A written business plan is a crucial factor in the success of all businesses, whether you use it as a company road map or to secure funding. The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that an ideal business plan should include an executive summary, a description of the company, an analysis of market conditions, and a profile of the leadership structure. It also recommends a description of the product or service, a sales plan, and a request for funding.

Here are some tips on writing a business plan that reaches these standards.

Consider Your Goals

If you’re self-funding your business, the business plan is for your own edification, to help you plan the path to reach your goals. However, if you seek investors, the plan needs to be written with this objective in mind. Your plan may also need to be adaptable to suit the diverse requirements of traditional bankers, venture capitalists, or other lenders.

Conduct Research

Before you sit down to write, conduct thorough research on your product or service, the market you hope to reach, your potential competition, and the overall industry. Study relevant documents, search online, and survey your prospective customer base.

Profile Your Company

A company profile is useful not only for your business plan, but also for your business’s official website. It should include your company history, an overview of your products or services, and the qualities that make your business uniquely suited to reach your target audience.

Create a Marketing Plan

Your comprehensive marketing plan should include short-term and long-term goals and specific details of how to achieve those goals. Don’t forget to include budgets for personnel and out-of-pocket expenses.

Gather Documentation

To back up your business plan, have documents on hand to show investors that detail your cash flow, expenses, and financial projections. Your business plan should also have an appendix that includes credit histories, resumes, licenses, permits, and other essential papers.

For more advice on creating a business plan appropriate for your company, contact Integrity Financial Capital.