The sections below are the sections of a typical business plan with real-world tips for thinking through all the aspects of your business.
If you are looking for an example of a business plan, please take a look at our page
with the business plan example.
This tutorial starts by presenting an overview video tutorial of how to write a business plan. After that, this tutorial shows you how to write each section of a business plan, and after that there are additional resources for how to get extra help like one on one business coaching and more.
This video is an overview of how to write a business plan. It covers every section of a business plan, and tells you what to write in it. In a sense,
it is made as a guide and as a business plan template that you can follow. It is a long tutorial, but it is packed with useful information. Please
study it carefully, and when you are ready, go ahead and let's move through the rest of this tutorial which will take a closer look at the
different business plan sections.
For deepest coverage on how to write a business plan, try my business plan book which is accompanied by my marketing plan book. If you are working on your first business, you might also want to check out my book on how to start a business which is based on research of 300,000 first-time entrepreneurs just like yourself. If you feel that you could benefit more from one on one attention and coaching on how to write your business plan, learn about my business coaching services here.
This is a paragraph or two where you explain what your product is. Do not get into too much detail. You will have a chance to get into details in the subsequent sections.
Here, just help the reader understand what your product is, and a little bit about your vision for the product.
This is the place to be more precise about your product. Mention what the product is. Is it a website? A physical store? A widget or a mobile app?
Why should the company exist? Does it entertain? Does it make someone feel better? Does it solve a problem for someone? Does it teach something? What is the benefit of this company?
In this section, help the reader understand why your company needs to exist in the world. Here is a full article about how to think through your product strategy.
Are you in the idea stage? Or have you started and you maybe have a prototype? Or do you already have some revenue and a team?
Do not get into too many specifics here, but simply help the reader understand where you are in the process of building a company.
It is ok to be at any stage, even the planning stage. Some of the biggest companies in the world have at some point been in planning stages.
The purpose of this section is to help the reader gain context and perspective. We have a full article covering
different company stages starting from the very first steps of starting your own business.
This is the dollar amount of the industry you are targeting. Some industries are very large and some are pretty small.
You have to show to the reader that you understand what your addressable market is, and its size.
If you are building a company that sells something very niche, your market size may be small, but if you are selling computers or cars, your market size is in the many billions and is obviously very large. You must know your market size because without knowing this information, you cannot determine whether your business idea will be able to help you achieve the kind of business success that you are after.
This section also shows to the reader that you have done some due diligence and understand some of the business landscape.
It is easy to think that everyone can use your product, but that would be a mistake.
There are usually one or two demographics that will be a better fit for your product.
Having a focus on a particular consumer base will also help you target your marketing campaigns and product usability efforts.
Especially in the beginning, if you can, try to understand who the best kind of a target user will be. We have a full article explaining how to
think about and identify your target market.
There are many ways to market a product or service. Different businesses require marketing strategies crafted with the understanding
of the business and the consumer. There are many online marketing
and offline marketing techniques you can try. What kind of marketing strategies will work for your business?
Marketing is the lifetime of your business by which you get more customers. But many people do not know how to market their business beyond creating flyers, handing out business cards, and posting about their business on Facebook. If that sounds familiar, and you need help creating an effective marketing strategy, you can find tutorial articles and get expert advice on our premium marketing app. Take a look at our full article about marketing fundamentals.
In this section you must outline how, why and when there will be transactions which will bring you revenue. What will be or already is your single very effective revenue stream? For more information on this topic, take a
look at our full article about business models.
This is arguably one of the more important sections of a real business plan. In this section you outline the details of each transaction, estimate how many transactions you can expect, and understand your financial model. This is the early version of profit and revenue forecasting for your business. Do not start a business without really thinking through this section. It is extremely important.
This happens to be one of the most complicated sections of the business plan so here is an example below, and a further explanation of this topic on the business economics page which you can get to by pressing the button right above.
Here is a quick example: imagine you are opening or selling a widget. You sell the widget for a certain price, but it takes you some amount of time and money to produce, market, and sell the widget, while incurring costs like paying your employees and rent. So there is revenue and expenses. Expenses are easier to count because most of them are fixed.
Your job is to figure out the number of widgets you need to sell in order to 1) break even, 2) turn a profit, 3) reach your other goals.
For a full article on this topic, take a look at our article about unit economics.
Give a brief background about each of the members of your executive team and discuss the current size of the team. Bonus points for mentioning how big (or small) you want to grow the team moving forward.
