The Business Plan

"Ready to turn your business dream into a reality?

It all starts with a well-crafted business plan that outlines your vision, goals, and strategies for success."

The business plan is a vital part of starting a business

Starting a business can be an exciting but daunting task.

It can couple the thrill and passion of becoming your own boss with uncertainty and risk.

Thrilled manThe thrill of starting your own business
uncertain manThe uncertainty of a business startup.

One of the most important steps to take before launching your business is creating a comprehensive business plan. 

The business plan is a roadmap that outlines your goals, strategies, and tactics for achieving success.

In this page, I will explain the power of the business plan when starting a business and the steps you need to take to achieve this task.

business planThe business plan

The business plan is a written document that outlines the details of your business, including its products or services, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational procedures.

It is a crucial tool for entrepreneurs because it helps identify goals and develop a plan to achieve them.

A well-written business plan may help entrepreneurs secure funding from investors and lenders, but also serve as a guide for decision-making throughout the life of the business.

The power of creating the business plan lies in its ability to provide clarity and focus.

documenting a business planDocumenting and incorporating your business idea into the business plan gives clarity and understanding.

By documenting your business idea and putting it on paper. It gives clarity to better understand the business model, target audience, and competition. The business plan allows you to identify potential risks and challenges and assists you in developing strategies to mitigate them. It also helps you to set realistic goals and create a roadmap to achieve them.

The process of creating a business plan also helps you refine your business ideas.

By conducting research and analysis, you can identify gaps in the market and adjust your products or services accordingly, and also identify potential opportunities for growth and expansion.

So, what are the steps needed to create a comprehensive business plan?

Here are a few.

Market research

Market research is a crucial step in starting a business. It helps you identify gaps in the market, understand the target audience, and determine how to position your products or services. 

Here are some steps to conduct market research before starting your business:

Define your target audience 

The first step, step one, in conducting market research is to define your target audience. This includes identifying demographic information such as age, gender, income level, education level, and location. It is also important to know their actions, interests, and issues. This information will help you develop marketing strategies that resonate with your audience.

Know your competition

The next step is to identify your competition. This includes understanding their products or services, pricing strategies, marketing tactics, and market share. You can use this information to identify gaps in the market and differentiate your business from the competition.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is a tool used to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business. By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can identify your competitive advantages, areas for improvement, potential growth opportunities, and potential risks. This is best done on a whiteboard to be ‘in-your-face’ visibly.

Data Collection

focus groupGathering information directly from focus groups will give great market research.

There are two types of data to collect for market research: primary data and secondary data. Primary data is information that is gathered directly from your target audience through surveys, focus groups, or interviews. 

This needs good planning. It is sometime difficult to implement as a startup. Give it a go. If you cannot get this executed, don’t worry too much. Keep it in your mind for something to do later. It’s a good idea to run things like focus groups as an ongoing process when the plan calls for it.

Secondary data is information that is gathered from external sources such as industry reports, government statistics, or competitor websites. This is much easier to do and less costly. You will get plenty of information here to give you a start.

Both types of data can be useful in understanding your market and target audience.

Analyze the data

analyzing dataAnalyze the collected data to identify trends and insights. Look for patterns. Identify areas of opportunity and concerns.

After gathering the data, it is important to analyze it to identify trends and insights. This includes looking for patterns in the data, identifying areas of opportunity or concern, and using the data to adapt your business decisions and implement it into the business plan. Remember again, the business plan is a fluid document. Keeping it flexible is a good way to move rapidly when an opportunity presents itself.

Use the data to enforce your business decisions.

The last step is using the data to empower your business decisions. This includes developing marketing strategies, identifying product or service offerings, setting pricing strategies, and identifying areas for improvement.

Always keep records of the planning meeting so you can go back if the need arises and see where you could have improved or where you may have missed something.

To wrap this section up; conducting market research is a crucial step when starting a business. It helps you to understand the target audience, identify gaps in the market, and develop marketing strategies that resonate with your audience.

By following these steps, you can gather the data needed to make informed business decisions and position the businesses for success. This is a fluid situation. It changes from time to time depending on the nature of your business.

In essence, it is simply creating your ideal customer and making a business plan to give them what they are looking for.

Try this, get a notepad out and write in longhand how your customer looks according to your vision and data collection. Then apply all the above to bring the customer to life. When you get this right, you know exactly what your customer looks like. Now target them.

Now you understand the reasons to do the work before you create the business plan. It is important to conduct market research to understand the industry, competition, and target audience. This research should include an analysis of industry trends, consumer preferences, and competitive landscape. This information is used to identify gaps in the market and determine how to position the business in the marketplace.

Develop a marketing strategy

After the market research, it is now time to develop a marketing strategy. This is a crucial step to ensure your product or service reaches your target audience, efficiently and effectively to your ideal customer. Here are the steps to help you develop a marketing strategy for your business startup.


Fedex USPThink about what makes your product or service unique, then build your USP to make it a pivotal part of your marketing strategy.

Identify your unique selling proposition (USP). Your unique selling proposition is what sets your business apart from the competition.

