manufacturing processes, relevant patents , proprietary technology , and research and development (R&D) information.
  • Market analysis : Explain the current state of the industry and the competition. Detail where the company fits in, the types of customers it plans to target, and how it plans to capture market share from competitors.
  • Marketing strategy : Outline the company's plans to attract and retain customers, including anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. Describe the distribution channels that will be used to deliver products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections : Established businesses should include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses should provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. This section may also include any funding requests.

Investors want to see a clear exit strategy, expected returns, and a timeline for cashing out. It's likely a good idea to provide five-year profitability forecasts and realistic financial estimates.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can vary in format, often categorized into traditional and lean startup plans. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These are detailed and lengthy, requiring more effort to create but offering comprehensive information that can be persuasive to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These are concise, sometimes just one page, and focus on key elements. While they save time, companies should be ready to provide additional details if requested by investors or lenders.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan isn't a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections. Markets and the economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All this calls for building flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How Often Should a Business Plan Be Updated?

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on its nature. Updating your business plan is crucial due to changes in external factors (market trends, competition, and regulations) and internal developments (like employee growth and new products). While a well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary, a new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is ideal for quickly explaining a business, especially for new companies that don't have much information yet. Key sections may include a value proposition , major activities and advantages, resources (staff, intellectual property, and capital), partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

A well-crafted business plan is crucial for any company, whether it's a startup looking for investment or an established business wanting to stay on course. It outlines goals and strategies, boosting a company's chances of securing funding and achieving growth.

As your business and the market change, update your business plan regularly. This keeps it relevant and aligned with your current goals and conditions. Think of your business plan as a living document that evolves with your company, not something carved in stone.

University of Oregon Department of Economics. " Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Business Planning Using Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro ." Eason Ding & Tim Hursey.

Bplans. " Do You Need a Business Plan? Scientific Research Says Yes ."

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

Harvard Business Review. " How to Write a Winning Business Plan ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

SCORE. " When and Why Should You Review Your Business Plan? "

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Investment Company Business Plan

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Investment Company

Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">.

This sample plan was created for a hypothetical investment company that buys other companies as investments.  In this sample, the hypothetical Venture Capital firm starts with $20 million as an initial investment fund.  In its early months of existence, it invests $5 million each in four companies.  It receives a management fee of two percent (2%) of the fund value, paid quarterly.  It pays salaries to its partners and other employees, and office expenses, from the management fee.

The investments show up in the Cash Flow table as the purchase of long-term assets, which also puts them into the balance sheet as long-term assets.  You can see them in this sample plan, in the first few months.

In the third year, one of the target companies fails, so $5 million is written off as failure.  You’ll see how that looks as a $5 million sale of long-term assets in the cash flow, and a balancing entry of $5 million in costs of sales in the profit and loss, making for a loss and write-off that year.  The result is a tax loss, and the balance of investments goes to $15 million.

In the fifth year, one of the target companies is transacted at $50 million.  You’ll see in the sample how that shows up as a $45 million equity appreciation in the sales forecast, plus a $5 million sale of long-term assets in the cash flow.  At that point there’s been a $45 million profit, and the balance of long-term assets goes down to $10 million.

This is a simplified example.  The business model holds long-term assets and waits for them to appreciate.  It doesn’t show appreciation of assets until they are finally sold, and it doesn’t show write-down of assets until they fail.  Sales and cost of sales are the appreciation and write-down of assets, plus the management fees.

The explanation above has been broken down and copied into key topics in the outline that are linked to corresponding tables.  These topics are:

  • 2.2     Start-up Summary
  • 5.5.1  Sales Forecast
  • 6.4     Personnel
  • 7.4     Projected Profit and Loss
  • 7.5     Projected Cash Flow
  • 7.6     Projected Balance Sheet

Investment company business plan, executive summary chart image

Company Summary company overview ) is an overview of the most important points about your company—your history, management team, location, mission statement and legal structure.">

Content has been omitted from this sample plan topic, and following sub-topics.  This sample plan has an abbreviated plan outline.  With the exception of the Executive Summary, only those topics linked to key tables have been used.

The focus of this sample plan is to show the financials for this type of company.  Brief descriptions can be found in the topics associated with key tables.

2.1 Start-up Summary

This hypothetical Venture Capital firm starts with $20 million as an initial investment fund.  The venture capital partners invest $100,000 as working capital needed to balance the cash flow from quarter to quarter. 

Investment company business plan, company summary chart image

Start-up
Requirements
Start-up Expenses
Legal $0
Stationery etc. $0
Brochures $0
Consultants $0
Insurance $0
Rent $0
Research and Development $0
Expensed Equipment $0
Other $0
Total Start-up Expenses $0
Start-up Assets
Cash Required $20,100,000
Other Current Assets $0
Long-term Assets $0
Total Assets $20,100,000
Total Requirements $20,100,000
Start-up Funding
Start-up Expenses to Fund $0
Start-up Assets to Fund $20,100,000
Total Funding Required $20,100,000
Assets
Non-cash Assets from Start-up $0
Cash Requirements from Start-up $20,100,000
Additional Cash Raised $0
Cash Balance on Starting Date $20,100,000
Total Assets $20,100,000
Liabilities and Capital
Liabilities
Current Borrowing $0
Long-term Liabilities $0
Accounts Payable (Outstanding Bills) $0
Other Current Liabilities (interest-free) $0
Total Liabilities $0
Capital
Planned Investment
Investor 1 $20,000,000
Investor 2 $100,000
Other $0
Additional Investment Requirement $0
Total Planned Investment $20,100,000
Loss at Start-up (Start-up Expenses) $0
Total Capital $20,100,000
Total Capital and Liabilities $20,100,000
Total Funding $20,100,000

Market Analysis Summary how to do a market analysis for your business plan.">

Strategy and implementation summary, sales forecast forecast sales .">.

Investment company business plan, sales forecast chart image

Sales Forecast
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Sales
Management Fees $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $400,000
Equity appreciation $0 $0 $0 $0 $45,000,000
Total Sales $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $45,400,000
Direct Cost of Sales Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Management Fees $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Equity appreciation $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Management Summary management summary will include information about who's on your team and why they're the right people for the job, as well as your future hiring plans.">

7.1 personnel plan.

This hypothetical company pays salaries to its partners and other employees, and office expenses, from the management fee of two percent (2%).

Personnel Plan
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Partners $240,000 $252,000 $265,000 $278,000 $292,000
Other $60,000 $63,000 $66,000 $69,000 $72,000
Total People 4 4 4 4 4
Total Payroll $300,000 $315,000 $331,000 $347,000 $364,000

Financial Plan investor-ready personnel plan .">

8.1 projected profit and loss.

Please note that in the third year one investment is written off as a failure, producing a $5 million cost which ends up showing a loss for the year of nearly $5 million.  The sale of equity at the end of the period enters the sales forecast and the profit and loss statement as a $45 million gain. 

Pro Tip:

Pro Forma Profit and Loss
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Sales $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $45,400,000
Direct Cost of Sales $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Investment write-off $0 $0 $5,000,000 $0 $0
Total Cost of Sales $0 $0 $5,000,000 $0 $0
Gross Margin $400,000 $400,000 ($4,600,000) $400,000 $45,400,000
Gross Margin % 100.00% 100.00% -1150.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Expenses
Payroll $300,000 $315,000 $331,000 $347,000 $364,000
Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses $13,200 $13,900 $14,600 $15,300 $16,000
Depreciation $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Leased Equipment $2,400 $2,500 $2,600 $2,700 $2,800
Utilities $1,200 $1,300 $1,400 $1,500 $1,600
Insurance $2,400 $2,500 $2,600 $2,700 $2,800
Rent $36,000 $37,800 $39,700 $41,700 $43,800
Payroll Taxes $45,000 $47,250 $49,650 $52,050 $54,600
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Operating Expenses $400,200 $420,250 $441,550 $462,950 $485,600
Profit Before Interest and Taxes ($200) ($20,250) ($5,041,550) ($62,950) $44,914,400
EBITDA ($200) ($20,250) ($5,041,550) ($62,950) $44,914,400
Interest Expense $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Taxes Incurred $0 $0 $0 $0 $8,982,880
Net Profit ($200) ($20,250) ($5,041,550) ($62,950) $35,931,520
Net Profit/Sales -0.05% -5.06% -1260.39% -15.74% 79.14%

8.2 Projected Cash Flow

The Cash Flow shows four $5 million investments made in the first few months of the plan. 

In the third year, one of the target companies fails, so $5 million is written off as failure.  You’ll see that shows as a $5 million sale of long-term assets in the cash flow, and a balancing entry of $5 million in costs of sales in the profit and loss, making for a loss and write-off that year.  The result is a tax loss, and the balance of investments goes to $15 Million.

In the fifth year, another investment is transacted at $50 million.  This shows up as a $5 million equity appreciation in the Sales Forecast, plus a $5 million sale of long-term assets in the Cash Flow.  At that point there’s been a $45 million profit and the balance of long-term assets goes down to $10 million. 

The partners invest an additional $100,000 in the fourth year as additional working capital to balance the cash flow of the company. 

Investment company business plan, financial plan chart image

Pro Forma Cash Flow
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Cash Received
Cash from Operations
Cash Sales $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $45,400,000
Subtotal Cash from Operations $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $400,000 $45,400,000
Additional Cash Received
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Received $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Other Liabilities (interest-free) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Sales of Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Sales of Long-term Assets $0 $0 $5,000,000 $0 $5,000,000
New Investment Received $0 $0 $0 $100,000 $0
Subtotal Cash Received $400,000 $400,000 $5,400,000 $500,000 $50,400,000
Expenditures Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Expenditures from Operations
Cash Spending $300,000 $315,000 $331,000 $347,000 $364,000
Bill Payments $92,128 $104,671 $4,699,155 $526,465 $8,365,697
Subtotal Spent on Operations $392,128 $419,671 $5,030,155 $873,465 $8,729,697
Additional Cash Spent
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Purchase Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Purchase Long-term Assets $20,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
Dividends $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Cash Spent $20,392,128 $419,671 $5,030,155 $873,465 $8,729,697
Net Cash Flow ($19,992,128) ($19,671) $369,845 ($373,465) $41,670,303
Cash Balance $107,872 $88,201 $458,045 $84,580 $41,754,883

8.3 Projected Balance Sheet

You can see in the balance sheet how the ending balances for long-term assets were not re-valued.  They remain at the original purchase price until they are sold, or written off as a complete loss.  There is a $5 million write-off in the third year, and a sale of $5 million worth of assets in the last year.  That sale of $5 million in assets produces the $5 million sale at book value plus the $45 million gain in the sales forecast and profit and loss table.

