Complete Your Business Plan

Complete Your Business Plan

Module 13: Complete Your Business Plan

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🎯 Our goal in this module is to complete the remaining sections of your Business Plan and bring them all together.

By now, you have done all the “heavy lifting”. We just need to return to the “Almost Done” sections that we put aside at the beginning of Phase 2, complete them, and bring together your final Business Plan.

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Important: Remember, your business plan is a story.

It should be a compelling story that motivates you to launch your business and inspires others to be a part of that adventure. 

You are painting a picture of the way things are now and how you see them changing in the future.

Your Business Plan should be a mostly non-fiction, action and adventure story. It should not be a mystery or a thriller.

  • Non-Fiction: Based on your personal research and interviews, your analysis and financial projections, your vision, etc.
  • Action: Solving problems, building a team, finding customers, managing your business, etc.
  • Adventure: Overcoming obstacles and crises that you hadn’t planned for and finding new opportunities along the way

Okay, let’s start at the beginning.

⚡Action Step 1

Describe the Problem.

Your Business Plan should open with the Problem that your potential customers are experiencing.

During Phase 1, you worked hard to develop a clear understanding of the “struggles” and frustrations that your target customers currently deal with. 

Now, communicate this to your “readers”. Get your readers’ attention from the first sentence. Make the pain points and struggles of your potential customers palpable.

Go to the “Problem” section in our “Business Plan Core Template” and write out your narrative. 

A couple of paragraphs should be enough here. You can draw on any written descriptions and notes you created during your secondary and primary research.

⚡Action Step 2

Describe your Solution.

Through your secondary research and the interviews that you conducted with potential customers, industry insiders, and competitors you designed, modified, and refined your idea for a product/service—Your Solution—into something that now appears to be ready for the market. 

You may even be testing early versions of your product/service with potential customers at this very moment.

Now, just reference the work that you have been doing since the beginning of Phase 1 and tell your readers exactly how you are going to solve the Problem that you described in the previous section.

Go to the “Solution” section in our “Business Plan Core Template” and write out your narrative. 

A paragraph or two should be sufficient here.

⚡Action Step 3

Write your Company Description.

What to Include:

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If you have already established your company, you can tell us the...
  • Name
  • City/country in which you are based
  • Legal structure of your business entity

(Just a sentence or two is fine here.)

If you are not yet established, just share your plans with the same information—only a sentence or two will do.

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What is your vision for your company? What is your mission?

Think of your “vision” as your company’s reason for being. For example...

  • “To end world hunger.”
  • “To bring peace and prosperity to all.”
  • “To save the planet from climate change.”

Think of your “mission” as how your company is planning to work toward reaching your vision for the future. 

  • What is it that your company will actually be doing to help bring your vision into reality?

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Important: Having a vision for your company will help keep you and your team inspired and dedicated.  Having a mission will help keep everyone focused on what needs to be done day in and day out.

Write out your vision statement and your mission statement in simple, but powerful language. 

Keep each of them to 25 words or less, so that they are easy to digest, memorize, and internalize. Take all the time you need to do these well.

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Suggestion: A simple Google search for mission and vision statements of other companies will provide you with plenty of ideas and examples.  Here’s one that I recommend you take a look at →

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What is the status of your product/service at this moment?
  • Do you have a prototype?
  • If not, what else needs to be done before you will have a working model ready? 
  • How long do you anticipate that taking?
  • What additional resources will you need to be ready to introduce it to the market?

Write Your Description

Go to the “Company Description” section in our “Business Plan Core Template” and write out your narrative.

Create the following four paragraphs under “Company Description”:
  1. Introduce the name, address, and legal structure of your company in one or two sentences.
  2. Write out your company Vision Statement in 25 words or less.
  3. Write out your company Mission Statement in 25 words or less.
  4. Provide a current status report of your product/service—a few sentences.

⚡Action Step 4

Describe your Value Proposition.

Your Value Proposition should be included in your Solution section from above, but it is also important to present it by itself in a separate section. 

You want your readers to be able to reference your Value Proposition quickly and easily as they read through your Business Plan.

You should be able to use your notes from Phase 1 to present your Value Proposition here without much effort. 

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Usually, this section takes a couple of sentences or a short paragraph. You want it to be concise and easy to read, understand, and remember.

Go to the “Value Proposition” section in our “Business Plan Core Template” and write out your narrative.

⚡Action Step 5

Summarize your Research.

In this section, you are establishing your credibility. 

By this point, you will already have spent many hours on the Internet doing secondary research on almost every aspect of your business. 

You will also have conducted multiple interviews with potential customers, industry insiders, and competitors, asking hundreds of questions to help you design and develop your product/service and your business model.

The research that you have done is truly the “Gold Standard” for validating a business idea and launching a successful business. 

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Nothing will guarantee success in business, but the work that you have put into researching, interviewing, planning, and testing will set you apart from almost everybody else and provide you with an incredible competitive advantage. 

This will move the odds of success in your favor. Investors know this, and by the time you have completed Phase 1 and Phase 2, you will also understand how crucial this work is to your success.

So, tell your readers about it.

  • Dedicate a few paragraphs—up to a page—to telling the story of your research.  Describe the process and the people that you interviewed for your primary research. 
  • Summarize your secondary research and identify where you found this information (your sources).
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Remember that you are “telling a story”, not just providing facts and details. 
  • Did you make significant changes in your product/service as a result of your research? 
  • Did you create a prototype and test it with potential customers and industry insiders? 
  • Make this section interesting as well as informative.

