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How to Write a Business Plan to Start a Bank

Published Feb.29, 2024

Updated Apr.23, 2024

By: Alex Silensky

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Bank Business Plan

Table of Content

Bank Business Plan Checklist

A bank business plan is a document that describes the bank’s goals, strategies, operations, and financial projections. It communicates the bank’s vision and value proposition to potential investors, regulators, and stakeholders. A SBA business plan should be clear, concise, and realistic. It should also cover all the essential aspects of the bank’s business model.

Here is a checklist of the main sections that you should keep in mind while building a bank business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Service or product list
  • Marketing and sales plan
  • Operations plan
  • Management team
  • Funding request
  • Financial plan

Sample Business Plan for Bank

The following is a bank business plan template that operates in the USA. This bank business plan example is regarding ABC Bank, and it includes the following sections:

Executive Summary

ABC Bank is a new bank for California’s SMBs and individuals. We offer convenient banking services tailored to our customers’ needs and preferences. We have a large target market with over 500,000 SMBs spending billions on banking services annually. We have the licenses and approvals to operate our bank and raised $20 million in seed funding. We are looking for another $30 million in debt financing.

Our goal is to launch our bank by the end of 2024 and achieve the following objectives in the first five years of operation:

  • Acquire 100,000 customers and 10% market share
  • Generate $100 million in annual revenue and $20 million in net profit
  • Achieve a return on equity (ROE) of 15% and a return on assets (ROA) of 1.5%
  • Expand our network to 10 branches and 50 ATMs
  • Increase our brand awareness and customer loyalty

Our bank has great potential to succeed and grow in the banking industry. We invite you to read the rest of our microfinance business plan to learn about how to set up a business plan for the bank and how we will achieve our goals.

Industry Analysis

California has one of the biggest and most active banking industries in the US and the world. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp , California has 128 financial institutions, with total assets exceeding $560 billion.

The California banking industry is regulated and supervised by various federal and state authorities. However, they also face several risks and challenges, such as:

  • High competition and consolidation
  • Increasing regulation and compliance
  • Rising customer demand for digital and mobile banking
  • Cyberattacks and data breaches
  • Environmental and social issues

The banking industry in California is highly competitive and fragmented. According to the FDIC, the top 10 banks and thrifts in California by total deposits as of June 30, 2023, were:

business plan for start bank

Customer Analysis

We serve SMBs who need local, easy, and cheap banking. We divide our customers into four segments by size, industry, location, and needs: 

SMB Segment 1 – Tech SMBs in big cities of California. These are fast-growing, banking-intensive customers. They account for a fifth of our market share and a third of our revenue and are loyal and referable.

SMB Segment 2 – Entertainment SMBs in California’s entertainment hubs. These are high-profile, banking-heavy customers. They make up a sixth of our market and a fourth of our revenue and are loyal and influential.

SMB Segment 3 – Tourism SMBs in California’s tourist spots. These are seasonal, banking-dependent customers. They represent a quarter of our market and a fifth of our revenue and are loyal and satisfied.

SMB Segment 4 – Other SMBs in various regions of California. These are slow-growing, banking-light customers. They constitute two-fifths of our market and a quarter of our revenue and are loyal and stable.

Competitive Analysis

We compete with other banks and financial institutions that offer similar or substitute products and services to our target customers in our target market. We group our competitors into four categories based on their size and scope: 

1. National Banks

  • Key Players – Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, U.S. Bank
  • Strengths – Large customer base, strong brand, extensive branch/ATM network, innovation, robust operations, solid financial performance
  • Weaknesses – High competition, regulatory costs, low customer satisfaction, high attrition
  • Strategies – Maintain dominance through customer acquisition/retention, revenue growth, efficiency

2. Regional Banks

  • Key Players – MUFG Union Bank, Bank of the West, First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, East West Bank
  • Strengths – Loyal customer base, brand recognition, convenient branch/ATM network, flexible operations
  • Weaknesses – Moderate competition, regulatory costs, customer attrition
  • Strategies – Grow market presence through customer acquisition/retention, revenue optimization, efficiency

3. Community Banks

  • Key Players – Mechanics Bank, Bank of Marin, Pacific Premier Bank, Tri Counties Bank, Luther Burbank Savings
  • Strengths – Small loyal customer base, reputation, convenient branches, ability to adapt
  • Weaknesses – Low innovation and technology adoption
  • Strategies – Maintain niche identity through customer loyalty, revenue optimization, efficiency

4. Online Banks

  • Key Players – Ally Bank, Capital One 360, Discover Bank, Chime Bank, Varo Bank
  • Strengths – Large growing customer base, strong brand, no branches, lean operations, high efficiency
  • Weaknesses – High competition, regulatory costs, low customer satisfaction and trust, high attrition
  • Strategies – Disrupt the industry by acquiring/retaining customers, optimizing revenue, improving efficiency

Market Research

Our market research shows that:

  • California has a large, competitive, growing banking market with 128 banks and $560 billion in assets.
  • Our target customers are the SMBs in California, which is 99.8% of the businesses and employ 7.2-7.4 million employees.
  • Our main competitors are national and regional banks in California that offer similar banking products and services.

We conclude that:

  • Based on the information provided in our loan officer business plan , there is a promising business opportunity for us to venture into and establish a presence in the banking market in California.
  • We should focus on the SMBs in California, as they have various unmet banking needs, preferences, behavior, and a high potential for growth and profitability.

Operations Plan

Our operational structure and processes form the basis of our operations plan, and they are as follows:

  • Location and Layout – We have a network of 10 branches and 50 ATMs across our target area in California. We strategically place our branches and ATMs in convenient and high-traffic locations.
  • Equipment and Technology – We use modern equipment and technology to provide our products and services. We have computers and software for banking functions; security systems to protect branches and ATMs; communication systems to communicate with customers and staff; inventory and supplies to operate branches and ATMs.
  • Suppliers and Vendors – We work with reliable suppliers and vendors that provide our inventory and supplies like cash, cards, paper, etc. We have supplier management systems to evaluate performance.
  • Staff and Management – Our branches have staff like branch managers, customer service representatives, tellers, and ATM technicians with suitable qualifications and experience.
  • Policies and Procedures – We have policies for customer service, cash handling, card handling, and paper handling to ensure quality, minimize losses, and comply with regulations. We use various tools and systems to implement these policies.

Management Team

The following individuals make up our management team:

  • Earl Yao, CEO and Founder – Earl is responsible for establishing and guiding the bank’s vision, mission, strategy, and overall operations. He brings with him over 20 years of banking experience.
  • Paula Wells, CFO and Co-Founder – Paula oversees financial planning, reporting, analysis, compliance, and risk management.
  • Mark Hans, CTO – Mark leads our technology strategy, infrastructure, innovation, and digital transformation.
  • Emma Smith, CMO – Emma is responsible for designing and implementing our marketing strategy and campaigns.
  • David O’kane, COO – David manages the daily operations and processes of the bank ensuring our products and services meet the highest standards of quality and efficiency.

Financial Projections

Our assumptions and drivers form the basis of our financial projections, which are as follows:

Assumptions: We have made the following assumptions for our collection agency business plan :

  • Start with 10 branches, 50 ATMs in January 2024
  • Grow branches and ATMs 10% annually
  • 10,000 customers per branch, 2,000 per ATM
  • 5% average loan rate, 2% average deposit rate
  • 80% average loan-to-deposit ratio
  • $10 average fee per customer monthly
  • $100,000 average operating expense per branch monthly
  • $10,000 average operating expense per ATM monthly
  • 25% average tax rate

Our financial projections are as per our:

  • Projected Income Statement
  • Projected Cash Flow Statement
  • Projected Balance Sheet
  • Projected Financial Ratios and Indicators

Select the Legal Framework for Your Bank

Our legal structure and requirements form the basis of our legal framework, which are as follows:

Legal Structure and Entity – We have chosen to incorporate our bank as a limited liability company (LLC) under the laws of California.

Members – We have two members who own and control our bank: Earl Yao and Paula Wells, the founders and co-founders of our bank.

Manager – We have appointed Mark Hans as our manager who oversees our bank’s day-to-day operations and activities.

Name – We have registered our bank’s name as ABC Bank LLC with the California Secretary of State. We have also obtained a trademark registration for our name and logo.

Registered Agent – We have designated XYZ Registered Agent Services LLC as our registered agent authorized to receive and handle legal notices and documents on behalf of our bank.

Licenses and Approvals – We have obtained the necessary licenses and approvals to operate our bank in California, including:

  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Insurance
  • Federal Reserve System Membership
  • California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) License
  • Business License
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Zoning and Building Permits

Legal Documents and Agreements – We have prepared and signed the necessary legal documents and agreements to form and operate our bank, including:

  • Certificate of Formation
  • Operating Agreement
  • Membership Agreement
  • Loan Agreement
  • Card Agreement
  • Paper Agreement

Keys to Success

We analyze our market, customers, competitors, and industry to determine our keys to success. We have identified the following keys to success for our bank.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is vital for any business, especially a bank relying on loyalty and referrals. It is the degree customers are happy with our products, services, and interactions. It is influenced by:

  • Product and service quality – High-quality products and services that meet customer needs and preferences
  • Customer service quality – Friendly, professional, and helpful customer service across channels
  • Customer experience quality – Convenient, reliable, and secure customer access and transactions

We will measure satisfaction with surveys, feedback, mystery shopping, and net promoter scores. Our goal is a net promoter score of at least 8.

Operational Efficiency

Efficiency is key in a regulated, competitive environment. It is using resources and processes effectively to achieve goals and objectives. It is influenced by:

  • Resource optimization – Effective and efficient use and control of capital, staff, and technology
  • Process improvement – Streamlined, standardized processes measured for performance
  • Performance management – Managing financial, operational, customer, and stakeholder performance

We will measure efficiency with KPIs, metrics, dashboards, and operational efficiency ratios. Our goal is an operational efficiency ratio below 50%.

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Highly Efficient Service! I am incredibly happy with the outcome; Alex and his team are highly efficient professionals with a diverse bank of knowledge.

Are you looking to hire business plan writers to start a bank business plan? At OGSCapital, we can help you create a customized and high-quality bank development business plan to meet your goals and exceed your expectations.

We have a team of senior business plan experts with extensive experience and expertise in various industries and markets. We will conduct thorough market research, develop a unique value proposition, design a compelling financial model, and craft a persuasive pitch deck for your business plan. We will also offer you strategic advice, guidance, and access to a network of investors and other crucial contacts.

We are not just a business plan writing service. We are a partner and a mentor who will support you throughout your entrepreneurial journey. We will help you achieve your business goals with smart solutions and professional advice. Contact us today and let us help you turn your business idea into a reality.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a small bank business?

To start a small bank business in the US, you need to raise enough capital, understand how to make a business plan for the bank, apply for a federal or state charter, register your bank for taxes, open a business bank account, set up accounting, get the necessary permits and licenses, get bank insurance, define your brand, create your website, and set up your phone system.

Are banks profitable businesses?

Yes, banks are profitable businesses in the US. They earn money through interest on loans and fees for other services. The commercial banking industry in the US has grown 5.6% per year on average between 2018 and 2023.

Download Bank Business Plan Sample in pdf

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

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Bank Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

presenting a business plan to a bank

Bank Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their banks.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating a bank business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a bank business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Bank Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your bank as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for Your Bank Business

If you’re looking to start a bank or grow your existing bank, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your bank to improve your chances of success. Your bank business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Banks

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a bank are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for banks.  

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a bank.

If you want to start a bank or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your bank business plan.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of bank you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a bank that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of banks?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overview of the bank industry.
  • Discuss the type of bank you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of bank you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of banks:

  • Commercial bank : this type of bank tends to concentrate on supporting businesses. Both large corporations and small businesses can turn to commercial banks if they need to open a checking or savings account, borrow money, obtain access to credit or transfer funds to companies in foreign markets.
  • Credit union: this type of bank operates much like a traditional bank (issues loans, provides checking and savings accounts, etc.) but banks are for-profit whereas credit unions are not. Credit unions fall under the direction of their own members. They tend to serve people affiliated with a particular group, such as people living in the same area, low-income members of a community or armed service members. They also tend to charge lower fees and offer lower loan rates.
  • Retail bank: retail banks can be traditional, brick-and-mortar brands that customers can access in-person, online, or through their mobile phones. They also offer general public financial products and services such as bank accounts, loans, credit cards, and insurance.
  • Investment bank: this type of bank manages the trading of stocks, bonds, and other securities between companies and investors. They also advise individuals and corporations who need financial guidance, reorganize companies through mergers and acquisitions, manage investment portfolios or raise money for certain businesses and the federal government.

In addition to explaining the type of bank you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, the number of clients with positive reviews, reaching X number of clients served, etc.
  • Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the bank industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the bank industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your bank business plan:

  • How big is the bank industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your bank? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your bank business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, small businesses, families, and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of bank you operate. Clearly, corporations would respond to different marketing promotions than individuals, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other banks.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes trust accounts, investment companies, or the stock market. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What type of bank are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide loans and retirement savings accounts?
  • Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a bank business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of bank company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide savings accounts, auto loans, mortgage loans, or financial advice?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your bank. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your bank located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your bank marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your bank, including reconciling accounts, customer service, accounting, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to sign up your Xth customer, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your bank to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your bank’s potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing banks. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a bank or successfully running a small financial advisory firm.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you see 5 clients per day, and/or offer sign up bonuses? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your bank, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a bank:

  • Cost of furniture and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your bank location lease or a list of accounts and loans you plan to offer.  

Writing a business plan for your bank is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the bank industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful bank.

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your Bank business plan?

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Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how a Growthink business plan consultant can create your business plan for you.

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Welcome to our blog post on How To Write a Business Plan for a Bank in 9 Steps. In today's digital age, the banking industry is undergoing a significant transformation with the rise of online banking platforms. According to recent statistics, the global digital banking market is projected to reach $22.3 trillion by 2027, with a CAGR of 8.6% from 2020 to 2027. This exponential growth highlights the immense potential for entrepreneurs and aspiring bankers to establish their own digital banking platform.

When it comes to starting a digital banking platform, having a well-designed business plan is crucial for success. A comprehensive business plan not only serves as a roadmap, but also helps attract potential investors and secure necessary funding. In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps to create a compelling business plan that banks will find irresistible.

