Writing a business plan is an essential step for any small business owner. Not only does it help you clearly define your business goals and strategy but it can also be a valuable tool for seeking funding and partnerships. If you plan to apply for a Small Business Association (SBA) loan, following their guidelines when writing your business plan is essential.
Here are the steps to writing a Small Business Association-approved business plan:
- An Executive Summary is a synopsis of your business plan that includes your business idea, target market, financial projections, and marketing strategies. Stay on point, using concise language, as it will be the first thing readers see.
- Company description: This section should provide an in-depth look at your business, including its history, mission statement, values, and goals. Include details about your target market, industry, and competition.
- Product or service offering: Describe your product or service in detail, including its features, benefits, and target market. You should also outline any intellectual property or proprietary technology you have.
- Marketing and sales strategy: In this section, you should outline your plan for reaching and selling to your target market. Marketing and sales points can include details about your pricing strategy, marketing channels, and sales techniques.
- Financial projections: This is a crucial part of your business plan, as it will help you and potential investors understand your financial goals and needs. You should include detailed financial projections for the next three to five years, including a balance sheet, income, and cash flow statements.
- Management and organization: This section should provide an overview of your business’s leadership and management structure and any key advisors or partners.
- Operations: You should outline your business’s day-to-day operations, including details about your location, production process, supply chain, and logistics.
- Financial needs: If you are seeking funding, this section should outline your specific financial markets, including the amount of money you desire, how you plan to use it, and how you plan to repay it.
- Appendices: This is a section for any additional information or documents that support your business plans, such as resumes, contracts, and financial statements.
Once you have completed these steps, you must carefully review and revise your business plan to ensure it is thorough, well-written, and adheres to the SBA’s guidelines. A strong business plan can be valuable for securing funding and growing your small business.