How to write your business plan

In my blog “How to start your own business” I wrote about making a business plan. If you think: I am 60+ my business is more a hobby than a business. You might think “why should I write a business plan?” Let us have a look at this question and more about How to write a business plan.

Reasons why a business plan is important

  • if you need funds to start your business 
  • to explain to other partners your plans 
  • for yourself, it is a useful help to make your plans concrete. 

A formal plan is needed if you must present it to outsiders like your bank or the chamber of commerce. I like to have a plan that looks good but if you do not have to present it, the formal plan can be replaced by an outline of your thoughts. Most important is to write a plan that helps you to develop your business and run the company based on your thoughts about it without getting overwhelmed by the everyday things that happen. 

But if it is also for the outside world, ask your bank or chamber of commerce what kind of business plan they expect to be sure you will deliver the right information. You can find a lot of information on the internet.  

What does it mean that you are older?

Are you (like me) older and still want to start a business? For the table of contents there is no difference but if you describe the entrepreneur, there are differences. If you start a business in the same field as you have been working for the last few years, the experience you have is a big advantage. Your network will be much bigger than the network of younger people so use it. And do you know from the businesses started twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25.  

“Only a well-conceived and well-packaged plan can win the necessary investment and support for your idea. It must describe the company or proposed project accurately and attractively. Even though its subject is a moving target, the plan must detail the company’s or the project’s present status, current needs, and expected future. You must present and justify ongoing and changing resource requirements, marketing decisions, financial projections, production demands, and personnel needs in logical and convincing fashion.” Harvard business review

How do you start your plan?

First you need a format. You can use a presentation program like PowerPoint or Keynote. For my own business plan, I used a template from Creative Market. It looks professional without taking too much time to create it.

I used a template from Simple P. for about 19$

If you want to write a lot of text use MS Word or Google docs. 

The table of content

  1. Executive summary, write this after you have written everything mentioned below. See it as an elevator pitch like telling people, you respect your new plans. 
  1. Entrepreneur, describe who you are, strengths and weaknesses, a curriculum of what you have done before 
  1. Describe your activities, origin of the idea, describe your product(s) or service(s). All your products and services, what are the benefits and especially how they stand out from competing products .
  1. State your business goals, What are the short-term goals and long-term goals you want to achieve? 
  1. Describe the market research you did (competitors). What is the size of the market in volume and in value? Which customer segments can you distinguish? What about the economic environment? Market research techniques include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation
  1. The target audience, potential, short and long term. The target audience is the group of people you are making your products for.
  1. Outline your Marketing and Sales plan, describe the items of the marketing mix. Use Solution, Information Value and Access or the P’s of Product, Promotion, Place and Price.  
  1. Financial, perform a business financial analysis by making an opening balance sheet 
  1. Financial projections: Estimate expected income and expenses and make a liquidity forecast.
  1. Write an action plan with timeline. I use a table with the following columns:
NameDescriptionBeforeByRemarks
Welcome guideto hand over to clientMay 2022Lenyprofessional look
example action points table

Bonus Tips

  • A video about how investors look at a successful business plan: here
  • A book: Never too old to get rich, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business Mid-Life: here
  • How to discover new talents after 60: here
  • How to start your own business when older: here
  • How to prepare for retiring: here

“The ball is in your court” let us know in the comments about your experiences

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