It is important to understand and note who are the other players in your space. They are your competitors. They are to be respected, understood, and learned from. You need to understand why they are successful, and their shortcomings too. Wherever they fail, may be an opportunity for your business to pick up and differentiate from the competition. You do not need to be better, but you need to understand how you are different. You also need to understand and have strategies for competing with them moving forward.
Give an overview of who has thus far invested in the company. Depending on who will be reading your business plan,
you can take out various sensitive information from this section. For more information about raising money, take a look at
our Fundraising ideas article. And if you
have achieved impressive milestones by bootstrapping your business definitely mention that here.
What is the goal of your business plan? Are you raising money? Are you hiring employees?
Are you just gathering your thoughts on paper? Usually when you hand your business plan to someone,
you are seeking something from them. Often, it is a good idea to state inside your business plan what it is that you are seeking.
For more on evolving and perfecting business ideas, take a look at the work of Eric Ries and
Steve Blank, and the learn startup movement.
One source of help could be SBA.gov. Take a look at that site to see whether it can be of help to you.
During your business planning process, one thing you should consider is which business niche to get into.
Here is a tutorial on how to choose your business niche.
If you feel that you would like to talk to an experienced business person about your current situation, I am available to help you as a business coach on a one on one basis. And the best part about it is that right now I am doing a promotion where you can get the initial 15 minutes for just $5. This way you have nothing to risk, and you can get to know me, and determine whether I can help you before you decide to spend any more money. For more details, check out this page where I explain how you can hire a business coach.
To help you better I've also created a number of online business courses that take you from the business idea stage to starting your business to
growing your business, and marketing it like a professional. For a full list of courses and discounts, check out my page with my
full list of Udemy course coupons.
What might happen during your business planning is you might realize that your business idea wasn't fully vetted, and isn't as great as you thought.
That is ok. In fact, this is the purpose of business planning. Good business planning should help you find flaws in your business ideas. Finding
flaws early is much better than finding them later. The earlier you find flaws, the cheaper it will be to fix them. In you find yourself
back at the business idea stage, here is a tutorial on how to get good business ideas, and below is a video of 40 most common business idea
issues that come up.
I've been in the Elearning industry for many years and today I am a top 1% instructor. I'll quickly share with you the fundamentals of a business plan for an online course business where you sell courses. Your Elearning business plan must consist of strategies for which courses will have high potential to create, how to create them, and how to sell courses.
Your course niche must be both, a lucrative one but also one in which you can create great courses and truly educate students. Once you've chosen your course niche, you must plan how you will create your courses. You can either create your courses on your own, hire someone to create courses for you, or buy existing courses to resell.
After you have courses to sell, you must plan for how to promote them. You can promote them via marketplaces like Udemy, Skillshare, or many others. You can also promote your online courses through your own website. If you are able to sell courses, you may have a viable business. The only question at that point becomes how many courses you can sell and how big you can grow your sales.
As you can see, if you plan in a practical manner, the planning should not be too complex. Many errors typically arise from wrong strategy decisions if you are new to a business. Other errors get discovered during the execution of that business so you must get started and solve problems on the fly as you are running your business. Planning without starting is one of the biggest errors in business planning.
I am working on a full list of businesses or services you can start:
restaurant or diner, coffee shop, barbershop, nightclub,
local event, business selling t-shirts, most kinds of stores ranging from boutiques to grocery stores to jewlery shops, animal care or grooming,
lawn care or landscaping businesses, moving businesses, gym, frozen yogurt or ice cream shop, a deli, liquor store or a sandwich shop,
a a beauty salon or a hair salon, a spa, a daycare business, a hardware store, commercial cleaning or residential cleaning, car wash,
general contractor business, dog walking or pet sitting, martial arts studio, or a dance studio.
I am also working on a list of tutorials for how you can promote certain companies. The first one I am working on is law firm marketing.
Here is a list of potential online businesses you can start: blogging, affiliate marketing,
elearning, create a channel on YouTube,
become an author and sell books on Amazon and the Kindle, or become a freelancer or a local concierge. You can also create a mobile app or a
website that provides some service or product or content that people can visit.
I even help entrepreneurs get into the eLearning and eCommerce businesses by licensing them my books and online courses so they can begin selling it as their own.
I do the licensing by selling PLR (private label rights) to my books and courses. Here is a page where you can learn about
my book PLR
and course PLR.
Article by Alex Genadinik