Step 1: Conduct market research and analysis

Step 2: Determine the target market and customer profile

Step 3: Identify and analyze potential competitors

Step 4: Perform a feasibility study

Step 5: Define the unique value proposition and competitive advantage

Step 6: Develop a comprehensive financial plan

Step 7: Establish strategic goals and objectives

Step 8: Define the organizational structure and management team

Step 9: Obtain necessary licenses and regulatory approvals

In the upcoming sections, we will delve into each step in detail, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips to successfully navigate the process of writing a business plan for a bank.

Building a digital banking platform that offers convenience, security, and financial literacy can revolutionize the banking industry. So, let's dive into the first step - conducting market research and analysis to lay the foundation for your business plan.

Conduct Market Research And Analysis

Conducting thorough market research and analysis is a crucial step in developing a successful business plan for a digital banking platform. This process allows you to gain a deep understanding of the market landscape, identify potential opportunities and challenges, and make informed decisions when it comes to your target market and customer profile.

  • Identify the size and growth potential of the market: Begin by gathering data on the size of the market you intend to enter. This will help you assess the growth potential and determine if it presents a viable opportunity for your digital banking platform.
  • Analyze your target market: Dive deeper into your target market by identifying demographic characteristics, such as age, income, and location. Understanding the needs and preferences of your target market is crucial in developing tailored financial products and services.
  • Assess market trends and competition: Stay updated on the latest market trends and innovations in the digital banking industry. Analyze your potential competitors to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. This will help you identify gaps in the market and differentiate your platform.
  • Evaluate customer needs and pain points: Interview potential customers and conduct surveys to gather insights into their financial needs, challenges, and pain points. This information will be invaluable in designing solutions that address their specific requirements.

Tips for Conducting Market Research and Analysis:

  • Utilize both primary and secondary research methods to gather comprehensive market data.
  • Monitor industry reports, publications, and online resources to stay up-to-date with market trends.
  • Consider partnering with market research firms or consultants for a more in-depth analysis.
  • Engage with potential customers through focus groups or online communities to gather qualitative insights.
  • Regularly review and update your market research to adapt to evolving market dynamics.

By conducting thorough market research and analysis, you will be equipped with valuable information to guide your business decisions and develop a compelling business plan for your digital banking platform.

Bank Financial Model Get Template

Determine The Target Market And Customer Profile

Identifying and understanding your target market is crucial for the success of your digital banking platform. It allows you to tailor your products, services, and marketing efforts to meet the specific needs and preferences of your customers. Here are the important steps to determine your target market and customer profile:

  • Conduct market research: Start by conducting thorough market research to gather insights and data about the demographics, psychographics, and behavior of potential customers. This will help you understand who your ideal customers are and what they are looking for in a digital banking platform.
  • Segmentation: Once you have collected the necessary information, segment your target market based on criteria such as age, income level, location, and financial goals. This will allow you to create targeted marketing campaigns and develop personalized offerings for each segment.
  • Identify customer needs: Analyze the pain points and challenges faced by your target market. Identify their financial goals and aspirations, and determine how your platform can address their needs effectively.
  • Competitor analysis: Evaluate your competitors' target markets and customer profiles to identify any gaps or opportunities in the market. Differentiate your platform by offering unique features or services that specifically cater to your target market's needs.

Tips for determining the target market and customer profile:

  • Use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather firsthand feedback from potential customers. This will give you valuable insights into their preferences, pain points, and expectations.
  • Stay updated with market trends and changes in customer behavior. Continuously monitor and analyze data to ensure your target market profile remains relevant and accurate.
  • Consider utilizing data analytics tools to gain a deeper understanding of your target market. This will help you make data-driven decisions and refine your marketing strategies based on customer preferences.
  • Regularly review and adapt your target market and customer profile as your platform grows and evolves. Customer needs and preferences may change over time, and it is crucial to stay agile and proactive in meeting those changes.

Identify And Analyze Potential Competitors

Identifying and analyzing potential competitors is a crucial step in creating a business plan for a bank. This step helps you assess the competitive landscape and understand the strengths and weaknesses of other players in the market. Here are some key considerations:

  • Research: Conduct thorough research to identify existing banks and financial institutions offering similar services. Look for both traditional brick-and-mortar banks as well as digital banking platforms.
  • Online Presence: Explore their online presence and evaluate their digital banking capabilities. Look for features, functionalities, and user experience that differentiate them.
  • Competitive Advantages: Identify the unique selling propositions (USPs) of your competitors. Determine what sets them apart from others in terms of product offerings, customer service, technology, or any other factors.
  • Customer Reviews: Analyze customer reviews and feedback on various platforms to gain insights into customer satisfaction and grievances. This will help you identify areas where your competitors excel or fall short.
  • Market Share: Determine the market share and customer base of each competitor. This will give you an idea of the scale and reach you need to target.
  • Financial Performance: Analyze the financial performance of your competitors by studying their annual reports, financial statements, and any available data. This will help you understand their growth trajectory and potential vulnerabilities.
  • Look beyond direct competitors and consider indirect ones, such as fintech start-ups or alternative financial service providers.
  • Keep an eye on emerging trends and innovations in the banking industry to stay ahead of your competitors.
  • Consider conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis for each major competitor to gain a deeper understanding of their positioning.

Identifying and analyzing potential competitors is not only about understanding the competition but also about finding opportunities to differentiate your digital banking platform. By studying your competitors, you can identify gaps in the market and develop strategies that align with your unique value proposition.

Perform A Feasibility Study

A feasibility study is a crucial step in the business planning process. It involves conducting a comprehensive analysis to determine the viability of your digital banking platform. This study will help you assess the potential risks and benefits associated with your business idea and make informed decisions.

During the feasibility study, you should analyze various aspects of your business idea, including the market demand, competition, technological requirements, financial projections, and regulatory landscape. Here are the key steps to perform a feasibility study:

  • Conduct thorough market research to understand the current demand for digital banking services and identify any gaps in the market.
  • Evaluate the potential size of your target market and identify your ideal customer profile to tailor your offerings effectively.
  • Assess the competitive landscape by analyzing existing digital banking platforms, their features, pricing strategies, and customer base.
  • Consider the technological requirements for establishing and maintaining your online banking platform. Ensure that you have access to reliable and secure infrastructure.
  • Develop financial projections and assess the profitability and sustainability of your business model. Consider factors such as revenue streams, operating expenses, and potential return on investment.
  • Study the regulatory environment and identify the licenses and approvals required to operate a digital banking platform in your target market.
  • Engage with industry experts and seek their advice during the feasibility study to gain valuable insights.
  • Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to gather feedback from potential customers and validate your assumptions.
  • Regularly review and update your feasibility study as market conditions and industry trends evolve.

By conducting a thorough feasibility study, you will gain a deeper understanding of the viability and potential of your digital banking platform. This study will serve as a foundation for making informed decisions throughout the business planning process.

Define The Unique Value Proposition And Competitive Advantage

Defining the unique value proposition and competitive advantage of your digital banking platform is crucial in order to differentiate yourself from other financial institutions and attract customers. Your value proposition is the core promise you make to customers about the benefits they will receive by using your platform. Your competitive advantage is what sets you apart from competitors and gives you an edge in the market.

  • Identify Your Unique Selling Points: Determine what makes your platform unique and why customers should choose it over others. Consider features such as advanced security measures, user-friendly interface, personalized financial advice, or innovative banking solutions. These selling points will help you stand out and provide value that your competitors might not offer.
  • Prioritize Customer Needs: Understand your target market's pain points and financial needs. Tailor your offerings and services to address these specific needs. Whether it is offering low-interest rates on loans, providing competitive investment options, or simplifying the account opening process, make sure your value proposition directly addresses the challenges your customers face.
  • Analyze Competitors: Study your competitors' value propositions and competitive advantages. Identify the gaps and areas where you can excel. Look for opportunities to offer a better customer experience, more innovative products, or superior customer service. This analysis will allow you to position your platform as a market leader and attract customers seeking a better banking experience.

Tips for Defining Your Value Proposition and Competitive Advantage:

  • Emphasize the convenience and accessibility of your digital banking platform.
  • Showcase your commitment to security and privacy.
  • Highlight any partnerships or collaborations that add value to your platform.
  • Demonstrate your expertise in financial education and advisory services.
  • Offer unique features such as budgeting tools, financial planning, or rewards programs.

By clearly defining your unique value proposition and competitive advantage, you can effectively market your digital banking platform to potential customers and secure their trust and loyalty. Remember, your value proposition should clearly communicate the benefits customers will gain by choosing your platform and should differentiate you from competitors. Building a strong value proposition will be instrumental in the success of your business plan.

Develop A Comprehensive Financial Plan

Developing a comprehensive financial plan is a crucial step in creating a business plan for a bank. This plan outlines the projected financial performance of your digital banking platform and demonstrates to potential investors and lenders that your business is financially viable.

When developing your financial plan, consider the following:

  • Revenue projections: Estimate the revenue your digital banking platform is expected to generate. This can include income from various sources such as transaction fees, interest on loans, and commissions from financial products.
  • Expense projections: Forecast the expenses associated with running your platform, including personnel costs, technology infrastructure, marketing expenses, and regulatory compliance costs.
  • Capital requirements: Calculate the amount of capital needed to start and operate your digital banking platform. This includes upfront costs such as software development, marketing campaigns, and initial infrastructure investments.
  • Profitability analysis: Assess the profitability of your platform by calculating the net income and profit margin. This analysis helps determine the financial feasibility and sustainability of your business.
  • Cash flow projections: Forecast the cash flow of your digital banking platform, including the inflows from revenue and investment, as well as the outflows from expenses and loan repayments.
  • Funding sources: Identify potential funding sources for your platform, such as bank loans, venture capital investments, or crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Research industry benchmarks and financial ratios to ensure your projections are realistic and market-aligned.
  • Consider the potential impact of external factors such as economic conditions, regulatory changes, and customer behavior on your financial plan.
  • Regularly review and update your financial plan to reflect any changes in your business or market conditions.

By developing a comprehensive financial plan, you can demonstrate to banks and investors that your digital banking platform has a clear pathway to profitability and long-term success.

Establish Strategic Goals And Objectives

Establishing strategic goals and objectives is a crucial step in writing a business plan for a bank. These goals and objectives will serve as a roadmap for your digital banking platform, guiding all your actions and decisions towards a defined direction. It is important to clearly define and articulate these goals and objectives to ensure that everyone in the organization is aligned and working towards a common vision.

When establishing strategic goals and objectives, consider the long-term vision of your digital banking platform . What do you envision your platform to become in the next five or ten years? How do you see it evolving and growing? Define these aspirations into specific goals that are achievable and measurable.

Additionally, it is important to set objectives that are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This means that each objective should be clearly defined, quantifiable, realistic, relevant to your business, and have a deadline for completion.

Here are some tips to consider when establishing strategic goals and objectives for your digital banking platform:

  • Take into account market trends and customer demands when defining goals and objectives.
  • Align your goals and objectives with your unique value proposition and competitive advantage.
  • Consider both financial and non-financial objectives, such as customer satisfaction and innovation.
  • Involve key stakeholders in the goal-setting process to ensure buy-in and commitment.
  • Regularly review and update your goals and objectives to adapt to changes in the market and industry.

By establishing clear strategic goals and objectives, you are providing a direction for your digital banking platform to strive towards. These goals will serve as a compass, guiding your decisions and actions as you work towards success in the competitive banking industry.

Define The Organizational Structure And Management Team

Defining the organizational structure and management team is a crucial step in writing a business plan for a bank. This section outlines the key individuals who will be responsible for managing the operations and achieving the strategic goals of the digital banking platform.

To begin, it is important to clearly outline the various departments and positions within the organization. This includes roles such as CEO, CFO, CTO, and COO, as well as departments like finance, technology, operations, and customer service. Clearly defining these roles and responsibilities helps establish a clear chain of command and ensures that all areas of the business are properly managed.

  • Consider including an organizational chart to visually depict the structure of the organization.
  • Provide a brief description of each key management team member's background, skills, and experience.
  • Highlight any unique qualities or expertise that these individuals bring to the table that make them a valuable asset to the organization.
  • Consider including any advisory boards or external consultants that will be involved in decision-making processes.

Furthermore, it is essential to emphasize the qualifications and experience of each member of the management team. This includes their educational background, professional accomplishments, and relevant industry experience. Demonstrating that the team possesses the necessary skills and expertise significantly strengthens the credibility of the business plan and instills confidence in potential investors or lenders.

Lastly, it is important to consider and outline any plans for future expansion or growth. As the digital banking platform evolves, so too may the organizational structure and management team. Clearly articulate the expected growth trajectory and how the team will adapt to the changing needs of the business.

By properly defining the organizational structure and management team, the business plan for a digital banking platform becomes a comprehensive document that demonstrates a solid foundation for success. This section showcases the individuals driving the business forward, while also addressing how the organization will adapt and grow over time.

Obtain Necessary Licenses And Regulatory Approvals

Obtaining the necessary licenses and regulatory approvals is a crucial step in establishing a digital banking platform. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements ensures that your business operates within the boundaries set by governing authorities. Here are the key steps to take when seeking licenses and approvals:

  • Research Licensing Requirements: Begin by researching the specific licenses and permits required for operating a digital banking platform in your jurisdiction. Different countries and regions may have varying regulations, so it is essential to be well-informed. Consult with legal experts or industry professionals to navigate the complexities of licensing.
  • Submit Applications: Once you have identified the licenses and permits needed for your digital banking platform, prepare and submit the required applications. Be sure to provide accurate and comprehensive information, as any discrepancies or oversights could lead to delays or rejection of your application.
  • Engage with Regulatory Authorities: Throughout the licensing process, it is important to maintain open lines of communication with the relevant regulatory authorities. Address any queries or requests for additional information promptly and transparently. This will help in establishing a positive relationship with the authorities and expediting the approval process.
  • Comply with Regulatory Requirements: As you progress towards obtaining licenses and approvals, ensure that your business fully complies with all relevant regulatory requirements. This may include maintaining appropriate capital adequacy ratios, implementing robust anti-money laundering measures, and adhering to data protection and privacy laws.
  • Seek Legal Counsel: Working with experienced legal counsel specializing in financial regulations can prove invaluable during this process. They can offer guidance, review your compliance efforts, and help navigate any legal complexities that may arise.
  • Stay Updated: Regulatory frameworks and requirements are subject to change, so it is crucial to stay informed about any updates or amendments. Continuously monitor regulatory developments to ensure that your digital banking platform remains compliant.
  • Start the licensing process early: Obtaining licenses and regulatory approvals can be a time-consuming process. Starting early allows for any unexpected delays and ensures you meet your desired launch timeline.
  • Be thorough and accurate: Pay meticulous attention to detail when completing license applications. Provide all necessary documentation and information to avoid unnecessary delays or complications.
  • Engage with industry associations: Connecting with industry associations or peer networks can provide you with valuable insights into navigating the licensing process. Networking with experienced professionals can help you anticipate challenges and streamline the approval process.
  • Maintain ongoing compliance: Obtaining licenses and regulatory approvals is just the first step. Develop robust compliance procedures and internal controls to ensure ongoing adherence to regulatory requirements. Regularly review and update your compliance practices as regulations evolve.

