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Your business plan is one of the hallmarks of success. Without one, you are just another business at risk of stagnant growth or financial failure. With that said, writing a business plan can be daunting and intimidating for entrepreneurs of all levels.

Writing your own business plan is not hard. Use this simple guide to get started.

  1. Create an Executive Summary

The executive summary is your first impression, often the first page of your business plan. It should be clear and concise, highlighting the most important aspects of your new company.

Your executive summary should be at least one paragraph (two at most) in which you introduce your business. Summarize what it does, how it will make money, and how big the market is.

  1. Have Your Goals Clearly Defined

Your goals need to be realistic and specific. Your business plan should describe what you are capable of, not just what you hope for. With your goals in mind, you can then work towards achieving them.

  1. Identify Your Business’s Audience

Who are you targeting? Companies, individuals, or both? Your audience can help you determine how to structure your business and what products to offer. This is critical to defining what success looks like.

  1. Outline All of the Necessary Parts of Your Business

Include everything from your marketing plan to how you will organize and run your business. You can include in this section: the mission statement, the marketing, and advertising plan, training programs for employees, and financial budgeting.

  1. Include a Competitor Analysis

Competition is good because it keeps you on top of your game. It ensures the products you are offering are higher quality and more competitively priced. Competitor analysis can help you determine your target market, positioning strategy, customer needs, pricing strategies, and much more.

  1. Prepare a Financial Plan

You need to have financial projections for your company. Your financial plan should have three to five years of projections for your income statement and balance sheet. Do not worry if you are unsure about what they are at this point, but be sure to include them just the same.

Your business plan is your strategy for success. Don’t miss the opportunity to invest in this essential part of your development.