Pro Forma Balance Sheet
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Assets
Current Assets
Cash $107,872 $88,201 $458,045 $84,580 $41,754,883
Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Current Assets $107,872 $88,201 $458,045 $84,580 $41,754,883
Long-term Assets
Long-term Assets $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $15,000,000 $15,000,000 $10,000,000
Accumulated Depreciation $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Long-term Assets $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $15,000,000 $15,000,000 $10,000,000
Total Assets $20,107,872 $20,088,201 $15,458,045 $15,084,580 $51,754,883
Liabilities and Capital Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable $8,072 $8,651 $420,045 $9,530 $748,313
Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Current Liabilities $8,072 $8,651 $420,045 $9,530 $748,313
Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Liabilities $8,072 $8,651 $420,045 $9,530 $748,313
Paid-in Capital $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,200,000 $20,200,000
Retained Earnings $0 ($200) ($20,450) ($5,062,000) ($5,124,950)
Earnings ($200) ($20,250) ($5,041,550) ($62,950) $35,931,520
Total Capital $20,099,800 $20,079,550 $15,038,000 $15,075,050 $51,006,570
Total Liabilities and Capital $20,107,872 $20,088,201 $15,458,045 $15,084,580 $51,754,883
Net Worth $20,099,800 $20,079,550 $15,038,000 $15,075,050 $51,006,570

8.4 Business Ratios

The Standard Industry Code (SIC) for this type of business is 7389, Business Services.  The Industry Data is provided in the final column of the Ratios table. 

Ratio Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Industry Profile
Sales Growth 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 11250.00% 8.20%
Percent of Total Assets
Other Current Assets 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 44.20%
Total Current Assets 0.54% 0.44% 2.96% 0.56% 80.68% 74.30%
Long-term Assets 99.46% 99.56% 97.04% 99.44% 19.32% 25.70%
Total Assets 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Current Liabilities 0.04% 0.04% 2.72% 0.06% 1.45% 49.00%
Long-term Liabilities 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 13.80%
Total Liabilities 0.04% 0.04% 2.72% 0.06% 1.45% 62.80%
Net Worth 99.96% 99.96% 97.28% 99.94% 98.55% 37.20%
Percent of Sales
Sales 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Gross Margin 100.00% 100.00% -1150.00% 100.00% 100.00% 0.00%
Selling, General & Administrative Expenses 100.05% 105.06% 110.39% 115.74% 20.86% 81.40%
Advertising Expenses 0.30% 0.33% 0.35% 0.38% 0.00% 1.70%
Profit Before Interest and Taxes -0.05% -5.06% -1260.39% -15.74% 98.93% 2.10%
Main Ratios
Current 13.36 10.20 1.09 8.88 55.80 1.49
Quick 13.36 10.20 1.09 8.88 55.80 1.17
Total Debt to Total Assets 0.04% 0.04% 2.72% 0.06% 1.45% 62.80%
Pre-tax Return on Net Worth 0.00% -0.10% -33.53% -0.42% 88.06% 4.20%
Pre-tax Return on Assets 0.00% -0.10% -32.61% -0.42% 86.78% 11.30%
Additional Ratios Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Net Profit Margin -0.05% -5.06% -1260.39% -15.74% 79.14% n.a
Return on Equity 0.00% -0.10% -33.53% -0.42% 70.44% n.a
Activity Ratios
Accounts Payable Turnover 12.41 12.17 12.17 12.17 12.17 n.a
Payment Days 27 29 15 676 15 n.a
Total Asset Turnover 0.02 0.02 0.03 0.03 0.88 n.a
Debt Ratios
Debt to Net Worth 0.00 0.00 0.03 0.00 0.01 n.a
Current Liab. to Liab. 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 n.a
Liquidity Ratios
Net Working Capital $99,800 $79,550 $38,000 $75,050 $41,006,570 n.a
Interest Coverage 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 n.a
Additional Ratios
Assets to Sales 50.27 50.22 38.65 37.71 1.14 n.a
Current Debt/Total Assets 0% 0% 3% 0% 1% n.a
Acid Test 13.36 10.20 1.09 8.88 55.80 n.a
Sales/Net Worth 0.02 0.02 0.03 0.03 0.89 n.a
Dividend Payout 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 n.a
Sales Forecast
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Sales
Management Fees 2% $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000
Equity appreciation 0% $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Sales $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000
Direct Cost of Sales Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Management Fees $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Equity appreciation $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Personnel Plan
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Partners 0% $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000
Other 0% $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Total People 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Total Payroll $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000
General Assumptions
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Plan Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Current Interest Rate 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00%
Long-term Interest Rate 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00%
Tax Rate 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00% 20.00%
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pro Forma Profit and Loss
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Sales $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000
Direct Cost of Sales $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Investment write-off $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Cost of Sales $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross Margin $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000
Gross Margin % 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00%
Expenses
Payroll $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000
Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100
Depreciation $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Leased Equipment $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200
Utilities $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100
Insurance $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200
Rent $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000 $3,000
Payroll Taxes 15% $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750 $3,750
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Operating Expenses $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350
Profit Before Interest and Taxes ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650
EBITDA ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650
Interest Expense $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Taxes Incurred $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Net Profit ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650
Net Profit/Sales 0.00% 0.00% 66.65% 0.00% 0.00% 66.65% 0.00% 0.00% 66.65% 0.00% 0.00% 66.65%
Pro Forma Cash Flow
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Cash Received
Cash from Operations
Cash Sales $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000
Subtotal Cash from Operations $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000
Additional Cash Received
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Received 0.00% $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Other Liabilities (interest-free) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Sales of Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Sales of Long-term Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Investment Received $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Cash Received $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,000
Expenditures Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Expenditures from Operations
Cash Spending $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000
Bill Payments $278 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350 $8,350
Subtotal Spent on Operations $25,278 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350
Additional Cash Spent
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Purchase Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Purchase Long-term Assets $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Dividends $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Cash Spent $5,025,278 $5,033,350 $5,033,350 $5,033,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350 $33,350
Net Cash Flow ($5,025,278) ($5,033,350) ($4,933,350) ($5,033,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650 ($33,350) ($33,350) $66,650
Cash Balance $15,074,722 $10,041,372 $5,108,022 $74,672 $41,322 $107,972 $74,622 $41,272 $107,922 $74,572 $41,222 $107,872
Pro Forma Balance Sheet
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Assets Starting Balances
Current Assets
Cash $20,100,000 $15,074,722 $10,041,372 $5,108,022 $74,672 $41,322 $107,972 $74,622 $41,272 $107,922 $74,572 $41,222 $107,872
Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Current Assets $20,100,000 $15,074,722 $10,041,372 $5,108,022 $74,672 $41,322 $107,972 $74,622 $41,272 $107,922 $74,572 $41,222 $107,872
Long-term Assets
Long-term Assets $0 $5,000,000 $10,000,000 $15,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000
Accumulated Depreciation $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Long-term Assets $0 $5,000,000 $10,000,000 $15,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000 $20,000,000
Total Assets $20,100,000 $20,074,722 $20,041,372 $20,108,022 $20,074,672 $20,041,322 $20,107,972 $20,074,622 $20,041,272 $20,107,922 $20,074,572 $20,041,222 $20,107,872
Liabilities and Capital Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable $0 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072
Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Current Liabilities $0 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072
Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Liabilities $0 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072 $8,072
Paid-in Capital $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000 $20,100,000
Retained Earnings $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Earnings $0 ($33,350) ($66,700) ($50) ($33,400) ($66,750) ($100) ($33,450) ($66,800) ($150) ($33,500) ($66,850) ($200)
Total Capital $20,100,000 $20,066,650 $20,033,300 $20,099,950 $20,066,600 $20,033,250 $20,099,900 $20,066,550 $20,033,200 $20,099,850 $20,066,500 $20,033,150 $20,099,800
Total Liabilities and Capital $20,100,000 $20,074,722 $20,041,372 $20,108,022 $20,074,672 $20,041,322 $20,107,972 $20,074,622 $20,041,272 $20,107,922 $20,074,572 $20,041,222 $20,107,872
Net Worth $20,100,000 $20,066,650 $20,033,300 $20,099,950 $20,066,600 $20,033,250 $20,099,900 $20,066,550 $20,033,200 $20,099,850 $20,066,500 $20,033,150 $20,099,800

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How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Executive summary.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

Company Description

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

Market analysis.

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

Competitive Analysis

Organization and management team.

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

Logistics and Operations Plan

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Income Statement

Cash flow statement.

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

SectionDescriptionExample
Executive SummaryBrief overview of the business planOverview of EcoTech and its mission
Overview & ObjectivesOutline of company's goals and strategiesMarket leadership in sustainable technology
Company DescriptionDetailed explanation of the company and its unique selling propositionEcoTech's history, mission, and vision
Target MarketDescription of ideal customers and their needsEnvironmentally conscious consumers and businesses
Market AnalysisExamination of industry trends, customer needs, and competitorsTrends in eco-friendly technology market
SWOT AnalysisEvaluation of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and ThreatsStrengths and weaknesses of EcoTech
Competitive AnalysisIn-depth analysis of competitors and their strategiesAnalysis of GreenTech and EarthSolutions
Organization & ManagementOverview of the company's structure and management teamKey roles and team members at EcoTech
Products & ServicesDescription of offerings and their unique featuresEnergy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers
Marketing & SalesOutline of marketing channels and sales strategiesDigital advertising, content marketing, influencer partnerships
Logistics & OperationsDetails about daily operations, supply chain, inventory, and quality controlPartnerships with manufacturers, quality control
Financial ProjectionsForecast of revenue, expenses, and profit for the next 3-5 yearsProjected growth in revenue and net profit
Income StatementSummary of company's revenues and expenses over a specified periodRevenue, Cost of Goods Sold, Gross Profit, Net Income
Cash Flow StatementOverview of cash inflows and outflows within the businessNet Cash from Operating Activities, Investing Activities, Financing Activities

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

What is a Business Plan?

Why you should write a business plan.

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

Type of Business PlanPurposeKey ComponentsTarget Audience
Startup Business PlanOutlines the company's mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections.Mission Statement, Company Description, Market Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Organizational Structure, Marketing and Sales Strategy, Financial Projections.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Internal Business PlanServes as a management tool for guiding the company's growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision.Strategies, Milestones, Deadlines, Resource Allocation.Internal Team Members
Strategic Business PlanOutlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them.SWOT Analysis, Market Research, Competitive Analysis, Long-Term Goals.Executives, Managers, Investors
Feasibility Business PlanAssesses the viability of a business idea.Market Demand, Competition, Financial Projections, Potential Obstacles.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Growth Business PlanFocuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business.Market Analysis, New Product/Service Offerings, Financial Projections.Business Owners, Investors
Operational Business PlanOutlines the company's day-to-day operations.Processes, Procedures, Organizational Structure.Managers, Employees
Lean Business PlanA simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements.Value Proposition, Customer Segments, Revenue Streams, Cost Structure.Entrepreneurs, Startups
One-Page Business PlanA concise summary of your company's key objectives, strategies, and milestones.Key Objectives, Strategies, Milestones.Entrepreneurs, Investors, Partners
Nonprofit Business PlanOutlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation for nonprofit organizations.Mission Statement, Goals, Target Audience, Fundraising Strategies, Budget.Nonprofit Leaders, Board Members, Donors
Franchise Business PlanFocuses on the franchisor's requirements, as well as the franchisee's goals, strategies, and financial projections.Franchise Agreement, Brand Standards, Marketing Efforts, Operational Procedures, Financial Projections.Franchisors, Franchisees, Investors

Using Business Plan Software

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

SoftwareKey FeaturesUser InterfaceAdditional Features
LivePlanOver 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, progress tracking against KPIsUser-friendly, visually appealingAllows creation of professional-looking business plans
UpmetricsCustomizable templates, financial forecasting tools, collaboration capabilitiesSimple and intuitiveProvides a resource library for business planning
BizplanDrag-and-drop builder, modular sections, financial forecasting tools, progress trackingSimple, visually engagingDesigned to simplify the business planning process
EnloopIndustry-specific templates, financial forecasting tools, automatic business plan generation, unique performance scoreRobust, user-friendlyOffers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget
Tarkenton GoSmallBizGuided business plan builder, customizable templates, financial projection toolsUser-friendlyOffers CRM tools, legal document templates, and additional resources for small businesses

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

Can i write a business plan by myself, is it possible to create a one-page business plan.

