Do you want to start your business, or are you trying to get a loan for your business? In both cases, you will have to write a business plan. If the operation seems daunting, know that making a business plan is an excellent way to analyze your project idea and identify any problems you may not have seen. In addition, this is the opportunity to study in-depth all aspects of your business idea.
This article will teach you how to make an effective business plan for your business project. We will cover the following topics:
- What is a business plan?
- How to make a business plan?
- How to create a business plan and what components it needs to have
- Business plan: example to inspire you and free business plan template
- Suggestions for free business plan software
Know everything about how to make a business plan; let’s go!
Business plan: definition
What is a business plan? It is a formal document outlining your development goals and the strategy to achieve them. Studies show that entrepreneurs who start with a business plan build more successful companies. It’s the key to balanced growth, guiding you through the stages of your development, limiting risk, and helping you secure financial inflows (among other benefits). We sometimes talk about a business plan in French.
Make a business plan: objectives.
Most banks and financial institutions require you to submit a detailed business plan to obtain funds. However, since dropshipping businesses require a little budget to start, you may not need financial support and do not see the point of making a business plan.
However, you might need it to remove a tight limit on your credit card as your business grows or even to open a bank account. This varies from bank to bank.
If you are developing your business, making a business plan will help you increase your capital, create a growth strategy, find new opportunities and limit risks. It has evidence that making a business plan is twice as likely to obtain funds and success.
When starting a business, use your business plan to identify your project’s strengths and weaknesses, communicate your vision to others, and make accurate forecasts.
The business plan concerns all types of companies. It is thus possible to make a self-employed business plan.
How to make a business plan: the main steps
A business plan goes through 5 main steps: setting objectives, researching data, understanding your target, choosing a format, and writing. Click here for more info.
Make a business plan step 1: set goals.
There are two key questions to ask here:
- First, what do you hope to accomplish with your business?
- What do you hope to achieve with your business plan?
Approaching your business plan from this perspective will help you focus on the end goal through the writing process. This will guide how you direct your business plan. It is also a means of establishing criteria for evaluating your success.
Make a business plan step 2: research data.
Before writing your business plan, gather the necessary information and data. This includes information about your market and industry – including key figures and major trends.
It will be much easier to start with all the information available rather than researching as you progress.
For example, if you want to start an e-commerce business, study the French e-commerce figures. Your business plan must demonstrate your perfect knowledge of the market.
Make a business plan step 3: understand your audience.
Because business plans can serve different purposes, you won’t necessarily present them to the same audience. So it is important to adapt to the people who will read it, to think about what you want to get from them and the doubts these people might have.
Thus, you can adapt your business plan according to these different objectives. Your audience, therefore, determines the type or format of a business plan. This brings us to the next point.
Make a business plan step 4: choose a format.
There are currently two types of business plans:
- The traditional business plan is for entrepreneurs who want to create a detailed business plan or find financing.
- The simplified business plan concerns entrepreneurs who want to pitch their projects and takes up a single page. Start-ups widely use it.
If the business plan is only for you and your people, make a simplified business plan or a customized version of the traditional version, with only the sections you need.
If you need it for raising funds or other purposes, choose the traditional version and complete all parts carefully, paying particular attention to financial projections.
Make a business plan step 5: write!
Once your objectives are well defined, the market analyzed, and your target identified, you can start writing!
So how do you write a business plan? A business plan generally contains the following information, in an order that may vary:
- Project summary
- Company Description
- product and service
- Market research
- SWOT analysis
- Marketing and sales
- Management and organization
- Financial contribution
- Financial projection
To help you make your business plan, we’ll break down each of these elements before diving into the resources to find a sample and a business plan template, including a free PowerPoint business plan template.
Before that, a note: while you write your business plan, take the time to analyze your business idea and yourself. Ask yourself the following questions to help you take stock of your business as you go:
- Why do I want to start or develop my business?
- Do my goals (personal and professional) and values match my business idea?
- What income do I need to earn for myself?
- What education, experience, and skills should I bring to my business?
Making a business plan: the different parts
Here’s how to write each part of your business plan, including information.
The project summary is the first part of your business plan, where you need to hook the reader. Every business plan begins this way, even the most basic ones. First, summarize your entire business plan on one page, highlighting the details that will pique the curiosity of your potential investors and supporters.
Explain the purpose of your business, your target market, what differentiates you from the competition, tell a bit about yourself and the people at the heart of your business, and present realistic projections of the potential success of your business.
Although this is the first part of your business plan, write it after everything else. This will be much easier because you only have to bring the best-written sections to fit them into your first game.
This part should include basic details such as:
- Last name
- Legal status (micro-enterprise, company or other, etc.)
- SIRET number
- Creation date
- Legal responsible
- Number of employees
Your business description should include your company’s mission, core values, vision, short- and long-term goals, development milestones, and a brief synopsis of your market, prospects, and rivals.
Products and services
What you intend to market to consumers is described in the section on products and services. In the case of a dedicated dropshipping business plan, this section should explain what trending products you plan to sell, the problem that this product solves for your customers, how you determine your prices compared to your competitors, the expected profit margin, and the production and delivery information.
Remember to include the unique business proposition for each product or product category, such as exclusive supplier agreements, the ability to obtain rare or high-demand products through your connections, personalized customer service, or other benefits.
For dropshipping businesses selling hundreds or even thousands of products, detail the main product categories and the number of items you plan to carry in each type. This way, it will be easier to visualize your entire offer and determine if you need more products in this or that category.
The market research section of your business plan allows you to share research done to learn more about your customers, potential buyers, or your products.
Your audience will want to know if you have solid knowledge about your industry, the competitive landscape, and who should become your customers.
It is important to demonstrate that the market is dynamic enough to accommodate your products, be competitive and make a good return on investment.
To complete the market research section of your business plan, check the following resources from your industry, sector, and local economic research:
The Union of French People Abroad offers resources for people who want to start a business in a foreign country.
French embassies in most countries have a business section with information for people wishing to sell abroad. This section will include a basic getting started guide, links to reports or economic data, professional events, and other useful links for a particular region.
Statista also offers free and paid statistics and studies from over 18,000 resources, including industry, national, market, forecast, and other consumer research.
Use these sites and others to learn more about your industry’s development projections and potential. You can also use social networks such as Facebook audience insights to estimate the size of your target market on the largest social network.
To read more titles click here.