Do you REALLY need a business plan?

The top three questions that I get asked most frequently as a professional business plan writer will probably not surprise you:

  • What is the purpose of a business plan – why is it really required?
  • How is it going to benefit my business if I write a business plan?
  • Is a business plan really that important – how can I actually use it?

Keep reading to get my take on what the most essential advantages of preparing a business plan are—and why you may (not) need to prepare one.

Business Plan Purpose and Importance

The importance, purpose and benefit of a business plan is in that it enables you to validate a business idea, secure funding, set strategic goals – and then take organized action on those goals by making decisions, managing resources, risk and change, while effectively communicating with stakeholders.

Let’s take a closer look at how each of the important business planning benefits can catapult your business forward:

1. Validate Your Business Idea

The process of writing your business plan will force you to ask the difficult questions about the major components of your business, including:

  • External: industry, target market of prospective customers, competitive landscape
  • Internal: business model, unique selling proposition, operations, marketing, finance

Business planning connects the dots to draw a big picture of the entire business.

And imagine how much time and money you would save if working through a business plan revealed that your business idea is untenable. You would be surprised how often that happens – an idea that once sounded so very promising may easily fall apart after you actually write down all the facts, details and numbers.

While you may be tempted to jump directly into start-up mode, writing a business plan is an essential first step to check the feasibility of a business before investing too much time and money into it. Business plans help to confirm that the idea you are so passionate and convinced about is solid from business point of view.

Take the time to do the necessary research and work through a proper business plan. The more you know, the higher the likelihood that your business will succeed.

2. Set and Track Goals

Successful businesses are dynamic and continuously evolve. And so are good business plans that allow you to:

  • Priorities: Regularly set goals, targets (e.g., sales revenues reached), milestones (e.g. number of employees hired), performance indicators and metrics for short, mid and long term
  • Accountability: Track your progress toward goals and benchmarks
  • Course-correction: make changes to your business as you learn more about your market and what works and what does not
  • Mission: Refer to a clear set of values to help steer your business through any times of trouble

Essentially, business plan is a blueprint and an important strategic tool that keeps you focused, motivated and accountable to keep your business on track. When used properly and consulted regularly, it can help you measure and manage what you are working so hard to create – your long-term vision.

As humans, we work better when we have clear goals we can work towards. The everyday business hustle makes it challenging to keep an eye on the strategic priorities. The business planning process serves as a useful reminder.

3. Take Action

A business plan is also a plan of action . At its core, your plan identifies where you are now, where you want your business to go, and how you will get there.

Planning out exactly how you are going to turn your vision into a successful business is perhaps the most important step between an idea and reality. Success comes not only from having a vision but working towards that vision in a systematic and organized way.

A good business plan clearly outlines specific steps necessary to turn the business objectives into reality. Think of it as a roadmap to success. The strategy and tactics need to be in alignment to make sure that your day-to-day activities lead to the achievement of your business goals.

4. Manage Resources

A business plan also provides insight on how resources required for achieving your business goals will be structured and allocated according to their strategic priority. For example:

Large Spending Decisions

  • Assets: When and in what amount will the business commit resources to buy/lease new assets, such as computers or vehicles.
  • Human Resources: Objectives for hiring new employees, including not only their pay but how they will help the business grow and flourish.
  • Business Space: Information on costs of renting/buying space for offices, retail, manufacturing or other operations, for example when expanding to a new location.

Cash Flow It is essential that a business carefully plans and manages cash flows to ensure that there are optimal levels of cash in the bank at all times and avoid situations where the business could run out of cash and could not afford to pay its bills.

Revenues v. Expenses In addition, your business plan will compare your revenue forecasts to the budgeted costs to make sure that your financials are healthy and the business is set up for success.

5. Make Decisions

Whether you are starting a small business or expanding an existing one, a business plan is an important tool to help guide your decisions:

Sound decisions Gathering information for the business plan boosts your knowledge across many important areas of the business:

  • Industry, market, customers and competitors
  • Financial projections (e.g., revenue, expenses, assets, cash flow)
  • Operations, technology and logistics
  • Human resources (management and staff)
  • Creating value for your customer through products and services

Decision-making skills The business planning process involves thorough research and critical thinking about many intertwined and complex business issues. As a result, it solidifies the decision-making skills of the business owner and builds a solid foundation for strategic planning , prioritization and sound decision making in your business. The more you understand, the better your decisions will be.

Planning Thorough planning allows you to determine the answer to some of the most critical business decisions ahead of time , prepare for anticipate problems before they arise, and ensure that any tactical solutions are in line with the overall strategy and goals.

If you do not take time to plan, you risk becoming overwhelmed by countless options and conflicting directions because you are not unclear about the mission , vision and strategy for your business.

6. Manage Risk

Some level of uncertainty is inherent in every business, but there is a lot you can do to reduce and manage the risk, starting with a business plan to uncover your weak spots.

You will need to take a realistic and pragmatic look at the hard facts and identify:

  • Major risks , challenges and obstacles that you can expect on the way – so you can prepare to deal with them.
  • Weaknesses in your business idea, business model and strategy – so you can fix them.
  • Critical mistakes before they arise – so you can avoid them.

Essentially, the business plan is your safety net . Naturally, business plan cannot entirely eliminate risk, but it can significantly reduce it and prepare you for any challenges you may encounter.

7. Communicate Internally

Attract talent For a business to succeed, attracting talented workers and partners is of vital importance.

A business plan can be used as a communication tool to attract the right talent at all levels, from skilled staff to executive management, to work for your business by explaining the direction and growth potential of the business in a presentable format.

Align performance Sharing your business plan with all team members helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the long-term vision and strategy.

You need their buy-in from the beginning, because aligning your team with your priorities will increase the efficiency of your business as everyone is working towards a common goal .

If everyone on your team understands that their piece of work matters and how it fits into the big picture, they are more invested in achieving the objectives of the business.

It also makes it easier to track and communicate on your progress.

Share and explain business objectives with your management team, employees and new hires. Make selected portions of your business plan part of your new employee training.

8. Communicate Externally

Alliances If you are interested in partnerships or joint ventures, you may share selected sections of your plan with the potential business partners in order to develop new alliances.

Suppliers A business plan can play a part in attracting reliable suppliers and getting approved for business credit from suppliers. Suppliers who feel confident that your business will succeed (e.g., sales projections) will be much more likely to extend credit.

In addition, suppliers may want to ensure their products are being represented in the right way .

Professional Services Having a business plan in place allows you to easily share relevant sections with those you rely on to support the organization, including attorneys, accountants, and other professional consultants as needed, to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Advisors Share the plan with experts and professionals who are in a position to give you valuable advice.

Landlord Some landlords and property managers require businesses to submit a business plan to be considered for a lease to prove that your business will have sufficient cash flows to pay the rent.

Customers The business plan may also function as a prospectus for potential customers, especially when it comes to large corporate accounts and exclusive customer relationships.

9. Secure Funding

If you intend to seek outside financing for your business, you are likely going to need a business plan.

Whether you are seeking debt financing (e.g. loan or credit line) from a lender (e.g., bank or financial institution) or equity capital financing from investors (e.g., venture or angel capital), a business plan can make the difference between whether or not – and how much – someone decides to invest.

Investors and financiers are always looking at the risk of default and the earning potential based on facts and figures. Understandably, anyone who is interested in supporting your business will want to check that you know what you are doing, that their money is in good hands, and that the venture is viable in the long run.

Business plans tend to be the most effective ways of proving that. A presentation may pique their interest , but they will most probably request a well-written document they can study in detail before they will be prepared to make any financial commitment.

That is why a business plan can often be the single most important document you can present to potential investors/financiers that will provide the structure and confidence that they need to make decisions about funding and supporting your company.

Be prepared to have your business plan scrutinized . Investors and financiers will conduct extensive checks and analyses to be certain that what is written in your business plan faithful representation of the truth.

10. Grow and Change

It is a very common misconception that a business plan is a static document that a new business prepares once in the start-up phase and then happily forgets about.

But businesses are not static. And neither are business plans. The business plan for any business will change over time as the company evolves and expands .

In the growth phase, an updated business plan is particularly useful for:

Raising additional capital for expansion

  • Seeking financing for new assets , such as equipment or property
  • Securing financing to support steady cash flows (e.g., seasonality, market downturns, timing of sale/purchase invoices)
  • Forecasting to allocate resources according to strategic priority and operational needs
  • Valuation (e.g., mergers & acquisitions, tax issues, transactions related to divorce, inheritance, estate planning)

Keeping the business plan updated gives established businesses better chance of getting the money they need to grow or even keep operating.

Business plan is also an excellent tool for planning an exit as it would include the strategy and timelines for a transfer to new ownership or dissolution of the company.

Also, if you ever make the decision to sell your business or position yourself for a merger or an acquisition , a strong business plan in hand is going to help you to maximize the business valuation.

Valuation is the process of establishing the worth of a business by a valuation expert who will draw on professional experience as well as a business plan that will outline what you have, what it’s worth now and how much will it likely produce in the future.

Your business is likely to be worth more to a buyer if they clearly understand your business model, your market, your assets and your overall potential to grow and scale .

Related Questions

Business plan purpose: what is the purpose of a business plan.

The purpose of a business plan is to articulate a strategy for starting a new business or growing an existing one by identifying where the business is going and how it will get there to test the viability of a business idea and maximize the chances of securing funding and achieving business goals and success.

Business Plan Benefits: What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan benefits businesses by serving as a strategic tool outlining the steps and resources required to achieve goals and make business ideas succeed, as well as a communication tool allowing businesses to articulate their strategy to stakeholders that support the business.

Business Plan Importance: Why is business plan important?

The importance of a business plan lies in it being a roadmap that guides the decisions of a business on the road to success, providing clarity on all aspects of its operations. This blueprint outlines the goals of the business and what exactly is needed to achieve them through effective management.

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The importance of business plan: 5 key reasons.

The Importance of Business Plan: 5 Key Reasons

A key part of any business is its business plan. They can help define the goals of your business and help it reach success. A good business plan can also help you develop an adequate marketing strategy. There are a number of reasons all business owners need business plans, keep reading to learn more!

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a Business Plan?

5 reasons you need a well-written business plan, how do i make a business plan, key takeaways.

A business plan contains detailed information that can help determine its success. Some of this information can include the following:

  • Market analysis
  • Cash flow projection
  • Competitive analysis
  • Financial statements and financial projections
  • An operating plan

A solid business plan is a good way to attract potential investors. It can also help you display to business partners that you have a successful business growing. In a competitive landscape, a formal business plan is your key to success.

what important of business plan

Check out all of the biggest reasons you need a good business plan below.

1. To Secure Funding

Whether you’re seeking funding from a venture capitalist or a bank, you’ll need a business plan. Business plans are the foundation of a business. They tell the parties that you’re seeking funding from whether or not you’re worth investing in. If you need any sort of outside financing, you’ll need a good business plan to secure it.

2. Set and Communicate Goals

A business plan gives you a tangible way of reviewing your business goals. Business plans revolve around the present and the future. When you establish your goals and put them in writing, you’re more likely to reach them. A strong business plan includes these goals, and allows you to communicate them to investors and employees alike.

3. Prove Viability in the Market

While many businesses are born from passion, not many will last without an effective business plan. While a business concept may seem sound, things may change once the specifics are written down. Often, people who attempt to start a business without a plan will fail. This is because they don’t take into account all of the planning and funds needed to get a business off of the ground.

Market research is a large part of the business planning process. It lets you review your potential customers, as well as the competition, in your field. By understanding both you can set price points for products or services. Sometimes, it may not make sense to start a business based on the existing competition. Other times, market research can guide you to effective marketing strategies that others lack. To have a successful business, it has to be viable. A business plan will help you determine that.