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

What is a business plan outline, what are the 5 most common business plan mistakes, what questions should be asked in a business plan.

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

How is business planning for a nonprofit different.

Home > Business > Business Startup

How To Write a Business Plan

Stephanie Coleman

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure .

How-to-write-a-business-plan

Starting a business is a wild ride, and a solid business plan can be the key to keeping you on track. A business plan is essentially a roadmap for your business — outlining your goals, strategies, market analysis and financial projections. Not only will it guide your decision-making, a business plan can help you secure funding with a loan or from investors .

Writing a business plan can seem like a huge task, but taking it one step at a time can break the plan down into manageable milestones. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to write a business plan.

Table of contents

  • Write your executive summary
  • Do your market research homework
  • Set your business goals and objectives
  • Plan your business strategy
  • Describe your product or service
  • Crunch the numbers
  • Finalize your business plan

investors business plan

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Step 1: Write your executive summary

Though this will be the first page of your business plan , we recommend you actually write the executive summary last. That’s because an executive summary highlights what’s to come in the business plan but in a more condensed fashion.

An executive summary gives stakeholders who are reading your business plan the key points quickly without having to comb through pages and pages. Be sure to cover each successive point in a concise manner, and include as much data as necessary to support your claims.

You’ll cover other things too, but answer these basic questions in your executive summary:

  • Idea: What’s your business concept? What problem does your business solve? What are your business goals?
  • Product: What’s your product/service and how is it different?
  • Market: Who’s your audience? How will you reach customers?
  • Finance: How much will your idea cost? And if you’re seeking funding, how much money do you need? How much do you expect to earn? If you’ve already started, where is your revenue at now?

investors business plan

Step 2: Do your market research homework

The next step in writing a business plan is to conduct market research . This involves gathering information about your target market (or customer persona), your competition, and the industry as a whole. You can use a variety of research methods such as surveys, focus groups, and online research to gather this information. Your method may be formal or more casual, just make sure that you’re getting good data back.

This research will help you to understand the needs of your target market and the potential demand for your product or service—essential aspects of starting and growing a successful business.

Step 3: Set your business goals and objectives

Once you’ve completed your market research, you can begin to define your business goals and objectives. What is the problem you want to solve? What’s your vision for the future? Where do you want to be in a year from now?

Use this step to decide what you want to achieve with your business, both in the short and long term. Try to set SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound benchmarks—that will help you to stay focused and motivated as you build your business.

Step 4: Plan your business strategy

Your business strategy is how you plan to reach your goals and objectives. This includes details on positioning your product or service, marketing and sales strategies, operational plans, and the organizational structure of your small business.

Make sure to include key roles and responsibilities for each team member if you’re in a business entity with multiple people.

Step 5: Describe your product or service

In this section, get into the nitty-gritty of your product or service. Go into depth regarding the features, benefits, target market, and any patents or proprietary tech you have. Make sure to paint a clear picture of what sets your product apart from the competition—and don’t forget to highlight any customer benefits.

Step 6: Crunch the numbers

Financial analysis is an essential part of your business plan. If you’re already in business that includes your profit and loss statement , cash flow statement and balance sheet .

These financial projections will give investors and lenders an understanding of the financial health of your business and the potential return on investment.

You may want to work with a financial professional to ensure your financial projections are realistic and accurate.

Step 7: Finalize your business plan

Once you’ve completed everything, it's time to finalize your business plan. This involves reviewing and editing your plan to ensure that it is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

You should also have someone else review your plan to get a fresh perspective and identify any areas that may need improvement. You could even work with a free SCORE mentor on your business plan or use a SCORE business plan template for more detailed guidance.

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The takeaway

Writing a business plan is an essential process for any forward-thinking entrepreneur or business owner. A business plan requires a lot of up-front research, planning, and attention to detail, but it’s worthwhile. Creating a comprehensive business plan can help you achieve your business goals and secure the funding you need.

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How to Create a Business Plan Investors Will Love Here are some strategies you can use to create a strong business plan that will translate into funding.

By Entrepreneur Staff Nov 6, 2014

In the book, Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer tips on creating a business plan you can use when seeking financing for your business.

A business plan is almost essential for entrepreneurs who are seeking to raise money to help fund their companies. In fact, business plans are so closely tied to fundraising that many entrepreneurs look at them as suited only for presenting to investors and overlook the management benefits of planning.

But for those entrepreneurs who are seeking funding, a business plan accomplishes several things. First, it helps convince potential sources of funding that the entrepreneur has thought the idea through. It also gives any actual investors a set of financial benchmarks for which the entrepreneur can be held accountable.

In a sense, a business plan is a ticket to enter the financial dance. It would be overly simplistic to say that you must have a plan to get funding. But it's not too simplistic to say that a good plan will help you raise your funds more quickly, more easily and more completely than you could without it.

Before seeking investors, you need to know exactly what you're seeking and where that money will be spent. Not unlike justifying expenses when sending your taxes to the IRS, you need to justify the amounts you're asking for and be specific -- investors aren't simply writing out checks with no idea of where the money will be spent. Sure you can ask for a little more than you need in hopes that the negotiating brings you down to the amount you truly need for funding ... or something reasonably close. It's also important to maintain your credibility because you'll probably need additional funding as your company grows. If you squander the money your investors have provided, you can be pretty sure you won't get a round two when you need additional funding.

Having justification for what you put in your plan is essential for winning over someone reading it. Random ideas get random results. Well-thought-out, justified ideas get serious consideration.

It's also advantageous to take a few minutes to make sure your company has the potential to succeed before digging for those hard-to-get dollars. For most of us, our desires about where we'd like to go aren't as important as our business's ability to take us there. Put another way, if you choose the wrong business, you're going nowhere.

Luckily, one of the most valuable uses of a business plan is to help you decide whether the venture you have your heart set on is really likely to fulfill your dreams. Many businesses never make it past the planning stage because their would-be founders, as part of a logical and coherent planning process, test their assumptions and find them wanting.

Test your idea against at least two variables. First, financial, to make sure this business makes economic sense. Second, lifestyle, because who wants a successful business that they hate?

Assessing your company's potential

Answer the following questions to help you outline your company's potential. There are no wrong answers. The objective is simply to help you decide how well your proposed venture is likely to match your goals and objectives.

1. What initial investment will the business require?

2. How much control are you willing to relinquish to investors?

3. When will the business turn a profit?

4. When can investors, including you, expect a return on their money?

5. What are the projected profits of the business over time?

6. Will you be able to devote yourself full time to the business financially?

7. What kind of salary or profit distribution can you expect to take home?

8. What are the chances the business will fail?

9. What will happen if it does?

10. Do you have a backup or alternative plan?

Tips to help you win funding

Keep these tips in mind to help you win the funding you are searching for:

1. Spend extra time working on the executive summary. Because bankers and professional investors receive so many business plans, they sometimes go right to the executive summary for an overall view of what your plan is all about. If you can't seize their interest in your executive summary, go back to the drawing board and try again.

2. Make sure your business plan is complete. You'd be surprised at how many business plans are submitted with important data missing. You need to double- and triple-check to make sure all the important components are included. Even when using business plan software, people skip sections or decide an area isn't important. Leave nothing to chance. A well-written and complete business plan gives you a higher chance of success and better odds of getting the financing you're seeking.

3. Be able to back up anything you have on paper if asked for more details. While the business plan should have all the answers, investors, bankers and venture capitalists are shrewd and ask questions that may not be answered in the plan. Be ready to answer anything they can possibly throw at you. Expect the unexpected, and prepare for it.

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  • Mar 30, 2023

What You Need to Know to Write a Business Plan for Investors

investors business plan

Hey there, ambitious entrepreneurs! As a startup expert and professional business plan writer, I've helped numerous individuals like you attract investors by crafting persuasive and comprehensive business plans. In this article, we'll dive deep into the ins and outs of writing an investor-worthy business plan. So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let's get started!

Key Highlights:

Understand the Purpose of Your Business Plan

Craft a killer executive summary, describe your business and its structure, showcase your market analysis, detail your marketing and sales strategy, explain your operations and management structure, highlight your team's expertise, develop a robust financial plan, describe your funding needs and use of funds, outline your exit strategy, prepare a compelling appendix, edit, revise, and polish, embrace the journey.

First and foremost, your business plan is your company's roadmap to success. It's a strategic document that outlines your vision, goals, and strategies for achieving them. Potential investors will scrutinize your plan, looking for a clear vision, attainable objectives, and a solid plan of action. Your business plan should demonstrate that you're serious about your venture and have a well-thought-out plan to achieve success.

Your executive summary is like the movie trailer for your business plan—it should be engaging, informative, and leave your audience wanting more. An effective executive summary should be concise, typically one to two pages, and provide an overview of your business, its goals, and how you plan to achieve them. It's the first thing potential investors will read, so make sure it's impactful and leaves a lasting impression.

In this section, you'll provide detailed information about your business, including:

Business name, address, and contact information

Legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation)

Ownership information

Description of your products or services

Business history, if applicable

Current business status (e.g., startup, existing business, or expansion)

Keep it concise and informative while showcasing your passion for your business.

A thorough market analysis demonstrates that you understand your industry, competitors, and target customers. To create a persuasive market analysis, be sure to:

Define your target market and customer segments

Analyze your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and your competitive advantages

Discuss market trends and how your business will capitalize on them

Provide data on your target market's size, demographics, and growth potential

Your marketing and sales strategy should illustrate how you'll attract customers, make sales, and grow your business. Include information on:

Your pricing strategy

Distribution channels

Advertising and promotion methods

Sales projections

Customer retention strategies

Online marketing efforts, including social media and content marketing

Here, you'll outline the day-to-day operations of your business and its management structure, covering:

Key personnel, their qualifications, and roles

Employee training and development programs

Facilities and equipment

Inventory management

Quality control measures

Supplier relationships

Investors often invest in people as much as they invest in ideas. Showcase your team's expertise, including:

Backgrounds and qualifications of your founders and key team members

Relevant industry experience

Past successes and lessons learned from failures

How your team's skills complement each other

A strong financial plan is critical to attracting investors. You'll need to provide financial projections, including:

Profit and Loss statements (for at least three years)

Cash flow projections (for at least three years)

Balance sheets (for at least three years)

Breakeven analysis

A list of assumptions and explanations for your financial projections

If you're not a numbers person, consider enlisting the help of an accountant or financial advisor to ensure accuracy and credibility.

This is where you make your case for the investment. Clearly state how much funding you need, how you plan to use the funds, and how the investment will contribute to your business's growth and success. Be specific about how the investment will help you achieve your goals, whether it's to develop a new product, hire key personnel, or expand into new markets.