In conclusion, writing a business plan for a bank requires careful research, analysis, and strategic thinking. By following the nine steps outlined in this checklist, you can create a comprehensive and compelling plan that demonstrates the viability of your digital banking platform. From conducting market research to obtaining necessary licenses, each step is crucial in building a strong foundation for your business. Remember to highlight your unique value proposition and competitive advantage, develop a comprehensive financial plan, establish strategic goals, and define your organizational structure. With a well-crafted business plan, you can confidently approach banks and secure the funding needed to bring your digital banking platform to life.

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Start » startup, smart strategies for presenting your business plan.

Whether you're pitching investors or applying for a bank loan, it's important to nail your business plan presentation. Here are some tips for crafting and presenting yours.

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For entrepreneurs who plan to apply for funding or raise investor capital, it's essential to write a solid business plan before launching a business . This document outlines the most important details about your new venture — including your mission, your founding team, your market research and, most importantly, your financial projections.

Once your business plan is written, you may be asked to present it in a variety of circumstances. Much like a professional resume, your plan will need to be tailored and tweaked to appeal to the specific audience you're trying to reach.

Whether you're preparing to write your first plan or refining your existing one, here are some expert-recommended tips for successfully presenting it to anyone who's evaluating your business.

When will you need to present your business plan?

A business plan should contain in-depth details about your business's market, revenue strategy and company structure to communicate the big picture, said Gerald Padilla, vice president of sales and marketing at Joorney Business Plans . The most common circumstances where you'll need to present your plan include:

  • Applying for a business loan, especially through a bank or the Small Business Administration .
  • Pitching investors and board members.
  • Renting a commercial space.

Matthew Wolf, head of advisory and senior consultant for Joorney Business Plans, said that even if your business plan is just an internal document for now, writing one forces you to think critically about how your business will achieve success, while also keeping you accountable.

[Read: 5 Business Plan Templates to Help You Plan for Success . ]

You should be able to clearly state who you are, what you do and why you are relevant.

David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks

Crafting the right business plan for your audience

If you want your business plan to be effective, you should customize and tailor it to the audience you're pitching, said Padilla.

"It's impossible to be everything to everyone," added David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks . "You should be able to clearly state who you are, what you do and why you are relevant."

Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

  • Lenders. Banks and the SBA require specific information in their business plan in order to approve a loan , said Padilla. It's important to understand those requirements and address each one within your business plan. "Debt providers are interested in your cash flow being sufficient to cover the principal and interest of the loan for the term," added Wolf.
  • Investors. In general, said Wolf, equity investors are interested in returns on investment, as well as debt coverage, which affects free cash flow and returns on investment. However, some investors may also be attracted to different aspects of your business. "Some may be endeared to the product or service concept, while others may invest in the team or CEO because they see the value in their qualities," Padilla told CO—. "Be sure to understand the investors you may be presenting to and their interests."
  • Landlords. Padilla noted that the potential landlord of a commercial space may ask for a business plan to understand the type of venture the business owner is proposing for use within the lease space. "They want to get clear details of the applicant's business activity before they accept the potential tenant's lease application," he said.

How to present your business plan

Regardless of your audience, there are a few key things to keep in mind when preparing to present your business plan.

First and foremost, you should ensure that all information included is credible and error-free.

"You want the business plan to reflect your professionalism and add to your credibility," said Padilla. "When using statistics, facts or figures, always cite the source of the data to support your ideas."

[Read: How to Write a Great Business Plan . ]

Reiling noted that you'll want to keep your plan simple so you can present it easily. Consulting resources like the SBA and SCORE can help you strike the right balance between simplicity and providing enough relevant information, he said.

"Bigger isn't necessarily better," Reiling added. "It's the content that matters."

On that note, Wolf advised making your plan as engaging as possible so you can capture the attention of the audience from the beginning.

"Be sure to have a clear go-to-market strategy and think deeply on your business's true competitive advantages," he said.

Finally, be sure to review your plan before each presentation to ensure you're providing the most accurate, up-to-date information on your business and its progress.

"Business plans should be living documents that are revisited and changed to reflect where a business is versus where it projected it would be," said Reiling. "It's the roadmap for a business."

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How to Write a Business Plan Banks Can't Resist Here's what your business plan needs if you want startup capital from a bank.

By Teresa Ciulla Nov 13, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the book, Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors discuss the ABCs of getting a bank loan for your business.

Many of the most successful businesses are financed by banks, which can provide small to moderate amounts of capital at market costs. They don't want control—at least beyond the control exerted in the covenants of a loan document. And they don't want ownership. Bankers make loans, not investments, and as a general rule, they don't want to wind up owning your company.

Bankers primarily provide debt financing. You take out a loan and pay it back, perhaps in installments consisting of principal and interest, perhaps in payments of interest only, followed by a balloon payment of the principal. One of the nice things about debt financing is that the entrepreneur doesn't have to give up ownership of his company to get it.

Bankers can usually be counted on to want minimal, if any, input into how the business is run. Get behind on the payment schedule, however, and you're likely to find a host of covenants buried in your loan documentation. Loan covenants may require you to do all sorts of things, from setting a minimum amount of working capital you must maintain to prohibiting you from making certain purchases or signing leases without bank approval. Be sure to have your accountant, financial advisor or attorney review your loan documents and spell out everything for you very carefully before you sign.

A banker's first concern is getting the bank's money back plus a reasonable return. To increase their odds, bankers look for certain things, including everything from a solid explanation of why you need the money and what you're going to use it for to details about other borrowing or leasing deals you've entered into.

Bank loan applications can be almost as long and complete as a full-fledged business plan. Plans and loan applications aren't interchangeable, however. A banker may not be interested in your rosy projections of future growth. In fact, when confronted with the kind of growth projection required to interest a venture capitalist, a banker may be turned off. On the other hand, a banker is likely to be quite interested in seeing a contingency plan that will let you pay back the loan, even in the event of a worst-case scenario.

The five things a banker will look for you to address are:

1. Cash flow. One of the most convincing things you can show a banker is the existence of a strong, well-documented flow of cash that will be more than adequate to repay a loan's scheduled principal and interest. You'll need more than a projection of future cash flow, by the way. Most bankers will want to see cash flow statements as well as balance sheets and income statements for the past three or so years. And don't forget your tax returns for the same period.

2. Collateral. If you're just starting out in business or dealing with a banker you don't know well, you're unlikely to be able to borrow from a bank without collateral. Collateral is just something the bank can seize and sell to get back some or all of the money you've borrowed in the event that everything goes wrong and you can't pay it back with profits from operations. It may consist of machinery, equipment, inventory or, all too often, the equity you own in your home.

Why do bankers seek collateral? They have no desire to own second-hand equipment or your house. Experience has taught them that entrepreneurs who have their own assets at risk are more likely to stick to a business than those who have none of their own assets at risk.

3. Co-signers. They provide an added layer of protection for lenders. If your own capacity for taking on additional debt is shaky, a co-signer (who's essentially lending you their creditworthiness) may make the difference.

4. Marketing plans. More than ever before, bankers are taking a closer look at the marketing plans embedded in business plans. Strong competitors, price wars, me-too products, the fickle habits of the buying public and other market-related risks must be addressed. Your banker (and most other investors) have to know that you recognize these risks and have well-thought-out ways to deal with them. Besides, it's the cash flow from operations that pays off bank loans.

5. Management. Bankers like to stress the personal aspect of their services. Many state that they're interested in making loans based on a borrower's character as well as their financial strength. In fact, the borrower's track record and management ability are concerns for bankers evaluating a loan application. If you can show you've run one or more other companies successfully, it will increase your chances of landing a loan to get a startup going.

Bank financing is most appropriate for up-and-running enterprises that can show adequate cash flow and collateral to service and secure the loan. Bankers are less likely to provide startup money to turn a concept into a business, and they're even less likely to put up seed money to prove a concept unless you have a track record of launching previous businesses with successful results.

The old saying about bankers lending only to people who don't need to borrow is almost true. Bankers prefer to lend to companies that are almost, but not quite, financially robust enough to pursue their objective without the loan. Their natural tendency is to be conservative.

This is important to understand because it affects how and when you will borrow. You should try to foresee times you'll need to borrow money and arrange a line of credit or other loan before you need it. That will make it easier and, in many cases, cheaper in terms of interest rates than if you wait until you're a needier and, in bankers' eyes, less-attractive borrower.

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How to write an effective business plan in 11 steps (with workbook)

February 02, 2023 | 14 minute read

Writing a business plan is a powerful way to position your small business for success as you set out to meet your goals. Landmark studies suggest that business founders who write one are 16% more likely to build viable businesses than those who don’t and that entrepreneurs focused on high growth are 7% more likely to have written a business plan. 1 Even better, other research shows that owners who complete business plans are twice as likely to grow their business successfully or obtain capital compared with those who don’t. 2

The best time to write a business plan is typically after you have vetted and researched your business idea. (See How to start a business in 15 steps. ) If conditions change later, you can rewrite the plan, much like how your GPS reroutes you if there is traffic ahead. When you update your plan regularly, everyone on your team, including outside stakeholders such as investors, will know where you are headed.

What is a business plan?

Typically 15-20 pages long, a business plan is a document that explains what your business does, what you want to achieve in the business and the strategy you plan to use to get there. It details the opportunities you are going after, what resources you will need to achieve your goals and how you will define success.

Why are business plans important?

Business plans help you think through barriers and discover opportunities you may have recognized subconsciously but have not yet articulated. A business plan can also help you to attract potential lenders, investors and partners by providing them with evidence that your business has all of the ingredients necessary for success.

What questions should a business plan answer?

Your business plan should explain how your business will grow and succeed. A great plan will provide detailed answers to questions that a banker or investor will have before putting money into the business, such as:

  • What products or services do you provide?
  • Who is your target customer?
  • What are the benefits of your product and service for customers?
  • How much will you charge?
  • What is the size of the market?
  • What are your marketing plans?
  • How much competition does the business face in penetrating that market?
  • How much experience does the management team have in running businesses like it?
  • How do you plan to measure success?
  • What do you expect the business’s revenue, costs and profit to be for the first few years?
  • How much will it cost to achieve the goals stated in the business plan?
  • What is the long-term growth potential of the business? Is the business scalable?
  • How will you enable investors to reap the rewards of backing the business? Do you plan to sell the business to a bigger company eventually or take it public as your “exit strategy”?

How to write a business plan in 11 steps

This step-by-step outline will make it easier to write an effective business plan, even if you’re managing the day-to-day demands of starting a new business. Creating a table of contents that lists key sections of the plan with page numbers will make it easy for readers to flip to the sections that interest them most.

  • Use our editable workbook to capture notes and organize your thoughts as you review these critical steps. Note: To avoid losing your work, please remember to save this PDF to your desktop before you begin.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is your opportunity to make a great first impression on investors and bankers. It should be just as engaging as the enthusiastic elevator pitch you might give if you bumped into a potential backer in an elevator.

In three to five paragraphs, you’ll want to explain what your business does, why it will succeed and where it will be in five years. The executive summary should include short descriptions of the following:

  • Business concept. What will your business do?
  • Goals and vision. What do you expect the business to achieve, both financially and for other key stakeholders, such as the community?
  • Product or service. What does your product or service do — and how is it different from those of competitors?
  • Target market. Who do you expect to buy your product or service?
  • Marketing strategy. How will you tell people about your product or service?
  • Current revenue and profits. If your business is pre-revenue, offer sales projections.
  • Projected revenue and profits. Provide a realistic look at the next year, as well as the next three years, ideally.
  • Financial resources needed. How much money do you need to borrow or raise to fund your plan?
  • Management team. Who are the company’s leaders and what relevant experience will they contribute?

2. Business overview

Here is where you provide a brief history of the business and describe the product(s) or service(s) it offers. Make sure you describe the problem you are attempting to solve, for whom you will solve it (your customers) and how you will solve it. Be sure to describe your business model (such as direct-to-consumer sales through an online store) so readers can envision how you will make sales. Also mention your business structure (such as a sole proprietorship , general partnership, limited partnership or corporation) and why it is advantageous for the business. And be sure to provide context on the state of your industry and where your business will fit into it.

3. Business goals and vision

Explain what you hope to achieve in the business (your vision) as well as its mission and value proposition. Most founders judge success by the size to which they grow the business using measures such as revenue or number of employees. Your goals may not be solely financial. You may also wish to provide jobs or solve a societal problem. If that’s the case, mention those goals as well.

If you are seeking outside funding, explain why you need the money, how you will put it to work to grow the business and how you expect to achieve the goals you have set for the business. Also explain your exit strategy—that is, how you would enable investors to cash out, whether that means selling the business or taking it public.

4. Management and organization

Many investors say they bet on the team behind a business more than the business idea, trusting that talented and experienced people will be capable of bringing sound business concepts to life. With that in mind, make sure to provide short bios of the key members of your management team (including yourself) that emphasize the relevant experience each individual brings, along with their special talents and industry recognition. Many business plans include headshots of the management team with the bios.

Also describe more about how your organization will be structured. Your company may be a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation in one or more states.

If you will need to hire people for specific roles, this is the place to mention those plans. And if you will rely on outside consultants for certain roles — such as an outsourced CFO — be sure to make a note of it here. Outside backers want to know if you’ve anticipated the staffing you need.

5. Service or product line

A business will only succeed if it sells something people want or need to buy. As you describe the products or services you will offer, make sure to explain what benefits they will provide to your target customers, how they will differ from competing offerings and what the buying cycle will likely be so it is clear that you can actually sell what you are offering. If you have plans to protect your intellectual property through a copyright or patent filing, be sure to mention that. Also explain any research and development work that is underway to show investors the potential for additional revenue streams.

6. Market/industry analysis

Anyone interested in providing financial backing to your business will want to know how big your company can potentially grow so they have an idea of what kind of returns they can expect. In this section, you’ll be able to convey that by explaining to whom you will be selling and how much opportunity there is to reach them. Key details to include are market size; a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis ; a competitive analysis; and customer segmentation. Make it clear how you developed any projections you’ve made by citing interviews or research.

