National Write a Business Plan Month this December: Is Your Company Prepared for 2024?

National Write a Business Plan Month this December: Is Your Company Prepared for 2024? Main Photo

20 Dec 2023


It’s National Write a Business Plan Month and companies are busy strategizing for next year. Write a Business Plan Month is a time for new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike to plan ahead. The WCEDA team wants to see West Central Minnesota entrepreneurs thrive and recommends writing a 2024 Business Plan.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) describes a business plan as “the foundation of your business.” It has also been described as a company’s resume and a blueprint for a successful business. Harvard Business Review reported, “Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs.”

Researchers trace back writing business plans to the coal-mining industry in 19th century France, when workers would outline business objectives, strategy results, and upcoming milestones. Not too much later, when industrialization was on the rise, the U.S. and certain European countries began to develop and write business plans to help with budgeting. The concept grew in popularity as years went by.

Strategizing for The Future

A business plan involves identifying your company’s objectives and developing strategies to meet those goals. How will your business live up to its mission and financial projections? What will it need in order to do so? The answer lies in establishing your mission, target audience(s), key operational processes, marketing strategies, and more. Business plans should be updated once a year aligning with the company’s continued growth.

A successful business plan usually consists of a cash flow analysis, pro forma balance sheet, and income statement. Having this structured document can help keep you on top of important tasks and illustrates to employees, investors, and business partners your unwavering commitment to your business. Thus, writing or updating this crucial plan could potentially aid in acquiring business funding.

A Guide to Writing Your Business Plan

WCEDA is happy to provide you with resources and tools that will assist in developing your business plan. A well-crafted business plan will act as a guide to refer to when making reasonable decisions and effectively tackling unexpected obstacles for the company.

A business plan can range from 3 to 5 pages or 10 to 25 pages, depending on what is included. Below is a detailed outline you can follow while constructing your plan.

Introduction 

  • Describe in detail the background and goals of the business.
  • List ownership details of the business, plus the legal structure.
  • List your own unique skills and experience that help with the business.
  • Discuss the advantages your business has that competitors do not. 

Promotion and Marketing 

  • Describe your company’s products and services. 
  • Target customers that have demand for your product or service.
  • Find your market, its size and locations.
  • Describe how your product or service will be advertised and marketed.
  • Describe the pricing strategy. 

Managing Finances

  • List the sources of your startup investment funds.
  • Write out a monthly operating budget for the year.
  • Provide the expected profits and total revenue for the first year.
  • Estimate projected income statements and balance sheets for a two-year period. 
  • Identify your breakeven point.
  • Describe your personal balance sheet and compensation methods.
  • Discuss who will manage accounting records and in what way.
  • Come up with some “what if” statements and come up with different approaches to potential issues. 

Daily Operations 

  • Describe how the business will operate on a day-to-day basis. 
  • Discuss procedures for hiring and employees.
  • List insurance, rent, or lease agreements. 
  • List all requisite production assets in your possession.
  • Describe the process, from manufacturing the product to the customer’s receipt.

Concluding Statement 

  • Recap your business goals. Make it clear that you are completely committed to your business’ success.

When complete, have a colleague review the plan. We recommend submitting a business plan with loan applications. 

The SBA divides business plans into two common categories: Traditional Business Plan or Lean Startup Plan, though these formats are not required. Check out their simplified version of a business plan outline.

WCEDA Can Provide You with More Tools and Resources for a Successful Year

Learn more about developing a business plan by taking this self-paced online How to Write a Business Plan course. You can also discover more tips, read through sample business plans, and utilize templates from Bplans.com.

At WCEDA, we aim to show businesses and entrepreneurs in West Central Minnesota some available tools and resources for drafting a business plan. We always welcome questions concerning business development. Feel free to call us at (218) 837-5950 or email us at wceda@wcta.net for more information.