4. They Help Owners Avoid Failure

Far too often, small businesses fail. Many times, this is due to the lack of a strong business plan. There are many reasons that small businesses fail, most of which can be avoided by developing a business plan. Some of them are listed below, which can be avoided by having a business plan:

  • The market doesn’t need the business’s product or service
  • The business didn’t take into account the amount of capital needed
  • The market is oversaturated
  • The prices set by the business are too high, pushing potential customers away

Any good business plan includes information to help business owners avoid these issues.

what important of business plan

5. Business Plans Reduce Risk

Related to the last reason, business plans help reduce risk. A well-thought-out business plan helps reduce risky decisions. They help business owners make informed decisions based on the research they conduct. Any business owner can tell you that the most important part of their job is making critical decisions. A business plan that factors in all possible situations helps make those decisions.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to help you create a business plan. A simple search can lead you to helpful tools, like a business plan template . These are helpful, as they let you fill in the information as you go. Many of them provide basic instructions on how to create the business plan, as well.

If you plan on starting a business, you’ll need a business plan. They’re good for a vast number of things. Business plans help owners make informed decisions, as well as set goals and secure funding. Don’t put off putting together your business plan!

If you’re in the planning stages of your business, be sure to check out our resource hub . We have plenty of valuable resources and articles for you when you’re just getting started. Check it out today!

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what important of business plan

The importance of a business plan

Business plans are like road maps: it’s possible to travel without one, but that will only increase the odds of getting lost along the way.

Owners with a business plan see growth 30% faster than those without one, and 71% of the fast-growing companies have business plans . Before we get into the thick of it, let’s define and go over what a business plan actually is.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a 15-20 page document that outlines how you will achieve your business objectives and includes information about your product, marketing strategies, and finances. You should create one when you’re starting a new business and keep updating it as your business grows.

Rather than putting yourself in a position where you may have to stop and ask for directions or even circle back and start over, small business owners often use business plans to help guide them. That’s because they help them see the bigger picture, plan ahead, make important decisions, and improve the overall likelihood of success. ‍

Why is a business plan important?

A well-written business plan is an important tool because it gives entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as their employees, the ability to lay out their goals and track their progress as their business begins to grow. Business planning should be the first thing done when starting a new business. Business plans are also important for attracting investors so they can determine if your business is on the right path and worth putting money into.

Business plans typically include detailed information that can help improve your business’s chances of success, like:

  • A market analysis : gathering information about factors and conditions that affect your industry
  • Competitive analysis : evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
  • Customer segmentation : divide your customers into different groups based on specific characteristics to improve your marketing
  • Marketing: using your research to advertise your business
  • Logistics and operations plans : planning and executing the most efficient production process
  • Cash flow projection : being prepared for how much money is going into and out of your business
  • An overall path to long-term growth

10 reasons why you need a business plan

I know what you’re thinking: “Do I really need a business plan? It sounds like a lot of work, plus I heard they’re outdated and I like figuring things out as I go...”.

The answer is: yes, you really do need a business plan! As entrepreneur Kevin J. Donaldson said, “Going into business without a business plan is like going on a mountain trek without a map or GPS support—you’ll eventually get lost and starve! Though it may sound tedious and time-consuming, business plans are critical to starting your business and setting yourself up for success.

To outline the importance of business plans and make the process sound less daunting, here are 10 reasons why you need one for your small business.

1. To help you with critical decisions

The primary importance of a business plan is that they help you make better decisions. Entrepreneurship is often an endless exercise in decision making and crisis management. Sitting down and considering all the ramifications of any given decision is a luxury that small businesses can’t always afford. That’s where a business plan comes in.

Building a business plan allows you to determine the answer to some of the most critical business decisions ahead of time.

Creating a robust business plan is a forcing function—you have to sit down and think about major components of your business before you get started, like your marketing strategy and what products you’ll sell. You answer many tough questions before they arise. And thinking deeply about your core strategies can also help you understand how those decisions will impact your broader strategy.

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2. To iron out the kinks

Putting together a business plan requires entrepreneurs to ask themselves a lot of hard questions and take the time to come up with well-researched and insightful answers. Even if the document itself were to disappear as soon as it’s completed, the practice of writing it helps to articulate your vision in realistic terms and better determine if there are any gaps in your strategy.

3. To avoid the big mistakes

Only about half of small businesses are still around to celebrate their fifth birthday . While there are many reasons why small businesses fail, many of the most common are purposefully addressed in business plans.

According to data from CB Insights , some of the most common reasons businesses fail include:

  • No market need : No one wants what you’re selling.
  • Lack of capital : Cash flow issues or businesses simply run out of money.
  • Inadequate team : This underscores the importance of hiring the right people to help you run your business.
  • Stiff competition : It’s tough to generate a steady profit when you have a lot of competitors in your space.
  • Pricing : Some entrepreneurs price their products or services too high or too low—both scenarios can be a recipe for disaster.

The exercise of creating a business plan can help you avoid these major mistakes. Whether it’s cash flow forecasts or a product-market fit analysis , every piece of a business plan can help spot some of those potentially critical mistakes before they arise. For example, don’t be afraid to scrap an idea you really loved if it turns out there’s no market need. Be honest with yourself!

Get a jumpstart on your business plan by creating your own cash flow projection .

4. To prove the viability of the business

Many businesses are created out of passion, and while passion can be a great motivator, it’s not a great proof point.

Planning out exactly how you’re going to turn that vision into a successful business is perhaps the most important step between concept and reality. Business plans can help you confirm that your grand idea makes sound business sense.

A graphic showing you a “Business Plan Outline.” There are four sections on the left side: Executive Summary at the top, Company Description below it, followed by Market Analysis, and lastly Organization and Management. There was four sections on the right side. At the top: “Service or Product Line.” Below that, “Marketing and Sales.” Below that, “Funding Request.” And lastly: “Financial Projections.” At the very bottom below the left and right columns is a section that says “Appendix.

A critical component of your business plan is the market research section. Market research can offer deep insight into your customers, your competitors, and your chosen industry. Not only can it enlighten entrepreneurs who are starting up a new business, but it can also better inform existing businesses on activities like marketing, advertising, and releasing new products or services.

Want to prove there’s a market gap? Here’s how you can get started with market research.

5. To set better objectives and benchmarks

Without a business plan, objectives often become arbitrary, without much rhyme or reason behind them. Having a business plan can help make those benchmarks more intentional and consequential. They can also help keep you accountable to your long-term vision and strategy, and gain insights into how your strategy is (or isn’t) coming together over time.

6. To communicate objectives and benchmarks

Whether you’re managing a team of 100 or a team of two, you can’t always be there to make every decision yourself. Think of the business plan like a substitute teacher, ready to answer questions any time there’s an absence. Let your staff know that when in doubt, they can always consult the business plan to understand the next steps in the event that they can’t get an answer from you directly.

Sharing your business plan with team members also helps ensure that all members are aligned with what you’re doing, why, and share the same understanding of long-term objectives.

7. To provide a guide for service providers

Small businesses typically employ contractors , freelancers, and other professionals to help them with tasks like accounting , marketing, legal assistance, and as consultants. Having a business plan in place allows you to easily share relevant sections with those you rely on to support the organization, while ensuring everyone is on the same page.

8. To secure financing

Did you know you’re 2.5x more likely to get funded if you have a business plan?If you’re planning on pitching to venture capitalists, borrowing from a bank, or are considering selling your company in the future, you’re likely going to need a business plan. After all, anyone that’s interested in putting money into your company is going to want to know it’s in good hands and that it’s viable in the long run. Business plans are the most effective ways of proving that and are typically a requirement for anyone seeking outside financing.

Learn what you need to get a small business loan.

9. To better understand the broader landscape

No business is an island, and while you might have a strong handle on everything happening under your own roof, it’s equally important to understand the market terrain as well. Writing a business plan can go a long way in helping you better understand your competition and the market you’re operating in more broadly, illuminate consumer trends and preferences, potential disruptions and other insights that aren’t always plainly visible.

10. To reduce risk

Entrepreneurship is a risky business, but that risk becomes significantly more manageable once tested against a well-crafted business plan. Drawing up revenue and expense projections, devising logistics and operational plans, and understanding the market and competitive landscape can all help reduce the risk factor from an inherently precarious way to make a living. Having a business plan allows you to leave less up to chance, make better decisions, and enjoy the clearest possible view of the future of your company.

Understanding the importance of a business plan

Now that you have a solid grasp on the “why” behind business plans, you can confidently move forward with creating your own.

Remember that a business plan will grow and evolve along with your business, so it’s an important part of your whole journey—not just the beginning.

Related Posts

Now that you’ve read up on the purpose of a business plan, check out our guide to help you get started.

what important of business plan

The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.

what important of business plan

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What is a Business Plan and Why is it Important?

What is a business plan.

Whether you’re starting a small business or exploring ways to expand an existing one, a business plan is an important tool to help guide your decisions. Think of it as a roadmap to success, providing greater clarity on all aspects of your business, from marketing and finance to operations and product/service details.

While some owners may be tempted to jump directly into startup mode, writing a business plan is a crucial first step for budding entrepreneurs to check the viability of a business before investing too much time or money. The purpose of a business plan is to help articulate a strategy for starting your business. It also provides insight on steps to be taken, resources required for achieving your business goals and a timeline of anticipated results.

In fact, businesses that plan grow 30% faster than those that don’t. 1

For existing small businesses, a business plan should be updated annually as a way to guide growth and navigate the expansion into new markets.

Studies show that nearly 71% of the fastest-growing businesses have business plans, indicating that even existing businesses can benefit from updating their plans. 2

Your plan should include explicit objectives for hiring new employees , market analysis, financial projections, and potential investors. The objectives should indicate how they’ll help your business prosper and grow.

Building an asset management business plan

Committing resources to capital improvements and new assets such as computers, software or cars/trucks is never an easy decision for budget-conscious small business owners. But a business plan can bring clarity to the process of whether to buy or lease and help determine the optimal amount allocated to those assets. A good business plan can also help you decide if it’s feasible to take on additional office, retail or work space.

Creating a marketing strategy

Marketing and market potential are important aspects of a plan for aspiring small businesses.

Getting your business in front of customers on a consistent basis is one of the keys to ensuring your business not only stays afloat but also thrives.

Marketing strategies can be simple, but before you decide on how you will get the word out, getting clear on your target audience and why your business solves their problem can make sticking to your marketing plan easier.

Knowing your unique market positioning can help you determine your messaging. Your marketing strategy should include who your target audience is, the platforms or methods you will connect with them on, and a measurement framework to determine if your efforts are working.

Take entrepreneur Scott Sultzer, who opened Sandwich Joint restaurant in downtown Los Angeles in 2009. “I included the potential marketing demographic of all those who lived in a certain area of the city,” he said of his marketing strategy. “My goal was to capture a certain percentage of all those people who lived and worked nearby.” 4

Created primarily as a marketing tool, Sulzer’s 10-page plan included such topics as target market breakdown, marketing strategy and market penetration. “My business plan was mostly about market projections,” he said. “How are we going to get those people that lead to an increase in our daily sales? And how are we going to reach them to let them know we’re here?” 4

Depending on your business, it’s important to have both brick-and-mortar marketing strategies as well as a plan for marketing your business online .

Seeking investment for your business

In addition to providing a roadmap for progress and a marketing plan , your business plan could also be important in securing funding .

Whether you’re seeking a credit line from a bank or an influx of capital from investors, a business plan that answers questions about profitability and revenue generation can make the difference between whether someone decides to invest – or how much they might choose to invest.