Also describe the current state of the industry. Where is there room for improvement? Are most companies using antiquated processes and technology? If your business is a local one, what is the market in your area like? Do most of the restaurants where you plan to open your café serve mediocre food? What will you do better?

In this section, also list competitors, including their names, websites and social media handles. Describe each source of competition and how your business will address it.

7. Sales and marketing

Explain how you will spread the word to potential customers about what you sell. Will you be using paid online search advertising, social media promotions, traditional direct mail, print advertising in local publications, sponsorship of a local radio or TV show, your own YouTube content or some other method entirely? List all of the methods you will use.

Make sure readers know exactly what the path to a sale will be and why that approach will resonate with customers in your ideal target markets as well as existing customer segments. If you have already begun using the methods you’ve outlined, include data on the results so readers know whether they have been effective.

8. Financials

In a new business, you may not have any past financial data or financial statements to include, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to share. Preparing a budget and financial plan will help show investors or bankers that you have developed a clear understanding of the financial aspects of running your business. (The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has prepared a guide you can use; SCORE , a nonprofit organization that partners with the SBA, offers a financial projections template to help you look ahead.) For an existing business, you will want to include income statements, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets, ideally going back three years.

Make a list of the specific steps you plan to take to achieve the financial results you have outlined. The steps are generally the most detailed for the first year, given that you may need to revise your plan later as you gather feedback from the marketplace.

Include interactive spreadsheets that contain a detailed financial analysis showing how much it costs your business to produce the goods and services you provide, the profits you will generate, any planned investments and the taxes you will pay. See our startup costs calculator to get started.

9. Financial projections

Creating a detailed sales forecast can help you get outside backers excited about supporting you. A sales forecast is typically a table or simple line graph that shows the projected sales of the company over time with monthly or quarterly details for the next 12 months and a broader projection as much as five years into the future. If you haven’t yet launched the company, turn to your market research to develop estimates. For more information, see “ How to create a sales forecast for your small business. ”

10. Funding request

If you are seeking outside financing such as a loan or equity investment, your potential backers will want to know how much money you need and how you will spend it. Describe the amount you are trying to raise, how you arrived at that number and what type of funding you are seeking (such as debt, equity or a combination of both). If you are contributing some of your own funds, it is worth noting this, as it shows that you have skin in the game.

11. Appendix

This should include any information and supporting documents that will help investors and bankers gain a greater understanding of the potential of your business. Depending on your industry, you might include local permits, licenses, deeds and other legal documents; professional certifications and licenses; media clips; information on patents and other intellectual property; key customer contracts and purchase orders; and other relevant documents.

Some business owners find it helpful to develop a list of key concepts, such as the names of the company’s products and industry terms. This can be helpful if you do business in an industry that may not be familiar to the readers of the business plan.

Tips for creating an effective business plan

Use clear, simple language. It’ll be easier to win people over if your plan is easy to read. Steer clear of industry jargon, and if you must use any phrases the average adult won’t know, be sure to define them.

Emphasize what makes your business unique. Investors and bankers want to know how you will solve a problem or gap in the marketplace differently from anyone else. Make sure you’re conveying your differentiating factors.

Nail the details. An ideal business plan will be detailed and accurate. Make sure that any financial projections you make are realistic and grounded in solid market research. (If you need help in making your calculations, you can get free advice at SCORE.) Seasoned bankers and investors will quickly spot numbers that are overly optimistic.

Take time to polish it. Your final version of the plan should be neat and professional with an attractive layout and copy that has been carefully proofread.

Include professional photos. High-quality shots of your product or place of business can help make it clear why your business stands out.

Updating an existing business plan

Some business owners in rapidly growing businesses update their business plan quarterly. Others do so every six months or every year. When you update your plan make sure you consider these three things:

  • Are your goals still current? As you’ve tested your concept, your goals may have changed. The plan should reflect this.
  • Have you revised any strategies in response to feedback from the marketplace? You may have found that your offerings resonated with a different customer segment than you expected or that your advertising plan didn’t work and you need to try a different approach. Given that investors will want to see a marketing and advertising plan that works, keeping this section current will ensure you are always ready to meet with one who shows interest.
  • Have your staffing needs changed? If you set ambitious goals, you may need help from team members or outside consultants you did not anticipate when you first started the business. Take stock now so you can plan accordingly.

Final thoughts

Most business owners don’t follow their business plans exactly. But writing one will get you off to a much better start than simply opening your doors and hoping for the best, and it will be easier to analyze any aspects of your business that aren’t working later so you can course-correct. Ultimately, it may be one of the best investments you can make in the future of your business.

Business plan FAQs

What are common mistakes when writing a business plan.

The biggest mistake you can make when writing a business plan is creating one before the idea has been properly researched and tested. Not every idea is meant to become a business. Other common mistakes include:

  • Not describing your management team in a way that is appealing to investors. Simply cutting and pasting someone’s professional bio into the management section won’t do the trick. You’ll want to highlight the credentials of each team member in a way that is relevant to this business.
  • Failing to include financial projections — or including overly optimistic ones. Investors look at a lot of business plans and can tell quickly whether your numbers are accurate or pie in the sky. Have a good small business accountant review your numbers to make sure they are realistic.
  • Lack of a clear exit strategy for investors. Investors may want the option to cash out eventually and would want to know how they can go about doing that.
  • Slapdash presentation. Make sure to fact-check any industry statistics you cite and that any charts, graphs or images are carefully prepared and easy to read.

What are the different types of business plans?

There are a variety of styles of business plans. Here are three major types:

Traditional business plan. This is a formal document for pitching to investors based on the outline in this article. If your business is a complicated one, the plan may exceed the typical length and stretch to as many as 50 pages.

One-page business plan. This is a simplified version of a formal business plan designed to fit on one page. Typically, each section will be described in bullet points or in a chart format rather than in the narrative style of an executive summary. It can be helpful as a summary document to give to investors — or for internal use. Another variation on the one-page theme is the business model canvas .

Lean plan. This methodology for creating a business plan is ideal for a business that is evolving quickly. It is designed in a way that makes it easy to update on a regular basis. Lean business plans are usually about one page long. The SBA has provided an example of what this type of plan includes on its website.

Is the business plan for a nonprofit different from the plan for other business types?

Many elements of a business plan for a nonprofit are similar to those of a for-profit business. However, because the goal of a nonprofit is achieving its mission — rather than turning a profit — the business plan should emphasize its specific goals on that front and how it will achieve them. Many nonprofits set key performance indicators (KPIs) — numbers that they track to show they are moving the needle on their goals.

Nonprofits will generally emphasize their fundraising strategies in their business plans rather than sales strategies. The funds they raise are the lifeblood of the programs they run.

What is the difference between a business plan, a strategic plan and a marketing plan?

A strategic plan is different from the type of business plan you’ve read about here in that it emphasizes the long-term goals of the business and how your business will achieve them over the long run. A strong business plan can function as both a business plan and a strategic plan.

A marketing plan is different from a business plan in that it is focused on four main areas of the business: product (what you are selling and how you will differentiate it), price (how much your products or services will cost and why), promotion (how you will get your ideal customer to notice and buy what you are selling) and place (where you will sell your products). A thorough business plan may cover these topics, doing double duty as both a business plan and a marketing plan.

Explore more

Editable business plan workbook

presenting a business plan to a bank

Starting a new business

1 . Francis J. Green and Christian Hopp. “Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed.” HBR. July 14, 2017. Available online at https://hbr.org/2017/07/research-writing-a-business-plan-makes-your-startup-more-likely-to-succeed.

2 . CorpNet, “The Startup Business Plan: Why It’s Important and How You Can Create One,” June 29, 2022.

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How to Write a Successful Commercial Bank Business Plan (+ Template)

Business-Plan-2

Creating a business plan is essential for any business, but it can be especially helpful for commercial bank businesses that want to improve their strategy or raise funding.

A well-crafted business plan not only outlines the vision for your company but also documents a step-by-step roadmap of how you will accomplish it. To create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components essential to its success.

This article provides an overview of the key elements that every commercial bank business owner should include in their business plan.

Download the Ultimate Business Plan Template

What is a Commercial Bank Business Plan?

A commercial bank business plan is a formal written document describing your company’s business strategy and feasibility. It documents the reasons you will be successful, your areas of competitive advantage, and it includes information about your team members. Your business plan is a key document that will convince investors and lenders (if needed) that you are positioned to become a successful venture.

Why Write a Commercial Bank Business Plan?

A commercial bank business plan is required for banks and investors. The document is a clear and concise guide to your business idea and the steps you will take to make it profitable.

Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting their new company or venture, especially if they are inexperienced in starting a business.

Writing an Effective Commercial Bank Business Plan

The following are the critical components of a successful commercial bank business plan:

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a commercial bank business plan is a one- to two-page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan.

  • Start with a one-line description of your commercial bank company
  • Provide a summary of the key points in each section of your business plan, which includes information about your company’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast, among others.

Company Description

This section should include a brief history of your company. Include a short description of how your company started and provide a timeline of milestones your company has achieved.

You may not have a long company history if you are just starting your commercial bank business. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in this industry and how and why you conceived your new venture. If you have worked for a similar company or been involved in an entrepreneurial venture before starting your commercial bank firm, mention this.

You will also include information about your chosen commercial bank business model and how, if applicable, it is different from other companies in your industry.

Industry Analysis

The industry or market analysis is a crucial component of a commercial bank business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends and document the size of your market. 

Questions to answer include:

  • What part of the commercial bank industry are you targeting?
  • How big is the market?
  • What trends are happening in the industry right now (and if applicable, how do these trends support your company’s success)?

You should also include sources for your information, such as published research reports and expert opinions.

Customer Analysis

This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.

For example, commercial bank customers may include small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs.

You can include information about how your customers decide to buy from you as well as what keeps them buying from you.

Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to buy from you, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or commercial bank services with the right marketing.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis helps you determine how your product or service will differ from competitors and what your unique selling proposition (USP) might be that will set you apart in this industry.

For each competitor, list their strengths and weaknesses. Next, determine your areas of competitive advantage; that is, in what ways are you different from and ideally better than your competitors.

Below are sample competitive advantages your commercial bank business may have:

  • Proven industry experience
  • Extensive knowledge of the market
  • Robust and innovative products and services
  • Strong financial position
  • Excellent customer service

Marketing Plan

This part of the business plan is where you determine and document your marketing plan. . Your plan should be laid out, including the following 4 Ps.

  • Product/Service : Detail your product/service offerings here. Document their features and benefits.
  • Price : Document your pricing strategy here. In addition to stating the prices for your products/services, mention how your pricing compares to your competition.
  • Place : Where will your customers find you? What channels of distribution (e.g., partnerships) will you use to reach them if applicable?
  • Promotion : How will you reach your target customers? For example, you may use social media, write blog posts, create an email marketing campaign, use pay-per-click advertising, or launch a direct mail campaign. Or you may promote your commercial bank business via PR, by being quoted in the media, or by writing articles for industry publications.

Operations Plan

This part of your commercial bank business plan should include the following information:

  • How will you deliver your product/service to customers? For example, will you do it in person or over the phone?
  • What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?

The operations plan is where you also need to include your company’s business policies. You will want to establish policies related to everything from customer service to pricing, to the overall brand image you are trying to present.

Finally, and most importantly, your Operations Plan will outline the milestones your company hopes to achieve within the next five years. Create a chart that shows the key milestone(s) you hope to achieve each quarter for the next four quarters, and then each year for the following four years. Examples of milestones for a commercial bank business include reaching $X in sales. Other examples include adding new products, entering new markets, or expanding your distribution channels.

Management Team

List your team members here, including their names and titles, as well as their expertise and experience relevant to your specific commercial bank industry. Include brief biography sketches for each team member.

Particularly if you are seeking funding, the goal of this section is to convince investors and lenders that your team has the expertise and experience to execute your plan. If you are missing key team members, document the roles and responsibilities you plan to hire for in the future.

Financial Plan

Here, you will include a summary of your complete and detailed financial plan (your full financial projections go in the Appendix). 

This includes the following three financial statements:

Income Statement

Your income statement should include:

  • Revenue : how much revenue you generate.
  • Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the product/service offering.
  • Net Income (or loss) : Once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, this is the net income or loss.

Sample Income Statement for a Startup Commercial Bank Firm

Revenues $ 336,090 $ 450,940 $ 605,000 $ 811,730 $ 1,089,100
$ 336,090 $ 450,940 $ 605,000 $ 811,730 $ 1,089,100
Direct Cost
Direct Costs $ 67,210 $ 90,190 $ 121,000 $ 162,340 $ 217,820
$ 67,210 $ 90,190 $ 121,000 $ 162,340 $ 217,820
$ 268,880 $ 360,750 $ 484,000 $ 649,390 $ 871,280
Salaries $ 96,000 $ 99,840 $ 105,371 $ 110,639 $ 116,171
Marketing Expenses $ 61,200 $ 64,400 $ 67,600 $ 71,000 $ 74,600
Rent/Utility Expenses $ 36,400 $ 37,500 $ 38,700 $ 39,800 $ 41,000
Other Expenses $ 9,200 $ 9,200 $ 9,200 $ 9,400 $ 9,500
$ 202,800 $ 210,940 $ 220,871 $ 230,839 $ 241,271
EBITDA $ 66,080 $ 149,810 $ 263,129 $ 418,551 $ 630,009
Depreciation $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 4,200
EBIT $ 60,880 $ 144,610 $ 257,929 $ 413,351 $ 625,809
Interest Expense $ 7,600 $ 7,600 $ 7,600 $ 7,600 $ 7,600
$ 53,280 $ 137,010 $ 250,329 $ 405,751 $ 618,209
Taxable Income $ 53,280 $ 137,010 $ 250,329 $ 405,751 $ 618,209
Income Tax Expense $ 18,700 $ 47,900 $ 87,600 $ 142,000 $ 216,400
$ 34,580 $ 89,110 $ 162,729 $ 263,751 $ 401,809
10% 20% 27% 32% 37%

Balance Sheet

Include a balance sheet that shows your assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Assets : Everything you own (including cash).
  • Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
  • Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.

Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Commercial Bank Firm

Cash $ 105,342 $ 188,252 $ 340,881 $ 597,431 $ 869,278
Other Current Assets $ 41,600 $ 55,800 $ 74,800 $ 90,200 $ 121,000
Total Current Assets $ 146,942 $ 244,052 $ 415,681 $ 687,631 $ 990,278
Fixed Assets $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000 $ 25,000
Accum Depreciation $ 5,200 $ 10,400 $ 15,600 $ 20,800 $ 25,000
Net fixed assets $ 19,800 $ 14,600 $ 9,400 $ 4,200 $ 0
$ 166,742 $ 258,652 $ 425,081 $ 691,831 $ 990,278
Current Liabilities $ 23,300 $ 26,100 $ 29,800 $ 32,800 $ 38,300
Debt outstanding $ 108,862 $ 108,862 $ 108,862 $ 108,862 $ 0
$ 132,162 $ 134,962 $ 138,662 $ 141,662 $ 38,300
Share Capital $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Retained earnings $ 34,580 $ 123,690 $ 286,419 $ 550,170 $ 951,978
$ 34,580 $ 123,690 $ 286,419 $ 550,170 $ 951,978
$ 166,742 $ 258,652 $ 425,081 $ 691,831 $ 990,278

Cash Flow Statement

Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include cash flow from:

  • Investments

Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup commercial bank business.

Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Commercial Bank Firm

Net Income (Loss) $ 34,580 $ 89,110 $ 162,729 $ 263,751 $ 401,809
Change in Working Capital $ (18,300) $ (11,400) $ (15,300) $ (12,400) $ (25,300)
Plus Depreciation $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 5,200 $ 4,200
Net Cash Flow from Operations $ 21,480 $ 82,910 $ 152,629 $ 256,551 $ 380,709
Fixed Assets $ (25,000) $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Net Cash Flow from Investments $ (25,000) $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Cash from Equity $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Cash from Debt financing $ 108,862 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ (108,862)
Net Cash Flow from Financing $ 108,862 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ (108,862)
Net Cash Flow $ 105,342 $ 82,910 $ 152,629 $ 256,551 $ 271,847
Cash at Beginning of Period $ 0 $ 105,342 $ 188,252 $ 340,881 $ 597,431
Cash at End of Period $ 105,342 $ 188,252 $ 340,881 $ 597,431 $ 869,278

Finally, you will also want to include an appendix section including:

  • Your complete financial projections
  • A complete list of your company’s business policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
  • Any other documentation which supports what you included in the body of your business plan.

Writing a good business plan gives you the advantage of being fully prepared to launch and grow your commercial bank company. It not only outlines your business vision but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it.

Now that you know how to write a business plan for your commercial bank, you can get started on putting together your own.  

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Writing a business plan in 9 steps

Discover all the doors a solid business plan can help open for you, including business banking accounts, loans and other forms of funding.  Presented by Chase for Business .

presenting a business plan to a bank

Whether you're starting your first business or your company is seeking funding , a business plan is essential for charting your path to success.

A well-written and researched business plan can act as a roadmap that outlines your plan for selling and marketing your products and services, making profits and growing over a period of three to five years. Your plan can also help position your company within the industry and set your business apart from competitors.

With the right tools and a little excitement, you can write a business plan. In this article, you'll learn how to write a business plan in a step-by-step process.

1. Ask these questions

To get in the right frame of mind and gather necessary details for writing an effective business plan, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I want to start this business? What’s my reasoning or inspiration?
  • How does my business stand out from the competition?
  • What is my unique value proposition?
  • Who are my target customers? How can I reach them?
  • Who is already on my management team? What gaps do I need to fill?
  • How can my business make a profit? How soon will it break even?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help guide the structure and cadence of your business plan.

2. Research before you write

Your business plan should be a well-researched, actionable document that you can return to again and again. To get the information you need, use the following tactics when writing a business plan:

  • Do a SWOT analysis. Consider your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This type of analysis allows you to identify what sets your business apart and plan for potential risks.
  • Perform due diligence. If you’re planning to buy an existing business, make sure you research the company’s finances, sales, inventory and other aspects to ensure it’s a sound investment.
  • Use Porter’s Five Forces . This analytical approach is a framework for analyzing your company’s competitive environment.

3. Think about your audience

Ask yourself, who will read my business plan, and what kind of information do they need? For example, if you’re looking for funding, you should include plenty of financial data and forecasting. If you’re seeking to bring on new business partners, you should include a detailed section where you outline how the business intends to support growth over the next three to five years.

If you want to share your business plan with different types of stakeholders, think about writing more than one version. This will allow you to make sure every reader has the right, targeted details about your business.

4. Include market analysis

Writing and researching a business plan gives you the opportunity to learn more about your industry, market, competitors, audience, local government, suppliers, sales channels and more. It also allows you to assess risk related to your market or supply chain.

To do this research, you can start by looking for online data related to your industry and target audience. It’s a good idea to include data that's recent enough to still be relevant and from a credible source.

With a bit of patience, the information you need can be found online for free. Services also exist that provide customized data for a fee — which can be a good option for business owners without the luxury of time.

5. Make realistic projections

When writing a business plan, you’re naturally going to be excited, and it may feel easy to think positively and overestimate how well your business will perform. Optimism may cause you future distress when investors or business partners expect more than your business is able to provide.

It’s always better to aim low and blow your projections out of the water than to do the opposite. Make your business plan as realistic as possible. When you include accounting data, carefully consider the market, your competitors and the demand for your products.

6. Share your vision

Although financial projections, product descriptions and management charts serve as the focus for most business plans, including a vision statement can help you personalize your goals and refer back to your initial mission.

In this section, briefly discuss your reason for starting the business, share any underlying motivations and hypothesize on how your company can contribute to a larger cause.

7. Keep it concise

As you write your business plan, it's tempting to include every detail about your company. Before you know it, your market analysis alone might be 10 pages long. If your business plan becomes too big, it may become less actionable, or your readers may not devote the time to reading and comprehending it.

Take care to feature only the essential data when you write your business plan. Be sure to include the standard sections mentioned above.

A good suggestion is to feature a page or two for each section plus any financial statements or resumes. If you have additional research or notes that don't fit neatly into your plan, keep them on file for your own internal use.

8. Include a visual element

Most business plans tend to be text-heavy — but that doesn’t mean you can’t make yours visually appealing for the reader. Include relevant graphics, pictures, charts and diagrams.

9. Keep the style simple

Focus on presenting your information and storytelling in a clear way that doesn’t require additional context to be understood. Keep the formatting as simple as possible. Use a classic serif font like Times New Roman to maintain readability. The last thing you want is for investors to focus more on your font choice than your financial projections.

A business plan can help you review your idea and put actionable goals in place. Once you’ve worked out the details, a  business banker  can walk you through important next steps like  setting up a business checking account .

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Writing a Bank Business Plan

Writing a Lean Business Plan for a Bank

When it comes to seeking funding from a bank or other financial institution, one of the most important things you can do is have a well-written business plan . This document will not only give potential lenders and investors an idea of your company’s current position and future goals but will also provide them with a clear understanding of the risks involved in lending you money or investing in your business.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that provides a detailed description of a business, its products or services, its market, and its financial projections. It is used to secure funding from lenders or investors and to provide guidance for the business’s future operations.

Why Write a Business Plan

There are several reasons why you might want to write a plan for your business, even if you’re not looking for funding, they are:

  • To clarify your company’s purpose and direction
  • To better understand your industry and customers
  • To develop a realistic financial plan and accurate projections
  • To identify potential risks and opportunities
  • To track your company’s progress over time

An effective and well-written plan is helpful for potential investors and clarifies the plans you have for any future business partners.

Sources of Business Funding for Banks

There are many sources of business funding available to banks, including:

  • Equity financing: This is when you sell a portion of your business to investors in exchange for capital. This can be a good option if you need a large amount of money quickly, as it doesn’t require you to pay back the funds over time.
  • Debt financing: This is when you borrow money from a lender, such as a bank, in exchange for repayment plus interest. This type of financing can be helpful if you need to keep your cash flow low in the early stages of your business.
  • Grants: There are several different government and private grants available to businesses, which can often be used for start-up costs or expansion.
  • Venture capital: This is when you receive funding from a venture capitalist in exchange for a portion of your company’s equity. Venture capitalists typically invest their own personal savings in high-growth businesses with a lot of potential.

Resources to Write a Bank Business Plan

To write a bank business plan, you’ll need access to a variety of resources, including:

Sample Plans for Your Business

A good place to start is by looking at some sample plans for businesses in your industry. This will give you a good idea of the types of information to include in your own plan.

Business planning software

There are a number of software programs that can help you create professional-looking plans for your business.

Market Research

When writing a business plan for a bank, it’s important to include a section on your company’s market research. This will include detailed information about your industry, your market, and your competition.

Industry Analysis

In order to accurately describe your industry and the market for your products or services, you’ll need to conduct an industry analysis. This should include information about the size and growth of the industry, the key players in the industry, and any major trends or changes that are taking place.

Target Market Analysis

To effectively market your products or services, you need to understand who your target market is. This should include information about the demographics of your target customers (age, gender, income, etc.), psychographics (lifestyle preferences, interests, etc.), and geographic (location, region).

Competition Analysis

In order to differentiate your business from the competition, you’ll need to know what they’re offering and how they’re positioning themselves in the market. This should include a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of your competitors.

Customer Segments

A customer segment is a group of customers who share common characteristics, such as age, income, location, or lifestyle preferences. When creating business plans for a bank, it’s important to identify and target your key customer segments. This will help you focus your marketing efforts and create products and services that appeal to your target market.

There are a variety of ways to segment customers, including:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, income, location, etc.
  • Psychographics: Lifestyle preferences, interests, etc.
  • Behavior: How they interact with your brand, what channels they use to purchase products or services, etc.
  • Usage: How often they purchase your product or service, how much they spend, etc.
  • Value: How much they’re willing to pay for your product or service, how much they value customer service, etc.

Once you’ve identified your customers, you can create buyer personas. These are fictional characters that represent your ideal customer within each segment. Creating buyer personas will help you better understand your target market and create more effective marketing campaigns.

Financial templates

If you’re not familiar with financial terminology or calculations, use a financial template to help you develop your business’s financial projections as well as including an income statement and balance sheets.

Accounting and Legal Advice 

It’s important to seek out accounting and legal advice from professionals who can help ensure that your business plan is accurate and complete.

Bank Business Plan Template

While there is no one-size-fits-all template for writing a business plan, there are some key elements that should be included. Here is a brief overview of what should be included:

Executive Summary

This is a high-level overview of your company, its products or services, and its financial situation. Be sure to include information on your target market, your competitive advantage, and your plans for growth.

Company Description

This section provides more detail on your company, including its history, structure, and management team. Be sure to include information on your company’s mission and vision, as well as its values and goals.

Products and Services

Here you will describe your company’s products or services in detail, including information on your target market and your competitive advantage.

Market Analysis

In this section, you will provide an overview of your market, including demographic information and information on current and future trends. This is also a good section to add the marketing plan you have developed to appeal to potential customers.

Sales and Marketing

This section will detail your sales and marketing strategy, including information on your pricing, your distribution channels, and your promotion plans.

Financial projections

This is perhaps the most important section of your business plan, as it will provide lenders and investors with an idea of your company’s financial health. Be sure to include detailed information on your past financial performance, as well as your projections for future revenue and expenses. This is also a good section to include your cash flow statements, income statements, and information about any bank accounts opened for your business.

This is where you will include any supporting documents, such as your financial statements, marketing materials, or product data sheets.

While this is not an exhaustive list of everything that should be included in your bank business plan, it covers the most important elements. By taking the time to write a well-thought-out and detailed business plan, you will increase your chances of securing the funding you need to grow your business.

Opening a bank is a detailed and complex process, but it can be enormously rewarding both professionally and financially. The best way to increase your chances of success is to write a business plan that outlines all aspects of opening and running a bank. This document should include market analysis, organizational structure, financial projections, and more. Our team has extensive experience helping entrepreneurs open banks. We have created a comprehensive business plan template that covers all the key points you need to consider when writing your own business plan. By following our template, you can be sure that you haven’t missed any essential elements in your planning process. Investing in professional help when writing your business plan gives you the best chance for success when opening a new bank.

Bank Business Plan Template FAQs

Do i need to use a business plan template.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. If you are seeking funding from a lender or investor, they may have specific requirements for the format and content of your business plan. In other cases, using a template can be helpful in ensuring that you include all of the important information in your plan.

Where can I find a business plan template?

There are a number of resources that offer business plan templates, including the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, many software programs that offer business planning tools also include templates.

How long should my business plan be?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The length of your business plan will depend on the complexity of your business and the amount of detail you need to include. In general, however, most business plans range from 20 to 50 pages.

Do I need to hire a professional to help me write my business plan?

While you are not required to hire a professional to write your business plan, it may be helpful to do so. A professional can help you ensure that your plan is well-written and free of errors. Additionally, they can offer advice on how to best structure your plan and make it more likely to succeed.

industry analysis

  • Business Planning
  • Venture Funding

How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needi

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated May 7, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

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 use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

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  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

Kickstart your business plan writing with one of our free business plan templates or recommended tools.

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Download a free one-page plan template to write a useful business plan in as little as 30-minutes.

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

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

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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presenting a business plan to a bank

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How to Present a Business Plan to Investors, a Bank or Boss

By: Author Tony Martins Ajaero

Home » Business Plans

Are you about pitching your business plan to raise money? If YES, here is how to successfully present a business plan to investors, bank loan officer or boss.

A business plan is generally referred to as a document on which a new business outlines its modus operandi. An effective business plan contains a detailed plan of how a company intends to achieve its goals over a period of time. It has been noted that the more detailed a business plan is, the better, because a business plan is not only a company’s blueprint, but also a determinant whether the company can get external funding or not.

A lot of businesses, at some point in their lives do seek funding in order to be able to stay afloat, or even to get started; and for you to gain the audience of an investor, lender or boss, your intended business ought to have a workable business plan.

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Your ability to pitch your business plan to your target audience, be it a lender or an investor would make the difference on whether you would get the funding you seek or not.

With a lot of entrepreneurs constantly churning out business ideas, investors and lenders (banks) are now getting more critical on who to fund, and for your business to get the green light, then you have to bring on your A game because you wouldn’t want a poor pitch to impede your ability to score financing for your business.

When writing your business plan, it is best to keep the audience you want to target for funding in mind, because the different business financiers or investors expect to see different things in your business plan.

How to Adequately Prepare Yourself to Pitch your Business Plan

1. prepare yourself first.

It is worthy of note that investors invest first in the entrepreneur before the business plan. Investors will want to see that you are fast, thoughtful and efficient, and can sustain the project through its conception and growth.

