Essential pieces of a business plan for your startup or small business

Starting a new venture or business can be daunting. Many new entrepreneurs find themselves overflowing with ideas but struggle when it comes time to structure them in such a way that is attractive to outside partners and financiers. Business plans lay the groundwork to successfully implementing your strategy. Your business plan will serve as a roadmap to how you structure, manage, and grow your new business. They are often the foundation for how you convince investors that they can safely invest in both you and your business.

There's no right or wrong way to write a business plan, but the below elements are some of the key areas that investors will be looking for but will also help serve as a "north star" as your business evolves.

1. Mission & Vision

Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be a success. Things like a mission statement, a description of your product or service, your leadership team, and location are a good place to start. Including high-level financial information and a path to growth will help outline the full picture at an executive level.

2. Market Analysis

Understanding your market is an essential step to both starting a new business and course-correcting a struggling one. Market research should include information on the customer demographics around your business, the competitive landscape you will be operating in, and some of the identifiable trends that will either work for or against your business. AV Consulting offers specific services to analyze your Market and Competitive landscape.

3. Organization and Management

Readers need to know how the company will be run and who will be accountable for its success. An efficient organizational structure can be the difference between a being market leader and an early exit. Outline the experience of the people who will be running the business and will be the decision makers. Describe the legal structure your organization will take: sole proprietorship, sole or limited partnership, LLC, or a C or S corporation.

4. Product or Service Line

Describe what you will be selling; either your product or service. Do you have any patents or copyrights? Are you investing in any research & development? What are your evolution plans and key ways you will make sure your product or service stays relevant? AV Consulting offers specialized services to think through your specific product or service offering.

5. Sales, Marketing, and Pricing

Describe how you will attract customers as well as how you will keep existing ones with your business. How will a transaction actually take place? Are there any limitations on the number or speed of transactions you can make? Implementing an appropriate pricing structure is a key element to every business and should be described here. AV Consulting can help craft a unique marketing strategy.

6. Funding Requirements

If you are asking for funding, this is the section where you will outline how much money you will need and why. Trying to bring on investments can be very difficult if you do not have your numbers in order and have a good plan for the money. Outlining specific allocations for the funds as well as their impact on your business are key to communicate to investors so there are no questions on how their money will be put to work. AV Consulting can help think through the best type of financing available to your small business.

7. Financial Projections

Everyone who reads your business plan will be in some way, shape, or form invested in its success. Whether they are an employee, have made a financial investment, or are simply passionate about your mission, the financial success of your business is key. These projections are essential to supplement any funding request that you make earlier in the plan. Being able to outline your expectations for your company's financial success shows that you have done your research and understand the key elements that will drive your business forward. AV Consulting specializes in financial modeling and analysis and can help your small business identify forecasts and improve profitability.

AV Consulting can help you craft a business plan for a new business or revisit an old plan that is no longer aligned with your direction. Our consultants have experience crafting strategic plans for high-growth startups and local small businesses alike, and can help with each stage of the journey. Contact us to learn more.

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