Essential Elements of a Business Plan for 2023

Your business plan is a blueprint for your success. Whether you’re a new business just starting out, or you’re veterans in the industry and just want a refresh, it’s important to have a well thought out plan for your goals and success metrics. Here at Gallo LLP, we want to see all of our clients win in business, and that’s why we’ve put together a guide for the essential elements of a business plan!

What is a Business Plan

Business plans are documents that provide an overview of a business, earning potential, who the key staff members are, operations models, the business purpose, mission statement, and more. At its core, a business plan is what a business hopes to achieve and how it will achieve it. 

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

A business plan is your guide to business success, and you need a well written plan to ensure that your team is able to successfully execute your business plan. The primary benefits for businesses that have a business plan are as follows.

1. Increased Clarity

If you’re faced with a difficult business decision, your business plan will provide you with clarity in the face of ambiguity. Business plans also provide you with clarity on what path to take. You might look at hundreds of opportunities and want to pursue all of them, but that isn’t a feasible business decision. Having a business plan will provide you with clarity on which opportunities to pursue and which to leave behind at the moment. 

2. Help You Manage Change

Change within a business is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun or easy to deal with. Having a business plan will provide you with a stable plan to follow whenever you’re facing uncertainty. 

3. Helps with Investing

If you’re looking for investors for your business, having a business plan will show that you’re serious about your business and have clearly outlined goals. A business plan will lay out what kind of success markers you have and ensure that prospective investors feel comfortable becoming a stakeholder. 

4. Helps with Hiring

Having a business plan will help guide you in your hiring process. Not only will your outlined goals show you where you may need talented staff to push your business forward, but your business plan can attract talented go-getters who want to help a business grow. 

5. Provides Milestones and Metrics

Your business plan should set milestones and performance indicators for your business’ success. It’s incredibly beneficial to have key goals to keep track of and how you can measure their success written out in your business plan. Not only will it keep you on track, it also reminds you to celebrate your successes!

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Your business plan isn’t just an internal document. Oftentimes you will submit your business plan to financial establishments, investors, and other external parties to gain financial backing, new employees, and sometimes even customers. That’s why it’s important to ensure your business plan is as effective as it is informative. Here are a few tips to writing our business plan so that it will be impactful, long lasting, and valuable. 

1. Know Your Business Plan’s Purpose

The first step in writing a business plan is knowing what you want to accomplish from it. If your primary goal is to gain funding, that should be the lens in which you approach your research and writing. Before doing anything, sit down with your existing stakeholders and trusted advisors to know what you want to achieve from this plan.

2. Write Concisely 

Avoid business jargon and ensure you’re not overly verbose throughout your business plan. You want people to actually read your business plan, so if you go on for pages talking about nothing in particular, potential stakeholders will likely skim or not read your document at all. 

3. Use Real Data

Much like writing a resume, it’s important to support your claims with numbered data. Include information from competitors, market research, and your own business’ data to ensure that your business plan showcases your knowledge and determination. 

4. Let Yourself Shine

If you’re a business owner, you are likely quite passionate about your business and what you hope to achieve. Don’t hold this part of yourself back. People respond positively to professionals who care and are passionate about what they do, so ensure that you let them know why you care about this business – as well as why they should care too.

5. Have Someone Outside the Business Perform Research

You’re always going to be a little bit biased towards yourself, that’s just human nature. When it comes to competitive analysis, market research, and financial analysis, it’s a good idea to hire someone who can be completely honest and objective. Not only will this data be useful for yourself to use, but it will also provide additional validity to your statements and help prospective stakeholders trust your claims. 

6. Remember Your Business Plan Isn’t Carved in Stone

You can always change your business plan if you need to. Don’t be afraid to start using your business plan and moving forward on your goals. You can always update your business plan six months or a few years down the road, so there’s no need to sit in analysis paralysis, editing your business plan until it’s absolutely perfect. Businesses grow and change, so it makes sense that your business plan would do the same!

What to Include in Your Business Plan

Business plans are a reflection of each individual organization, so they will all have some differences, but there are a few essential elements that should always be included in a business plan.

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Business opportunities
  • Business goals
  • Key performance indicators
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Financial overview
  • Key team members

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides a brief overview of your business plan. It should include your long-term goals as well as your company’s mission statement, vision statement, and core values. This section is incredibly important because it’s typically the first – and sometimes only — thing external stakeholders will read. Your executive summary is your elevator pitch, and it needs to grab the attention of those you are seeking to work with.

Company Description

It’s important to provide your business with a biography, so to speak. You want to introduce how long you have been in business, any acquisitions or name changes, and other important information that will interest your readers. 

Business Opportunities

What are your products and services? What do you provide to customers that no one else does? The business opportunities section showcases how your business works and thrives in your particular market. You want to show stakeholders that you have a great business model with a value proposition they (and your target audience) will buy into.

Business Goals

The next section in your business plan to include is what you hope to achieve with your business. Ensure that your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and will be able to move your business forward. Stakeholders want to see you have a plan to achieve further success with your business, and vague goals that don’t have a way to measure success will be viewed as untrustworthy or a high risk investment. 

Key Performance Indicators

Along with your goals, ensure you include how you will actually measure success. Not only do you want to showcase how you will measure success, but also indicate what success means to you. 

Market Research and Competitive Analysis

Market research and a competitive analysis are essential for your business plan. They show that you have done your research and know what the market is like for your business, yet you still believe that your value proposition is worth moving forward with. Include extensive data with your research to help build stakeholder trust. 

Financial Overview

It’s important to include a full financial overview within your business plan. Your financial overview should include debts, assets, investments, past revenue, annual budgets, projections, and more to ensure there is a full understanding of your business’ financial health.

Key Team Members

A final element to include in your business plan are your key team members. This is usually your founder, CEO, CFO, and any other primary decision makers within your business. Provide a biography of each member and showcase what they bring to the table. 

How Gallo LLP Can Help

Gallo LLP is here to help your business succeed. We can assist with business and financial consulting to ensure that you have a clear understanding for how to move your business forward. Our team of professionals can assist you in writing your business plan to attract new investors and funding, as well as ensure that your financial overview provides a clear picture of your business. For help writing your business plan, contact Gallo LLP!

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