No matter how good your business plan is, if you lack strong presentation skills, you may not be getting as much attention from the investors as you actually should. So, as a matter of necessity, you should learn how to pitch business plans as a professional.

2. Prepare your pitch

To be able to catch your audience, you need to prepare a brief, compelling presentation that tells your story, describes your business and explains how you will fulfill a customer want, need or desire. Tell them what you have achieved and why it is a good idea to invest with you.

3. Pepper your presentation with facts and figures

While carrying out your presentation, you need to use facts and figures to support every conclusion and claim with research from third-party sources. If you mention trends or evaluate your market potential, make sure you have done the research to back your claims.

4. Be clear and concise

To achieve a good presentation, you need to make sure you outline your facts in a clear and concise format. Your banker or potential investor probably isn’t an expert in your field, so avoid industry jargon, acronyms and technical details.

5. Be realistic

To be effective, your forecasts should clearly show how your business or project will be profitable for both you and your boss or investor. These forecasts must be rational and backed up by solid data. Be careful about making bogus and unsubstantial claims.

6. Do your research

You have to, of necessity show that you have looked at your project from every angle and prepared contingency plans. Discuss how your previous experience and achievements will help you run a better business.

7. Stick to business

To be able to get the funding you need, you need to make your case watertight. You should put on your salesman cap and give it your best. It is good to be passionate about your business, but it is your facts and figures that will get you the money.

8. Practice makes perfect

When preparing to make your pitch to investors and lenders, you should never leave anything to chance. So practice your pitch and presentation in front of family, friends, business associates, etc. and get feedback on how to improve it.

Tips for Presenting your Business Plan to a Bank (Lender) and Get the Money You Need

It is common knowledge that banks are lenders, and anyone seeking to approach a bank for business financing is basically looking for a loan. Lenders are more concerned with risk and the return of their money with interest.

For a business plan to ever gain the attention of a bank for it to give it a loan, the entrepreneur has to emphasize certain succinct facts like revenue, expenses, and other cash flow issues in its business plan. In addition, you also have to play by the following rules;

a. Show your experience

We have said it before that banks are lenders and as such they are always careful to make profitable deals. Banks generally believe that you have more credibility if you have had experience in business and in the field you are entering.

As such, they mostly make deals with entrepreneurs with sufficient business experience. In writing a business plan that is targeted to a bank, be sure to carefully outline whatever previous business experiences you have had, and equally outline how each of them would help you in your present business endeavour.

b. Give complete background of the management team

Banks also believe that the kind of management team a business has would determine its success or failure. As such, your business plan should describe your management team and short biographies of main managers should equally be included. Note that you need to have an experienced management team in order to up your chances of landing a loan.

c. The business financial projections

Bankers expect to see three main statements in your business plan and they include; income, balance, and cash flow. They should be projected monthly for the first year, and annually for a couple of years after that. Cash flow is the most important part of your plan as far as banks are concerned.

d. How real are your financial projections?

As astute financial houses, bankers will compare your financial projections to similar industry reports. If your financial margins way better than industry averages, you will need to explain why and how you are going to accomplish that.

For example, if the average boutique store has a 30 percent gross margin, don’t show a banker a plan with a 70 percent margin because you would have to explain it, and your explanations had better be good.

e. Align your financials

You have to make sure that the amount you ask to borrow should match the financials in your plan. For example, don’t try to show that you need less money than you actually do, because you wouldn’t need to be borrowing if you actually need less.

On the flipside, don’t show that you need much more money than you can afford to borrow. Your cash flow should be realistic, and it should show how much money you need and why you need it.

f. Present a complete plan

While management team and financials are very important, a good banker will also expect to see a readable plan, from the executive summary through to the end. It should cover what you sell, your market, company background, and specific dates and activities.

Asides all these facts, banks would want to know if your product is priced right for its market niche, if your company management can control expenses, if the company would be able to withstand risks and market fluctuations and if the company would be able to pay back the loan it is asking for.

You will have to demonstrate you have the experience, skills, determination and self-confidence to successfully build your company or carry out the project for which you’re borrowing money.

Tips for Presenting your Business Plan to an Investor

Investors are business people, just like the entrepreneur. They are more concerned with your profit projections and they eagerly look into the future to a time when they can cash in, hopefully at a higher multiple to their initial investment.

Therefore, investors are mostly concerned with your businesses’ ability to grow and stabilize. In order to be able to get funding from investors, be it angels, venture capitalists or others, your business plan has to contain the following;

i. Target market

The size of the target market often determines the success of a business, and investors also know this. When writing a business plan to pitch to investors, you have presented a great detail of your target market. You might be surprised to find that the size of the market may not be as large as you had anticipated.

ii. Problems you want to solve

Again, investors are also interested in the anticipated problem you want to solve. Would the solution which your startup has come up with actually solve the issues in the target group? What are the benefits that target customers will gain from your innovation? Is the problem worth the business stress?

iii. Revenue

Your business plan should be able to explain how your business intends to generate revenue. You need to explicitly outline how your fees would be charged and if the fees you charge would lead to profit for the business, and with what margin.

iv. Competitors

Since there are very few businesses that are still undiscovered, investors would like to know how you intend to deal with the competition. You should outline what would make you stand out from them as well as your competitive advantage.

v. Growth strategy

You would have to show that your business has the ability to grow and expand in the future. A business that has no growth strategy is simply not worth investing in because it has no future, and no investor would want to put his or her money in a sinking ship.

vi. Your team

Any and every investor would want to know who you are running the business with and their qualifications, so you have to write a brief outline of your management team in your business plan.

vii. Exit strategy

Investors are very interested in your exit strategy so you had better include that if you want to attract investors. Many investors tire after about seven years with a company and look around for new opportunities. You have to determine if you are going to sell all your shares to a new entrepreneur, go public with the company or sell to venture capitalists etc.

Tips for Presenting your Business Plan to your Boss

Unlike what most people would think, but yes, a lot of bosses have funded business startups of their employees. This has been made possible because more companies are encouraging entrepreneurial thinking from within–something that is known as intrapreneurship.

In order to succeed in using your employer’s hunger for innovation to support your own business, you have to ensure that your ideas are in line with the company’s Business model. Ensure that your business idea can easily be integrated into the company’s objectives, this is an easier way for you to get funded by your boss.

You also have to ensure that you state all these while pitching your business plan to your boss. Remember, pitching your business plan to your boss is like pitching to any other investor; you need to look at the cost-benefit analysis from your boss’ perspective.

For you to present a business plan that can easily get funding from your boss, you have to observe the following rules:

1. Ensure your business idea is in line with the company’s interests

This is perhaps one of the most important points to consider when pitching your business plan to a boss. Bosses are entrepreneurs who are only interested in what would boost their business revenue.

You have to convince them that funding your business would be to their interest before they can even listen to you talk more of giving you the nod. You need to show your employers the ways your ideas would improve the company or contribute to the achievement of the company’s vision and mission.

2. Research

The worst you can do is to present an unresearched business plan. During your pitch, a lot of questions would be asked, and not having answers to such questions would mean that you are not ready. You have to know your market really well and be quite familiar with your target consumers.

3. Offer value

Your pitch, of necessity needs to offer information with value. If you are expecting the CEO of your company fund your business idea, then you have to make sure that they would get something out of it. If it is just you who will be benefiting from the proposal, then most likely you will hear a No for the proposal.

4. Thoroughly study your audience

Knowing what you’ll say in your pitch is only half the battle, you also need to know how to say it. You have to know the likes, dislikes and mannerisms of who are presenting to. When pitching to a time-strapped boss, you have to get to the point in the first 60 seconds.

If you are talking to a person who believes in figures, you have to rely heavily on charts and graphics to illustrate your business concept, market and revenue model, rather than plunking a 30- to 50-page business plan on his or her desk. Of course it won’t get touched.

5. Be credible

The fact here is that if your boss doesn’t have faith in your work, judgment or time-management skills, he or she is not going to let you launch a new product, service or company division no matter how good your business plan is. Before you polish your pitch, make sure you are the model staff.

You cannot be on the list of worst employee of the month for six consecutive months and then suddenly have ideas and expect your boss to take you serious.

6. Start with the summary

There’s something called an executive summary in business plan writing. Although it is the last part to be written in any business plan, but it is the most important part when pitching to your boss as it contains all information about the project summarized into a page. This executive summary helps anybody reading your business plan to understand what it is all about easily.

You should adopt this strategy too when presenting your ideas to your boss; let them know what you are driving at early into the presentation because most people form opinions and decisions in their minds few minutes into the conversation.

7. Think of costs

You have to make plain all the financial involvements of your business if you are planning to get funding from your boss. If there are any financial or non-financial resources that would have to go into accomplishing the ideas, you should ensure that your employer is aware of it.

8. Time factor

The introduction of any new project obviously means additional demands on your time. So, the first thing you will want to assure your boss of is that it won’t distract you from all of the work already on your plate.

So, the best approach is to explain how the new project fits into the cycle of your workload—for example, how it dovetails perfectly with you regular task, and how you are going to manage your time effectively so your regular job would not suffer.

You also need to beware of some key points when you are delivering your presentation. They include;

  • Don’t memorize the presentation: you have to know your business plan like the back of your hand, after all you are expected to have put a lot of time into it. You should be able to give your presentation fluidly.
  • Avoid PowerPoint failures: the formal business plan pitch is usually accompanied by a presentation, most often a slideshow, which you should also hand out to attendees at the pitch presentation. Ensure your PowerPoint is working effectively so as not to get stuck in the middle of the road.
  • Keep your investors in mind: your investors would always be on the lookout for what’s in it for them in your pitch. You need to clearly describe what benefits you would offer to specific investors and how that will make your investors’ money

In conclusion, it is very important to be versatile and to be able to deliver your pitch in a variety of different media. These days, a growing number of businesses take to YouTube to deliver their business pitch and some angel investors have taken to reviewing some of the YouTube pitches before scheduling a face-to-face meeting with an entrepreneur.

It helps investors to analyze entrepreneurs and their business ideas from a distance. Being versatile gives you an edge in the quest to get funding.

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How To Write A Business Plan for A Bank Loan (3 Key Steps)

Wondering how to create a business plan that will wow your banker.

You're not alone.

Most entrepreneurs see writing a business plan as a gargantuan task – especially if they've never written one before.

Where do you start?

How do you calculate the financials?

How can you be sure you're not making a mistake?

And if you need a business plan for a bank loan, getting this document right is absolutely essential.

So here's what we recommend: simplify the planning process by breaking the work up into manageable, bite–sized steps. That way, you can focus on one section at a time to make sure it's accurate.

Here's a quick overview of the step–by–step process we guide entrepreneurs through when they sign up for LivePlan.

Step 1: Outline The Opportunity

This is the core of your business plan. It should give loan officers a clear understanding of:

  • What problem you're solving
  • How your product or service fits into the current market
  • What sets your business apart from the competition

There are three key parts to this step:

The Problem & Solution

Detail exactly what problem you are solving for your customers. How do their lives improve after you solve that “pain point” for them?

We recommend actually going out and chatting with your target audience first. That way, you can validate that you're solving a real problem for your potential customers.

Be sure to describe your solution in vivid detail. For example, if the problem is that parking downtown is expensive and hard to find, your solution might be a bike rental service with designated pickup and dropoff locations.

Target Market

Who exactly are you selling to? And roughly how many of them are there?

This is crucial information for determining whether or not your business will succeed long–term. Never assume that your target market is “everyone.”

For example, it would be easy for a barber shop to target everyone who needs a haircut. But most likely, it will need to focus on a specific market segment to reach its full business potential. This might include catering to children and families, seniors or business professionals.

Competition

Who are your direct competitors? These are companies that provide similar solutions that aim to solve your customers' pain points.

Then outline what your competitive advantages are. Why should your target market choose you over the other products or services available?

Think you don't have any competition? Think again. Your customers are likely turning to an indirect competitor that is solving their problem with a different type of solution.

For example: A taco stand might compete directly with another taco stand, but indirectly with a nearby hot dog vendor.

Boost your chances of securing a loan

See how LivePlan can help you write a fundable business plan

Step 2: Show how you'll execute

This is where the action happens! Here you'll get into the details of how you'll take advantage of the opportunity you outlined in the previous section. This part demonstrates to banks that you have a strong plan to achieve success.

The three main components of this step include:

Marketing & Sales Plan

There can be a lot of moving parts to this one, depending on your business model.

But most importantly, you'll need to fully explain how you plan to reach your target market and convert those people into customers. A few example of what should be included:

  • Positioning strategy. What makes your business both unique and highly desirable to your target market?
  • Marketing activities. Will you advertise with billboards, online ads or something else entirely?
  • Pricing. What you charge must reflect consumer demand. There are a few models to choose from, including ‘cost–plus pricing’ and ‘value pricing.’

This is the nuts and bolts of your business. It's especially important for brick–and–mortar companies that operate a storefront or have a warehouse.

You may want to explain why your location is important or detail how much space you have available. Plan to work at home? You can also cover your office space and any plans to move outside your house.

Any specialized software or equipment and tools should also be covered here.

Milestones & Metrics

Lenders and investors want to be confident that you know how to turn your business plans into financial success. That's where your milestones come in.

These are planned goals that help you progress your company. For example, if you're launching a new product your milestones may include completing prototypes and figuring out manufacturing.

Metrics are how you will gauge the success of your business. Do you want to generate a certain level of sales? Or keep costs at a certain level? Figuring out which metrics are most important and then tracking them is essential for growth.

Step 3: Detail your financial plan

This is the most crucial – and intimidating – part of any business plan for a bank loan. Your prospective lender will look especially close at this section to determine how likely your business is to succeed.

But the financial section doesn't have to be overwhelming, especially if you break the work into smaller pieces. Here are 3 items that your plan must have:

Simply put, this is your projections for your business finances. It gives you (and the bank) an idea of how much profit your company stands to make. Just a few items you'll need to include:

  • Revenue. List all your products, services and any other ways your business will generate income.
  • Direct costs. Or in other words, what are the costs to make what you sell?
  • Personnel. Salaries and expenses related to what you pay yourself, employees and any contactors.
  • Expenses. Things like rent, utilities, marketing costs and any other regular expenses.

Exactly how will you use any investments, loans or other financing to grow your business? This might include paying for capital expenses like equipment or hiring personnel.

Also detail where all your financing is coming from. Lines of credit, loans or personal savings should be listed here.

