How-To Books For Help Writing Your Business Plan
You’ve grappled with the idea for months, maybe even years: “Is this the time … should I start my own business?” Passion has never been your problem, and you also know there’s a need for the services you plan to provide and a corresponding gap in the industry that you’re eager to fill. You answer: “Yes.” Now what?
Enter the business plan.
A well-executed business plan can establish the foundation of success for your business. If done properly, it will help structure strategic plans, tactics for the operation of your new business, how you will market (and subsequently sell) your goods and/or services, and possibly pique the interest of future investors. In fact, most investors won’t commit resources to an entrepreneur’s business idea without a formal business plan.
For the savvy entrepreneur, taking the time to document a formal business plan will reveal whether a business idea is truly viable. Its importance cannot be understated: In many cases it’s the difference between a viable business model and an idea with no hope of ever delivering positive cash flow.
Knowing you need a business plan—and knowing how to write one—are two very different things, however. MyUS.com has developed a framework to help every budding international entrepreneur create (and adhere to) a business plan to help guide his or her success.
First, there are a few key components that a well-constructed business plan should incorporate:
- Executive Summary
- Overview and Objectives
- Products and Services
- Market Opportunities
- Sales and Marketing
- Competitive Analysis
- Management Team
- Financial Analysis
While it’s great to have a list of what should be in your new business plan, you’ll likely need some additional help executing against each of these key concepts. MyUS.com recommends selecting a business plan how-to book to help guide you through this process and answer the questions you will undoubtedly have while building your business plan. Four books consistently trusted by entrepreneurs worldwide include:
- The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur by Jim Horan
- The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
- The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam Wasserman
- The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
Pro tip: Get the best rates for shipping business plan books to your home country by visiting MyUS.com.
Your selected business plan book can help you develop each of the key plan components listed above—and provide much-needed advice around strategic decisions such as hiring, funding, prospecting, finance, and more.
Once you’ve constructed your business plan, you may want to consider adding an appendix with additional information or resources. Though some plans require more detail than others, typical additions to an appendix include:
- Resumes of key leaders
- Additional descriptions of products and services
- Legal agreements
- Organizational charts
- Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
- Photographs of potential facilities, products, etc.
- Backup for market research or competitive analysis
- Additional financial documents or projections
Finally, remember that the primary objective of your business plan is to guide you in proceeding with your new business idea. It should confirm that you’re making the right decision and give you the framework you’ll need to be successful from Day One. Convincing everyone else— investors, future customers and staff—comes next. Luckily, you have a well-executed, formalized business plan to help you with that stage of your business journey as well!