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How do you write a business plan?

Determining strategies and setting goals. Assigning responsibilities and managing budgets. As a company you often cannot escape it. And that's a good thing too! You won't get anywhere without a plan. As an entrepreneur you are not obliged to write a business plan, the main reason for writing a business plan is to obtain a loan from the bank. If you have enough resources yourself, writing a business plan is not necessarily necessary. But if you take yourself seriously as an entrepreneur, you still write one. And for this reason:

A business plan helps in setting priorities. It gives direction to your company, you define objectives, chart strategies and it helps you to foresee potential pitfalls.

Incidentally, at Holland Startup we choose to replace the business plan with the Lean Canvas method. 

Tip 1: Keep it short and to the point

For some people, writing a business plan feels like an obligation, something you don't want at all. As if you have to write a thesis. Let it be clear once and for all: a business plan does not have to be long. A business plan must be short and to the point. You want the business plan to be read. Nobody is going to read a 100-page business plan.

Most entrepreneurs need a short and well-arranged business plan for internal use. A business plan contains the tools to run and grow your business. You continue to refine a business plan.

What does a business plan look like?

What do you include in your business plan? What are you skipping? What does the financial chapter look like? Below you can read what the basic components of your business plan are. And don't forget: writing a business plan is not a mandatory homework. A business plan is a tool to help you build a better business.

1. Summary

The summary of the business plan introduces your company, explains exactly what you do and what the readers can expect. With a summary you arouse the interest and inspire the readers.

Because the summary is a crucial part, you ensure that you keep it as clear and concise as possible. State the most important points, but do not delve too deeply. A length of 1 to 2 pages is perfect.

The summary is the first component of a business plan, but you must be the last to write.

2. Analysis

Start this chapter with a problem description. What's the problem? What is the current situation and what is the solution for your product / service? For which target group do you solve the problem?

Defining the problem that you solve is without a doubt the most critical element of your business plan. If you do not solve the problem of your potential customers with your products or services, there is no question of a viable business concept.

Also not unimportant: who are the competitors, do they offer a solution to the problem of the target group in a similar way? What are the benefits of your product / service compared to the competition?

3. Implementation

In this chapter you describe how you will actually run your business. Describe your marketing and sales plans, which factors will you manage? This crucial part of your business plan describes how you will reach your target market.

Which marketing instruments will you use? Do you focus primarily on content marketing? Social Media? Google ads or do you count on offline media? Based on the information from the Analysis section, you can work out a strategy.

Once you have decided how you will position yourself in relation to the competitors, and in what way, you can proceed with the pricing.

4. Summary of the company and management

In this chapter you describe the structure of the company and show who the most important team members are. This data is not that important for you and your employees, but especially for investors. Investors generally do not invest in ideas, but in people.

Are you planning to use the plan purely internally? Then you can of course skip this section.

5. Financial plan

This is a section that you will not skip. Your business plan is incomplete without a financial forecast. Something that entrepreneurs often find intimidating is fortunately not needed for anything. In general, finances for starting entrepreneurs are very clear. Keep in mind the many administrative obligations in the Netherlands.

6. Attachment

An attachment is not required, but can be useful for additional information. Think of definitions, sources, graphs, tables or legal notes. An attachment is ideal to include details.

We enable young entrepreneurs to shape our society! 

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