Investors want to know how they'll eventually cash out and get a return on their investment. Be transparent about your exit strategy, whether it's through an initial public offering (IPO), acquisition, or other means. Include a timeline and potential valuation of the company at the time of the exit.

The appendix is your opportunity to provide additional information that supports your business plan. This might include:

Resumes of key personnel

Letters of intent from suppliers or customers

Licenses, permits, or patents

Detailed market research data

Product specifications or designs

Marketing materials

Organize your appendix so that it's easy for potential investors to find and review the supporting documents.

A well-written business plan should be clear, concise, and free of errors. Take the time to edit and revise your plan, ensuring that it's easy to read and understand. Don't be afraid to seek feedback from mentors, colleagues, or even potential customers to help refine your plan. Remember that your business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Regularly review and update your plan to ensure it remains accurate and relevant.

Writing a business plan for investors can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It forces you to think critically about your business, its goals, and its strategies. Embrace the process and enjoy the journey. After all, as Tim Ferris would say, "Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

Writing a business plan for investors may seem daunting, but with the right approach and attention to detail, you can create a persuasive and informative plan that will captivate potential investors. Keep the unique requirements of investors in mind and make sure your plan addresses their concerns. By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to securing the funding you need to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. So, what are you waiting for? Start writing, and go conquer the world!

  • Writing Your Business Plan
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investors business plan

Have you got a burning desire to start your own business? If so, you’re in good company.

Recent research says 28% of people worldwide have started a business at some point in their lives, while 30% have seriously considered it.

In other words, nearly a third of all people worldwide have considered going it alone.

If you’re serious about starting a business , you’ll need many things – but perhaps the first two you’ll need from day one are accounting software and a business plan .

The former lets you start on the very best footing without having to worry about an admin overload.

The latter is a way of transcribing your ideas and aspirations into cold, hard facts that investors can use.

For most people, creating a business plan is one of the hardest tasks they will undertake in the early days of their business.

But help is available.

Meet our business owner, Olivia

There are lots of business plan examples and templates, including here at Sage Advice . Using templates helps you answer questions that are typically asked if you hope to attract interest in your business – and therefore get investment.

Here, we look at creating a business plan via the hypothetical example of Olivia, who would like to create a plant-based chocolate retailer called Chocoholics Anonymous.

We’ll aim to create an ideal business plan by examining what she writes and how she approaches the task.

Olivia has already tested the water by running a part-time business from her kitchen for some months, with help from a few friends. Sales have boomed.

Now, she’d like to expand into a storefront and full online operation.

If she’s applying for a bank loan, she might be asking for most if not all of the funding. But if she’s hoping for angel investment, she may need to match the anticipated input with her own.

This might be her own cash, but it can also be her collateral in the business, and it’s for this reason that people often approach investors once their operation is an ongoing concern, rather than beforehand.

Your one stop shop for starting a business

Thinking about starting a business or already putting your ideas into action? We’ve got the resources, expertise and software to help you achieve your goals.

investors business plan

How to create a business plan

Olivia downloads our  business plan template and sets aside an afternoon to make a start, realising it could take several days or perhaps even weeks to complete and perfect.

She realises this is one of the most important things she will do – more important, even, than the secret recipe for her fudge brigadeiros!

When answering the questions, she tries to remember who the business plan is for: investors, such as banks that she might be approaching for loans, or entrepreneurs.

For this reason, her plan contains as many data points as possible because it has to make a genuine case for her company’s existence.

But it also has to be positive and inspiring, to show the promise her business offers.

Additionally, this is one situation where she knows not to stop herself from including personality in the application. She knows investors are putting their money into her, as much as they are in the potential of the business.

In her business plan, she includes diagrams, charts, visuals and anything else that helps her share her vision.

And that makes the plan easier to consume – after all, investors are busy people, so she’s wise to make the job as easy as possible for them.

Step 1: Description of the business and its objectives

Coyness isn’t required here, and Olivia doesn’t hold back:

“Chocoholics Anonymous will be the most profitable plant-based chocolatier in the country and within three years will become the dominant plant-based chocolate brand.”

She explains how her business will be different from the rest. It will target three price points: budget, medium and high end.

business summary

Highlight how you developed your business idea and what you want to achieve

Most chocolatiers, she explains with examples from actual businesses, target only the medium and high-end. She wants to create a low-price revolution.

Similarly, describing her objective is unrestrained in its ambition.

She writes that she wants virtually all vegan chocolate consumers in the country to have heard about her business, and to have a one in 10 conversion rate among this audience – which is to say, 10% will have actively placed an order with her in the space of any year.

She bases these figures on the reach of major plant-based food manufacturers, thanks to taking a look at their annual reports, and creates a graph showing the sales increases she anticipates over the first, second and third years.

business goals and objectives

Use your business plan to highlight your goals and objectives

She lets her imagination run wild, and talks about wanting to scale the business to multiple retail outlets, and using a dedicated manufacturing base.

Investors need to see ambition because they’re investing in that future as well as the here and now.

Step 2: Products and pricing

Olivia starts by breaking down her ingredient costs vs her profit margin, providing the figures in tables for ease of reading.

Then she explains her strategy for both creating and selling chocolate, and another unique selling point: she intends to offer discounts for bulk buying, so people will be encouraged to purchase more than one item each and every time.

She includes her product listing and provides examples of what she anticipates typical consumer purchases will look like, and how they will scale in this way.

products and services

Use this section of your business plan to go through what you’ll be selling

She also explains how she intends to operate both on and offline (or bricks and mortar, as it’s often called), and intends to run a loyalty-card scheme for her retail outlet.

Step 3: Customers

Olivia has done her research, which is the fundamentals upon which any business plan should be based.

People love statistics.

Olivia found statistics describing the growth in plant-based eating in the past decade, as well as the growth of flexitarian dietary choices.

Additionally, from those yearly reports from other plant-based food manufacturers and retailers, she’s able to take profiles of typical customers (personas), as well as discussions of their wants and needs.

And, of course, she finds their sales figures in their annual reports, so she can quote these as examples for her own potential reach, with a geographical breakdown for online sales.

Step 4: Competitors

Although her initial instinct was to pretend that she had no competitors, Olivia doesn’t flinch in examining the competitive landscape.

She realises her investors will not be stupid and, thanks to Google, can do their own research in seconds.

Before handing over cash, any investor will do their own due diligence in any event to confirm what Olivia claims.

So, she provides details of online retailers worldwide, as well as bricks-and-mortar retailers local to her.

She includes any business that might compete in future, such as non-vegan retailers, or even restaurants and cafes who might sniff her success and provide products (although she also mentions how she hopes to supply these retailers).

competitor comparison

Use this section of your business plan to highlight your competitor research

She highlights her own unique selling points by expressing them as weaknesses in her competitors.

This level of insight Olivia provides is good for several reasons.

Gaps in the market

It genuinely shows where there might be gaps in the market. For example, Olivia realises during her research that nobody is making products for baby showers with vegan chocolate. She spots a gap in the market for diabetic-friendly plant-based confectionery.

Competitor analysis

Competitor analysis is also good practice when she begins to run her business, because this kind of research will need to be ongoing.

She’ll always need to spot gaps in the market and aim to keep a step ahead of competitors.

Some competitors may simply clone what she’s doing, but because she started her work before them, she can exploit this competitive edge to keep innovating and remain one step ahead.

Being realistic

But mostly, by being so pragmatic Olivia is showing by her competitor analysis that she’s realistic about her prospects. This is something investors will respect.

Step 5: Your people

Olivia starts by detailing her own qualifications and experience in retail, and her success up until that point operating the business from her kitchen.

She writes about her brother-in-law, who she intends to hire to man the store while she creates her masterpieces in the back. She details his qualifications and experience too.

people in your business plan

Detail who will be working for you and the skills they’ll be developing

She highlights her expansion plans to take on new staff as the business goes on, and their roles – how she intends to use an online marketing manager when the business grows, for example, to expand her online reach.

Step 6: How to make the business a success

This is one question in the business plan where Olivia has a chance to be truly expansive while answering – although she knows to keep what she writes detailed and pragmatic.

She again discusses her plan to sell her products both online and offline.

Olivia mentions how she intends to exploit social networking to encourage online sales, and how she intends to run competitions with her products as prizes in order to build a mailing list.

She talks about her own experience of being vegan and how she’s firmly entrenched within the vegan community – both online and offline– and how she intends to use this to further the business aims, as well as how it gives her insight into sensitivities, and therefore marketing potential, among her community.

Olivia again does vital research and is able to show how her local area has a high proportion of people interested in plant-based eating, and who could become her bricks-and-mortar customers.

In short, anything and everything that could make her business a success is mentioned – and, in nearly every case, is backed up by data points.

Step 7: Profit and loss for the first three years

This is the toughest part of all.

Olivia has to work out all her costs moving forward – from day one of her business, all the way through to 36 months into the future when the business will hopefully look very different.

Having done her research, she knows her fixed costs – those that don’t change no matter how much she sells.

From speaking to estate agents, for example, she knows what a storefront rent is going to be.

From speaking to other business owners with stores via her local commerce association, she finds out what her bills are likely to be (water, electricity, internet etc).

She decides on salaries for herself and her brother-in-law.

Variable costs are harder for her to predict, because raw ingredient prices can be volatile. All she can do is list them at their current price, and adding a note about volatility.

Speaking to her potential suppliers, she asks the salesperson to give her a spread of recent prices so she can also show what the variation is likely to be. She factors in taking on casual staff as the business grows.

She projects how many units she will sell, and how this will grow.

Download our small business toolkit

One thing Olivia should do is download our small business survival toolkit. This includes an ebook, designed to help you achieve success by addressing typical challenges encountered by small businesses in the first few years.

It’s full of information, including potential funding sources that all businesses need to know about.

The business plan template we offer lets you update or complete your strategy for success, as outlined above. All you have to do is follow the instructions in each section, entering your own information.

Finally, our cash flow forecast template can be used to predict funds flowing in and out of your business over the next 12 months.

This is vital, and you can use it along with the advice in our ebook to address any cash shortfalls.

Small business toolkit

Get your free guide, business plan template and cash flow forecast template to help you manage your business and achieve your goals.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Beginner’s Guide (& Templates)

How to Write a Business Plan: Beginner’s Guide (& Templates)

Written by: Chloe West

An illustration showing a woman standing in front of a folder containing her business plan.

Thinking about starting a business? One of the first steps you’ll need to take is to write a business plan. A business plan can help guide you through your financial planning, marketing strategy, unique selling point and more.

Making sure you start your new business off on the right foot is key, and we’re here to help. We’ve put together this guide to help you write your first business plan. Or, you can skip the guide and dive right into a business plan template .

Ready to get started?

Here’s a short selection of 8 easy-to-edit business plan templates you can edit, share and download with Visme. View more templates below:

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8-Step Process for Writing a Business Plan

What is a business plan, why is a business plan important, step #1: write your executive summary, step #2: put together your company description, step #3: conduct your market analysis, step #4: research your competition, step #5: outline your products or services, step #6: summarize your financial plan, step #7: determine your marketing strategy, step #8: showcase your organizational chart, 14 business plan templates to help you get started.

