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8 Steps To Writing A Successful Business Plan

Follow the yellow brick road — a foolproof guide to putting that business idea to paper.

Step 1. Describe Your Business
It is all well and good to know what your business will be, but how does it fit into the industry and the current market? Here you should tell your reader what your business idea is, where it will sit and how well you expect it to do as the market turns.

Step 2. Dig Deeper Into The Market
If you want to create a market strategy, you need to know your market. Know every aspect of the market so you are better able to target specific parts of that market and effectively build sales leads.

Step 3. Know Thy Enemy
Now that you know where your opportunity lies, you need to know the barriers to entry. One of the biggest hurdles you will face is a marketplace filled with competitors. Find out everything you can about them and see where you have an advantage and where your competitors fail.

Step 4. Form your product
The reason your business idea exists — your product. Sure, you know what it is, but will your investors? You need to be able to describe your product, explain how it will develop and, in the case of an actual physical product, how it will be made. Other things to consider include marketing the product and the company and setting a budget for product development.

Step 5. How will you run it?
A successful business is dependent on how well it is run. Is your business a well-oiled machine? Before you even hire your first member of staff, you need an operations and management plan. In it, you should detail how the business will function, responsibilities of management or individual teams and the costs related to each of them.

Step 6. Plan your finances
In the previous steps, you would have laid out some of the costs involved in your business. Here you should elaborate on each and pad it out with other elements like potential revenue, buffer costs and target profit in order to scale your business in the future.

Step 7. Executive Summary
The executive summary is found right after the title page. But why have we listed this as the last step? Because in order to write an effective executive summary, you need a clear idea of what your entire business plan encompasses. Here you will tell your investors and partners what you want and how you plan on doing it. This is the punchline. Do not bury it further down in the document.