In fact, a study showed that businesses with a plan were more likely to receive formal financial support, such as funding, than businesses without one. 3

Hiring the right talent

A business plan may also be needed to retain other professional services as well, such as attorneys, landlords, consultants or accountants. Sulzer used his business plan to secure a lease.

“I had to have a viable document that they could trust,” said Sulzer, who leased from one of the largest landowners in downtown Los Angeles. 4

“With a corporate landlord, they wouldn’t deal with me unless I had a business plan. I had to submit all my information and a plan that presented what I wanted to do, with financial breakdowns and percentages, demographics, and how I was going to get customers.” 4

For a small business to succeed, attracting talented workers and partners is of vital importance. A part of a business plan for hiring employees is to help bring in the right talent, from the executive level to skilled staff, by showing them the direction and growth potential of the business. It can also help secure vendor accounts, especially with exclusive suppliers.

Setting business plan objectives for management

Finally, a business plan can be important in providing structure and management objectives to a small business. It can become a reference tool to keep management on track with sales targets and operational milestones. When used properly and consulted regularly, it can help you measure and manage what you’re working so hard to create.

Ready to take the next step? Learn how to write a business plan .

Don’t forget to consider insurance coverage in your business plan. When the unexpected happens, you want to make sure your small business is covered. Customized insurance solutions are crucial to protecting and keeping your operation going.

Find out how small business insurance from Nationwide can help you build and protect your business whether you are just starting up or already established.

1 https://www.effectuation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/The-Multiple-Effects-of-Business-Planning-onNew-Venture-Performance-1.pdf , Accessed October 2021. 2 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/0447-2778.00006 , Accessed October 2021. 3 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2014.967377 , Accessed October 2021. 4 Nationwide Interview with Scott Sultzer, 2016.

Disclaimer: The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are services marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide.

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what important of business plan

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, 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.

what important of business plan

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

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, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • 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: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

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

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. 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 an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

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

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

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what important of business plan

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What is a Business Plan? Definition and Resources

Clipboard with paper, calculator, compass, and other similar tools laid out on a table. Represents the basics of what is a business plan.

9 min. read

Updated March 4, 2024

If you’ve ever jotted down a business idea on a napkin with a few tasks you need to accomplish, you’ve written a business plan — or at least the very basic components of one.

The origin of formal business plans is murky. But they certainly go back centuries. And when you consider that 20% of new businesses fail in year 1 , and half fail within 5 years, the importance of thorough planning and research should be clear.

But just what is a business plan? And what’s required to move from a series of ideas to a formal plan? Here we’ll answer that question and explain why you need one to be a successful business owner.

  • What is a business plan?

Definition: Business plan is a description of a company's strategies, goals, and plans for achieving them.

A business plan lays out a strategic roadmap for any new or growing business.

Any entrepreneur with a great idea for a business needs to conduct market research , analyze their competitors , validate their idea by talking to potential customers, and define their unique value proposition .

The business plan captures that opportunity you see for your company: it describes your product or service and business model , and the target market you’ll serve. 

It also includes details on how you’ll execute your plan: how you’ll price and market your solution and your financial projections .

Reasons for writing a business plan

If you’re asking yourself, ‘Do I really need to write a business plan?’ consider this fact: 

Companies that commit to planning grow 30% faster than those that don’t.

Creating a business plan is crucial for businesses of any size or stage. 

If you plan to raise funds for your business through a traditional bank loan or SBA loan , none of them will want to move forward without seeing your business plan. Venture capital firms may or may not ask for one, but you’ll still need to do thorough planning to create a pitch that makes them want to invest.

But it’s more than just a means of getting your business funded . The plan is also your roadmap to identify and address potential risks. 

It’s not a one-time document. Your business plan is a living guide to ensure your business stays on course.

Related: 14 of the top reasons why you need a business plan

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What research shows about business plans

Numerous studies have established that planning improves business performance:

  • 71% of fast-growing companies have business plans that include budgets, sales goals, and marketing and sales strategies.
  • Companies that clearly define their value proposition are more successful than those that can’t.
  • Companies or startups with a business plan are more likely to get funding than those without one.
  • Starting the business planning process before investing in marketing reduces the likelihood of business failure.

The planning process significantly impacts business growth for existing companies and startups alike.

Read More: Research-backed reasons why writing a business plan matters

When should you write a business plan?

No two business plans are alike. 

Yet there are similar questions for anyone considering writing a plan to answer. One basic but important question is when to start writing it.

A Harvard Business Review study found that the ideal time to write a business plan is between 6 and 12 months after deciding to start a business. 

But the reality can be more nuanced – it depends on the stage a business is in, or the type of business plan being written.

Ideal times to write a business plan include:

  • When you have an idea for a business
  • When you’re starting a business
  • When you’re preparing to buy (or sell)
  • When you’re trying to get funding
  • When business conditions change
  • When you’re growing or scaling your business

Read More: The best times to write or update your business plan

How often should you update your business plan?

As is often the case, how often a business plan should be updated depends on your circumstances.

A business plan isn’t a homework assignment to complete and forget about. At the same time, no one wants to get so bogged down in the details that they lose sight of day-to-day goals. 

But it should cover new opportunities and threats that a business owner surfaces, and incorporate feedback they get from customers. So it can’t be a static document.

For an entrepreneur at the ideation stage, writing and checking back on their business plan will help them determine if they can turn that idea into a profitable business .

And for owners of up-and-running businesses, updating the plan (or rewriting it) will help them respond to market shifts they wouldn’t be prepared for otherwise. 

It also lets them compare their forecasts and budgets to actual financial results. This invaluable process surfaces where a business might be out-performing expectations and where weak performance may require a prompt strategy change. 

The planning process is what uncovers those insights.

Related Reading: 10 prompts to help you write a business plan with AI

  • How long should your business plan be?

Thinking about a business plan strictly in terms of page length can risk overlooking more important factors, like the level of detail or clarity in the plan. 

Not all of the plan consists of writing – there are also financial tables, graphs, and product illustrations to include.

But there are a few general rules to consider about a plan’s length:

  • Your business plan shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to skim.
  • Business plans for internal use (not for a bank loan or outside investment) can be as short as 5 to 10 pages.

A good practice is to write your business plan to match the expectations of your audience. 

If you’re walking into a bank looking for a loan, your plan should match the formal, professional style that a loan officer would expect . But if you’re writing it for stakeholders on your own team—shorter and less formal (even just a few pages) could be the better way to go.

The length of your plan may also depend on the stage your business is in. 

For instance, a startup plan won’t have nearly as much financial information to include as a plan written for an established company will.

Read More: How long should your business plan be?  

What information is included in a business plan?

The contents of a plan business plan will vary depending on the industry the business is in. 

After all, someone opening a new restaurant will have different customers, inventory needs, and marketing tactics to consider than someone bringing a new medical device to the market. 

But there are some common elements that most business plans include:

  • Executive summary: An overview of the business operation, strategy, and goals. The executive summary should be written last, despite being the first thing anyone will read.
  • Products and services: A description of the solution that a business is bringing to the market, emphasizing how it solves the problem customers are facing.
  • Market analysis: An examination of the demographic and psychographic attributes of likely customers, resulting in the profile of an ideal customer for the business.
  • Competitive analysis: Documenting the competitors a business will face in the market, and their strengths and weaknesses relative to those competitors.
  • Marketing and sales plan: Summarizing a business’s tactics to position their product or service favorably in the market, attract customers, and generate revenue.
  • Operational plan: Detailing the requirements to run the business day-to-day, including staffing, equipment, inventory, and facility needs.
  • Organization and management structure: A listing of the departments and position breakdown of the business, as well as descriptions of the backgrounds and qualifications of the leadership team.
  • Key milestones: Laying out the key dates that a business is projected to reach certain milestones , such as revenue, break-even, or customer acquisition goals.
  • Financial plan: Balance sheets, cash flow forecast , and sales and expense forecasts with forward-looking financial projections, listing assumptions and potential risks that could affect the accuracy of the plan.
  • Appendix: All of the supporting information that doesn’t fit into specific sections of the business plan, such as data and charts.

Read More: Use this business plan outline to organize your plan

  • Different types of business plans

A business plan isn’t a one-size-fits-all document. There are numerous ways to create an effective business plan that fits entrepreneurs’ or established business owners’ needs. 

Here are a few of the most common types of business plans for small businesses:

  • One-page plan : Outlining all of the most important information about a business into an adaptable one-page plan.
  • Growth plan : An ongoing business management plan that ensures business tactics and strategies are aligned as a business scales up.
  • Internal plan : A shorter version of a full business plan to be shared with internal stakeholders – ideal for established companies considering strategic shifts.

Business plan vs. operational plan vs. strategic plan

  • What questions are you trying to answer? 
  • Are you trying to lay out a plan for the actual running of your business?
  • Is your focus on how you will meet short or long-term goals? 

Since your objective will ultimately inform your plan, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish before you start writing.

While a business plan provides the foundation for a business, other types of plans support this guiding document.

An operational plan sets short-term goals for the business by laying out where it plans to focus energy and investments and when it plans to hit key milestones.

Then there is the strategic plan , which examines longer-range opportunities for the business, and how to meet those larger goals over time.

Read More: How to use a business plan for strategic development and operations

  • Business plan vs. business model

If a business plan describes the tactics an entrepreneur will use to succeed in the market, then the business model represents how they will make money. 

The difference may seem subtle, but it’s important. 

Think of a business plan as the roadmap for how to exploit market opportunities and reach a state of sustainable growth. By contrast, the business model lays out how a business will operate and what it will look like once it has reached that growth phase.

Learn More: The differences between a business model and business plan

  • Moving from idea to business plan

Now that you understand what a business plan is, the next step is to start writing your business plan . 

If you’re stuck, start with a one-page business plan and check out our collection of over 550 business plan examples for inspiration. They’re broken out over dozens of industries—you can even copy and paste sections into your plan and rewrite them with information specific to your business.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

what important of business plan

Table of Contents

  • Reasons to write a business plan
  • Business planning research
  • When to write a business plan
  • When to update a business plan
  • Information to include
  • Business vs. operational vs. strategic plans

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what important of business plan

The Undeniable Importance of a Business Plan

We often hear about business plans in the context of early-stage companies; however, constructing excellent business plans is difficult and time-consuming, so many entrepreneurs avoid them. But, is this a mistake?

While most people may be aware of the “soft” arguments for and against writing a business plan, in this article, a Toptal Finance Expert takes a data-driven approach to addressing the debate. In it, he finds strong evidence to support the notion that writing an excellent business plan is time well spent.

The Undeniable Importance of a Business Plan

By Sean Heberling

Sean has analyzed 10,000+ companies, built complex models, and helped facilitate $1+ billion in investment transactions.

PREVIOUSLY AT

Executive Summary

  • Individuals who write business plans are 2.5x as likely to start businesses.
  • Business planning improves corporate executive satisfaction with corporate strategy development.
  • Angels and venture capitalists value business plans and their [financial models](https://www.toptal.com/finance/tutorials/what-is-a-financial-model).
  • Companies who complete business plans are 2.5x as likely to get funded.
  • Even if a small-scale early-stage venture seeking just $250,000 in capital spent almost $40,000 on business planning and another almost $40,000 on capital raising, it should still expect to "break even" on a probability-weighted basis.
  • Larger early-stage ventures enjoy extraordinary probability-weighted returns on investment from business planning. Because the target net capital so greatly exceeds the money spent on business planning, the prospective ROI is huge.
  • Company Overview: An explanation of why your company is relevant and the need you are addressing.
  • Market Overview: A description of the state of your market and its important trends, a detailed description of your customers, and a description of your current competitors and their advantages.
  • Product/Service Overview: A description of your product(s), how they compete with other brands, why they are needed, and why customers will pay a fair economic value for it.
  • Financial Projections: Three thorough financial plans with conservative, moderate, and optimistic assumptions.
  • The process of writing forces the author to ask introspectively how they reached their conclusions and each of the sub-conclusions along the way because they must explain their logic to a cynical reader.
  • The written author needs to support all conclusions with facts and logic to prove that they are not "making it up" or relying upon popular "myths."
  • Outlined reports and outlined business plans are not generally subject to the same level of reader scrutiny.