A business plan is a document that helps potential new business owners flesh out their business idea and put together a bird’s eye view of their business. Writing a business plan is an essential step in any startup’s ideation process.

Business plans help determine demographics, market analysis, competitive analysis, financial projections, new products or services, and so much more.

Each of these bits of information are important to have on hand when you’re trying to start a business or pitching investors for funds.

Here’s an example of a business plan that you can customize to incorporate your own business information.

A business plan template available to customize with your own information in Visme.

We’re going to walk you through some of the most important parts of your business plan as well as how to write your own business plan in 8 easy steps.

If you’re in the beginning stages of starting a business , you might be wondering if it’s really worth your time to write out your business plan. 

We’re here to tell you that it is.

A business plan is important for a number of reasons, but mostly because it helps to set you up for success right from the start.

Here are four reasons to prove to you why you need to start your business off on the right foot with a plan.

Reason #1: Set Realistic Goals and Milestones

Putting together a business plan helps you to set your objectives for growth and make realistic goals while you begin your business. 

By laying out each of the steps you need to take in order to build a successful business, you’re able to be more reasonable about what your timeline is for achieving everything as well as what your financial projections are.

The best way to set goals is using the SMART goals guidelines, outlined below.

An infographic on creating smart goals.

Reason #2: Grow Your Business Faster

Having a business plan helps you be more organized and strategic, improving the overall performance of your business as you start out. In fact, one study found that businesses with a plan grow 30% faster than businesses that don’t.

Doesn’t that sound reason enough alone to start out your business venture with a solidified plan? We thought so too, but we’ve still got two more reasons.

Reason #3: Minimize Risk

Starting a new business is uncharted territory. However, when you start with a roadmap for your journey, it makes it easier to see success and minimize the risks that come with startups.

Minimize risk and maximize profitability by documenting the most important parts of your business planning.

Reason #4: Secure Funding

And finally, our last reason that business plans are so important is that if you plan to pitch investors for funding for your new venture, they’re almost always going to want to see a detailed business plan before deciding whether or not to invest.

You can easily create your business plan and investor pitch deck right here with Visme. Just sign up for a free account below to get started. 

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The executive summary is a brief overview of your entire business plan, giving anyone who reads through your document a quick understanding of what they’re going to learn about your business idea.

However, you need to remember that some of the people who are going to read your business plan don’t want to or have time to read the entire thing. So your executive summary needs to incorporate all of the most important aspects of your plan.

Here’s an example of an executive summary from a business plan template you can customize and turn into your own.

An executive summary page from a business plan template.

Your executive summary should include:

  • Key objective(s)
  • Market research
  • Competitor information
  • Products/services
  • Value proposition
  • Overview of your financial plan
  • How you’re going to actually start your business

One thing to note is that you should actually write your executive summary after the rest of your business plan so that you can properly summarize everything you’ve already created.

So at this point, simply leave a page blank for your executive summary so you can come back to it at the end of your business plan.

An executive summary section of a business plan.

The next step is to write out a full description of your business and its core offerings. This section of your business plan should include your mission statement and objectives, along with your company history or overview.

In this section, you may also briefly describe your business formation details from a legal perspective.

Mission Statement

Don’t spend too much time trying to craft this. Your mission statement is a simple “why” you started this business. What are you trying to achieve? Or what does your business solve?

This can be anything from one single quote or a paragraph, but it doesn’t need to be much longer than that. In fact, this could be very similar to your value proposition.

A mission statement page from a business plan template.

What are your goals? What do you plan to achieve in the first 90 days or one year of your business? What kind of impact do you hope to make on the market?

These are all good points to include in your objectives section so anyone reading your business plan knows upfront what you hope to achieve.

History or Overview

If you’re not launching a brand new business or if you’ve previously worked on another iteration of this business, let potential investors know the history of your company.

If not, simply provide an overview of your business, sharing what it does or what it will do.

A business overview page from a business plan template.

Your third step is to conduct a market analysis so you know how your business will fit into its target market. This page in your business plan is simply meant to summarize your findings. Most of your time should be spent actually doing the research.

Your market analysis needs to look at things like:

  • Market size, and if it’s grown in recent years or shrinking
  • The segment of the market you plan to target
  • Demographics and behavior of your target audience
  • The demand for your product or service
  • Your competitive advantage or differentiation strategy
  • The average price of your product or service

Put together a summary of your market analysis and industry research in a 1-2 page format, like we see below.

A market analysis page in a business plan template.

Your next step is to conduct a competitive analysis. While you likely touched on this briefly during your market analysis, now is the time to do a deep dive so that you have a good grasp on what your competitors are doing and how they are generating customers.

Start by creating a profile of all your existing competitors, or at the very least, your closest competitors – the ones who are offering very similar products or services to you, or are in a similar vicinity (if you’re opening a brick and mortar store).

Focus on their strengths and what they’re doing really well so that you can emulate their best qualities in your own way. Then, look at their weaknesses and what your business can do better.

Take note of their current marketing strategy, including the outlets you see a presence, whether it’s on social media, you hear a radio ad, you see a TV ad, etc. You won’t always find all of their marketing channels, but see what you can find online and on their website.

A competitive analysis page in a business plan template.

After this, take a minute to identify potential competitors based on markets you might try out in the future, products or services you plan to add to your offerings, and more.

Then put together a page or two in your business plan that highlights your competitive advantage and how you’ll be successful breaking into the market.

Step five is to dedicate a page to the products or services that your business plans to offer.

Put together a quick list and explanation of what each of the initial product or service offerings will be, but steer clear of industry jargon or buzzwords. This should be written in plain language so anyone reading has a full understanding of what your business will do.

A products and services page in a business plan template.

You can have a simple list like we see in the sample page above, or you can dive a little deeper. Depending on your type of business, it might be a good idea to provide additional information about what each product or service entails.

The next step is to work on the financial data of your new business. What will your overhead be? How will your business make money? What are your estimated expenses and profits over the first few months to a year? The expenses should cover all the spending whether they are recurring costs or just one-time LLC filing fees .

There is so much that goes into your financial plan for a new business, so this is going to take some time to compile. Especially because this section of your business plan helps potential cofounders or investors understand if the idea is even viable.

A financial analysis page from a business plan template.

Your financial plan should include at least five major sections:

  • Sales Forecast: The first thing you want to include is a forecast or financial projection of how much you think your business can sell over the next year or so. Break this down into the different products, services or facets of your business.
  • Balance Sheet: This section is essentially a statement of your company’s financial position. It includes existing assets, liabilities and equity to demonstrate the company’s overall financial health.
  • Income Statement: Also known as a profit and loss statement (P&L), this covers your projected expenses and revenue, showcasing whether your business will be profitable or not.
  • Operating Budget: A detailed outline of your business’s income and expenses. This should showcase that your business is bringing in more than it’s spending.
  • Cash Flow Statements: This tracks how much cash your business has at any given point, regardless of whether customers or clients have paid their bills or have 30-60+ days to do so.

While these are the most common financial statements, you may discover that there are other sections that you want to include or that lenders may want to see from you.

You can automate the process of looking through your documents with an OCR API , which will collect the data from all your financial statements and invoices.

The next step is coming up with a successful marketing plan so that you can actually get the word out about your business. 

Throughout your business plan, you’ve already researched your competitors and your target market, both of which are major components of a good marketing strategy. You need to know who you’re marketing to, and you want to do it better than your competition.

A marketing plan page from a business plan template.

On this page or throughout this section of your business plan, you need to focus on your chosen marketing channels and the types of marketing content you plan to create.

Start by taking a look at the channels that your competitors are on and make sure you have a good understanding of the demographics of each channel as well. You don’t want to waste time on a marketing channel that your target audience doesn’t use.

Then, create a list of each of your planned marketing avenues. It might look something like:

  • Social media ( Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest)
  • Email newsletter
  • Digital ads

Depending on the type of business you’re starting, this list could change quite a bit — and that’s okay. There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, and you need to find the one that brings in the highest number of potential customers.

Your last section will be all about your leadership and management team members. Showcasing that you have a solid team right from the start can make potential investors feel better about funding your venture.

You can easily put together an organizational chart like the one below, with the founder/CEO at the top and each of your team leaders underneath alongside the department they’re in charge of.

An organizational chart template available in Visme.

Simply add an organizational chart like this as a page into your overall business plan and make sure it matches the rest of your design to create a cohesive document.

If you want to create a good business plan that sets your new business up for success and attracts new investors, it’s a good idea to start with a template. 

We’ve got 14 options below from a variety of different industries for you to choose from. You can customize every aspect of each template to fit your business branding and design preferences.

If you're pressed for time, Visme's AI business plan generator can churn out compelling business plans in minutes. Just input a detailed prompt, choose the design, and watch the tool generate your plan in a few seconds.

Template #1: Photography Business Plan Template

A photography business plan template available in Visme.

This feminine and minimalistic business plan template is perfect for getting started with any kind of creative business. Utilize this template to help outline the step-by-step process of getting your new business idea up and running.

Template #2: Real Estate Business Plan Template

A real estate business plan template available in Visme.

Looking for a more modern business plan design? This template is perfect for plainly laying out each of your business plans in an easy-to-understand format. Adjust the red accents with your business’s colors to personalize this template.

Template #3: Nonprofit Business Plan Template

A nonprofit business plan template available in Visme.

Creating a business and marketing plan for your nonprofit is still an essential step when you’re just starting out. You need to get the word out to increase donations and awareness for your cause.

Template #4: Restaurant Business Plan Template

A restaurant business plan template available in Visme.

If your business plan needs to rely heavily on showcasing photos of your products (like food), this template is perfect for you. Get potential investors salivating at the sight of your business plan, and they’re sure to provide the capital you need.

Template #5: Fashion Business Plan Template

A fashion business plan template available to customize in Visme.

Serifs are in. Utilize this template with stunning serif as all the headers to create a contemporary and trendy business plan design that fits your business. Adjust the colors to match your brand and easily input your own content.

Template #6: Daycare Business Plan Template

A daycare business plan template available in Visme.

Creating a more kid-friendly or playful business? This business plan template has bold colors and design elements that will perfectly represent your business and its mission. 

Use the pages you need, and remove any that you don’t. You can also duplicate pages and move the elements around to add even more content to your business plan.

Template #7: Consulting Business Plan Template

A consulting business plan template available in Visme.

This classic business plan template is perfect for a consulting business that wants to use a stunning visual design to talk about its services.

Template #8: Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

A coffee shop business plan template available in Visme.

Customize this coffee shop business plan template to match your own business idea. Adjust the colors to fit your brand or industry, replace photos with your own photography or stock photos that represent your business, and insert your own logo, fonts and colors throughout.

Template #9: SaaS Business Plan Template

A SaaS business plan template available in Visme.

A SaaS or service-based company also needs a solid business plan that lays out its financials, list of services, target market and more. This template is the perfect starting point.

Template #10: Small Business Plan Template

A small business plan template available in Visme.

Every startup or small business needs to start out with a strong business plan in order to start off on the right foot and set yourself up for success. This template is an excellent starting point for any small business.

Template #11: Ecommerce Business Plan Template

An ecommerce business plan template available in Visme.