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Go to the “Summary of Your Research” section in our “Business Plan Core Template” and write out your narrative.

⚡Action Step 6

Complete your Industry Analysis.

You probably already have all that you need for this section from the industry research that you conducted in Phase 1.

For now, you just need to be familiar with the industry that you will be operating in.  You need to have enough information to confirm that this is where you want to be and that this is a place where your product/service could thrive.

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Here’s What You Need to Know:
  • Size of the industry—is it a million-dollar, billion-dollar, or even trillion-dollar industry?
  • Is the industry growing, declining, or stagnant?
  • What are the current trends and future predicted trends in the industry?
  • Is there room for you?
  • Who are the major competitors in your industry?
  • How is business currently conducted in your industry?

This will be enough industry analysis for now.

Describe what you have learned and why you believe that this is the right place for your company to launch and grow. This will probably take a page or two.

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Go to the “Industry Analysis” section in our “Business Plan Core Template” and write out your narrative.

⚡Action Step 7

Describe your Competition.

Your Business Plan is almost complete! You only have one more section left to convert from “Almost Done” to “Done”—Competition.

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Good News: You have been researching and talking to your competition all along the way, so you already have much of what you’ll need for this section in your Phase 1 notes.

Like so many things in business (and life), we can easily find ourselves devoting too much time and attention to one thing at the expense of something else. And that’s an easy trap to fall into here as well.

It’s prudent and essential to study the competitive environment before you launch your business, and then to continue monitoring your competition and any changes in the marketplace after you start doing business.

But how much is enough?

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For “pre-launch”, here’s what you will need to know:
  • Who are the top 5-10 companies in your industry that are offering something close to what you will be offering?
  • What products/services are they offering?
  • Who are their customers?
  • How are they marketing their products/services?
  • How do their customers find them?
  • How do they deliver their products/services to their customers?
  • What are their prices?

You will also benefit from including a brief SWOT Analysis in this section. SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats”. 

This is a simple, but very useful exercise to assess the strong and weak points of your business, as well as those of your competitors. 

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A SWOT Analysis will also help you to identify potential opportunities where you can grow in the market and potential threats or challenges that you might face as you start operating and growing your business.

Here are some questions to guide you through your pre-launch SWOT Analysis:

Strengths:
  • What are your assets—intellectual property, talent, special sauce?
  • What makes your product/service special?
  • What is unique about your business model or product/service?
  • What are your advantages over your competitors?
Weaknesses:
  • Do you and your team need more experience?
  • What do you need to improve on?
  • Do you have enough investment and cash flow to survive while developing a large-enough customer base?
  • Do you and your team need more knowledge in critical areas?
Opportunities:
  • What trends and changes in the market could create opportunities for your product/service?
  • Are there niche markets that you can add to your target market?
  • Are there other companies that you can partner with?
Threats:
  • Are there other startup businesses that could compete with you in the future?
  • Are there any major obstacles in your path?
  • Are there any governmental regulations that might adversely affect your business?
  • Are there legal challenges or barriers to market-entry facing you?

(Click each triangle toggle to view)

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SWOT Analysis is something that you will want to keep current as you operate and grow your business—it will help you to build and maintain a competitive advantage over time.

You already have much of the information that you will need for your SWOT Analysis in your notes from Phase 1, and you can find more on your competitors’ websites. 

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Check out the “Resources” section (at the bottom of this page) if you need to conduct any additional industry research.

Reference your notes from Phase 1 and conduct any additional research as needed to get a good understanding of the competitive environment that you will be operating in. 

Then make note of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Write a short narrative describing your competition (using the questions listed on the previous page) and your SWOT Analysis (based on the questions above and any others that you feel may be relevant).

This should take a day or two and be no more than two pages long.

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Go to the “Competition” section in our “Business Plan Core Template” and write out your narrative.

🗂️ Resources

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Scroll left-to-right across the table below to view all columns. Click on any item in the leftmost column to open that specific resource page.

All

4 views

All

Market Research

Competitor Research

Customer Research

ItemTagsURLPriceDescription
BNI
Association
PaidFree Content Available
Business Plan Core Template
Business PlanBizActually
Free
A no-frills Business Plan template in Google Sheets. (Created by our Team)
Entrepreneurs’ Organization
Association
PaidFree Content Available
Financial Projections
FinancialsCash FlowProfit & LossBalance SheetBreak-EvenBizActually
Free
A Google Sheet to organize and calculate your financial projections. (Created by our Team)
Minority Business Development Agency
Association
PaidFree Content Available
Mission & Vision Statement Examples
Business PlanArticleVision StatementMission Statement
Free
Great examples of powerful mission and vision statements from real companies.
NASE
Association
PaidFree Content Available
NaVoba
Association
NFIB
OperationsLegalAssociation
PaidFree Content Available
SCORE
OperationsLegalBusiness Consulting
Free
Largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors and resource partner to the Small Business Administration (SBA).
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc
Association
PaidFree Content Available
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Association
Paid
Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC)
Market ResearchCompetitor ResearchCustomer ResearchBusiness Consulting
Free
Your Local & State Chambers of Commerce
Association
PaidFree Content Available

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