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What is a Business Plan?

A diagram of a business plan with two circles that say analysis, solution, and success.

A diagram of a business plan with two circles that say analysis, solution, and success.

A brainstorm of a business plan with circles that say analysis, problem, solution, and success. 

What is a Business Plan?

Business plans are important documents for both new and existing businesses. A business plan is a written outline of every aspect of your business with a focus on your business model and economic viability. Among other things, a business plan includes a statement of the purpose of your business, an analysis of your business model, and a description of your competition. Before you start writing your plan, you need to decide on a business that has a good chance of being successful.

Although a business plan cannot guarantee your success, it is vital for every new and growing business. Unfortunately, many people skip creating a plan because it seems overwhelming and confusing. Creating a plan takes a lot of effort, but it is well worth the time. The first step in writing a business plan is to understand exactly what it is.

Business plan basics

Business plans have multiple sections that address important aspects of your business. The plan should be revisited periodically to reflect changes in your market and in your organization. The best business plans will:

  • Summarize your business goals,
  • State your strategy for reaching your goals,
  • Explain the organizational and/or operational structure of your business,
  • Reveal potential problems and how to solve them,
  • Describe the business model (how you will make money), and
  • Show how much capital you need to start.

A well-written business plan is an invaluable selling tool for investors, banks, and partners.

Business plan outline

How should you structure your business plan? It is easy to find a business plan sample online, and you can spend hours combing over all the different details that go into a business plan, but you are likely to end up feeling overwhelmed. You may be tempted to turn to a ready-made plan for your particular business but this is a bad idea. The only way you can truly get to know your business, and be an effective advocate for your business, is to be the author of your own plan. That means writing out all the details of your plan in your own words.

MOBI can help. The MOBI Free Business Plan Template is composed of 15 important topics that form the foundation of your plan and your business. The template focuses your effort on writing the plan, rather than researching the structure. The parts of the MOBI business plan template are:

1. The business profile

2. The vision and the people

3. Home-based business issues (if appropriate)

4. Financing

5. Organization

6. Licenses and permits

7. Business insurance

8. Communication tools

9. Acquisitions (if appropriate)

10. Location and Leasing

11. Accounting and cash flow

12. E-commerce

13. Opening and marketing

14. Managing employees

15. Expanding and handling problems

What a business plan is not

Now that you have an idea about what a business plan is, it is just as important to know what a business plan is not.

A business plan is not a guarantee of success. It is easy to feel optimistic once you have everything written out, but few plans accurately identify all the details of the business. That is why it is important to think about a business plan as an evolving document. You can increase your chances of success if you can anticipate and plan for the changing economies of your business. That means going back and updating your plan frequently.

A business plan is not just about organizing financial information. A large portion of your plan may cover the financing of your business , but a complete business plan includes a detailed description of the topics listed above including marketing, e-commerce, and more.

A business plan is not meant to provide accurate long-term projections. Long-term means anything over one year. The reality is that your market and your organization will change fast, so all long-term planning is impractical. Instead, a good business plan focuses on short-term objectives that can be modified as your business grows and evolves.

MOBI is here to help you navigate the details of your business plan. Learn more about the eight steps to a great business plan or sign up to take one of our free online business courses today.

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Jun 22, 2017