We often hear about business plans in the context of early-stage companies , but constructing excellent business plans is difficult and time-consuming, so many entrepreneurs avoid them. That’s a mistake, as there is strong evidence demonstrating that business plans generate positive returns on time and money invested .

The business world has long debated the importance of business plans, and most involved understand the “soft” arguments. However, this article delves into the data to conclude that writing an excellent business plan is time well spent. I developed a similar view over my 20+ year financial career , during which I have analyzed well over 10,000 different types of companies. I have noticed that while a business plan may not be required for a venture to become successful, having one does seem to greatly improve the probability of successful outcomes.

Expert Opinions Support the Value of Business Planning

Expert opinions support the four following conclusions:

  • Angels and venture capitalists value business plans and their financial models.

Individuals Who Write Business Plans Are 2.5x More Likely to Become Entrepreneurs

Many people have business ideas over the course of their careers, but often, these ideas never come to fruition, or they get lost amidst our daily obligations. Interestingly, studies support the notion that those who write business plans are far more likely to launch their companies. Data from the Panal Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics in fact suggests that business planners were 2.5x as likely to get into business . The study, which surveyed more than 800 people across the United States who were in the process of starting businesses, therefore concluded that “writing a plan greatly increased the chances that a person would actually go into business.”

Of course, causation of this phenomenon is hard to pin down. There are several different possible reasons why this correlation between writing business plans and actually starting a business may exist. But William Gartner, Clemson University Entrepreneurship Professor and author of the Panal Study, believes that “‘research shows that business plans are all about walking the walk. People who write business plans also do more stuff.’ And doing more stuff, such as researching markets and preparing projections, increases the chances an entrepreneur will follow through.”

Research shows that business plans are all about walking the walk. People who write business plans also do more stuff. And doing more stuff, such as researching markets and preparing projections, increases the chances an entrepreneur will follow through.

William Bygrave, a professor emeritus at Babson College, reached a similar conclusion despite having previously shown “that entrepreneurs who began with formal plans had no greater success than those who started without them.” Bygrave does admit, however, that “40% of Babson students who have taken the college’s business plan writing course go on to start businesses after graduation, twice the rate of those who didn’t study plan writing.”

Business Planning Improves Corporate Executive Satisfaction

Another important way in which business plans can provide tangible help is by aligning everyone in an organization with the vision and strategy going forward. And this, in turn, has important ramifications on corporate executive satisfaction. A study by McKinsey & Company which surveyed nearly 800 corporate executives across a range of industries confirms this conclusion. In it, McKinsey found that “formal strategic-planning processes play an important role in improving overall satisfaction with strategy development. That role can be seen in the responses of the 79 percent of managers who claimed that the formal planning process played a significant role in developing strategies and were satisfied with the approach of their companies, compared with only 21 percent of the respondents who felt that the process did not play a significant role. Looked at another way, 51% of the respondents whose companies had no formal process were dissatisfied with their approach to the development of strategy, against only 20% of those at companies with a formal process.”

A chart of what role the formal planning process plays in a company next to a chart showing the percentage of respondents who are dissatisfied with their company's approach to the development of strategy

Of course, not all planning is equal. Planning just for the sake of planning doesn’t have the desired effects. As McKinsey itself noted in their study, “Just 45% of the respondents said they were satisfied with the strategic planning process. Moreover, only 23% indicated that major strategic decisions were made within its confines. Given these results, managers might well be tempted to jettison the planning process altogether.” As such, entrepreneurs and business managers should take the time and effort required to put together a well-written and well-researched business plan. Later in the article, I outline some of the elements of a well-written plan.

Business Plans and Their Financial Models Are Valuable to Angels and Venture Capitalists

Many entrepreneurs will eventually need to raise outside capital to grow and develop their businesses. In my experience, a business plan is a crucial tool in maximizing the chances of raising money from external investors. A well-written plan not only helps investors understand your business and your vision, but also shows them that you’ve taken the time to carefully assess and think through the issues your business will face, as well as the more detailed questions surrounding the economics and fundamentals of your business model.

Nathan Beckford, CFA, is the CEO of FounderSuite, the funding stack used by startups in Y Combinator, TechStars, 500s, and more to raise over $750 million. Nathan illustrates the above point nicely in an email he wrote to me recently: “Prior to starting Foundersuite.com, I ran a startup consulting business called VentureArchetypes.com. For the first few years, our primary business was cranking out bold, bullish, beautifully-written business plans for startups to present to investors. Around the mid-2000s, business plans started to go out of favor as the ‘Lean Startup’ methodology became popular. Instead of a written plan, we saw a huge uptick in demand for detailed financial models. Bottom line, I still see value in taking time to be contemplative and strategic before launching a startup. Does that need to be in the form of a 40-page written document? No. But if that’s the format that best works for you, and it can help you model scenarios and ‘see around the corner’ then that’s valuable.”

Nathan and I have frequently interacted, as I maintain a subscription to FounderSuite, software I use when running capital campaigns for early-stage companies on whose boards I sit, or when raising capital for my own firm’s investment projects. Nathan’s feedback is helpful, as he frequently interacts with thousands of entrepreneurs simultaneously running capital campaigns, providing him with a great perspective on which approaches work and which don’t. Clearly, he sees that financial models and business plans in some form help entrepreneurs raise capital.

Companies Who Complete Business Plans Are 2.5x as Likely to Get Funded

Following the section above, naturally, if business plans are useful to outside investors, these are therefore likely to also increase one’s chances of successfully raising capital. A study by Palo Alto Software confirms this hypothesis. The study showed that although 65% of entrepreneurs had NOT completed business plans, the ones who had were twice as likely to have secured funding for their businesses.

A chart comparing elements of companies with business plans to companies with no business plan

This study surveyed 2,877 entrepreneurs. Of those, 995 had completed business plans, with 297 of them (30%) having secured loans, 280 of them (28%) having secured investment capital, and 499 of them (50%) having grown their businesses. Contrast these percentages with the results for the 1,882 entrepreneurs who had not completed business plans, where just 222 of them (12%) had secured loans, 219 of them (12%) had secured investment capital, and 501 of them (27%) had grown their businesses. (Note that the percentages among the business plan population sum to over 100% because of some overlap between each of the sub-categories.) These results led the study authors to conclude that “Except in a small number of cases, business planning appeared to be positively correlated with business success as measured by our variables. While our analysis cannot say that completing a business plan will lead to success, it does indicate that the type of entrepreneur who completes a business plan is also more likely to run a successful business.”

Calculating the Return on Investment for Business Planning

The data and studies outlined above all serve to prove something that I have come to understand very clearly throughout my career. Nevertheless, I still often find that startups struggle with the idea of having to put together a business plan, and in particular with the option of hiring an outside professional to help them do that. As such, I quantified the ROI of such an activity, using data and numbers based on my many years of business consulting. The results of the exercise are summarized in the table at the end of the section, but there are two overarching conclusions:

  • Even a small-scale early-stage company can “afford” to pay a finance expert $191 per hour both to create a business plan and to guide the capital raising process, at worst “breaking even” on the investment.
  • Larger early-stage companies can expect significant returns on investments in business planning, perhaps as much as 6,700% (67x the amount of money invested).

Diving into the analysis, my inputs included:

  • My professional experience with writing business plans. I have spent 25 - 200 hours apiece creating business plans I feel comfortable sharing with founders, advisors, and investors.
  • Data from the Palo Alto study discussed earlier in this article. This study showed that 30% of early-stage ventures with business plans had secured funding, 2.5x as great as the 12% of early-stage ventures without business plans who managed to secure funding despite the absence of such plans.
  • The hourly rate for a finance expert x (150 to 200 hours) for one round of financing, OR
  • 10% of the amount of capital targeted

My analysis illustrates the following:

  • Early-stage companies should expect to spend $4,000 - $40,000 on business planning, including the financial modeling associated with it.
  • Early-stage companies should expect to spend $30,000 - $200,000 for an initial round of financing between $250,000 and $2 million in size, resulting in net financing of $200,000 - $1.8 million.
  • Even if a small-scale early-stage venture seeking just $250,000 in capital spent almost $40,000 on business planning and another almost $40,000 on capital raising, it should still expect to “break even” on a probability-weighted basis. In other words, because the odds of success with a professional business plan are 2.5x greater than without one, small-scale early-stage ventures can justify such a significant investment. This also assumes NO additional odds for success from engaging a professional to coordinate the fundraising effort. I suspect that doing so may push the odds of success from 12% without a business plan and 30% with a business plan to above 50%. It is also likely that a smaller-scale venture may require significantly fewer hours for business planning and capital raising that what is outlined in the “worst case” below.
  • Larger early-stage ventures enjoy extraordinary probability-weighted returns on investment from business planning. Because the target net capital so greatly exceeds the money spent on business planning, the prospective ROI is huge, and this analysis just assumes ONE round of equity financing. Most successful startups will experience several rounds of financing.

A table showing calculations on return of investment in business planning

Thoughts on Writing an Excellent Business Plan

An extensive overview of how to write an excellent business plan is beyond the scope of this article. However, here are two key thoughts that have emerged from my years of experience with startups.

First, there are four common elements to an excellent business plan. In Alan Hall’s Forbes article, “ How to Build a Billion Dollar Business Plan: 10 Top Points ,” he interviews Thomas Harrison, Chairman of Diversified Agency Services, an Omnicom division that has purchased “a vast number of firms,” to share his views on the key elements of a great business plan. Although each of these ten elements is essential, I reorganized the list into four broad categories:

1. Company Overview

  • An explanation of why your company is relevant and the need are you addressing
  • A description of corporate priorities and the processes to achieve them.
  • An overview of the various resources, including the people that will be needed, to deliver what’s expected by the customer.

2. Market Overview

  • A description of the state of your market and its important trends.
  • A detailed description of your customers.
  • A description of your current competitors and their advantages. Which ones will you displace?

3. Product/Service Overview

  • A description of your products, how they compete with other brands, and why they are needed.
  • An explanation of why customers will pay a fair economic value for your product or service. This element is conspicuously absent from some of today’s most expensive unicorns. Companies such as Uber and Tesla are losing massive amounts of money on rapidly growing sales because these companies may not be selling their services/products for fair economic value. Of course, sales grow rapidly when customers can buy your services/products for far less than their fair economic values!

4. Financial Projections

  • Conservative
  • Each scenario should have realistic and achievable sales, margins, expenses, and profits on monthly, quarterly, and annual bases. Again, these elements appear to be conspicuously absent from some of today’s most expensive unicorns.

A diagram showing four key elements to an excellent business plan

Second, written business plans are superior to those just “outlined.” As an adjunct professor of finance for Villanova University, I require my students to write research reports prior to developing slide decks to present their findings from a full semester of industry research. The process of writing forces the authors to ask themselves how they reached their conclusions and each of the sub-conclusions along the way because they must explain their logic to cynical readers. The written authors need to support their conclusions with facts and logic to prove that they are not “making it up” or relying upon popular “myths.” Outlined reports and outlined business plans are not generally subject to the same level of reader scrutiny. Therefore, written business plans are superior to those just “outlined.” Outlined plans are often kept on 10-12 slide decks, and the slide deck is an important tool in the capital raising process, but the written business plan that stands behind it will differentiate an entrepreneur from their seemingly infinite competition.

