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Not every business launches with a formal business plan, but many founders find value in taking time to step back, research their idea and the market they’re looking to enter, and understand the scope and the strategy behind their tactics. A business plan is a document 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.
Again, it’s a summary, so highlight the key points you’ve uncovered while writing your plan.
If you’re writing for your own planning purposes, you can skip the summary altogether—although you might want to give it a try anyways, just for practice. Admittedly, that space constraint can make squeezing in all of the salient information a bit stressful—but it’s not impossible.
Clarifying these details is still a useful exercise even if you’re the only person who’s going to see them.
It's an opportunity to put to paper some of the more intangible facets of your business, like your principles, ideals, and cultural philosophies.
Your statement should explain, in a convincing manner, why your business exists, and should be no longer than a single sentence.
As an example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.” It’s the “why” behind everything we do and clear enough that it needs no further explanation.Whatever your reason for writing a business plan, the task will probably still feel like a homework assignment.When you’re starting a business, your to-do list is a mile long and filled with more immediately rewarding tasks, like taking product photos, creating ad campaigns, and opening social media accounts.Now that you’ve got an outline or a template in place, it’s time to fill it in.We’ve broken it down by section to help you build your plan step-by-step.Since an outline is such an important step in the process of writing a business plan, we’ve put together a high-level overview you can copy into your blank document to get you started (and avoid the terror of facing a blank page).Here’s a sample business plan outline: You can also start with a business plan template, and use it to inform the structure of your plan.Here’s what your business plan’s executive summary should include: This section of your business plan should answer two fundamental questions: Who are you, and what do you plan to do?Answering these questions provides an introduction to why you’re in business, why you’re different, what you have going for you, and why you’re a good investment bet.A good executive summary is one of the most crucial sections of your plan—it’s also the last section you should write.The executive summary’s purpose is to distill everything that follows and give time-crunched reviewers (e.g., potential investors) a high-level overview of your business that persuades them to read further.