In the excitement of getting your new business started, you might have overlooked one key piece to a strong business, writing a business plan!

Writing may not be your strong point so it’ll be easy to be put off, but even having a short and sweet plan on paper can give you a clear direction and focus for when the day-to-day distractions kick in. Use it to set goals and give resolve to what is necessary to run your business successfully. Read on below to learn what to include in your business plan.

 

Mission Statement

This might be one statement, or a few, outlining your business values, motivations and goals. The mission statement of Brand Class is to help creative and small business owners transform their passion into a successful business through easy to follow branding and business tips. 

If you’re struggling on this one, try filling in the blanks in the sentence below: 

“My business will (action) to help (target customer) achieve (outcome).”

For example, if you were a photographer you might write:

“My business will provide simple photography packages to future brides and grooms to preserve their precious memories.

 

Services/Products

Describe the services or products you offer and what the outcome of those services will be. It could be tempting to list every service under the sun here because when you have more to offer you will have more customers, right? No. Instead, narrowing down your services can make you seem like an expert in that field rather than someone trying to appeal to everybody. The success of Coca-Cola is not down to them offering computers, cars and furniture alongside their drinks, but because they have one area of focus and they are known for their strength in that. 

 

Competitor Analysis

This is more about you rather than your competition because it is YOUR business plan. However, you should consider what makes you different from your competition. For example, who is your target customer and why should they choose you over someone else? Once you’ve pinned down what is different about your business, make sure that it’s communicated through your branding. Branding is not just a logo, it’s how the entire communication experience between you and your customer starts. 

The benefits of communicating clearly to your customer are countless. Use branding to your advantage to wedge open the gap between you and your competition. Do you think the competition looks too clinical and uninviting? Then, allow your branding to communicate a more welcoming message, if appropriate. 

 

Process

I hate doing the same job twice. I love efficiency and if I can create a process to streamline projects, then I will. Pinpoint common exercises that are routinely repeated and create a streamlined process to reduce time wastage so that you can focus on the more enjoyable aspects of your business instead. Fast food restaurants can make you a meal much faster than I can and if you have a burger at any of their chains, it will taste the same. This is purely down to a strict but simplified process. 

Drafting common processes in your business on paper will highlight any areas that could be improved or simplified. So, when you’re having a chaotic day where your brain is barely functioning, it helps to have a clear step-by-step process to follow. This will ensure that whether you’re a business of one, or have a small army of employees, customers will receive the same experience regardless of who they are dealing with at your business.

 

Financial Goals

The scary part! But, if there’s one goal that all businesses have in common, it’s to make a profit. How much money do you need to start and subsequently maintain a new business? What will the expenses be monthly and yearly? How long will it be till you’re in profit? Will an investment of your own money be enough to get things going, or are you going to need a bank loan or investor? 

It can be hard to predict profits before you have any sales history so you will need to set realistic goals that are within reach. Don’t assume that you will get all of the business that you want in the first year, so set yourself targets to stay motivated. Once the sales start coming in, you can adjust your projections. 


Documenting your business plan doesn’t mean it is set in stone; it should be flexible for the twists and turns of your first year in business. Day 1 will not look like day 365; a healthy business will be ever-evolving and your plan will be too. 

Be realistic. Whilst you should be positive about any business you are starting, don’t overestimate immediate success. Most ‘overnight success’ stories have been years in the making but you just don’t see the behind the scenes of those business stories. 

For those of you already in business, have you written a plan yet?