An ecommerce business plan is ideal for planning out your pricing strategy of all of your online products, as well as the site you plan to use for setting up your store, whether WordPress, Shopify, Wix or something else.

Template #12: Startup Business Plan Template

A startup business plan template available in Visme.

Customize this template and make it your own! Edit and Download  

This is another generic business plan template for any type of startup to customize. Switch out the content, fonts and colors to match your startup branding and increase brand equity.

Template #13: One-Page Business Plan Template

A single page business plan template available in Visme.

Want just a quick business plan to get your idea going before you bite the bullet and map out your entire plan? This one-page template is perfect for those just starting to flesh out a new business idea.

Template #14: Salon Business Plan Template

A salon business plan template available in Visme.

This salon business plan template is easy on the design and utilizes a light color scheme to put more focus on the actual content. You can use the design as is or keep it as a basis for your own design elements.

Create Your Own Business Plan Today

Ready to write your business plan? Once you’ve created all of the most important sections, get started with a business plan template to really wow your investors and organize your startup plan.

Design beautiful visual content you can be proud of.

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About the Author

Chloe West is the content marketing manager at Visme. Her experience in digital marketing includes everything from social media, blogging, email marketing to graphic design, strategy creation and implementation, and more. During her spare time, she enjoys exploring her home city of Charleston with her son.

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Your idea is killer, now how do you find investors? Every business needs funding—some more than others. Many new small businesses are able to launch by bootstrapping, but sooner or later you might need capital to take your business to the next level.

You may find yourself wondering how to find small business investors and where to find them. As a new founder, you might need to know where to find angel investors and how to attract their attention. A more mature business might ask the same question about venture capital.

We’re going to run you through the best strategies for finding and securing investors. Because the truth is that finding investors was always half the battle. If your business isn’t in investment shape, then you’re not going to get very far. In this guide, we’ll cover both. First, we’ll outline the best ways to find investors—because we know that’s why you came and we won’t make you wait. Then, we’ll outline everything you need to know to prepare your business to make it appealing enough to secure an investment.

Table of Contents

Bootstrapping

Friends and family, angel investors, venture capital, crowdfunding, small business loans, how to find investors in the real world.

Preparing to Be Investment-Worthy

Prepare to Adjust Your Expectations

How to Find Investors from Founders Who’ve Done It

The top business investment types.

What options do you have for funding? These are the most common ways to raise capital for a new business.

Foundr plus dollar trail build business banner

Bootstrapping is the process of self-financing your own business. While you likely won’t be able to finance your business entirely on your own without a substantial financial safety net, it’s often the best place to start—even and especially if you plan to see additional investment down the line.

Potential investors want to see that a small business owner has skin in the game. They want to see that you’ve believed in your business enough to invest your own money into it. Why should someone else believe in you with their money if you haven’t first shown belief in the idea yourself?

Jeremy Halpern, a partner at Nutter and an angel investor for many businesses in the food and beverage industry, told Business.com , “When a CEO founder is at personal risk, and their success is directly tied to the success of their company, they are more apt to persist, to innovate and to adopt a run-through-brick-walls mentality.”

Realistically assess your personal financial situation and see if there is any way—even a small way—that you can invest in your own idea. Perhaps it needs a website and you can front the hosting and design costs for such. The extent to which you’re invested in your idea, relative to your financial situation, will be taken into consideration by outside investors. If you spend 10% of your worth on it, then you will be in a better position to ask them for 10% of their investment ability.

Don’t Skip: How to Start a Startup (Advice from Those Who’ve Done It)

Pros of Bootstrapping

  • Freedom and ownership of your business.
  • The ability to grow sustainably.
  • Bootstrapping puts emphasis on the customer instead of the investors.

Cons of Bootstrapping

  • It’s all on you.
  • Slow growth.
  • Little room for error.
  • Profitability wins out over innovation.
  • No up-front financial and business support.

Why Funding Doesn't Define Your Success | Christina Stembel

Once you’ve exhausted your own resources, consider whether your existing relationships with friends or family might be funding possibilities. It should be easier to convince someone who already knows you to invest in your idea than a complete stranger. Be prepared to give them your business plan and answer their questions. Then hone your material with the information their inquiries and responses illuminated and thank your lucky stars that you got this preparation time before approaching strangers.

Many small business owners turn to friends and family to invest in their idea. Friends and family funding is one of the most accessible methods to raise capital. You won’t have to go through the same rigorous process that you would with private investors or VC firms, and you already have the necessary connections and introductions.

A few notes on friends and family funding: the biggest perk of friends and family funding can also be its biggest risk. It’s not an established industry. Your friends and family likely aren’t professional investors, so they won’t put you through your paces in the same way a business angel might when you’re requesting funding. The flip side of this is that the same “handshake deal” vibe that makes the money easy to get can also make the business relationship complicated in the future.

Set yourself up for success by clearly outlining what your friends and family will receive in return for their investment. Will they receive equity? If so, how much? Do they expect to be repaid? If so, what’s the time frame and what interest (if any) will be paid?

Put it all in writing. And a word to the wise—if your relationship isn’t on solid ground to begin with, maybe don’t ask that person to invest. You have other options. Business funding isn’t worth jeopardizing your relationships.

Hopefully, by working within your own relationships first, you’ve realized that there is more to an individual than the money they can bring to your project. Getting feedback from others is valuable.

Being introduced to people within their own networks is a gift. Do not look past the value inherent in relationships just to pursue cash or you’ll rob yourself of opportunities to grow as a professional and hone your idea.

Pros of Friends and Family

  • The buy-in of people who care about you the most.
  • Support without business strings attached.
  • Freedom while having a safety net.

Cons of Friends and Family

  • Can alter relationships if the business fails.
  • In some cases, can put more pressure on you to be successful.

Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest their own money into fledgling businesses, often in exchange for equity. The benefits of angel funding are that it can provide you with substantial capital to develop and grow your business. So, how do you secure an angel investment? Here are our tips:

  • Network with local investors. Sometimes the answers you need are closest to home. Network as much as you can in your local area. Go to local startup events, chamber of commerce meetings, and fundraisers.
  • Check out angel investor networks. There are several angel investor networks online. The Angel Investment Network is the largest online community of angel investors with 300,000+ investors. You can also find networks that are geared towards specific business types of entrepreneur demographics. Pipeline Angels is dedicated to funding women-owned businesses, and AngelList is designed to fund tech startups.
  • Reach out to successful entrepreneurs in your area. Successful entrepreneurs have capital, know how to recognize a good business opportunity, and understand what it takes to run a successful business, AKA the recipe for a great angel investor.

Pros of Angel Investors

  • A boost of capital without much meddling in your day-to-day.
  • Typically, angel investors like to stay behind the scenes.
  • You only have to report to a select few investors.
  • Angel investors tend to have closer relationships with founders.

Cons of Angel Investors

  • Can also be aloof and set unreasonable expectations.
  • Lack of complete ownership of your business.
  • If your business is successful later, you’ll end up earning less.

Venture capital is a form of private equity that typically invests during later stages of startup growth , either in exchange for equity or a convertible note (a type of bond that can be converted to common stock or cash, once the company has more established value). A venture capital firm looks for startups with massive growth potential so they can gain a solid and expedient return on investment.

Securing venture capital is highly competitive, and it typically comes with a lot of pressure, so you want to consider this option carefully before pursuing it. Only pursue funding from a private equity firm if your business is in a position to scale and grow rapidly. The ultimate goal of venture capital is to invest in businesses that either can go public or get acquired by a major corporation.

If that sounds like a fit for your business, here are some ways to find venture capital investment:

  • Research venture capital firms invested in complementary businesses. You don’t want to seek out venture capital firms that have invested in your direct competitors (that would be a conflict of interest so they’d be unlikely to invest). Instead, research venture capital firms.
  • Connect with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has created novel investment opportunities for startups. Try connecting with venture capitalists on the platform.
  • Attend pitch events. Pitch events are a great way for entrepreneurs to connect with private equity firms. Research what pitch events are happening locally or virtually. Even if you don’t pitch, it’s worth it to attend for the networking opportunities.

Pros of Venture Capital

  • The investment to move fast and take risks.
  • You can hire better staff.
  • Networking and exposure.
  • Accountability.

Cons of Venture Capital

  • Less ownership and freedom.
  • VCs can pressure you to exit early.
  • Once you start with VCs, it doesn’t stop.
  • You’re subservient to your investors.

How Her Rejected Pitch Led to a Billion-Dollar Startup

Crowdfunding platforms allow you to finance the launch of a product or business with small investments from a large number of people. The benefit of crowdfunding is that it can give you access to the capital you need to manufacture your product or open your store, but on the flip side, you may also be required to fulfill a large number of orders as you’re still working out the kinks.

The way that crowdfunding works will depend on what type of crowdfunding platform you choose. Some platforms, like Kickstarter, work by offering perks along with purchases. Equity crowdfunding, on the other hand, offers private company securities to a group of investors. Each method has its pros and cons and you’ll want to thoroughly research each platform before you dive in.

Pros of Crowdfunding

  • Create buzz and engagement around your idea.
  • You’ll develop a loyal customer base from the start.
  • A financial goal to develop your idea.

Cons of Crowdfunding

  • Not every idea works.
  • Requires upfront marketing costs.
  • You owe promises to backers.

The final method of securing capital for your business is through small business loans. Small business loans come with a higher cost of capital—you’ll be expected to repay the loan with interest—but they also don’t require you to give up any equity in your business. US Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are the gold standard for small businesses loans. They have low rates and favorable terms. They’re also competitive and require a stack of paperwork to apply.

Still, it can be worth it. A small business loan allows you to maintain control over your business and protects you from the pressure a professional investor might bring early in the process.

Pros of Small Business Loans

  • A financial foundation to build upon.
  • Plenty of programs and support opportunities.

Cons of Small Business Loans

  • A loan is a loan. You’ve got to pay the piper eventually.
  • Government loans and programs involve red tape and paperwork.

Building an Empire During the 2008 Recession | Kendra Scott's Story

Events are one of the best ways to connect with prospective investors. You can attend an existing event or go bold and create your own.

Create an Event

If you have completed a business plan and exhausted your immediate circle of relationships, then you might be ready to create an event yourself to help build out your core team (either through adding partners or creating an advisory council). To conduct a successful event, you’ll need event planning skills, finances to fund the event, and a large enough network of potential startup business investors to invite.

Don’t fret. Most entrepreneurs do not have all of the elements necessary to create a successful event on their own. For this reason, and others, entrepreneurs can turn to an accelerator .

Tim Cartwright, the founder of Tamiami Angel Fund , encourages entrepreneurs to think along these lines. “An accelerator can be approached with an idea or concept and will provide you with the curriculum to create the business plan, build community with other entrepreneurs, and create a demo day for investors,” he says. By the time your demo day arrives, you will have not only accomplished the steps described herein but also had the benefit of completing them alongside others on a similar journey.

Attend an Event

A few words of caution before you run out and register for a conference: do not waste all your time at networking events. You could spend every week in a different city at a different trade show or conference. It’s easy to go overboard here. Don’t.

Be certain you’ve addressed the first elements covered here before going to events. Sure, you’re excited and cannot wait to get out there and see all those eyes widen and backs straighten when people learn of your “Great Big Idea.” Wait anyway. Do the first steps. Wide eyes and straight backs don’t hand over checks if you’re all talk.