Parting Thoughts

Some argue that many public multi-billion-dollar companies such as Apple or Google never had formal business plans before they started, but this argument is flawed because most of these companies likely developed business plans either during the solicitation of venture capital or during the process of going public. Apple and Google were both funded with venture capital, and soliciting venture capital involves business planning. The founders of Apple and Google likely created financial projections and outlined strategic paths.

Moreover, Apple and Google are both public companies, and going public involves business planning. Underwriters employ research analysts creating financial forecasts based on business plans projected by management at the companies going public. Buy-side firms purchasing and holding shares in newly public companies create forecasts based upon the business plans projected by public company management teams.

Admittedly, you don’t need a written business plan to have a successful company. You may not even need a business plan at all to have a successful company. However, the probability of success without a business plan is much lower. Angels and venture capitalists like to know about your business plan, and public companies need to project business plans to persuade underwriters and investors to purchase their securities.

Further Reading on the Toptal Blog:

  • Creating a Narrative from Numbers
  • Business Plan Consultants: Who They Are and How They Create Value
  • Building a Business Continuity Plan
  • Building the Next Big Thing: A Guide to Business Idea Development
  • Mission Statements: How Effectively Used Intangible Assets Create Corporate Value

Understanding the basics

Why it is important to have a business plan.

Expert opinions and numerous studies show that business plans improve corporate satisfaction, are useful for angel investors and venture capitalists, and increase a company’s chances of raising capital by 2.5x.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

Individuals who write business plans are 2.5x as likely to start businesses. Moreover, business planning improves corporate executive satisfaction with corporate strategy development. Finally, investors value business plans, making the chances of raising capital 2.5x greater.

What does an investor look for in a business plan?

The four key sections of a business plan are: the company overview, a market overview, your product/service overview, and the financial projections.

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Sean Heberling

Bryn Mawr, PA, United States

Member since October 18, 2017

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12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)

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Starting and running a successful business requires proper planning and execution of effective business tactics and strategies .

You need to prepare many essential business documents when starting a business for maximum success; the business plan is one such document.

When creating a business, you want to achieve business objectives and financial goals like productivity, profitability, and business growth. You need an effective business plan to help you get to your desired business destination.

Even if you are already running a business, the proper understanding and review of the key elements of a business plan help you navigate potential crises and obstacles.

This article will teach you why the business document is at the core of any successful business and its key elements you can not avoid.

Let’s get started.

Why Are Business Plans Important?

Business plans are practical steps or guidelines that usually outline what companies need to do to reach their goals. They are essential documents for any business wanting to grow and thrive in a highly-competitive business environment .

1. Proves Your Business Viability

A business plan gives companies an idea of how viable they are and what actions they need to take to grow and reach their financial targets. With a well-written and clearly defined business plan, your business is better positioned to meet its goals.

2. Guides You Throughout the Business Cycle

A business plan is not just important at the start of a business. As a business owner, you must draw up a business plan to remain relevant throughout the business cycle .

During the starting phase of your business, a business plan helps bring your ideas into reality. A solid business plan can secure funding from lenders and investors.

After successfully setting up your business, the next phase is management. Your business plan still has a role to play in this phase, as it assists in communicating your business vision to employees and external partners.

Essentially, your business plan needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the needs of your business.

3. Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

As a business owner, you are involved in an endless decision-making cycle. Your business plan helps you find answers to your most crucial business decisions.

A robust business plan helps you settle your major business components before you launch your product, such as your marketing and sales strategy and competitive advantage.

4. Eliminates Big Mistakes

Many small businesses fail within their first five years for several reasons: lack of financing, stiff competition, low market need, inadequate teams, and inefficient pricing strategy.

Creating an effective plan helps you eliminate these big mistakes that lead to businesses' decline. Every business plan element is crucial for helping you avoid potential mistakes before they happen.

5. Secures Financing and Attracts Top Talents

Having an effective plan increases your chances of securing business loans. One of the essential requirements many lenders ask for to grant your loan request is your business plan.

A business plan helps investors feel confident that your business can attract a significant return on investments ( ROI ).

You can attract and retain top-quality talents with a clear business plan. It inspires your employees and keeps them aligned to achieve your strategic business goals.

Key Elements of Business Plan

Starting and running a successful business requires well-laid actions and supporting documents that better position a company to achieve its business goals and maximize success.

A business plan is a written document with relevant information detailing business objectives and how it intends to achieve its goals.

With an effective business plan, investors, lenders, and potential partners understand your organizational structure and goals, usually around profitability, productivity, and growth.

Every successful business plan is made up of key components that help solidify the efficacy of the business plan in delivering on what it was created to do.

Here are some of the components of an effective business plan.

1. Executive Summary

One of the key elements of a business plan is the executive summary. Write the executive summary as part of the concluding topics in the business plan. Creating an executive summary with all the facts and information available is easier.

In the overall business plan document, the executive summary should be at the forefront of the business plan. It helps set the tone for readers on what to expect from the business plan.

A well-written executive summary includes all vital information about the organization's operations, making it easy for a reader to understand.

The key points that need to be acted upon are highlighted in the executive summary. They should be well spelled out to make decisions easy for the management team.

A good and compelling executive summary points out a company's mission statement and a brief description of its products and services.

Executive Summary of the Business Plan

An executive summary summarizes a business's expected value proposition to distinct customer segments. It highlights the other key elements to be discussed during the rest of the business plan.

Including your prior experiences as an entrepreneur is a good idea in drawing up an executive summary for your business. A brief but detailed explanation of why you decided to start the business in the first place is essential.

Adding your company's mission statement in your executive summary cannot be overemphasized. It creates a culture that defines how employees and all individuals associated with your company abide when carrying out its related processes and operations.

Your executive summary should be brief and detailed to catch readers' attention and encourage them to learn more about your company.

Components of an Executive Summary

Here are some of the information that makes up an executive summary:

  • The name and location of your company
  • Products and services offered by your company
  • Mission and vision statements
  • Success factors of your business plan

2. Business Description

Your business description needs to be exciting and captivating as it is the formal introduction a reader gets about your company.

What your company aims to provide, its products and services, goals and objectives, target audience , and potential customers it plans to serve need to be highlighted in your business description.

A company description helps point out notable qualities that make your company stand out from other businesses in the industry. It details its unique strengths and the competitive advantages that give it an edge to succeed over its direct and indirect competitors.

Spell out how your business aims to deliver on the particular needs and wants of identified customers in your company description, as well as the particular industry and target market of the particular focus of the company.

Include trends and significant competitors within your particular industry in your company description. Your business description should contain what sets your company apart from other businesses and provides it with the needed competitive advantage.

In essence, if there is any area in your business plan where you need to brag about your business, your company description provides that unique opportunity as readers look to get a high-level overview.

Components of a Business Description

Your business description needs to contain these categories of information.

  • Business location
  • The legal structure of your business
  • Summary of your business’s short and long-term goals

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section should be solely based on analytical research as it details trends particular to the market you want to penetrate.

Graphs, spreadsheets, and histograms are handy data and statistical tools you need to utilize in your market analysis. They make it easy to understand the relationship between your current ideas and the future goals you have for the business.

All details about the target customers you plan to sell products or services should be in the market analysis section. It helps readers with a helpful overview of the market.

In your market analysis, you provide the needed data and statistics about industry and market share, the identified strengths in your company description, and compare them against other businesses in the same industry.

The market analysis section aims to define your target audience and estimate how your product or service would fare with these identified audiences.

Components of Market Analysis

Market analysis helps visualize a target market by researching and identifying the primary target audience of your company and detailing steps and plans based on your audience location.

Obtaining this information through market research is essential as it helps shape how your business achieves its short-term and long-term goals.

Market Analysis Factors

Here are some of the factors to be included in your market analysis.

  • The geographical location of your target market
  • Needs of your target market and how your products and services can meet those needs
  • Demographics of your target audience

Components of the Market Analysis Section

Here is some of the information to be included in your market analysis.

  • Industry description and statistics
  • Demographics and profile of target customers
  • Marketing data for your products and services
  • Detailed evaluation of your competitors

4. Marketing Plan

A marketing plan defines how your business aims to reach its target customers, generate sales leads, and, ultimately, make sales.

Promotion is at the center of any successful marketing plan. It is a series of steps to pitch a product or service to a larger audience to generate engagement. Note that the marketing strategy for a business should not be stagnant and must evolve depending on its outcome.

Include the budgetary requirement for successfully implementing your marketing plan in this section to make it easy for readers to measure your marketing plan's impact in terms of numbers.

The information to include in your marketing plan includes marketing and promotion strategies, pricing plans and strategies , and sales proposals. You need to include how you intend to get customers to return and make repeat purchases in your business plan.

Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan

5. Sales Strategy

Sales strategy defines how you intend to get your product or service to your target customers and works hand in hand with your business marketing strategy.

Your sales strategy approach should not be complex. Break it down into simple and understandable steps to promote your product or service to target customers.

Apart from the steps to promote your product or service, define the budget you need to implement your sales strategies and the number of sales reps needed to help the business assist in direct sales.

Your sales strategy should be specific on what you need and how you intend to deliver on your sales targets, where numbers are reflected to make it easier for readers to understand and relate better.

Sales Strategy

6. Competitive Analysis

Providing transparent and honest information, even with direct and indirect competitors, defines a good business plan. Provide the reader with a clear picture of your rank against major competitors.

Identifying your competitors' weaknesses and strengths is useful in drawing up a market analysis. It is one information investors look out for when assessing business plans.

Competitive Analysis Framework

The competitive analysis section clearly defines the notable differences between your company and your competitors as measured against their strengths and weaknesses.

This section should define the following:

  • Your competitors' identified advantages in the market
  • How do you plan to set up your company to challenge your competitors’ advantage and gain grounds from them?
  • The standout qualities that distinguish you from other companies
  • Potential bottlenecks you have identified that have plagued competitors in the same industry and how you intend to overcome these bottlenecks

In your business plan, you need to prove your industry knowledge to anyone who reads your business plan. The competitive analysis section is designed for that purpose.

7. Management and Organization

Management and organization are key components of a business plan. They define its structure and how it is positioned to run.

Whether you intend to run a sole proprietorship, general or limited partnership, or corporation, the legal structure of your business needs to be clearly defined in your business plan.

Use an organizational chart that illustrates the hierarchy of operations of your company and spells out separate departments and their roles and functions in this business plan section.

The management and organization section includes profiles of advisors, board of directors, and executive team members and their roles and responsibilities in guaranteeing the company's success.

Apparent factors that influence your company's corporate culture, such as human resources requirements and legal structure, should be well defined in the management and organization section.

Defining the business's chain of command if you are not a sole proprietor is necessary. It leaves room for little or no confusion about who is in charge or responsible during business operations.

This section provides relevant information on how the management team intends to help employees maximize their strengths and address their identified weaknesses to help all quarters improve for the business's success.

8. Products and Services

This business plan section describes what a company has to offer regarding products and services to the maximum benefit and satisfaction of its target market.

Boldly spell out pending patents or copyright products and intellectual property in this section alongside costs, expected sales revenue, research and development, and competitors' advantage as an overview.

At this stage of your business plan, the reader needs to know what your business plans to produce and sell and the benefits these products offer in meeting customers' needs.

The supply network of your business product, production costs, and how you intend to sell the products are crucial components of the products and services section.

Investors are always keen on this information to help them reach a balanced assessment of if investing in your business is risky or offer benefits to them.

