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Critical Elements of Your Written Business Plan – The Sections (Part 2)

By: Yvonne A Jones Category: Business - Entrepreneur, online business, Uncategorized

The first part of your business plan takes into consideration your target audience, what they expect, and how the product or service you will be providing will meet or exceed their needs and expectations. 

The following sections will apply across the board, but keep in mind that if your audience includes investors, venture firms, and or banks, your business plan would be much more detailed.  These are ‘bare bones’ guidelines written with the entrepreneur, solo-professional, or small business owner who needs to have a written business plan to serve as a guide or track to run on.

 When organizing a business plan, break it down into sections such as:-

 1.  Business summary – The product or service you will provide.  What you will have to offer must be clearly defined.  Imagine that a stranger is reading your document.  By the end of the first paragraph your reader must clearly understand whether you will be providing products or a service, or a combination of both.   Ask yourself:

  • What problem will you be solving?
  • What is your solution?
  • Why should people listen to you?  Note: This one can be tricky if you are launching a business that’s new to you. But if you have received specific training, do not be afraid to state that.

 2.   Market analysis – Research the product or service and how the competitors are doing.  Identify the weaknesses in the market and how you can satisfy that need.  Include what people are paying for similar products in your market and what you can expect customers to pay.

 3.   Product positioning – How to make it more prominent compared to your competitors. In your Business Summary you would have stated what product or service you will provide.  In this section you will:

  • State what you will be selling or what service you will provide
  • What are the features, advantages and benefits
  • What is your unique selling proposition that will set you apart from the competition?
  • If you’re writing your plan after you’ve started your business, do you have testimonials?  This would be the place to put them.

 4.   Market strategy – How are you actually going to market your product or service?  For example, if your broad area is Internet Marketing, what will be your niche? Affiliate marketing? A Private Label Rights website, Article Marketing, Blogging, etc. What marketing strategies will you implement?  For example, if Blogging – how will you monetize your blog? What methods will you use to market and take it from ‘just a free blog’ to one that makes money?

 5.   Customer analysis – Look at what the customer wants or needs.

 6.   Financial analysis – What you need to invest in order to set up the business and keep it going while it is just getting started.

 7.   Overall business goals – What you hope to achieve in one, two and five years.

 Once a business plan has been developed, it should not lay in the back of a drawer or sit in a frame on the wall of your office.  Rather, it should be a working plan that you can refer to when you need to.

 The best way to make a written business plan is to keep it simple (one or two pages should be all you need).  For most entrepreneurs a paragraph for each point should be sufficient to give you clarity and provide a document for you to refer to.

Based on the suggestion of one of my peers,  @Melanie Kissell, in the future I will be doing a series of actual examples of the negative impact failure to have a written business plan can have on your business.  I may be contacting you! 🙂

18 Comments to “Critical Elements of Your Written Business Plan – The Sections (Part 2)”


  1. Pamela Evbota says:

    Well written!
    It removes the fear and actually makes it fun. Believe it or not i am not a huge fan of a business plan except for a one page plan.
    With your permission i hope to repost this on my site.
    Pamela Evbota recently posted..1 Reason To Have a Facebook Strategy

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  2. I can relate, Pamela, but we have to do what we need to do in the best interest of ourselves and our business 🙂

    I would consider it an honor for you to post this on your website as a “Guest Post.” Thank you, and I appreciate you. I also plan to be more visible there as I finish one aspect of my new product and move on to the next phase.

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  3. Roberta Budvietas, says:

    Concentrate on what makes a successful business – I don’t like promoting myself but your topic is dear to my heart and part of why the 10 critical criteria is something I give away free to people. It comes from one of our ebooks but is based on years of study on successful businesses.
    Also mind mapped business plans work really well but do the numbers to – need that cashflow forecast – focuses the mind

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  4. Leona Martin says:

    Yvonne,

    LOVE this! I am in need of re-visiting my business plan and it is always great to read up each time you need to re-visit your plan.

    THANKS!

