How to make a business plan?

Writing a business plan often seems complicated to entrepreneurs. Most of you usually don’t know where to start, what to include, or where to find the information.

This series of articles on the topic of how to make a business plan aims to answer all these questions.

We tried to cover the whole methodology to make a business plan: from the definition of the business plan to the analysis made by investors.

Tailor-made business plan

The business plan has an argumentative aim: it must demonstrate that the project is attractive. The structure of the business plan must therefore be adapted according to the project in order to enhance it.

The reader of the business plan will decide to continue the project (or to abandon it) according to the balance between the risks a

nd the opportunities of gains which are associated with it. The perception of risks will depend on the identity of the reader: banks, managers, and shareholders all have their own way of understanding risks.

It is therefore important to understand the analysis grid that the recipient of the plan will use to make his investment decision before writing the plan in order to be able to adapt it accordingly. 

1 business plan = 2 documents

There are almost two different documents in a business plan. The executive summary and the rest.

The summary is the most important section of the business plan, its objective is to make the investor want to know more about the project by succinctly answering all the questions stated above.

After reading the summary, and if he is interested in the project, the investor will explore some of the other sections of the business plan in order to obtain more detail on the points which seem important to him.

What is the typical structure of a business plan?

A business plan generally follows the following order:

  1. summary
  2. Company (who are we?)
  3. Products and Services (what do we sell?)
  4. Market research (to whom?)
  5. Strategy (how ?, who are our competitors ?, what is the timetable?)
  6. Operations (how is the product made?)
  7. Financial Plan (what are the financial needs ?, what is the return on investment?)
  8. Appendices

While there is a typical business plan structure , it is important to note that the plan should be tailored to both the reader and the project.

How to do a robust market research?

Before you start to write your business plan , it is essential to do a robust market research.

Isn’t it easy to do market research for the first time and you might not know where to start?

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

To help you do the market research of your business plan, we have put together some resources here that should help you better understand both what market research is and what its objectives, how how to carry out a market study that holds up, and finally how to present it in your business plan.

Market research: definition

The 1st article focuses on the definition of market research and aims to explain in a synthetic way the main objectives of this one: what is a market study?

How to do market research?

How to do market research in practice? To answer this question we have put together a detailed guide. This covers the 5 steps that will take you from the idea to a viable business proposition in your market:

Step 1: sector analysis

  • Start by estimating the attractiveness of the sector using a sector analysis .

Step 2: qualitative study

  • Determine consumer expectations with a qualitative study .

Step 3: competitive analysis

  • Evaluate the forces involved using competitive analysis .

Step 4: Unique Selling Proposition

  • Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) .

Step 5: quantitative study

  • Validate the relevance of your commercial offer with a quantitative study .

Market research questionnaire

To carry out the quantitative study of your market research, you will probably have to create a questionnaire.

In order to help you in this task we have gathered here a set of resources containing both tips and suggested tools:

  • Guide to carrying out your market research questionnaire
  • List of tools to create an online questionnaire
  • Tips for a Successful Market Research Survey

Market study and business plan

Once you’ve done your market research, it’s time to present the findings in your business plan.

To help you in this task, we offer you this article which focuses on the questions that must be answered by the market study of your business plan , its reading should allow you to better understand the expectations of your financial partners with regard to your market research.

The 2nd article that we offer you is a guide explaining how to present the market study in the business plan . The methodology proposed in this guide is not the only one possible, but it should help you better understand how to bring out the main conclusions of your market research in your business plan.