When you’re ready to attend networking events, be strategic in choosing which are worth your time and money . Research is at your fingertips. Determine whether WebSummit, Money2020, TechCrunch Disrupt, SXSW, Collision, or other conferences are the gatherings best suited to receive your ideas.

Preparing Your Business to Be Investment-Worthy

Landing investment is tough. And the battle actually begins long before most new entrepreneurs realize it does. That’s because the pitch itself is just a tiny part of the process of getting funding, and there’s a long list of preparation that needs to happen well in advance in order to increase the likelihood, or even possibility, of receiving outside funding.

Investors expect you to have checked certain boxes before approaching them. When seeking funding, you’ll get questions as to whether you’ve checked these boxes and, if your answer is no, their response will be the same. We’re here to get you ready for that fateful day, so you can walk off with a smile on your face and a check in your hand. Before you approach angel funds, venture capitalists, or even friends and family, take these steps.

Write Your Business Plan

Writing your plan shows that you’ve thought past that flash of insight in the shower when your “Great Big Idea” hits. It also communicates respect to everyone you approach. It says, “I’m serious. I’ve taken the time to think this through.” If you have not created a business plan, then pick up your pen and put this on your to-do list right now. We’ve got a great article here on how to write a winning business plan.

As you work through the steps of creating a business plan, you’ll increase your knowledge and understanding of the industry. During that initial research phase, you will establish or expand your awareness of who is already in the niche you wish to enter. In determining the purpose of your business, you’ll also form a filter through distractions, so they’ll be less likely to waste your time and attention.

A potential business investor will see that you have carefully considered not only where your idea is today, but where it could be in the future and how it can overcome potential obstacles. Remember when writing your plan to leave room for adaptability, as you may be sending the finished product to an investor, to a bank, or even a potential business partner. Finally, take time in the plan to communicate why you are passionate about this particular idea. Let people know why you care and you might just find others who care as well.

What’s the Best Business Plan to Succeed as a Consultant?

Prove Your Concept

Writing a business plan shows you’ve thought through your concept. Now, have you tested whether it will work in real life? Some ideas look great on paper, and that’s the only place they should ever exist. Seasoned, serious investors will want to know that your idea works in real life. Assuming you haven’t bootstrapped a version of your business, are you passionate enough about your idea that you’ll devote time to building a prototype or testing out the concept? Can you join the likes of Steve Wozniak and turn your garage into a production space?

Build a prototype . Keep building until it works. The results of your testing will inform both your concept and your potential investor. Testing often uncovers flaws and loopholes in the original idea, allowing you to hone your business venture even further before bringing it up for investment consideration. It also gives you valuable data to include in the business plan. It may even uncover others who are working on a similar idea, giving you an opportunity to add business partners or at least be informed about your competition.

If your “Great Big Idea” is more a new how than a new what, then consider how you could prove your concept. For instance, maybe you have a better idea for how to represent musical artists and get them paid for use of their songs. Either create models on paper representing your concept or, better yet, find a handful of musical artists who will allow you to represent them in the new fashion you envision.

Allow yourself however many steps it takes to get your idea to a functioning prototype or proven concept. The process of doing so will prepare your idea for investment consideration and make you a better entrepreneur!

Consider a Cofounder

Perhaps you need a cofounder in your company, someone whose strengths complement your weaknesses. Are you strong on creativity but weak on finances? Seek out a financial expert who would be willing to be a cofounder or partner with you and handle those aspects of the business. You may have to give up some ownership to get this participation, but you will also gain invaluable expertise. Second, a cofounder may bring funding to the project either personally or through their network.

Form an Advisory Council

Maybe instead of a cofounder, you seek out professionals in your desired industry who would be willing to form an advisory council of sorts. This can be as few as 3 people who are willing to communicate with you and share their wisdom to help the next great thing come about in their industry. Their presence in your management structure could be the very thing that lets an investor know you are credible and investment-ready.

When forming an advisory council, consider what objections potential investors might raise and then find experts who will address those concerns. For instance, let’s say you want to fill a giant warehouse with trampolines and charge kids for entry. Perhaps a safety expert and a child development expert would make good members for your advisory council. Or maybe you want to create ergonomic office furniture. Approaching medical professionals or physical therapists for membership on your council would be a very wise step.

Practice Listening

When approaching strangers—even if you already think the person will be a good advisory council member, business partner, or investor—first ask for advice and then LISTEN.

Set aside whatever goal you brought to the conversation and actually hear what the person is saying. Ask questions about the advice you are being given until you understand how you can apply it to your business concept. Hear what they’re saying beneath the actual words they are saying. Are you hearing a willingness to help? Is the person conveying a genuine curiosity about you or your concept? If so, maybe you’ve found your business partner or advisor. Take a deep breath because you are about to make an ask, not for money, but for something even more valuable—time.

Get Clear on Your Ask

If you expect to find sincere interest in your idea, be prepared to communicate exactly what your request entails. Are you asking the person to be an advisory council member? A cofounder? A business partner? What will these roles mean for the person? Will there be daily emails? Monthly meetings? Phone calls? Will the person be expected to reach out to their circle of influence and bring those people into the mix? Don’t assume that your expectations are the same as others who may have approached this person for help. Speak clearly, communicate succinctly what you are asking the person to do with regard to you and your project. Here’s an example:

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. I know your time is valuable. You seem interested in what I’m working on, which makes me wonder if you’d consider being on an advisory council for this? It’d probably be a couple of emails per week and a phone call every month or so. I would bring you questions or ideas as I develop the concept further and expect you to give feedback on those from your place of experience and expertise.

Practice Your Pitch

You won’t be able to woo private investors like angel investors or venture capitalists without a solid pitch deck. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on developing a million-dollar pitch deck .

Inside Daymond John’s Most Succesful Shark Tank Investment

Prepare to Adjust Your Expectations About the Investing Process

“It will take twice as long to raise the money you need as you hope,” Cartwright advises, “and you’ll probably need twice as much as you think.”

You’ve put in an enormous amount of work to get to this point. Now is not the time to lower numbers and hope that makes you more attractive to investors. Know what you need, and then add a margin for error. Educated investors expect such.

At this stage, if you have been networking and attending conferences while preparing yourself, it’s highly likely you have already been connected with several investors. Networking is one of the easiest ways to find people who are willing to invest capital in your business. If not, you can always Google and go in the cold.

Find out the names of the people involved in the funds you’re approaching and then research those people. Investors will absolutely be performing due diligence on you. It’s perfectly acceptable to do your own due diligence on them. After all, you’ve worked hard to create an attractive investment vehicle. Ask if they have invested in projects before that achieved success. If the person fails to list even one success story, you have some information to pause and consider.

Keep Learning: Business Startup Funding – A Beginner’s Guide

What will set you above all those other entrepreneurs approaching angel funds and venture capitalists? That’s different for each one. Some prefer to fund specific phases in a business’s life, others are targeted toward a specific industry or niche.

Learn from stories of successful founders who’ve raised money from investors in different ways:

  • How Hismile Transformed from Internet Sensation into a Category Contender
  • Michelle Zatlyn: A Silicon Valley Outsider Who Did the Impossible
  • How Mercury Co-founder Immad Akhund Finds Joy in Building Startups, Even If They’re Not His
  • Eat My Baby Co. Founder Turned Nostalgic Snacks into an Apparel Brand That Celebrates Heritage
  • How Holly Thaggard and Supergoop! Took Sun Protection Global
  • Kirin Sinha Is Leading the AR Charge With Illumix
  • Why Ethan Yong Left His Career to Build UmamiPapi Into a Chili Oil Sensation

Ready to Learn More?

We’re here to help entrepreneurs grow their knowledge base so they can grow their businesses. Check out our selection of comprehensive training from foundr+ to help you get started on everything from building an ecommerce business to growing your social media presence.

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About Mary Kate Miller

Mary Kate Miller writes about small business, real estate, and finance. In addition to writing for Foundr, her work has been published by The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Bustle, and more. She lives in Chicago.

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More From Forbes

How To Start A Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Creating a business plan is a critical first step for any entrepreneur. Knowing how to start a business plan will help you create a roadmap, guiding your business from startup to growth and beyond. Whether you're looking for investment, trying to set clear goals, or simply organizing your thoughts, a solid business plan can make all the difference.

Here is a guide to help you get started on your business plan:

1. executive summary.

What It Is: This section summarizes your business plan as a whole and outlines your company profile and goals.

What to Include:

  • Business name and location
  • Products or services offered
  • Mission statement
  • The purpose of the plan (e.g., seeking funding, guiding the startup process)

Tip: Keep it concise. Although it's the first section, it's often best to write it last, after you’ve detailed everything else.

2. Company Description

What It Is: This section provides detailed information about your company, including who you are, what you do, and what markets you serve.

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  • Your business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation)
  • The industry and marketplace needs your business meets
  • Your business’s objectives and how you stand out from competitors

Tip: Use this section to highlight your company’s strengths and what makes you unique.

3. Market Research

What It Is: Market research demonstrates your understanding of the industry and target market.

  • Market size and growth potential
  • Target customer demographics
  • Market trends and outlook
  • Competitive analysis, including strengths and weaknesses of competitors

Tip: Include data and statistics to back up your findings and show that you’ve done your homework.

4. Organization and Management

What It Is: This section outlines your business’s organizational structure and management team.

  • Organizational chart
  • Information about the ownership of the company
  • Backgrounds and qualifications of the management team
  • Roles and responsibilities within the company

Tip: Highlight the skills and experiences of your team that will help the business succeed.

5. Products or Services Line

What It Is: Here, you detail the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

  • A description of each product or service
  • The lifecycle of products or services
  • Research and development activities, if applicable
  • Intellectual property, such as patents or trademarks

Tip: Focus on the benefits your products or services bring to your customers.

6. Marketing and Sales Strategy

What It Is: This section explains how you will attract and retain customers.

  • Marketing strategies, including advertising, promotions, and public relations
  • Sales strategies, including sales processes, channels, and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and how it compares to competitors

Tip: Ensure your marketing and sales strategies are aligned with your market research findings.

7. Funding Request

What It Is: If you’re seeking funding , this section outlines your requirements.

  • Your current funding needs
  • Future funding requirements over the next five years
  • How you intend to use the funds
  • Potential future financial plans (e.g., selling the business, repaying debt)

Tip: Be specific and realistic about how much funding you need and how it will be used.

8. Financial Projections

What It Is: Financial projections provide a forecast of your business’s financial future.

  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Break-even analysis

Tip: Use realistic and conservative estimates. Consider hiring a financial professional to help with this section if needed.

9. Appendix

What It Is: The appendix includes any additional information that supports your business plan.

  • Resumes of key management team members
  • Permits and leases
  • Legal documents
  • Detailed market research data
  • Product photos

Tip: Only include essential information that adds value to your business plan.

Final Tips for Creating a Business Plan

Creating a business plan requires clarity and precision. First and foremost, keep your business plan clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or complex language that could make the plan difficult to read or understand. Your aim should be to communicate your ideas effectively and efficiently.

Next, be realistic in your approach. Ensure that your goals and financial projections are attainable based on your research and understanding of the market. Overly ambitious projections can undermine your credibility and potentially lead to unrealistic expectations.