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  5. Jen Puckett says:

    I like simple, sometimes these things seem so overwhelming! I love that you say to keep it at one or two pages! Thanks for sharing!
    Jen Puckett recently posted..Kreativ Blogger Award

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  6. Samantha Bangayan says:

    I loved this detailed outline, Yvonne! Thank you so much for taking the time to list this all out! I especially liked seeing that the plan should be concise and only take up one to two pages. At first glance, based on the headings, I thought it would be a 25-page essay! =P

    You know, I just realized that I could probably edit my “business summary” for my “About Me” page on my website too! =) I’ve been thinking a lot about how to revamp it! =)

    Thanks so much, Yvonne! I’ve gained so much from this post! =)
    Samantha Bangayan recently posted..Health or Warmth- A Case of Mites

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  7. Great advice, Yvonne. And, I hate to blur the focus- but I feel that one VERY important section is missing. It will be different for solopreneurs and an entrepreneurial team. The missing section is either Skill Set or Team Qualifications, respectively.
    We are not looking for bios here, but the skill sets that one CLEARLY possesses (self-deception is the worst sin of all). Compare those skill sets with the attributes that will be necessary to bring your product to market, achieve your marketing plan, and effect the business functions (accounting, logistics, etc) for the venture.
    If you lack a skill set, identify HOW (who would be even better) you plan to overcome that. Make sure you know that and work on it to insure your absolute success.
    Go get ’em!
    Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA recently posted..Are you asleep Or are you awake Or- are you both

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  8. No, I don’t think you’re blurring the focus at all, Roy. You are very correct and I believe I alluded to that in the Business Summary part “Why should people listen to you?” In other words what skills or training do you have to make this a success or convince others that they should use your service or purchase your products? It’s a very important consideration because if certain skill sets are lacking you will either need to have the training or get someone who has that knowledge to assist you.

    Roy statement, “If you lack a skill set, identify HOW (who would be even better) you plan to overcome that. Make sure you know that and work on it to insure your absolute success.” is well worth keeping in mind when creating your written business plan.

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  9. You’re so welcome, Samantha, and reading your comments made me think again how much we need each other. As a blogging community we are there to support each other, even though we’re miles apart. You referred to your “About” page that needs updating and I was reminded that I needed to update mine to incorporate more of what I now do. If the Business Plan had to be ‘a 25-page essay’ I don’t think any of us would do it. I know I wouldn’t 🙂 I’m glad the post was helpful.

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  10. I like that word too, Jen. Too complex and it goes to the bottom of the pile everytime 🙂 Thanks for leaving your comments.

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  11. Roberta, I know it’s not considered proper etiquette to promote yourself on someone’s page when leaving comments, but I would LOVE to get that list of 10 critical criteria. I’m going over to your website and hope it’s available there. If not, and you read this message, please send me a link. After all, while most of us are suffer from information overload, there are some pieces of information that are essential to our business…those are the ones we want.

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  12. Leona, I’m in the same boat. I need to re-write my business plan to include working with local small businesses and will be using my post to make sure I’ve included everything. All the best!

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  13. Lynn Brown says:

    Yvonne you did a great job in providing details and info for creating your business plan for the small business, solo, entrepreneurs. It starts with a dream, then a written plan, implement, take action and reap the rewards.

    Keeping it simple is what I suggest to my clients, especially when they are starting out. That is because you will change your plan as you build and grow your business. Not necessarily the whole plan, possibly your market strategy or customer analysis may change based on audience/client reactions. Being flexible is key.

    Looking forward to sharing your information to my fans, followers and clients.
    Lynn Brown recently posted..Four Ways To Improve The Quality Of Your Article Resource Boxes for Successful Article Marketing

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  14. Thank you, Lynn. I enjoyed reading and appreciate your comments. Your clients are very fortunate to have you guide them in their business journey.

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  15. Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur says:

    I can tell lots of work went into crafting this post, Yvonne. And I, for one, appreciate you laying everything out so nicely.

    As a matter of fact, you may want to consider transforming this awesome info into a special report and offer it as a freebie. Lots of entrepreneurs, especially those with new start-ups, could really benefit from getting their hands on this information.

    The entrepreneurial adventure always begins with your ideal client or customer, doesn’t it, Yvonne? Until you can identify and describe that particular individual to a “T”, no need to pick up your pen and start writing a business plan. You don’t have a plan without a target audience! 🙂

    Thank you kindly for the mention,
    Melanie
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Struggle Is Optional – Work Is Required

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  16. Melanie, I’ve often found that we come up with similar ideas. Thanks for the suggestion about putting the information together into a special report. That’s a great idea! What I planned on doing immediately is including the information in my autoresponders for http://getyourbusinessonlinetoday.com subscribers. You’re most welcome for the mention.

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  17. Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur says:

    Yvonne,

    Your landing page for http://getyourbusinessonlinetoday.com is really sharp! Love it. Short, crisp, targeted, and to the point. 🙂
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Struggle Is Optional – Work Is Required

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  18. Thank you, Melanie. I appreciate your feedback on the landing page. 🙂

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