Any business, large or small, needs a business plan. Failure to have one can break a company before it gets off the ground. Conversely, a strong business plan can help build up a small business, turning it into something remarkable.

Creating a business plan can be intimidating, as so much is riding on it. Generally, the most effective business plans are the adaptable ones. For example, many business plans only last for three to five years, as they inevitably need to be reworked to adapt to the time and current business needs. Read below to get a better idea of creating a business plan.

Executive Summary

The first thing in any business plan should be the executive summary. The executive summary is essentially a mission statement bundled with a brief description of the products/services your business provides. It should also include basic information about the company, such as ownership and leadership structure.

The executive summary should only be about one to two pages in length, despite containing all this information. Thus, it is essential to be brief in these outlines and descriptions. The executive summary is the most crucial part of this document in many ways, as it can be a standalone document guiding the company.

Products and Services

The next segment in your business plan is going to be significantly longer. It will cover the products or services offered by the business. This section should start with the problem these products/services will address. From there, it should flow into the solution (the product/service) and what makes your solution unique. Finally, it should detail existing competition and how it will stand out.

When designing this plan segment, do not forget any assets or advantages your company may possess. After all, they will play an essential role in running the business. When all of this information has been gathered, it is time to move on to milestones and metrics. In other words, what goals your company has and how it will define success.

Marketing

The third element to consider when creating a business plan is marketing. As with the section before, marketing is going to be hefty. This section covers market analysis (defining a target market, how to approach, etc.), marketing plans and sales, and everything in between.

Target markets and their specific needs should take up a large portion of this section. Businesses must understand that consumers are most likely to appreciate their services or products. Once that is understood, the focus should be on how to reach those people best. From there, it is all about adapting and moving forward.