It's also essential to remember that a business plan is a dynamic document. As your business grows and market conditions change, you should revisit and revise your plan regularly. This helps you stay aligned with your goals and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Finally, seek feedback from experienced business professionals. Having someone with business experience review your plan can provide valuable insights and help identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. Their feedback can enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of your business plan.

By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to create a robust and effective business plan that can guide your business towards success.

The bottom line is that starting a business plan may seem challenging, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a comprehensive guide to steer your business toward success. Use this step-by-step guide to ensure that all essential components are covered, giving your business the best possible start.

Melissa Houston, CPA is the author of Cash Confident: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Profitable Business and the founder of She Means Profit . As a Business Strategist for small business owners, Melissa helps women making mid-career shifts, to launch their dream businesses, and I also guide established business owners to grow their businesses to more profitably.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever.

Melissa Houston

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Southwest Air adopts ‘poison pill’ as activist investor Elliott takes significant stake in company

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FILE - Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 lands at Manchester Boston Regional Airport, June 2, 2023, in Manchester, N.H. Southwest Airlines has adopted a ‘poison pill’ following activist investor Elliott Investment Management taking a significant stake in the company. The airline said Wednesday, July 3, 2024, that the shareholder rights plan is effective immediately and expires in a year. For any extension to occur, Southwest shareholders would need to give prior approval.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

FILE - Robert Jordan, incoming Southwest Airlines CEO, is interviewed outside the New York Stock Exchange, Dec. 9, 2021. Southwest Airlines has adopted a ‘poison pill’ following activist investor Elliott Investment Management taking a significant stake in the company. The airline said Wednesday, July 3, 2024, that the shareholder rights plan is effective immediately and expires in a year. For any extension to occur, Southwest shareholders would need to give prior approval. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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Southwest Airlines has adopted a ‘poison pill’ following activist investor Elliott Investment Management taking a significant stake in the company.

The airline said Wednesday that the shareholder rights plan is effective immediately and expires in a year. Southwest shareholders would need to give prior approval for an extension.

Shareholder rights plans, or “poison pills,” allow existing shareholders to acquire shares at a discounted rate to discourage a takeover by an outside entity. Southwest’s plan is triggered when a shareholder acquires 12.5% or more of its common stock, which would let all other shareholders buy stock at a 50% discount.

Southwest said that it adopted the rights plans due to several concerns, including Elliott’s approximately 11% stake in the company and the flexibility that the firm has to acquire a significantly greater percentage of Southwest’s voting power across two of its funds starting as early as July 11.

“In light of the potential for Elliott to significantly increase its position in Southwest Airlines, the board determined that adopting the rights plan is prudent to fulfill its fiduciary duties to all shareholders,” Southwest Chairman Gary Kelly said in a statement. “Southwest Airlines has made a good faith effort to engage constructively with Elliott Investment Management since its initial investment and remains open to any ideas for lasting value creation.”

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Last month it was disclosed that Elliott bought a $1.9 billion stake in Southwest and was looking to force out the CEO of the airline, which has struggled with operational and financial problems .

Elliott, in a letter to Southwest’s board, then said that Southwest’s stock price has dropped more than 50% in the last three years. The firm also criticized the airline, saying it has failed to evolve, hurting its ability to compete with other carriers. Elliott blamed the Dallas-based company’s massive flight cancellations in December 2022 on what it described as the airline’s outdated software and operational processes.

Elliott is looking for executives from outside the company to replace CEO Robert Jordan and Kelly, and for “significant” changes on the board, including new independent directors with experience at other airlines.

Southwest has said that it remains confident in Jordan and its management and their ability to drive long-term value for shareholders. For his part, Jordan has said that he won’t resign and that in September his leadership team will present a plan to boost the airline’s financial performance.

In midday trading, Southwest shares added 11 cents to $28.41. Shares of the company are down about 21% in the past year, while the benchmark S&P 500 index is up roughly 25% over the same time.

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₹ 750 crore investment as it looks to increase exports, double domestic production by 2025">Sany India looks to increase exports, double production levels by 2025

Sany India, the Indian arm of Chinese equipment maker Sany Group, plans to double production and increase it exports with the latest round of investments. (Photo: Bloomberg)

  • With the outlook for India's infrastructure and mining sector looking robust, Chinese equipment major Sany Group's Indian arm, Sany India is ramping up its capacity and increasing localization with an eye on domestic demand and growing its exports.

Bengaluru: Sany India, the Indian subsidiary of Chinese equipment maker Sany Group, is working on a plan to increase its exports and localization levels through the introduction of new products and establish the country as its global sourcing base, a top company executive told Mint .

“Besides the domestic market, we are also looking at exports to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and the U.S. These exports contributed to 14% of our revenues in FY24 from 4% a year earlier," Sany’s managing director Deepak Garg said. 

The company has also set a target to grow the contribution of exports to about 50% by 2030.

“In the longer term, we look at India as a global sourcing base for the group and an export hub for the country," he said, while adding that the company is working towards higher levels of localization to achieve this goal.

Also read: Why BlackRock is betting billions on infrastructure

A research report from ratings agency ICRA in January also noted that Sany's scale of operations in the country had improved significantly in FY23 from a year earlier. This was aided by improved sales in hoisting equipment and mining segments, and increasing exports of telehandlers, a product launched in FY23 that is gaining traction in the US market, the report stated.

For context, Sany India’s consolidated revenue from operations grew to ₹ 4,631.9 crores in FY23, from ₹ 3,015.1 crores a year earlier. With India being the Group's second-largest market outside of China, the Indian arm contributes about 12% to its overseas revenue and 4% to the group’s overall income.

Going after demand

According to its plan, Sany India has begun the initial phase of its investment of about ₹ 750 crore in capital expenditures to upgrade its facility in Pune over a period of 18 months.

Garg explained that the company is working towards doubling the manufacturing areas in its existing factories and also looking to invest significantly in new robotic equipment and technologies to increase its localization level and improve its overall capacity in the country.

Garg outlined plans to double the production capacity by the end of next year and launch new product lines for mining and material handling to cater to the vast demand in India. 

Also read: Morgan Stanley forecasts 15.3% CAGR in infra investments over next 5 years

It currently makes about 8,000 machines every year and expects to increase its capacity to about 15,000 machines by June 2025.

Sany had invested more than ₹ 1,000 crore to develop infrastructure for R&D, manufacturing, quality inspection, testing and service at their manufacturing facility in Chakan, Pune, in 2012. 

Further, the company operates in multiple business verticals including earth moving, lifting, concrete, roads and renewable energy solutions through this facility.

Moreover, the company opened a new office in Delhi earlier in July to move closer to its customer base and improve its operational efficiency. Spread across 3,000 sq. ft, the New Delhi office is equipped with modern infrastructure and advanced technology to support Sany’s domestic operations.

Garg noted that the funds earmarked for investment will also be used to develop capacity for the production of electric heavy machinery wherever possible. While electric-powered vehicles (EVs) are likely to become the way forward, Garg also believes that it comes with some limitations as things stand today.

A sign of things to come

“The EV ecosystem in the construction equipment industry cannot cater to every requirement... It will be strategically prioritized towards confined areas such as mines, ports, steel and cement plants in the initial stages," he said. 

Garg also highlighted the possibility of migration towards hydrogen fuel technologies as the ecosystem matures, following the government’s focus on green hydrogen.

However, these are still early days for the industry as adopting such newer technologies may prove expensive and unfeasible for original equipment manufacturers as well as customers. Garg explained that the cost of a corresponding EV product to that of a standard fossil fuel or a diesel equipment is almost three times.

Also read: Banks may seek special provisions for MSMEs under RBI draft rules for the infrastructure sector

“This does not fit into the economics of every customer. So as of now, it does not blend into the overall costs for many customers, but it might make sense for some select sectors," he said. 

As battery prices come down, Garg sees EVs to eventually become an attractive option over the next five years.

Public Plan

Sany India had also floated plans to tap the public markets in 2021. At the time, the construction equipment maker was looking to list in India in the next two to three years, according to an Economic Times report. 

However, the pandemic-related slowdown led the company to shelve its plans.

Now, before restarting the process to go for an initial public offering (IPO), Garg said Sany needs to increase its localization levels to five times of what it is currently. 

Besides manufacturing, it is also focussed on delivering more sustained profits. This has been particularly challenging for the company due to higher imports, foreign exchange exposure that include logistics and shipping costs, as well as geopolitical turmoil that has further exacerbated input costs.

Also read: Workforce crisis hits construction & infra firms like L&T, KEC, HCC

The ICRA report also stressed that the company’s profitability remains vulnerable to these fluctuations amid intense competition in the category. 

While Sany India’s operating margins improved to 2.7% in the first eight months of FY24, from -0.7% in FY2022, it is expected to remain muted at around 4-5% in FY25 due to the competitive pricing strategy adopted by the company, the report noted. 

Further, being a net importer, Sany India has sizeable unhedged foreign currency exposure as seen in the past, ICRA stated.

Backed by numbers

In FY23, Sany India had posted a consolidated net profit of ₹ 112.2 crores, from a loss of ₹ 125.9 crores a year earlier, according to data from Tofler.

Over the last 10 years, the company has undergone a significant transformation aided by the government’s push for infrastructure spending and local manufacturing, which has driven demand for construction equipment. 

In the interim budget presented earlier this year, the government had also increased allocation towards the infrastructure sector to ₹ 11.11 lakh crores in FY25, which will be 3.4% of the GDP.

Other than its manufacturing facilities and business centres in Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune and Delhi-NCR, Garg emphasized that states such as Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Telangana are also coming up strongly with incentive schemes to attract more localization, which will help the company expand its footprint.

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Biden Offers $1.7 Billion to Help Factories Build Electric Vehicles

A Jeep plant that closed last year will be among those that will benefit from federal grants meant to help automotive manufacturers and protect jobs.

A large factory building with the words “Belvidere Assembly” on the front. A U.S. flag and a United Automobile Workers union flag fly outside the building.

By Jack Ewing

The federal government will grant car and auto parts factories in eight states $1.7 billion to begin producing electric vehicles and other clean energy technology, the Biden administration announced on Thursday.

Among the 11 recipients will be a Jeep factory in Belvidere, Ill., that the brand’s parent company Stellantis closed last year. The money will allow the plant to reopen and produce electric vehicles, officials said, restoring almost 1,450 jobs.

Other beneficiaries include a factory in Georgia that plans to make Blue Bird electric school buses, a General Motors factory in Michigan that will shift production from gasoline to electric vehicles, and a Harley-Davidson factory in Pennsylvania that will increase production of electric motorcycles.

The funding helps to address fears that electric vehicles will endanger jobs at factories that make gasoline-powered vehicles or parts for internal combustion engines as the industry shifts to E.V.s. To qualify for the money, companies had to commit to retraining their existing workers.

Employees at all of the factories chosen are represented by unions. Officials said they gave priority to communities that suffered disproportionately from pollution or lack of investment.

Several of the factories are in Pennsylvania, Michigan or Georgia, states where narrow margins will determine the outcome of the presidential election. President Biden, in a statement, sought to contrast his industrial policies with those of former President Donald J. Trump.

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