You need to create a link in this section on how your products or services are designed to meet the market's needs and how you intend to keep those customers and carve out a market share for your company.

Repeat purchases are the backing that a successful business relies on and measure how much customers are into what your company is offering.

This section is more like an expansion of the executive summary section. You need to analyze each product or service under the business.

9. Operating Plan

An operations plan describes how you plan to carry out your business operations and processes.

The operating plan for your business should include:

  • Information about how your company plans to carry out its operations.
  • The base location from which your company intends to operate.
  • The number of employees to be utilized and other information about your company's operations.
  • Key business processes.

This section should highlight how your organization is set up to run. You can also introduce your company's management team in this section, alongside their skills, roles, and responsibilities in the company.

The best way to introduce the company team is by drawing up an organizational chart that effectively maps out an organization's rank and chain of command.

What should be spelled out to readers when they come across this business plan section is how the business plans to operate day-in and day-out successfully.

10. Financial Projections and Assumptions

Bringing your great business ideas into reality is why business plans are important. They help create a sustainable and viable business.

The financial section of your business plan offers significant value. A business uses a financial plan to solve all its financial concerns, which usually involves startup costs, labor expenses, financial projections, and funding and investor pitches.

All key assumptions about the business finances need to be listed alongside the business financial projection, and changes to be made on the assumptions side until it balances with the projection for the business.

The financial plan should also include how the business plans to generate income and the capital expenditure budgets that tend to eat into the budget to arrive at an accurate cash flow projection for the business.

Base your financial goals and expectations on extensive market research backed with relevant financial statements for the relevant period.

Examples of financial statements you can include in the financial projections and assumptions section of your business plan include:

  • Projected income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Income statements

Revealing the financial goals and potentials of the business is what the financial projection and assumption section of your business plan is all about. It needs to be purely based on facts that can be measurable and attainable.

11. Request For Funding

The request for funding section focuses on the amount of money needed to set up your business and underlying plans for raising the money required. This section includes plans for utilizing the funds for your business's operational and manufacturing processes.

When seeking funding, a reasonable timeline is required alongside it. If the need arises for additional funding to complete other business-related projects, you are not left scampering and desperate for funds.

If you do not have the funds to start up your business, then you should devote a whole section of your business plan to explaining the amount of money you need and how you plan to utilize every penny of the funds. You need to explain it in detail for a future funding request.

When an investor picks up your business plan to analyze it, with all your plans for the funds well spelled out, they are motivated to invest as they have gotten a backing guarantee from your funding request section.

Include timelines and plans for how you intend to repay the loans received in your funding request section. This addition keeps investors assured that they could recoup their investment in the business.

12. Exhibits and Appendices

Exhibits and appendices comprise the final section of your business plan and contain all supporting documents for other sections of the business plan.

Some of the documents that comprise the exhibits and appendices section includes:

  • Legal documents
  • Licenses and permits
  • Credit histories
  • Customer lists

The choice of what additional document to include in your business plan to support your statements depends mainly on the intended audience of your business plan. Hence, it is better to play it safe and not leave anything out when drawing up the appendix and exhibit section.

Supporting documentation is particularly helpful when you need funding or support for your business. This section provides investors with a clearer understanding of the research that backs the claims made in your business plan.

There are key points to include in the appendix and exhibits section of your business plan.

  • The management team and other stakeholders resume
  • Marketing research
  • Permits and relevant legal documents
  • Financial documents

Was This Article Helpful?

Martin luenendonk.

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

Table of Contents

What is a business plan, the advantages of having a business plan, the types of business plans, the key elements of a business plan, best business plan software, common challenges of writing a business plan, become an expert business planner, business planning: it’s importance, types and key elements.

Business Planning: It’s Importance, Types and Key Elements

Every year, thousands of new businesses see the light of the day. One look at the  World Bank's Entrepreneurship Survey and database  shows the mind-boggling rate of new business registrations. However, sadly, only a tiny percentage of them have a chance of survival.   

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, about 50% in their fifth year.

Research from the University of Tennessee found that 44% of businesses fail within the first three years. Among those that operate within specific sectors, like information (which includes most tech firms), 63% shut shop within three years.

Several  other statistics  expose the abysmal rates of business failure. But why are so many businesses bound to fail? Most studies mention "lack of business planning" as one of the reasons.

This isn’t surprising at all. 

Running a business without a plan is like riding a motorcycle up a craggy cliff blindfolded. Yet, way too many firms ( a whopping 67%)  don't have a formal business plan in place. 

It doesn't matter if you're a startup with a great idea or a business with an excellent product. You can only go so far without a roadmap — a business plan. Only, a business plan is so much more than just a roadmap. A solid plan allows a business to weather market challenges and pivot quickly in the face of crisis, like the one global businesses are struggling with right now, in the post-pandemic world.  

But before you can go ahead and develop a great business plan, you need to know the basics. In this article, we'll discuss the fundamentals of business planning to help you plan effectively for 2021.  

Now before we begin with the details of business planning, let us understand what it is.

No two businesses have an identical business plan, even if they operate within the same industry. So one business plan can look entirely different from another one. Still, for the sake of simplicity, a business plan can be defined as a guide for a company to operate and achieve its goals.  

More specifically, it's a document in writing that outlines the goals, objectives, and purpose of a business while laying out the blueprint for its day-to-day operations and key functions such as marketing, finance, and expansion.

A good business plan can be a game-changer for startups that are looking to raise funds to grow and scale. It convinces prospective investors that the venture will be profitable and provides a realistic outlook on how much profit is on the cards and by when it will be attained. 

However, it's not only new businesses that greatly benefit from a business plan. Well-established companies and large conglomerates also need to tweak their business plans to adapt to new business environments and unpredictable market changes. 

Before getting into learning more about business planning, let us learn the advantages of having one.

Since a detailed business plan offers a birds-eye view of the entire framework of an establishment, it has several benefits that make it an important part of any organization. Here are few ways a business plan can offer significant competitive edge.

  • Sets objectives and benchmarks: Proper planning helps a business set realistic objectives and assign stipulated time for those goals to be met. This results in long-term profitability. It also lets a company set benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) necessary to reach its goals. 
  • Maximizes resource allocation: A good business plan helps to effectively organize and allocate the company’s resources. It provides an understanding of the result of actions, such as, opening new offices, recruiting fresh staff, change in production, and so on. It also helps the business estimate the financial impact of such actions.
  • Enhances viability: A plan greatly contributes towards turning concepts into reality. Though business plans vary from company to company, the blueprints of successful companies often serve as an excellent guide for nascent-stage start-ups and new entrepreneurs. It also helps existing firms to market, advertise, and promote new products and services into the market.
  • Aids in decision making: Running a business involves a lot of decision making: where to pitch, where to locate, what to sell, what to charge — the list goes on. A well thought-out business plan provides an organization the ability to anticipate the curveballs that the future could throw at them. It allows them to come up with answers and solutions to these issues well in advance.
  • Fix past mistakes: When businesses create plans keeping in mind the flaws and failures of the past and what worked for them and what didn’t, it can help them save time, money, and resources. Such plans that reflects the lessons learnt from the past offers businesses an opportunity to avoid future pitfalls.
  • Attracts investors: A business plan gives investors an in-depth idea about the objectives, structure, and validity of a firm. It helps to secure their confidence and encourages them to invest. 

Now let's look at the various types involved in business planning.

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My experience with Simplilearn has been great till now. They have good materials to start with, and a wide range of courses. I have signed up for two courses with Simplilearn over the past 6 months, Data Scientist and Agile and Scrum. My experience with both is good. One unique feature I liked about Simplilearn is that they give pre-requisites that you should complete, before a live class, so that you go there fully prepared. Secondly, there support staff is superb. I believe there are two teams, to cater to the Indian and US time zones. Simplilearn gives you the most methodical and easy way to up-skill yourself. Also, when you compare the data analytics courses across the market that offer web-based tutorials, Simplilearn, scores over the rest in my opinion. Great job, Simplilearn!

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I was keenly looking for a change in my domain from business consultancy to IT(Business Analytics). This Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis course helped me achieve the same. I am proficient in business analysis now and am looking for job profiles that suit my skill set.

Business plans are formulated according to the needs of a business. It can be a simple one-page document or an elaborate 40-page affair, or anything in between. While there’s no rule set in stone as to what exactly a business plan can or can’t contain, there are a few common types of business plan that nearly all businesses in existence use.  

Here’s an overview of a few fundamental types of business plans. 

  • Start-up plan: As the name suggests, this is a documentation of the plans, structure, and objections of a new business establishments. It describes the products and services that are to be produced by the firm, the staff management, and market analysis of their production. Often, a detailed finance spreadsheet is also attached to this document for investors to determine the viability of the new business set-up.
  • Feasibility plan: A feasibility plan evaluates the prospective customers of the products or services that are to be produced by a company. It also estimates the possibility of a profit or a loss of a venture. It helps to forecast how well a product will sell at the market, the duration it will require to yield results, and the profit margin that it will secure on investments. 
  • Expansion Plan: This kind of plan is primarily framed when a company decided to expand in terms of production or structure. It lays down the fundamental steps and guidelines with regards to internal or external growth. It helps the firm to analyze the activities like resource allocation for increased production, financial investments, employment of extra staff, and much more.
  • Operations Plan: An operational plan is also called an annual plan. This details the day-to-day activities and strategies that a business needs to follow in order to materialize its targets. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of the managing body, the various departments, and the company’s employees for the holistic success of the firm.
  • Strategic Plan: This document caters to the internal strategies of the company and is a part of the foundational grounds of the establishments. It can be accurately drafted with the help of a SWOT analysis through which the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can be categorized and evaluated so that to develop means for optimizing profits.

There is some preliminary work that’s required before you actually sit down to write a plan for your business. Knowing what goes into a business plan is one of them. 

Here are the key elements of a good business plan:

  • Executive Summary: An executive summary gives a clear picture of the strategies and goals of your business right at the outset. Though its value is often understated, it can be extremely helpful in creating the readers’ first impression of your business. As such, it could define the opinions of customers and investors from the get-go.  
  • Business Description: A thorough business description removes room for any ambiguity from your processes. An excellent business description will explain the size and structure of the firm as well as its position in the market. It also describes the kind of products and services that the company offers. It even states as to whether the company is old and established or new and aspiring. Most importantly, it highlights the USP of the products or services as compared to your competitors in the market.
  • Market Analysis: A systematic market analysis helps to determine the current position of a business and analyzes its scope for future expansions. This can help in evaluating investments, promotions, marketing, and distribution of products. In-depth market understanding also helps a business combat competition and make plans for long-term success.
  • Operations and Management: Much like a statement of purpose, this allows an enterprise to explain its uniqueness to its readers and customers. It showcases the ways in which the firm can deliver greater and superior products at cheaper rates and in relatively less time. 
  • Financial Plan: This is the most important element of a business plan and is primarily addressed to investors and sponsors. It requires a firm to reveal its financial policies and market analysis. At times, a 5-year financial report is also required to be included to show past performances and profits. The financial plan draws out the current business strategies, future projections, and the total estimated worth of the firm.

The importance of business planning is it simplifies the planning of your company's finances to present this information to a bank or investors. Here are the best business plan software providers available right now:

  • Business Sorter

The importance of business planning cannot be emphasized enough, but it can be challenging to write a business plan. Here are a few issues to consider before you start your business planning:

  • Create a business plan to determine your company's direction, obtain financing, and attract investors.
  • Identifying financial, demographic, and achievable goals is a common challenge when writing a business plan.
  • Some entrepreneurs struggle to write a business plan that is concise, interesting, and informative enough to demonstrate the viability of their business idea.
  • You can streamline your business planning process by conducting research, speaking with experts and peers, and working with a business consultant.

