While some owners may be tempted to jump directly into startup mode, writing a business plan is a crucial first step for budding entrepreneurs to check the viability of a business before investing too much time or money. The purpose of a business plan is to help articulate a strategy for starting your business. It also provides insight on steps to be taken, resources required for achieving your business goals and a timeline of anticipated results. For existing small businesses, a business plan should be updated annually as a way to guide growth and navigate the expansion into new markets.
Whatever your reason for writing a business plan, the task will probably still feel like a homework assignment. A business plan is a roadmap describing a business, its products or services, how it earns or will earn money, its leadership and staffing, its financing, its operations model, and many other details essential to its success. Investors rely on business plans to evaluate the feasibility of a business before funding it, which is why business plans are commonly associated with getting a loan. Business planning is often used to secure funding, but plenty of business owners find writing a plan valuable, even if they never work with an investor. We'll also send you updates on new educational guides and success stories from the Shopify newsletter. We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe. Get started.
This article provides a detailed business plan outline as well as a step by step guide to writing a business plan. I encourage you to read this article in relation to our series of articles on how to write a business plan. Below is our recommended business plan outline. Every company is different and the business plan needs to be tailored to reflect that, therefore this is more a guideline than a strict template. Our business plan outline is structured so that each section answers a specific set of investor questions about your business.
Maybe you think you don't need a step-by-step guide to writing a great business plan. Maybe you think you don't need a template for writing a business plan. After all, some entrepreneurs succeed without writing a business plan. Does a business plan make startup success inevitable? Absolutely not.