How to Write a Business Plan for Small Business: 6 FAQ

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Last Updated on November 25, 2022 by Treana Wunsch

During my experience with writing business plans, I’ve come across many frequently asked questions. Business plans take time and effort to write so many people want to avoid this step when starting a small business so here are 6 of the most common questions I come across:

  1. Can I write a business plan myself?
  2. How long should a business plan be for a small business?
  3. Do I need a business plan for a small business?
  4. How long should it take to write a business plan?
  5. What is the easiest part of a business plan?
  6. What is the most difficult part of a business plan?

Can I write a business plan myself?

person in yellow sweater typing on a laptop
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

In the first post in this series, I briefly touched on this. However, it bears repeating. Yes, you can write a business plan yourself, but there are some things to keep in mind. A business plan is meant to be written in simple, clear, everyday language. It needs to convey that you have adequately researched and assessed the business idea. A 10-year-old should be able to understand it. It shouldn’t be full of business language and jargon.

You need to know what goes into a business plan and how to format it correctly and you need to be realistic about the time and effort it will take to write a quality business plan. In this blog series, I will go over this and more. If after following and reading this series, you’re still not comfortable with writing your own business plan, you should consider using software or hiring a professional service to help you with the more technical aspects of writing a business plan. I will provide some resources later in the series.

How long should a business plan be for a small business?

A business plan is a key part of any small business. It should be a living document that outlines the goals and objectives of your business. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how long a business plan should be. The length of your business plan will depend on the size and complexity of your business, as well as your specific goals and objectives.

If you are a startup business, for example, your business plan may need to be longer than that of an established business. The length of your business plan will also depend on the type of business you are starting. Some business plans are only a few pages long, while others may be 100 pages or longer. The length of your plan will depend on your industry and the nature of your business. A plan that is too short will not be persuasive. A plan that is too long will not be read.

All that being said, the average length of a business plan can vary depending on the size and scope of your business, but typically it should be 30 to 40 pages long. The business plan is the cornerstone of a business. It’s your road map to success, outlining where you’re going and how you’ll get there. A good business plan can be the difference between success and failure in your small business venture.

Do I need a business plan for a small business?

If you’re wondering whether you need a business plan for a small business, the answer is no (I bet you weren’t expecting me to say that). However, if you want to increase your chances of success or find out ahead of time whether your business idea is viable, a business plan is essential for all businesses, regardless of size. It’s a roadmap that will help you navigate the early stages of starting and growing your business.

A business plan can help you secure financing, attract investors, and get everyone on the same page about your company’s direction. Even if you’re not planning to seek outside funding, a business plan can still be a helpful tool for organizing your thoughts and keeping track of your progress. I have touched on this in various posts and my stance is that having a business plan is the most important tool you can have in your small business toolkit.

A business plan takes time and effort or costs money. This time, effort or money is well worth it as it can save you much, much more in the long run. If you start a business and put in hours of time and loads of money, only to discover the business idea isn’t working, you’ve wasted those precious resources. Spending a bit of time and/or money beforehand is one of the best decisions you can make in your journey.

How long should it take to write a business plan?

Monthly planner with blue and red pens
Photo by 2H Media on Unsplash

It depends on the size and complexity of your business, but you should expect to spend at least 30 hours writing your business plan. This should span over 2 or 3 months. If you write it too fast, you may miss out on important pieces of information.

Also, some of the research can take some time. Such as, conducting interviews or surveys. On the other hand, if you take too much time, conditions in the market could change. It could also mean you’re losing interest and the idea is becoming stagnant.

If you’re seeking funding from investors, you’ll need to spend more time developing your financial projections and other sections of your plan. If you’re writing the plan for yourself it can take a bit less time. However, the financial information you would provide to investors is important information you’ll need to know when starting your business.

I would recommend always writing a business plan as though you are seeking financing. If you don’t believe you need financing, you may discover through the process that you actually do. You can’t predict or guess how things will go.

I would recommend scheduling a couple of hours each week to research and write the business plan. If you can spare more time, even better.

What is the easiest part of a business plan?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to structure your business plan will depend on your specific business and goals. However, there are some sections that are generally easier to write than others. For example, the executive summary is typically shorter and less detailed than the rest of the plan.

Even though the executive summary can be one of the easiest sections to write, it is the most important section. It’s a brief overview of your company and its products or services. This section should be written last as it summarizes what is in the rest of the business plan. Some investors may only read this section.

The other section that some people find easier to write is the Business Background. The business background section is where you provide information about your company, including its history, its products and services, and the people who will run it. This section should also explain why you are in business and what your goals are. It’s written in first person as though you are explaining to a friend why and how you plan to run the business.

Even though these sections are usually easier to write than the rest of the plan, I will still cover them in this series.

What is the most difficult part of a business plan?

man standing in front of a wall with a maze on it

If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve never written a business plan before. That’s not surprising. Writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start.

The most difficult part of a business plan is often the financial section. This is where you’ll need to do some serious number crunching and projections. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert in this area. There are plenty of resources available to help you out, including books, software, and online templates.

Once you’ve tackled the financial section, the rest of the business plan will be much easier to write. Remember to keep it clear and concise, and focus on your company’s unique selling points. With a little effort, you’ll have a professional-looking business plan that will help your small business succeed.

Thank you for reading! Next in the series…The Business Profile.

Hopefully, I’ve answered some of the questions you have about writing a business plan for your small business. Comment below if you have more questions, and I’ll happily answer them.

If you just want someone to write the dang plan for you, check out my business plan writing services.

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Treana Wunsch

Treana Wunsch

Volleyballer, dog mom, Feng Shui buff, and minimalist wannabe. Treana is obsessed with simplifying processes for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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Dan Richards
Dan Richards
Co-owner | XFE Project Solutions
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Treana has been very flexible, not only with making time for our requirements, but also with the tasks on the ever-changing "to do" list for her. She has also leveraged her experience to connect us with other service providers that we would not have found on our own.
Brandon Mack
Brandon MackOwner | Black Atlas Creative
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Treana did all the legwork for the business plan I was putting together. I started going through the process myself, but figured after about 5 headaches in that it would probably be better to hire someone who knew the ins and outs of putting one together. Glad I did! Saved me tons of time and has everything I needed!
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