Whether you’re running your own business or in-charge of ensuring strategic performance and growth for your employer or clients, knowing the ins and outs of business planning can set you up for success. 

Be it the launch of a new and exciting product or an expansion of operations, business planning is the necessity of all large and small companies. Which is why the need for professionals with superior business planning skills will never die out. In fact, their demand is on the rise with global firms putting emphasis on business analysis and planning to cope with cut-throat competition and market uncertainties.

While some are natural-born planners, most people have to work to develop this important skill. Plus, business planning requires you to understand the fundamentals of business management and be familiar with business analysis techniques . It also requires you to have a working knowledge of data visualization, project management, and monitoring tools commonly used by businesses today.   

Simpliearn’s Executive Certificate Program in General Management will help you develop and hone the required skills to become an extraordinary business planner. This comprehensive general management program by IIM Indore can serve as a career catalyst, equipping professionals with a competitive edge in the ever-evolving business environment.

What Is Meant by Business Planning?

Business planning is developing a company's mission or goals and defining the strategies you will use to achieve those goals or tasks. The process can be extensive, encompassing all aspects of the operation, or it can be concrete, focusing on specific functions within the overall corporate structure.

What Are the 4 Types of Business Plans?

The following are the four types of business plans:

Operational Planning

This type of planning typically describes the company's day-to-day operations. Single-use plans are developed for events and activities that occur only once (such as a single marketing campaign). Ongoing plans include problem-solving policies, rules for specific regulations, and procedures for a step-by-step process for achieving particular goals.

Strategic Planning

Strategic plans are all about why things must occur. A high-level overview of the entire business is included in strategic planning. It is the organization's foundation and will dictate long-term decisions.

Tactical Planning

Tactical plans are about what will happen. Strategic planning is aided by tactical planning. It outlines the tactics the organization intends to employ to achieve the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

Contingency Planning

When something unexpected occurs or something needs to be changed, contingency plans are created. In situations where a change is required, contingency planning can be beneficial.

What Are the 7 Steps of a Business Plan?

The following are the seven steps required for a business plan:

Conduct Research

If your company is to run a viable business plan and attract investors, your information must be of the highest quality.

Have a Goal

The goal must be unambiguous. You will waste your time if you don't know why you're writing a business plan. Knowing also implies having a target audience for when the plan is expected to get completed.

Create a Company Profile

Some refer to it as a company profile, while others refer to it as a snapshot. It's designed to be mentally quick and digestible because it needs to stick in the reader's mind quickly since more information is provided later in the plan.

Describe the Company in Detail

Explain the company's current situation, both good and bad. Details should also include patents, licenses, copyrights, and unique strengths that no one else has.

Create a marketing plan ahead of time.

A strategic marketing plan is required because it outlines how your product or service will be communicated, delivered, and sold to customers.

Be Willing to Change Your Plan for the Sake of Your Audience

Another standard error is that people only write one business plan. Startups have several versions, just as candidates have numerous resumes for various potential employers.

Incorporate Your Motivation

Your motivation must be a compelling reason for people to believe your company will succeed in all circumstances. A mission should drive a business, not just selling, to make money. That mission is defined by your motivation as specified in your business plan.

What Are the Basic Steps in Business Planning?

These are the basic steps in business planning:

Summary and Objectives

Briefly describe your company, its objectives, and your plan to keep it running.

Services and Products

Add specifics to your detailed description of the product or service you intend to offer. Where, why, and how much you plan to sell your product or service and any special offers.

Conduct research on your industry and the ideal customers to whom you want to sell. Identify the issues you want to solve for your customers.

Operations are the process of running your business, including the people, skills, and experience required to make it successful.

How are you going to reach your target audience? How you intend to sell to them may include positioning, pricing, promotion, and distribution.

Consider funding costs, operating expenses, and projected income. Include your financial objectives and a breakdown of what it takes to make your company profitable. With proper business planning through the help of support, system, and mentorship, it is easy to start a business.

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U.S. President Joe Biden visits the Port of Baltimore

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Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore

Russia seeks extradition of Ukraine security service head; Ukraine rejects demand

Russia is demanding that Ukraine hand over all people connected with terrorist acts committed in Russia, including the head of the country's SBU Security Service, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Police in Amsterdam gave the all clear after briefly closing off the central Rokin metro station to the public on Sunday due to what they had said was a suspicious situation.

Ankara Mayor Yavas votes during the local elections, in Ankara

Ukraine's SBU security service dismissed as "pointless" a Russian demand on Sunday to hand over individuals it accused of links to terrorism and said Moscow had "forgotten" that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during a rally ahead of the local elections in Istanbul

China's industrial push risks destabilizing the global economy and watering down green-energy exports, Janet Yellen warns

  • US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns that China's big industrial-production push could destabilize the global economy.
  • China's growing clean energy industry has oversupplied markets with cheap solar panels and EVs, she said in prepared comments that will be delivered on Wednesday.
  • "It is important to the president and me that American firms and workers can compete on a level playing field," Yellen said in speech text released by the Treasury.

China is flooding markets with a lot of cheap green energy products, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is concerned about what it means for the global economy.

Yellen is set to speak at the Suniva solar cell factory in Norcross, Georgia on Wednesday, where she is expected to address concerns about China's export strategy.

"China's overcapacity distorts global prices and production patterns and hurts American firms and workers, as well as firms and workers around the world," a copy of Yellen's remarks reviewed by the New York Times said. "Challenges for individual firms can lead to concentrated supply chains, negatively impacting global economic resilience."

Related stories

After suffering a sweeping property crisis, China is jump-starting its trying to jumpstart its economy with a strong industrial push, incentivizing investment in the manufacturing sector. And that policy shift includes a focus on clean energy. A recent report from the New York Federal Reserve shows the country is seeing a notable redistribution of credit, with a swift rise in new "green loans."

Last year, China's ballooning clean energy industry contributed to 40% of the country's economic growth.

But that comes with consequences. Yellen's remarks warn that this is history repeating itself, like when China overinvested in steel and aluminum, which promoted economic growth in the country but forced the industry in the rest of the world to contract.

This trend has already been manifesting in markets like that for solar panels. Solar panel prices have plunged 50% because of a substantial oversupply. In Europe, a glut of Chinese imports have pushed one of their largest solar module production sites to close. According to the IEA, China is set to account for 85% of the expansion of solar-module manufacturing capacity by 2028. 

"It is important to the president and me that American firms and workers can compete on a level playing field," the excerpts reportedly said. "We have raised overcapacity in previous discussions with China, and I plan to make it a key issue in discussions during my next trip there."

Watch: Why China launched military drills during Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

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Bitdefender Vs. Norton (2024 Comparison)

Updated: Mar 28, 2024, 2:58pm

Table of Contents

Bitdefender vs. norton: at a glance, how bitdefender and norton stack up, cost of bitdefender vs. norton, customer reviews and reputation, additional features, top bitdefender and norton alternatives, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Antivirus software is an important part of an overall cybersecurity plan, and will scan your device and protect it from potential malware. Although they differ in price, plans and features, Bitdefender and Norton are two solid options available to Australians.

Below, we cover everything you need to know about the differences between Bitdefender vs. Norton and how to choose the best one for your needs.

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On Avast’s Website

Starting price

Firewall, email security and ransomware protection

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Norton Antivirus

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$84.99 AUD per year

Cloud-based protection

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Bitdefender and Norton both offer multiple different plans. The most affordable plans of Bitdefender both cost just under $50 at $49.98 AUD and $49.99 AUD respectively.  However, Norton only protects one device with this plan while Bitdefender protects three. In terms of the overall impact on a device’s performance, Norton slowed down the computer system more than Bitdefender, according to our research. Both companies offer additional features, including a virtual private network (VPN) and a password manager, which can help with overall security.

Bitdefender

Bitdefender

Annual price

Starting at $49.98 AUD per year

for up to three PCs

Number of devices

Bitdefender is a solid and reliable antivirus software that offers a secure firewall, email security and ransomware protection. The software performs regular malware scans with minimal impact on your device’s overall performance. Bitdefender also performed well in independent testing and earned Top Product honours from AV-TEST.

  • Visual display of endpoint detection and response (EDR)
  • Multiple plans available for small businesses and enterprises
  • Performs daily scans
  • VPN costs extra
  • Cost doubles after the first year
  • Expensive business plans

Norton

From $49.99 AUD

for the first year

As an antivirus, Norton offers many options for different types of plans. In addition to the standard features antivirus software typically provides, such as regular malware scans and ransomware protection, the plans also come with a password manager and cloud storage.

  • Various options for plans are available
  • Cloud storage included with plans
  • Provides real-time protection against viruses and malware
  • Useful parental controls
  • Higher-tiered plans can be expensive
  • Resource-intensive scanning process can impact your computer’s performance
  • User interface (UI) is not as intuitive as other competitors

To better capture the differences between the two services, we’ve compared some of the specific features Bitdefender and Norton offer.

Bitdefender offers a free version for Windows. It can be a good starting point, but if you own a Mac, Android or iOS, the most affordable plan will be the basic Antivirus Plus, which costs $49.98 AUD for the first year. Additionally, the paid plan offers additional features compared with the free version. The paid version will secure your files from encryption by ransomware, runs faster than the free version, will prevent unauthorised access of your webcam and microphone, lets you access your devices remotely in case your device is hacked and finally, comes with an included VPN.

Norton does not offer a free version, but the plan also starts at $49.99 for the first year. While Bitdefender and Norton cost the same for their basic plan, Norton offers more services for their higher-priced plans. The highest-tiered plan, Norton 360 Premium costs $109.99 AUD for the first year, and offers insurance for identity theft damages. It also comes with Norton’s LifeLock Identity Alert System, which will inform you when your personal identifying information is used on credit, loan or other applications.

Operating Systems Supported

It’s important to make sure the operating systems you use are supported by the antivirus you choose. Bitdefender’s free version only works for Windows. However, both of these companies’ paid plans support Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS and Android.

Maximum Number of Devices

For both Bitdefender and Norton, the number of devices you can use will depend on the plan you choose. With Bitdefender, the lowest-priced plan protects up to three devices and the number goes up to five for the Bitdefender Total Security plan.

Customer Support

Both Bitdefender and Norton are easy to reach and have the same methods of customer support: a knowledge base, 24/7 live chat, phone and email support.

Bitdefender’s plan starts at $49.98 AUD for up to three devices, and Norton’s plans start at $49.99 AUD per device. Bitdefender offers a free plan for Windows users only, while Norton does not have a free option at all.

There are a few different Bitdefender plans you can choose from. Here’s how they break down in terms of cost for the first year and what they offer.

The main distinction between the Bitdefender Ultimate plans and the others is that they come with up to $1 million in Identity Theft Coverage.

Here’s how the cost breaks down for Norton’s plans. The company offers even more plans than the ones listed here, but we’ve highlighted the main ones:

If you know you want to protect more than one device, Bitdefender is the better option for personal use. Both companies’ higher-tiered plans monitor the use of your personal, private information and come with insurance for identity theft.

Bitdefender has a reputation as one of the best antivirus scanners on the market. It ranked number four on our list of the best antivirus software . To create this list, we evaluated dozens of different antivirus scanners and considered ease of use, price, features and more.

On Trustpilot, Bitdefender received a rating of 3.7 out of five stars and 69% of the ratings were five stars. The users who gave Bitdefender one-star ratings mainly complained about the customer service. Meanwhile, the users who gave the company five stars said the software was reliable and easy to use.