Bankers will be giving this section a lot of attention. Here's what you'll need:

  • Profit & Loss. This statement pulls in numbers from your sales forecast and other elements to show whether you're making or losing money.
  • Projected Balance Sheet. This is likely the first thing a loan officer will look at: it covers your liability, capital and assets. It provides an overview of how financially sound your business is.
  • Projected Cash Flow. Essentially, this statement keeps track of how much money you have in the bank at any given point. Loan officers are likely to expect realistic monthly cash flow for the next 12 months.

Don't forget the Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is the first section of your business plan, but we recommend you tackle it last.

It's basically an introduction to your company, summarizing the main points of your plan. Keep it to just one or two pages and be as clear and concise as possible.

Think of it as a quick read designed to get the lender excited about your business.

If you need help writing your plan

Not everyone feels confident writing a business plan themselves, especially if it's needed to secure a bank loan.

And although you don't need an MBA to write one, getting your business plan right often does require quite a bit of work. So if you need help writing your plan, here are two options to consider:

  • Hire a professional business plan writer to do it for you. This is typically the most expensive route, but worth it if you're pursuing $100,000 or more in capital.
  • Sign up for LivePlan. It's business planning software that walks you through a step–by–step process for writing any type of plan. It's an affordable option that also gives you an easy way to track your actuals against your business plan, so you can get the insights you need to grow faster.

LivePlan makes it easy to write a winning business plan

No risk – includes our 35-day money back guarantee.

HOW TO WRITE A BANK BUSINESS PLAN: Simple Steps & All You Need (+ Template)

  • by Kenechukwu Muoghalu
  • August 13, 2023
  • No comments
  • 6 minute read

how to write a bank business plan

Table of Contents Hide

What is a bank business plan, why do i need a bank business plan, #1. executive summary, #2. company overview, #3. customer analysis, #4. competitive analysis, #5. marketing plan, #6. operations plan, #7. management team, #8. financial plan, #9. appendix, bank business plan template, would you want to finish your bank’s business plan as quickly as possible, what is the easiest way to complete my bank business plan, how do banks make money, can an individual own a bank.

Opening a new bank is a cool investment that requires a stipulated level of attention and responsibilities for growth to take place. However, how can you start up a financial facility without a business plan? How do you intend to nurture the goals and growth of your bank business? Every investment needs a business plan and that is why this article has every little detail on what you need to know about this plan. You will also have access to a free template checklist and basic steps on how to write a bank business plan.

We also have a ready-made bank business plan for your comfort, just in case you wish to skip all procedures and get hold of your plan today. 

A bank business plan is a document that provides a snapshot of your bank and lays out its future growth plan. Not just that, it also explains your business goals and gives strategies that can help you attain them. It is more like a road map for success, and without the road map, you cannot get to your desired destination. 

It is also important to note that only a well-detailed and articulated bank business plan can achieve its potential purposes. Your bank’s business plan should also be updated annually to accommodate new changes in your business. 

The essence of a bank business plan can vary from one business owner to another. One can start up a business plan to attract investors or lenders to aid them in raising funds because, like other businesses, the banking industry also requires capital investment on a large scale to start its operations. 

Most of the time, you will need a bank business plan to map out the goals and growth of your bank and excessively improve your chances of success. You can also need a bank business plan for a combination of both reasons. A banking industry business plan plays an important role in the initiation and expansion of banks. Moreover, a business plan for banks is also required by the financial institutions. 

To write a winning bank business plan, you need to understand some basic steps on how to construct a comprehensive and well-detailed plan. Writing a plan comes with some procedures, and you can only yield results in your company when these procedures are followed. Let’s analyze what these procedures entail. 

Simple Steps on How to Write a Bank Business Plan

The executive summary of your bank’s business plan should be an introduction to your business. It is usually the first to appear on the plan but the last to write. This is because you will need some information from other sections. This section should be interesting to your readers. Don’t fail to explain the kind of bank you run, which can be either a startup or a chain of banks. 

Also one of the steps in how to write this section of your bank business plan is to include an overview of your competitors and your financial plan. 

There are different types of banks that one can invest in, and in your company overview, you will need to detail the type of bank you are operating. 

  • Commercial Bank

A commercial bank is built to support both large corporations and small businesses. They can open a savings account, and lend money or trust funds to companies in foreign markets. 

  • Retail Bank

Retail banks are normally traditional banks that customers can access online or in person. They also offer loans and insurance. 

  • Investment Bank

This bank normally trades in stocks that are mostly between companies and investors. They can offer advice to individuals and corporations who need financial guidance. 

  • Credit Union

Credit unions are basically like traditional banks, but they are different because they’re not profit-oriented. Regardless, they perform basic operations like loans and providing savings accounts. 

When you indicate the type of bank that suits you, then you will proceed to give a brief introduction of your company. Tell your readers why you started this business and the things you have achieved. 

This is where you include the details of the customers you will be offering your services to. Your customers might be individuals, small businesses, families, or big corporations. It is important to note that each customer will be following the type of bank you run. You will also need to research your customers and try to meet your target audience. 

This is where you need to mention your competitors which can be either direct or indirect. Direct competitors are other banks, and indirect competitors are other options that your potential customers can purchase from. It can be trust accounts, investment companies, or even the stock market. They are not directly competing with your products. 

You will need to list those competitors and give a brief description of their weaknesses and strengths. Then at the end of this section, you can provide how the services you offer are unique from your competitors.

As a financial facility, your marketing strategy should include your products, price, place, and promotions. In the product section, just talk about the type of bank you run, and state the prices of the products you offer as well. The place should be the location of your bank and how that site will impact your success. The promotion is meant to explain how you will attract potential customers to your company, which can be either an advertisement, websites, flyers, or social media platforms. 

The operation plan should explain how you intend to meet the goals of your business. It should cover both the short-term and long-term processes. You should include how you intend to reshape your company within that time frame. 

Just like the name implies, this section should be all about your strong management team. Highlight your key players by including their backgrounds, skills, and experiences that prove that they are capable enough to grow a company. It is a bonus if your management team has had direct experience in managing banks. If your team is lacking, you can consider assembling an advisory board. 

A financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement. It should also cover your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements. An income statement should contain your profit and loss statement. A balance sheet will cover your assets and liabilities, while a cash flow statement will determine how much money you need to start and grow your business to avoid going bankrupt. 

In the appendix section, you can include any information that can make your bank business plan more compelling. You can attach your financial projections to a list of loans you plan to give. 

Having learned how to effectively write a bank business plan, you will also need to practice the use of a template. A bank business plan template is essential when starting a bank business. It is with this template checklist that you will understand the full processes that are involved with starting a bank business. So, before you proceed with your investment, you need to keep these steps in check.

  • Know the business 
  • Write a business plan
  • Raise Capital
  • Choose a business name
  • Get a license 
  • Attract customers 

Don’t you wish there was an easier way to finish your bank’s business plan? Understandably, creating a business plan can be overwhelming, but there is a way around it. At BusinessYield Consult, we specialize in creating business plans for entrepreneurs like you. 

That is why we have composed a unique, ready-made bank business plan for your comfort. Now you won’t have to spend hours trying to get over a section of your business plan. 

All you need to do is to grab a copy of your bank business plan now! 

A business plan is essential in every company, whether a big or small business. It tends to bring some changes into every business and also helps you manage that business effectively. Although sometimes creating one for yourself might be a bit daunting, when you follow the steps above, you can come up with a successful bank business plan that will boost the growth of your company.

If you need an easier way to complete your business plan without having to go through the long process of writing one yourself, then you can try our ready-made bank business plan . 

Banks mainly make money by borrowing money from depositors and then compensating them with an interest rate. Then that same bank will lend the money to borrowers and charge them a high-interest rate. It is from that profit that their profit comes.

Yes. There is a possibility of individual ownership but most times individuals commonly buy shares of bank stock which can be directly from the bank or fund managers. 

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How to Present Your Business Plan

Hitting a home run with potential investors requires selecting the right pitch..

How to Present Your Business Plan

Every entrepreneur has to present a business plan to outsiders at some point if he or she is seeking a loan or investment in the company. Obtaining venture capital funding, angel investment, or even bank loans for a business is increasingly difficult in a tough economy. You don't want a poor pitch to impede you ability to score financing for your business. In fact, it's imperative to have a pitch and presentation that showcases your idea, your potential, your market and your ability to provide investors with a return on their investment. The business pitch is different than the business plan. But you need to have your plan drafted before you can fine-tune your pitch. "People misunderstand that the pitch is a different medium than the plan," says Tim Berry, president and founder of Palo Alto Software, maker of Business Plan Pro software, who blogs at bplans.com. "They misunderstand that somehow plan is going to sell the business. The plan is the screenplay for the business. You have to have it before you can put together your pitch. The pitch is a summary of the plan." The following pages will cover how to prepare your pitch, how to choose potential investors, and some basics for delivering the best presentation possible. Prepare Your Pitch and Presentation A business pitch consists of an effort to convince others that your idea for a business is a good one. The pitch involves summing up your business plan -- going over your product/service offerings, your market, your leadership, and why you will succeed. Informally, you may have done this a thousand times already. "It can be as simple as your reality check in a one-person business, or agreeing with a spouse or significant other, your team members or your boss," Berry says. The more formal process of pitching and presenting is usually before an audience of venture capitalists, angel investors, or bank loan officers in an effort to secure a loan or investment in your company. Usually, an entrepreneur starts off by asking for a certain amount of money, and the value proposition for the investor -- such as what percentage of equity in the business that investment would buy. Most of the time, an entrepreneur would make a formal presentation -- often with a slideshow -- to help illustrate a pitch. The formal presentation is typically followed by a question and answer session. Investors often mull over the details and, if they make an offer, will perform due diligence on the financials before turning over any funds.

Know Your Business Plan . The first rule of thumb is to write a business plan and to know that plan inside and out before pitching and presenting to outside investors. The written business plan is often the way to get in the door with investors. If they like your plan, they may invite you to pitch and present. You may get only one chance to present to this group. Don't blow it by seeming ill-informed or being unable to answer questions. "It's crazy to think you can jump into this process without having thought through the details that come up in a business plan," Berry says. "You're not going to cover those details in many encounters with investors, but you need to know your plan backwards and forwards, inside out before you start, whether you show it to investors in early meetings or not. There is no room for filling in the details later. You are supposed to have them ready to go from the first encounter." Venture capitalists, for example, may have 100 or so business plans piled on their desk at any given time. They only listen to formal pitches and presentations from a handful. Your business plan needs to include the necessary components -- the business concept, market, management team, financial projections, marketing plan, etc. You should have a hand in drafting the plan if you are the presenter so that you are intimately familiar with all the details. The goal of the business plan is to convince investors that you are worth the risk of investment.

Your pitch and presentation need to build on that theme. "It really has to pop them," says Linda Pinson, author of Automate Your Business Plan for Windows® and Anatomy of a Business Plan, who runs a publishing and software business Out of Your Mind and Into the Marketplace . Pinson also was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration to write its government business plan publication. "It's got to say to that VC 'What's in this for me?' It's got to have an overview of what you're asking and what you're trading for it. Is this a business that looks like it will have fast and sustainable growth and get the returns to the investor that he or she is looking for?"

Determine How Much Funding to Request . The reason an entrepreneur makes a pitch is most often to request funding. But just how much to ask for is often key. "Match your financing goals to reality," Berry says. "Don't think you're going to get millions in venture capital unless you have a good track record with previous startups, a very strong potential business, and a realistic exit strategy. If you're looking for a few hundred thousand dollars, look into angel investors, seed money investors and/or seed money funds. Understand which investors want high-growth and high-risk strategies, and which will accept lower growth and lower risk." Many of the decisions by investors are based more than financials. "A lot is based on the personal confidence they have in you. It's not just numbers on a piece of paper," Pinson says. "Today is a very difficult time for investment capital." One way to prove to investors that you are investment-worthy is to show that you are investing in the business, too, by putting up your own capital and being willing to trade some equity for their financing.

Prepare Your Message . A pitch needs to be prepared in a variety of formats to take advantage of not only the formal pitch and presentation meeting but the informal chance meeting in an airplane or elevator. Here are a few types of pitches: •    E-mail message and elevator pitch. Every entrepreneur should have a short, concise speech ready whether they step onto an elevator or prepare to travel on an airplane. You never know who is going to be sharing the ride with you. "It's the 60-second or two- or three-minute pitch where one person in a seat tells the other person about their business," Berry says. The key words to keep in mind while crafting this message are: quick, powerful, and condensed.  You won't have the investor's attention for long so condense this message. Berry suggests a one-page e-mail and/or a 60-second elevator speech are sufficient. •    Summary memo. This is a lengthier treatment of your elevator pitch. It consists of a 2-5 page memo summarizing the need or want you fill as a business offering, your target market, differentiation, growth prospects, management team, and your financing plan, Berry says. It's important to emphasize how much money you need from investors, how much of your company ownership you're prepared to give in exchange, and how you're going to turn that back into money for them, including when and how much, he says. •    Pitch presentation. This is your more formal pitch presentation that you make to investors. Cover the same elements included in your summary memo and in the executive summary of your business plan. Plan on 20 minutes maximum with no more than 10 slides, and use pictures and diagrams, not bullet points, Berry says. "Don't ever read bullet points in a presentation."

Dig Deeper: Finding the Perfect Pitch

How to Choose Potential Investors

Research Potential Partners . Potential investors can range from family members and friends to venture capitalists or angel investors. "You should choose an investor as carefully as you choose a spouse," Berry says. "Look for investors who will be good long-term partners. They have to be comfortable with you and you with them." That's because you are going to be spending a lot of time with your investors if they become financial partners in your business. There are meetings, reports, and reviews. They may also seek new management if you don't do a good job meeting your goals. "If you want partners who will just give you money and leave you alone, search for investors who do that -- and good luck with that," Berry says. "Very few people write checks to businesses and then forget about them." In today's economy, you have to explore many different avenues before you secure financing. On one hand, venture capitalists frown upon businesses that blanket potential investors with their business plans. "Do not under any circumstances shower potential investors with mass print or electronic mailings," Berry says. "They'll know you did, and it won't work. Instead, focus on a few, well-researched targets." On the other hand, if you only approach one or two potential investors, you may have to wait a long time before hearing back.  "You're probably pretty quickly going to see that most of them are going to say, 'No, this won't work today. Our funding is not there for this now," Pinson says. Here are some tips on finding the right investors to approach: •    Who you target is very important. Pinson advises that you research which investors tend to know your industry well and invest in companies in your industry. She says you may want to start by approaching those investors with your plan. •    It's not always good to go it alone. "It's good to find intermediaries," Pinson says. Sometimes intermediaries can help you connect with the right investors. Join the chamber of commerce, talk to business professors, and search the Web. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) sponsors about 1,000 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) around the country, most often hosted by universities, colleges, or state economic development agencies. SBDCs are designed to help entrepreneurs start, finance and run their businesses. Their counselors may know potential investors and may be able to introduce you. •    Seek compatibility. You should want investors who will become partners in building the business as well as funding it. Do your research and ask the right questions. "Do they know people who can help you? Are they familiar with your business area? Do they share your long-term goals for growth and eventual exit?" says Berry. "Are they good partners? Do the people in companies they've invested in regret it?"

