How to write a business plan?

The time you put into writing a business plan may be your first investment, but certainly not your least. Writing a business plan is not mandatory, but it is very important. What is a business plan? Why do you need one? And what should you include? The article helps you with the 3 most important steps you need to follow.

What is a business plan?

Being well-prepared increases your chance of success. A business plan gives insight into your entrepreneurial skills, goals, market position, and the feasibility of your idea. This also comes in handy if you want to involve external parties in your startup, such as financiers. But what is a business plan exactly? Why should you make one? And what is included? Find out how to write a good business plan.

1. You and your company

You start your business plan structure by writing down information about you and your company. Who are you? What is your drive? And what are your entrepreneurial skills?

Personal information

With your business plan, you present yourself to, for example, a bank or investors. They do not only look at your idea, but also at who you are and what you have done in the past.

Write down basic information, such as your name, address, place of residence, family composition, driver's license, education, and previous employers. Basically, this part of your plan includes everything that you would put in your resume as well.

Personal characteristics

Write down why you want to become an entrepreneur. Describe your drive, the skills that make you a good entrepreneur, and your strengths and weaknesses.

If you start a business with a partner, you have to include the characteristics of each entrepreneur.

Your idea

Your idea is the foundation of your business adventure. You are now going to put the idea that is in your head on paper. Do this in just a few lines. You will notice that if you can describe your idea in a few lines, elaboration of your business plan will be easier. After all, it gives you a focus.

Your company

Here you describe how you actually want to put your idea into practice. Describe very precisely what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, what you stand for, what your objectives are, and who your target group is. This helps you discover whether your business plans are feasible. In this part, you include information such as:

  • Legal structure
  • Describe which legal structure you choose and why.
  • Part-time business

Are you still working as an employee or do you take care of your children or parents next to your part-time business? Then write down how you think you can spend enough time on your own company. Is there a non-competition clause included in your contract? If so, explain how you plan to deal with that.

  • Company name

Which company name do you choose? Have you registered your company name yet?

  • Location

Are you starting a business from home or from an office? Do you need specific environmental permits or a zoning plan? Also write down why you choose to rent or buy.

  • Insurance, permits and other obligations

Which legal requirements and obligations do you have to meet? Do you need certain diplomas or permits?

  • Terms and Conditions

Write down your terms and conditions. Or explain why you choose not to set them up.

  • Administration

Are you going to do keep your business records yourself? Or will you hire a bookkeeper or accountant?

  • Staff

Are you hiring staff or not? And why?

  • Future prospects

Where do you want your company to be in a few years? And what will you do to achieve this goal?

  • Old Age Pension (AOW)

How do you arrange your pension?

Tip! Present your business plan to friends and family. Or better yet, someone from your network. They can take a fresh look at your plans and give you advice. Having your business plan drawn up by a third party may come across as less professional.

2. Your marketing plan

In this part of your business plan, you will discuss your target group and your target market. The marketing plan is a systematic approach to bringing your product or service to the attention of your (potential) customers. Make the objectives from your business plan concrete. Here is how:

Conduct market research

Conducting market research is the first step in defining your marketing strategy. Are your customers as convinced of your product or service as you? Through market research you find out whether there is a market for your product or service. You also map out your competition. 

What is in your marketing plan?

In the article 'How to write a marketing plan' you can read what should be in your marketing plan, including:

  • Target audience and customer research
  • SWOT analysis
  • Marketing mix, also known as the 4 p's: product, price, promotion, and place
  • Presentation
  • Staff

3. Your financial plan

Your financial plan helps you find out whether your business plan is financially feasible. You may also use the plan to present your application for financing to financiers in order to convince them to invest money in your company.

Your financial plan consists of 4 sub-budgets. The investment budget and the financing budget form the opening balance sheet of your company. In this part you also indicate which investments are necessary to start your business and how you want to arrange the financing.

The operating budget shows the expected revenues and costs over a certain period. With the cash flow budget you can see whether you have enough money to meet your payment obligations at any time.

Depending on your legal form and your situation, you can also make a personal expense budget.

Tip! Keep your business plan simple and concise. It should be easy to understand for the average reader.