In comparison, Norton received a rating of 3.9 out of five stars on Trustpilot, with 50% giving the company five stars. Norton also has considerably more reviews than Bitdefender—19,000 compared with 7,500. The lowest reviewers complained about long waiting times for phone support. The users who ranked it with five stars shared that the software ran smoothly and was easy to use.

Both Bitdefender and Norton offer additional features for various subscription plans.

Norton offers:

  • A password manager: Helps you store your passwords and other sensitive information safely easily
  • A secure VPN: Enables you to secure and anonymise your internet activity
  • SafeCam: Will notify users if criminals try to use your webcam
  • Cloud Backup: Allows you to store your important files on the cloud as an additional safety measure

In addition to a VPN and password manager, Bitdefender’s Ultimate Protection plans offer the following additional features:

  • App lock for Android devices: Users can lock their sensitive apps with a PIN code
  • WearON: Extends mobile security to your smartwatch

While Bitdefender and Norton are solid options, we’ve included a few competitors to consider. McAfee and Avast both made our list of the best antivirus software. McAfee ranked best for multidevice protection because apart from the basic plan, it protects an unlimited number of devices.

Avast scored best for remote workers. This company also offers a free version. However, it’s important to mention that, in 2020, Avast was accused of sharing sensitive information with advertisers, a major security concern for users.

Finally, Webroot is a solid choice if you want a fast antivirus that’s also light on the system. According to the company, Webroot only takes 20 seconds to check for bugs, so the software won’t slow your computer down.

Bottom Line

Both Bitdefender and Norton are solid choices as antivirus scanners for Australians. Because they both have various plans, you’ll want to consider each plan’s prices and limitations before choosing one. If you know in advance you’ll want to protect more than one device, Bitdefender will likely be a more affordable option for personal use. Both software are not too demanding on a device but, from our testing, we found that Bitdefender made less of an impact on a device’s performance than Norton.

Bitdefender is best for:

  • Personal use. The business plans cost more than competitors, so it’s a good idea to research further before choosing one. Our best antivirus software page covers our top choices.
  • Users who want a daily antivirus scanner that will be light on the operating system.

Norton is best for:

  • Users who want multiple plan options.
  • Users who want multiple features included, such as a password manager and a VPN.

Does Bitdefender sell your data?

According to Bitdefender’s privacy policy, the company does not sell customer data. It does collect certain data about customers but makes an effort to anonymise or pseudonymise the data.

Is Bitdefender going out of business?

There are currently no reports of Bitdefender potentially going bust. Founded in 2001 in Romania, the company has expanded over the last 20 or so years, opening offices in Australia, as well as the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

However, Bitdefender did discontinue its ‘Free Edition’ antivirus software, which was compatible with Windows, in December 2021, replacing it with a new and improved ‘Antivirus Free for Windows’. The old version is no longer available for download, and existing installations stopped working and detecting malware in July 2022, when all updates ceased.

Can I have more than one antivirus program on my computer?

There is no benefit to running multiple antivirus programs on one device, although doing so should not be harmful. If you’re upgrading to a new antivirus program, you’ll want to uninstall the one you currently have. Then, you can run the new program to make sure your computer is free of any viruses.

What features should antivirus software have?

There are standard features you’ll want to consider before selecting antivirus software. These include real-time scanning, the ability to schedule scan and automatic virus and program updates and a scanner for emails, external files and websites. Antivirus software should also be up to date to protect against the latest viruses.

Should I trust Norton antivirus in Australia?

Generally, no software of this nature is 100% risk-free— other antivirus brands have encountered breaches of data in the past.

However, some may be reassured to know Norton is a well-known brand in the antivirus world, known for its comprehensive range of solutions that protect against viruses, ransomware and malware.

What devices does Norton Anitivirus support?

Norton AntiVirus Plus is designed to protect one PC or Mac, while Norton 360 can protect one or more Android, iOS, PC and Mac devices.

How much does Norton cost?

Norton offers a variety of different plans, with the lowest tier starting at $49.99 AUD for the first year. Norton’s most expensive plan is 360 Premium at $109.99 AUD, for the first year, and comes with support for up to five devices.

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Leeron is a New York-based writer with experience covering technology and politics. Her work has appeared in publications such as Quartz, the Village Voice, Gothamist, and Slate.

I have been writing for newspapers, magazines and online publications for over 10 years. My passion is providing, in a way that is easily accessible and digestible to all, the knowledge needed for readers to not only manage their finances, but financially flourish.

IMAGES

  1. Creating a Business Plan: Why it Matters and Where to Start

    what important of business plan

  2. The Essential Guide to Making a Business Plan

    what important of business plan

  3. 5 Tips For A Strong Business Plan

    what important of business plan

  4. 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)

    what important of business plan

  5. 14 Importance of a Business Plan

    what important of business plan

  6. Steps Involved on How to Write a Business Plan to Suit your Desire

    what important of business plan

VIDEO

  1. Important Business Idea || Growing Business Plan for Beginners

  2. Business Progress Technique || Professional Business Plan

  3. Low Competition Business Idea

  4. No investment Business Plan || Business Starting Ideas for Beginners

  5. New BUSINESS ପେଲା ଲେଲି କରି PLAN DISCUSSION || Business Development Idea

  6. 1.2 Why create a business plan?

COMMENTS

  1. Professional Business plan

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  2. How To Make A Business Plan

    Easily Customize Your Business Plan with Our Simple Step-by-step Process. Try It Now! We Make It Easy to Complete and Download Your Business Plan on Any Device. Start Today!

  3. 11 Important Business Plan Benefits & Purposes

    Let's take a closer look at how each of the important business planning benefits can catapult your business forward: 1. Validate Your Business Idea. The process of writing your business plan will force you to ask the difficult questions about the major components of your business, including: External: industry, target market of prospective ...

  4. The Importance of Business Plan: 5 Key Reasons

    A business plan contains detailed information that can help determine its success. Some of this information can include the following: Market analysis. Cash flow projection. Competitive analysis. Financial statements and financial projections. An operating plan. A solid business plan is a good way to attract potential investors.

  5. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  6. The importance of a business plan

    To outline the importance of business plans and make the process sound less daunting, here are 10 reasons why you need one for your small business. 1. To help you with critical decisions. The primary importance of a business plan is that they help you make better decisions. Entrepreneurship is often an endless exercise in decision making and ...

  7. 14 Critical Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

    Here's every reason why you need a business plan. 1. Business planning is proven to help you grow 30 percent faster. Writing a business plan isn't about producing a document that accurately predicts the future of your company. The process of writing your plan is what's important. Writing your plan and reviewing it regularly gives you a ...

  8. Write your business plan

    Traditional business plans use some combination of these nine sections. Executive summary. Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company's leadership team, employees, and location.

  9. 6 Reasons You Really Need to Write A Business Plan

    Six Reasons You Really Need To Write a Business Plan. Legitimize your business idea. Give your business a foundation for success. Obtain funding and investments. Hire the right people. Communicate your needs. It makes it easier to sell your business. 1. Legitimize your business idea.

  10. What is a Business Plan? Definition, Tips, and Templates

    If capital is a priority, this business plan might focus more on financial projections than marketing or company culture. 2. Feasibility Business Plan. This type of business plan focuses on a single essential aspect of the business — the product or service. It may be part of a startup business plan or a standalone plan for an existing ...

  11. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It's also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. After completing your plan, you can ...

  12. Business Plan: What it Is, How to Write One

    Learn about the best business plan software. 1. Write an executive summary. This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your ...

  13. What is a Business Plan and Why is it Important?

    The purpose of a business plan is to help articulate a strategy for starting your business. It also provides insight on steps to be taken, resources required for achieving your business goals and a timeline of anticipated results. In fact, businesses that plan grow 30% faster than those that don't. 1. For existing small businesses, a business ...

  14. Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One

    Business Plan: A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business, usually a new one, is going to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written plan from a ...

  15. What is a Business Plan? Definition + Resources

    The difference may seem subtle, but it's important. Think of a business plan as the roadmap for how to exploit market opportunities and reach a state of sustainable growth. By contrast, the business model lays out how a business will operate and what it will look like once it has reached that growth phase.

  16. 5 reasons you need a business plan

    5. There's no wrong way to write a business plan. There is no right or wrong way to write a business plan. You can pick a plan format that works best for you. What's important is that your business plan meets your needs. Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.

  17. The Importance of a Business Plan for Entrepreneurs: 18 ...

    A business plan is essential as an entrepreneur. It helps you set clear goals and guidelines for how you will manage your business. A business plan may also be needed to set employee goals, obtain funding or even to sell your business one day. In this article, we discuss the importance of a business plan for entrepreneurs, as well as a few main ...

  18. The Undeniable Importance of a Business Plan

    Expert opinions support the four following conclusions: Individuals who write business plans are 2.5x as likely to start businesses. Business planning improves corporate executive satisfaction with corporate strategy development. Angels and venture capitalists value business plans and their financial models.

  19. Business Plan

    Creating a business plan is an indispensable part of any business. The main purpose of creating such a document is to attract prospective investors to provide capital to the enterprise. Therefore, the plan should cover all the important perspectives of a business - financial, operational, personnel, competition, etc. Table of contents.

  20. 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)

    Here are some of the components of an effective business plan. 1. Executive Summary. One of the key elements of a business plan is the executive summary. Write the executive summary as part of the concluding topics in the business plan. Creating an executive summary with all the facts and information available is easier.

  21. The 10 Components of a Business Plan

    Above all, the numbers should help answer why your business can do it better. 4. Competitive Analysis. A good business plan will present a clear comparison of your business vs your direct and indirect competitors. This is where you prove your knowledge of the industry by breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

  22. 10 Important Components of an Effective Business Plan

    Effective business plans contain several key components that cover various aspects of a company's goals. The most important parts of a business plan include: 1. Executive summary. The executive summary is the first and one of the most critical parts of a business plan. This summary provides an overview of the business plan as a whole and ...

  23. Business Plan

    4. Raising capital. A business plan is an effective way of communicating with potential investors, and the level of expertise and time used in preparing a business plan also gives professional credibility to entrepreneurs. It analyzes and predicts the chances of success for the investor and helps to raise capital.

  24. Business Planning: It's Importance, Types and Key Elements

    Financial Plan: This is the most important element of a business plan and is primarily addressed to investors and sponsors. It requires a firm to reveal its financial policies and market analysis. At times, a 5-year financial report is also required to be included to show past performances and profits. The financial plan draws out the current ...

  25. What Is A Business Plan? (Types And Importance)

    An operations business plan defines the operating procedures and policies for the business. It Indicates the projected costs and revenues, objectives of each department, employees responsible, strategies to carry out the operations, deadlines and timelines. It includes steps to follow to achieve realistic projections and business goals.

  26. Creating a Business Plan? Presentation? Report? Follow This CEO's 10

    In a business context, documents are often meant to set the stage for further discussion. If that's your aim, make sure you frame outstanding questions in a way that is maximally constructive.

  27. Baltimore Port: What impact will bridge collapse have on shipping?

    Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.

  28. Updated water plan important for fish, wildlife

    The last water management plan was updated in 2014. Ryan Benefield, deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, moderated the meeting, which established the framework for the ...

  29. Social media for business

    You might like to refer back to your business plan or marketing plan. Competitors. Research the social media platforms your competitors use and see if they could work for you too. Most platforms recommend content to users based on what they already engage with. That means you've got a chance to convert your competitors' customers into your ...

  30. China Industrial Growth Plan to Disrupt Global Economy, Green Energy

    China is flooding markets with a lot of cheap green energy products, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is concerned about what it means for the global economy. Yellen is set to speak at the ...

  31. Bitdefender Vs. Norton

    Antivirus software is an important part of an overall cybersecurity plan. Antivirus software will scan your device and protect it from potential malware. Although they differ in price, plans and ...