Dig Deeper: Five Tips for Selecting an Investment Partner

Pitch and Presentation Tips It's important to be versatile and to be able to deliver your pitch in a variety of different media. These days, a growing number of businesses take to YouTube to deliver their business pitch. Some angel investors like Berry have taken to reviewing some of the YouTube pitches before scheduling a face-to-face meeting with an entrepreneur. "It's a new world," Berry says. "That lets me see the people as they talk about their business and how they manage communication. It gives you more access to information faster." Berry's new pitch website suggests entrepreneurs adhere to the following five steps to deliver the perfect pitch: •    Be specific and concise. Know what you want to say. Know your business plan. Pick out what matters most. •    Sell yourself. This is the "why me" section. Talk about your skills, background, vision and why you can make it work. •    Sell your offering. Berry calls this the "heart" of the pitch. What need does your business fill? Why is anyone going to buy your product or service? •    Close the deal. This is where you put your salesman's cap on. Make sure to make a strong finish. •    Nail your delivery. Practice makes perfect. So practice your pitch and presentation in front of family, friends, business associates, etc. and get feedback on how to improve it. You also need to avoid some key pitfalls. •    Don't memorize the presentation. "Know it like the back of your hand and be able to give it fluidly, using different words each time," Berry says. •    Avoid PowerPoint faux pas. The formal pitch is usually accompanied by a presentation, most often a slideshow, which you should also hand out to attendees at the pitch presentation. "Avoid bad PowerPoint like the plague," Berry advises. •    Keep in mind what's in it for investors. "Describe what benefits you offer to specific investors and how that will make your investors money," Berry advises.

Stay Flexible . In the text books, the standard process is that you make an elevator speech that produces a request to see your business plan, followed by an opportunity to pitch, which ends with investors offering you funding. However, Berry says, "The real world is not nearly as orderly as this would imply." Follow up with the investor but remember that the relationship is only going to work if it is mutually advantageous. If they want to invest, make sure you work with an attorney you really trust. In the end, you should think of the pitch and present process as a filter. "If nobody wants to invest in your business, yes, you might be the true visionary in a world of lesser beings, but -- no disrespect intended -- it's much more likely that the world is delivering you an important message," Berry says. "Maybe you need to revise your plan, go back to the drawing board and improve it. On the other hand, maybe this idea has fatal flaws and isn't going to work, and your failure to raise money has saved you a lot of heartache."

Dig Deeper: How to Improve Your Presentation Skills Presenting Your Business Plan: Additional Resources The Funded Research on histories and lists of different high-end investors. Small Business Development Centers (SBCC) Provides management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. Bplans Business Pitch Author Tim Berry's website dedicated to pitching your business plan. How to Change the World: The 10-20-30 Rule of PowerPoint Blog entry on pitching by venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki  

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How To Start A Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Creating a business plan is a critical first step for any entrepreneur. Knowing how to start a business plan will help you create a roadmap, guiding your business from startup to growth and beyond. Whether you're looking for investment, trying to set clear goals, or simply organizing your thoughts, a solid business plan can make all the difference.

Here is a guide to help you get started on your business plan:

1. executive summary.

What It Is: This section summarizes your business plan as a whole and outlines your company profile and goals.

What to Include:

  • Business name and location
  • Products or services offered
  • Mission statement
  • The purpose of the plan (e.g., seeking funding, guiding the startup process)

Tip: Keep it concise. Although it's the first section, it's often best to write it last, after you’ve detailed everything else.

2. Company Description

What It Is: This section provides detailed information about your company, including who you are, what you do, and what markets you serve.

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  • Your business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation)
  • The industry and marketplace needs your business meets
  • Your business’s objectives and how you stand out from competitors

Tip: Use this section to highlight your company’s strengths and what makes you unique.

3. Market Research

What It Is: Market research demonstrates your understanding of the industry and target market.

  • Market size and growth potential
  • Target customer demographics
  • Market trends and outlook
  • Competitive analysis, including strengths and weaknesses of competitors

Tip: Include data and statistics to back up your findings and show that you’ve done your homework.

4. Organization and Management

What It Is: This section outlines your business’s organizational structure and management team.

  • Organizational chart
  • Information about the ownership of the company
  • Backgrounds and qualifications of the management team
  • Roles and responsibilities within the company

Tip: Highlight the skills and experiences of your team that will help the business succeed.

5. Products or Services Line

What It Is: Here, you detail the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

  • A description of each product or service
  • The lifecycle of products or services
  • Research and development activities, if applicable
  • Intellectual property, such as patents or trademarks

Tip: Focus on the benefits your products or services bring to your customers.

6. Marketing and Sales Strategy

What It Is: This section explains how you will attract and retain customers.

  • Marketing strategies, including advertising, promotions, and public relations
  • Sales strategies, including sales processes, channels, and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and how it compares to competitors

Tip: Ensure your marketing and sales strategies are aligned with your market research findings.

7. Funding Request

What It Is: If you’re seeking funding , this section outlines your requirements.

  • Your current funding needs
  • Future funding requirements over the next five years
  • How you intend to use the funds
  • Potential future financial plans (e.g., selling the business, repaying debt)

Tip: Be specific and realistic about how much funding you need and how it will be used.

8. Financial Projections

What It Is: Financial projections provide a forecast of your business’s financial future.

  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Break-even analysis

Tip: Use realistic and conservative estimates. Consider hiring a financial professional to help with this section if needed.

9. Appendix

What It Is: The appendix includes any additional information that supports your business plan.

  • Resumes of key management team members
  • Permits and leases
  • Legal documents
  • Detailed market research data
  • Product photos

Tip: Only include essential information that adds value to your business plan.

Final Tips for Creating a Business Plan

Creating a business plan requires clarity and precision. First and foremost, keep your business plan clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or complex language that could make the plan difficult to read or understand. Your aim should be to communicate your ideas effectively and efficiently.

Next, be realistic in your approach. Ensure that your goals and financial projections are attainable based on your research and understanding of the market. Overly ambitious projections can undermine your credibility and potentially lead to unrealistic expectations.

It's also essential to remember that a business plan is a dynamic document. As your business grows and market conditions change, you should revisit and revise your plan regularly. This helps you stay aligned with your goals and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Finally, seek feedback from experienced business professionals. Having someone with business experience review your plan can provide valuable insights and help identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. Their feedback can enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of your business plan.

By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to create a robust and effective business plan that can guide your business towards success.

The bottom line is that starting a business plan may seem challenging, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a comprehensive guide to steer your business toward success. Use this step-by-step guide to ensure that all essential components are covered, giving your business the best possible start.

Melissa Houston, CPA is the author of Cash Confident: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Profitable Business and the founder of She Means Profit . As a Business Strategist for small business owners, Melissa helps women making mid-career shifts, to launch their dream businesses, and I also guide established business owners to grow their businesses to more profitably.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever.

Melissa Houston

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presenting a business plan to a bank

2024 U.S. Banking Industry Outlook Survey

Future-proofing banking: The enterprise transformation imperative

"When in doubt, choose change"

U.S. banks face a difficult growth environment due to compounding macro- and microeconomic headwinds, geopolitical instability, intensifying regulatory scrutiny, and other near-term challenges putting pressures on earnings. At this critical juncture, the KPMG national banking practice sees significant opportunity for banks to choose change—embark on an accelerated journey of enterprise-wide transformation.

The U.S. Banking Industry Outlook Survey captures the challenges and opportunities faced by the banking sector amidst economic, regulatory, and technological disruptions, from 200 banking executives surveyed on their views on current industry trends and topics in March 2024.

Download the Paper

Explore the 2024 Banking Industry Survey results

Discover insights on the trends that are shaping the industry's present and future and key takeaways banking executives should consider.

Key Insights

are confident in their banks’ growth prospects

of respondents believe profitability will grow inorganically

are making significant strategic adjustments in response to geopolitical uncertainty

of CEOs respondents believe profitability will growth through cost transformation

say GenAI is an integral part of their institution’s long-term vision and strategy

think regulatory supervision and enforcement in the area of cyber risk will increase

The path to growth for banks is accelerating their enterprise transformation to be the bank of the future. Modern technology platforms are the foundation, allowing banks to leverage the latest technologies to enhance operational efficiency, customer retention and attraction, and resilience through the next wave of challenges.

Peter Torrente

US Sector Leader, Banking and Capital Markets, KPMG LLP

Growth expected despite compound volatility

The industry has been facing a confluence of pressure on earnings: high interest rates, low stock prices, credit uncertainty, a slow M&A market, geopolitical conflicts disrupting world markets, unprecedented regulatory scrutiny, and impending regulatory uncertainty following the U.S. presidential election.

Yet, there are signs of a brighter future ahead, especially among larger, growing banking institutions. Our survey finds bank executives, as a whole, relatively confident in the growth outlook of the banking sector.

How confident are you in the growth prospects of your organization over the coming year?

Economic and geopolitical risks persist

Which of the following risks poses the greatest threat to your bank's growth over the next 3 years? (select top 3)

Refining the multichannel customer experience

What digital channels are being prioritized for investment in 2024? (select all that apply)

Establishing security, privacy and trust

Unlocking the power of GenAI

The banking sector recognizes the extraordinary promise of GenAI in shaping their future strategies and remaining competitive. As a general trend, banks have stopped seeing GenAI a proof of concept and started seeing it as a capability.

Many banks are actively exploring and implementing GenAI for a diverse range of use cases, with some of the most common applications directly correlated to current top agenda items for industry—cybersecurity (67 percent), fraud (51 percent) and compliance and risk (41 percent). As budgets and resources to fight cybercrime, protect data and customers, and comply with intensifying regulatory requirements have skyrocketed, banks executives are looking to GenAI as a potential solution.

Which active use cases for Gen AI does your organization have in pilot or production phases?

Steps you can take to establish a standout ESG M&A due diligence program:

Modernizing the payments ecosystem

How does your organization generally view the ISO 20022 Compliance Mandate?

Regulatory intensity dominates resources and attention

How will regulatory supervision and enforcement activity change in the following areas over the next 12 months?

How KPMG can help

Only future-ready banks will thrive in 2024 and beyond. The KPMG national banking practice sees today’s environment of converging economic and industry challenges and disruptions as a catalyst for change—a not-to-be-missed chance to take advantage of the current and emerging opportunities that surround us.

KPMG can help banks navigate the evolving banking landscape, with deep industry expertise, fresh thinking, and leading-edge tools and methodologies.

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I was scammed out of nearly $300,000 and was forced to abandon my retirement dreams

presenting a business plan to a bank

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Leonid Shteyn. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Last year, I started looking for ways to make more money from my retirement savings . I'm 70, and my wife, who is also retired, is 68. We were worried about having enough money to live with rising inflation. We also wanted to have something to leave our four grandchildren, two of whom have special needs.

I researched investment options online and eventually reached out to a friend. He connected me to a company he was investing in. I checked the company out online, and everything seemed above board. I spoke with a professional financial planner tied to the company.

Still, I was cautious. I opened an account with just $250. Then, I transferred $10,000. When that investment began to grow , I wanted to go all in. I withdrew $100 from the account to make sure it was legit. After that withdrawal was processed, I transferred all my money: $256,470.

Things quickly became strange

After that, things started to get strange. The so-called investment company asked me to take out a line of credit . They encouraged me to invest in bitcoin and started charging me steep commissions.

One day, I got an email, reportedly from a blockchain, the digital wallet where people keep bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies . When I looked closely, I noticed that one digit in the email was off—it was a scam meant to look like an official blockchain communication.

That's when I knew something was very wrong.

I trusted the big bank that the scammers used

Still, the so-called investment company called me, asking for more money. I got my own lawyer, who looked up the company's legal representation. He couldn't find any licensed lawyer with the name I'd been given. Next, I hired a private investigator. He tracked one scammer to Bulgaria and another to the US.

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My lawyer realized that I had sent most of my funds to an account at Bank of America . As an immigrant, I trusted Bank of America intrinsically. I never would have transferred money to a small bank or international establishment, but if you can't trust them, who can you trust?

Unfortunately, I feel Bank of America failed me terribly. Even after my lawyer alerted them to what was happening, they cleared a check I'd written to the scammers. They ignored requests from my bank to look at the fraud, and after three requests, my bank gave up.

Within three months, I went from having a healthy retirement savings to having $20,000 in the bank. With lawyer fees and the private investigator, I was out nearly $300,000.

Older people, like myself, need help to protect themselves

This whole debacle is no one's fault but my own. The thing is, I'm a smart guy. I ran a major business for 30 years. I am good at vetting people—or at least I thought.

What frustrates me is that the lack of government oversight allows scams like this to thrive. I contacted my local police department, and they said they'd investigate. I didn't hear from them, so I called back. They told me they have 600 cases like this and only three investigators. When I heard that, I knew the chances of my case being solved were slim to none.

People always ask me what advice I'd give other seniors, but I think that's the wrong question. Scammers will always exist, and people, especially older people, will always be vulnerable. We need to be able to trust the government and major institutions like Bank of America to stop this fraud. I believe they don't because they make money in interest and fees from these fraudulent accounts.

My retirement looks a lot different now

I've started from scratch a lot in my life. I immigrated from the Czech Republic to New York in 1989 and later moved from New York to Texas. But it's hard to start over at 70. I've been sending out my résumé and looking for work as a consultant, but I haven't had any leads.

I'm lucky to have a house and cars that are paid off and still have some money in the bank. I've abandoned my dream of helping my grandkids or traveling in retirement. I'm just hoping my wife and I have enough to live on.

Editor's note: In a statement to Business Insider, Bank of America said: "We don't want any bank's clients to become victims of scams. We try to work with victims and their banks to return the funds when feasible, but unfortunately, this is not always possible. We encourage clients to do thorough due diligence to ensure that they are transferring funds to legitimate businesses."

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