Whether you’re just starting out and want to monitor the health of your business, creating a business plan is your first step on the path to success. Once you determine a business plan is a necessary tool for your company, you may wonder, “Where do I start?” The structure and content of a business plan is to provide an understanding of how the parts of the plan fit together. Business planning is about results. You need to make the contents of your plan match your purpose. Don’t accept a standard outline just because it’s there.

A startup plan includes a description of your business, marketing, finances, and management. The following factors are discussed in detail that contribute to most business success and should guide your planning process:

  • Summary – The executive summary is the most important section of your business plan. It provides a concise overview of the entire plan along with a history of your company. This section tells your reader where your company is and where you want to take it.
  • Statement – The mission statement briefly explains the thrust of your business. It should be as direct and focused as possible, and it should leave the reader with a clear picture of what your business is all about.
  • Company Description – Inform the reader of the basic details of your business, such as ownership, products or services, and legal status.
  • Market Analysis – The market analysis section should illustrate your knowledge about the particular industry your business is in. It should also present general highlights and conclusions of any marketing research data you have collected; however, the specific details of your marketing research studies should be moved to the appendix section of your business plan.
  • Competition – It is better to know what you’re up against than to be surprised when you sales suddenly disappear to an unexpected competitor. A knowledgeable investor needs to know that you have fully examined the realities of your business.
  • Organization – a company’s organization and management style act as powerful invisible forces shaping both the daily working atmosphere and the future of the company.

In this competitive and constantly changing business environment, you have to know how to run a business, as well as knowing what business you’re really running. Too many people think strategic planning is something meant only for big businesses, but it is equally applicable to small businesses. Strategic planning is matching the strengths of your business to available opportunities. To do this effectively, you need to collect, screen, and analyze information about the business environment. You also need to have a clear understanding of your business – its strengths and weaknesses – and develop a clear mission, goals, and objectives. Acquiring this understanding often involves more work than expected.

Now that you have a mini understanding why you need a business plan, start gathering the information you need to create one, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. Click here for research sources.


  1. The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies by Rhonda Abrams
  2. Entrepreneur.com
  1. Five Star Painting Franchise » Blog Archive » The Three C’s & Strategic Goals for Business Said,

    […] For more information on running a business, click here. […]

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