How to Write a Simple Business Plan in 8 Easy Steps

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Almost all new businesses need a business plan in order to successfully move from startup to established business. But a business plan doesn't have to be long or take months to write in order to be a useful tool for small business owners.

This exercise provides a quick and relatively painless start to the business planning process by asking you a series of questions about your business, your goals and your future plans.

The end result is a streamlined and brief business plan that you can use as-is or as a starting point for a more traditional business plan.

While this is meant to be a shortcut to creating a traditional business plan, it is not meant to be one-size-fits-all. This means you will need to gather information that is individual to your business in order to create a plan that is truly useful for you. Be prepared to do some research into the industry and the competition, while having a clear understanding of your business goals and finances. 

1. Vision

Outline the vision you have for your business by answering these questions: What are you creating? What will your business look like in one year, three years, and five years?

2. Mission

What is your mission? Why are you starting this business, and what is the purpose?

3. Objectives

List your overall objectives by outlining your most important business goals, and answering: Are your business goals considered SMART goals?

How will you measure success in achieving your goals?

4. Strategies

Write down your business strategies by answering these questions: How are you going to build your business? What will you sell? What is your unique selling proposition (i.e., what makes your business different from the competition)?

5. Start-up Capital

What is the total amount of start-up capital you will need to launch your business?

6. Anticipated Expenses

What do you estimate your business's ongoing monthly expenses will be immediately after launch, in three months, in six months, and in one year?

7. Desired Income

What do you anticipate your business's ongoing monthly income will be immediately after launch, in three months, in six months, and in one year?

8. Action Plan

Create an action plan by answering: What are the specific action items and tasks you need to complete now? What are your future milestones? What will need to be accomplished by those milestones in order to meet your objectives?

Once you have completed each of these steps, you will have a working business plan that you can use immediately to start taking action in your business. If you decide to build upon this document to create a more traditional business plan, this business plan tutorial will help. You can also browse this list of 14 business planning tools to refine your plan even further.