It’s what makes your product or service unique and valuable to your target audience. Identify and build your USP to make it a pivotal part of your marketing strategy.

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that describes the unique benefit that your product or service offers to your target audience. 

It is what sets your business apart from the competition and helps to differentiate it in the marketplace.

A USP is a concise statement that communicates the key benefits of your product or service and why it’s different from the competition. It should be clear, compelling, and easy to understand.

Here are some examples of familiar USPs: 

  • Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less - or it’s free.”
  • FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
  • Apple: “Think Different.”

Now you see what a USP is you will notice them everywhere. Take note write them down and maybe you can create something similar.

A well-crafted USP can help you to stand out in a crowded marketplace and can be a key factor in attracting and retaining customers. It can also help you to focus your marketing efforts on the key benefits that are most important to your target audience.

standout from the crowdWhen you get your USP right you will standout from the crowd.

Creating your marketing mix

The 4 ‘P’s’ of the marketing mix are product, price, place, and promotion. 

Develop a strategy for each of these elements to reach your target audience effectively. 

This includes determining your marketing budget and allocate funds to each element of the marketing mix, for example allocating funds for advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, labelling and other promotional activities. Think demonstration stalls at industry conventions, speaking on a panel, Give-a-ways, etc.

speaking to an audienceSpeaking at industry conventions, and demonstrating your product or service is a productive way to promote your business.

Content strategy

Develop a content strategy that includes creating relevant and valuable content that resonates with your target audience. This includes blog posts, newsletters, social media content, videos, and other types of content that inform and engage your audience. Think about outsourcing a media manager.

Measure and analyze your results

It is important to measure and analyze the results of your marketing efforts constantly. This includes tracking metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and sales. Use this data to make informed decisions about future marketing efforts and add to the business plan where needed.

Developing a marketing strategy is crucial to the success of your business startup. By defining your ideal customer your target audience, understanding your competition, identifying your USP, developing your marketing mix, determining your marketing budget, developing a content strategy, and measuring your results, you can effectively reach your target audience and position your business for success.

A marketing strategy is a plan for promoting and selling products or services. It should include information about the target audience, marketing channels, messaging, and budget. It should be based on the market research conducted in step one.

My contact details

I love hearing from my business community!

Having said that, I receive many messages here and through my newsletter every day. Sadly, I just don't have enough hours in the day to reply to them quickly.

I am working on it. 

So, here's a simple contact form for you to fill in. I will get back to you in due course, but please be patient!

Ask your question....

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


Outline the products or services

Make sure you provide detailed information about your products or services in the business plan. This includes information about the features, benefits, and unique selling points. It should also outline the production process and any intellectual property protections.

Create a financial plan

working on your business budgetBudgeting and financial projections are the exciting bits. This is where the business comes to life. Always err on the conservative side when doing your budget.

A financial plan should include a budget, projected income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. You should also include information about how you plan to fund the business and any assumptions made in the financial projections. This is the exciting bit. This is where, in many cases, the business comes to life. Always err on the conservative side when doing the budget.

Develop an operational plan

An operational plan outlines the day-to-day operations of the business, including staffing, production, and logistics. This plan should be comprehensive and include details about the supply chain, inventory management, and quality control. This should have a timeline setting out the steps in the process. Understanding at all times, business is a journey. When doing any component of the overall business plan, do not extend it for more than 5 years. It has been my experience a 1-3 years is most beneficial. Just a point of interest and I’ve said this so many times, ‘your business will not look like it does now in 3 years time’. Fact.

Write an executive summary

An executive summary is an overview of the business plan. It should include the most important information about the business, such as the products or services, target audience, marketing strategy, financial projections, and operational plan. Normally, this will be a long document at first. The key here is to review it, refine it, and make it as short as you can. Use single words where you are using sentences. Use a sentence where you use a paragraph. Minimize it to a short, succinct statement. This is a significant document to present to investors or to use for loan purposes.

Review and refine

reviewing the business planReview and refine your business plan. Seek feedback from a trusted advisor. Better still engage a mentor asap. Even better make sure he or she has experience and grey hair.

After completing the first draft of the business plan, you should always review and refine it. You should seek feedback from a trusted advisor. Better still engage a mentor asap. Make any necessary revisions to ensure that the plan is comprehensive and accurate.

Completeing the business plan

Creating a business plan is a crucial step when starting a business. It provides clarity, focus, and direction for the business, as well as helping to secure funding from investors and lenders. By conducting market research, developing a marketing strategy, outlining the products or services. You have an above average chance of making your business a success. Do not underestimate the power and importance of the business plan. The work done here is the basis of the business. Planning constitutes 80% of the success of a business. Never take this lightly. Do the work. But do not get bogged down in it. Just do it as best you can knowing you have exhausted every angle to why your business will work. Do not get paranoid on starting when the research is perfect. It will never be perfect. Be aware of paralysis by analysis. 

opening a desk drawDo not leave your business plan in the desk drawer. Keep it in front of you always. Refer to it often. It is a fluid document. Edit it when things change. Keep on top.


cliff climberConfidence comes with experience

Experience isn't the best teacher, experience is the only teacher.