How to Write a Business Plan for Small Business: The Intro

making a plan

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Last Updated on November 14, 2022 by Treana Wunsch

If you’re considering starting a business, you may ask yourself, ‘why do I need a business plan?’

The best way to learn how to build your dream business is by writing your own business plan. It’s the instruction manual for your business. By going through the process of writing the business plan, you’ll discover if your business is feasible before you put your money, time and energy into it.

In this blog series, I’ll detail why you need a business plan and how to write one, even if you have no idea where to start. I’ll cover everything from research to putting it all together.

Congratulations on taking this important step to get your dream business off the ground.

Thinking about writing a business plan can be overwhelming if you don’t have experience in business or writing. However, if you have proper guidance and take it one step at a time, it will be the best thing you can do for your business as you’ll learn so much during the process.

By the end of this blog series, you will have a comprehensive business plan that investors will want to throw money at! Even if you don’t need investors, the information in the plan will be invaluable to your business journey. It will become your instruction manual. If at the very least, you determine that your business isn’t viable, it will still be worth it.

I’ve been in the world of business for two decades, the last 5 running my own business. I’ve been writing business plans, project plans, contracts, and other business documents for at least a decade. I’ve taken business and business writing courses over the years but nothing educates better than just doing it.

Let’s get started.

3 Myths about Writing a Business Plan

Myth 1 - You have to be good at writing to write a business plan

black and white photo of laptop with written document on screen
Photo by Super Snapper on Unsplash

The business plan should be in simple, everyday language. It should convey that you know what you’re talking about. You’re not going to be graded on grammar or quality of writing. If you are, find another investor. Serious investors just want to be able to find the information they are looking for. That being said, you don’t want to write a sloppy business plan.

Myth 2 - Nobody is going to read your business plan

Investors do not want to invest in something that hasn’t been well thought out. Not all investors want to just throw money at an idea (most don’t). They will at least read the summary to sort out whether or not they want to read further. If they are interested, they will.

Besides investors, you will read the plan. Your partners will read the plan. It’s your project plan for building the business of your dreams.

Myth 3 - You only need a business plan if you need funding

The process of writing a business plan is the best way that I’ve seen to learn how to start a business. That is if you have never done it before (or even if you have). It’s an excellent roadmap to research and develop the business. It sets the foundation. It’s a living document that should be referred to and updated frequently.

6 Steps to Research

You will be doing a lot of research during the process of writing your business plan. In order to do it effectively I have laid out a process that will help.

Always gather all your research in one place. Even once you’ve completed the research, you’ll need it for reference later. I like to use Google Workspace to keep everything organized. I like Google Workspace because it has everything I need in one platform that I’m already paying for.

You can create documents, and spreadsheets, save links and images, make notes, and checklists etc. I’m currently working on a Business Plan Writing Project Template for Google Workspace. Email me at [email protected] if you’d like to know when it’s available for purchase.

Or you can use another way to keep everything together, such as spreadsheets or your preferred file structure. Be sure to name your files appropriately so you can find them easily.

Step One - Choose

Choose the topic you’ll be researching. I recommend choosing the part of the business plan that you know the least about. Through your research on this topic, you’ll gather supplemental research for the rest of your plan as well as an organic flow to the next topics to research.

Before you do anything, create a folder in Google Workspace or another place to store any data you find. It’s important to have a storage area before you start so you don’t lose track of what you’ve discovered. It will save you loads of time later because you won’t have to try to find pieces of important information again. You’ll know exactly where to look when you need it.

Step Two - Plan

Make a plan for how you want to gather information. Create a Google Doc in the folder you’ve created for your topic and list ways you’ll be researching it. For example, you might want to start with an internet search. Then you may want to look for books on the topic. After that, you may want to interview or talk to people. The initial list can be a brainstorm of the best ways you think your topic should be researched. Once you have all your ideas down, you can refine them.

Step Three - Search

Now comes the fun part. The actual research. Take a look at the list you created in Step Two and conduct research based on the first way you’ve chosen to look into it. Follow the list as closely as possible since you’ve already curated it so that the methods of research are in the most effective order.

Step Four - Organize

As you go through your methods of research in Step Three and find appropriate data for your topic, store it in the folder. You can store links to websites, papers, interviews, notes from events, images etc. Keep anything you think might be pertinent. You’ll filter it later. You can create subfolders for different data or research methods if you wish. It will all make things easy to find later on when you’re writing your plan.

Step Five - Analyze

Now that you’ve done exhaustive research on a particular topic, you can analyze what you have. Cutting out unnecessary data will help you get to the heart of the topic when you’re writing your plan. If there are articles with basically the same information, keep the best one and get rid of the others.

If you have interview questions or answers that no longer seem to be relevant, delete them. Images or graphs that are redundant can also go. Having the most relevant information organized well will make the writing process efficient and stress-free. Everything you need will be at your fingertips.

Step Six - Report

I bet you didn’t realize there were so many steps for conducting research. Of course, you can research topics without all these steps but you’ll be duplicating your work as you’ll need to go back and find the data over and over again. In this step, you’ll actually be reporting your findings. In other words, this is where you’ll start to write the plan. 

You can either do all your research at once then start writing or you can write the section after each topic you’ve researched. I tend to get overwhelmed with a lot of something at once so I typically will conduct research on one topic then write that section but it’s up to you. It’ll be easier to decide once you’ve read more of my future posts in this series. 

So Now What?

blow up sign that says congrats
Photo by Brett Garwood on Unsplash

Since you’ve read this far, I can safely assume you’ve decided that writing a business plan is your best chance at getting your business idea successfully off the ground. Congratulations on taking this important first step!

Thinking about writing a business plan can be overwhelming if you don’t have experience in business or writing. However, if you have proper guidance and take it one step at a time, it will be the best thing you can do for your business as you’ll learn so much during the process.

By the end of this blog series, you will have a comprehensive business plan that investors will want to throw money at! Even if you don’t need investors, the information in the plan will be invaluable to your business journey. It will become your instruction manual. If at the very least, you determine that your business isn’t viable, it will still be worth it.

I’ve been in the world of business for two decades, the last 6 running my own business. I’ve been writing business plans, project plans, marketing plans, contracts, and other business documents for at least a decade. I’ve taken business and business writing courses over the years but nothing educates better than just doing it.

Stay tuned for the next post in the series ‘6 FAQ

If you’ve decided you need a business plan but have no interest or time to write it yourself, I offer written business plans. Check it out here

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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
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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.
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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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