Get a clear picture in your mind of who your plan is going to reach. Are there angel investors in the room? Is it your local bank’s venture financing department? Is it you, your leaders, and your employees? Determining your audience will help you decide the language you’ll use to present your ideas and the depth you should go to assist readers in their due diligence. Let’s now look at the five key elements of your business strategy.
1. Make an executive summary
Your executive summary should be written last, even though it is the first section of the plan. This will allow you to condense the key ideas from the nine other sections. It is best to leave it as a placeholder.
How can I create an executive summary?
Below is an example of a fictional company, Laura’s Landscapers. This company will be used throughout the guide and in the downloadable template. It makes each step easy to duplicate. This executive summary focuses primarily on what is often called the value proposition, or unique selling point. It’s a long motto that targets customers, investors, and employees.
Example of an executive summary
According to market research, landscape architecture that is sustainable has been gaining popularity in Richmond. High-end firms are rare in this area. There are only two firms currently in existence. Neither of them focuses on eco-friendly design nor are they certified by green organizations.
2. Write your company description
Your company description is three parts of a business plan.
Statement of mission
These elements provide context for the larger picture in your business plan. Investors will be able to see the purpose of your company and can also make sense of the goals.
What is a mission statement?
Your business’s purpose for existence is your mission statement. It is more than what your business does or what products you sell. It is about why you do what it does. These should be your mission statements.
Inspirational to inspire others to believe in your vision
Use emotion to grab readers’ attention and grab their attention
In every aspect of your plan, you should emphasize that less is more. This is especially true of your mission statement. Consider what drives you, your experiences, and the larger social issues that you care about.
3. Summarize market research results and potential
Next, you will need to define your ideal customer and the market size. Personas, also known as target markets, are demographic information such as:
Specificity will help you demonstrate expertise and increase confidence. Investors may be concerned if your target market is too large.
Example: Listing “anyone who has a garden” in your target market may not work if your product appeals to people with the money to hire landscape architects.
This is also true for your market analysis, which will help you determine its size and monetary worth. You don’t have to look at the whole market. Instead, you can drill down to the addressable market of your business. This could be local numbers or numbers that only apply to certain segments. To get a better understanding of your customer’s needs and wants, you might even be able to map their journey.
4. Perform competitive analysis
Start your competitive research by identifying companies that sell in the same market you are interested in entering. Although it may seem overwhelming to dedicate enough time to research every possible competitor, it can prove extremely helpful. These questions can be answered after you have identified your most important competitors.
Which advertising agencies do they choose to invest in?
How much press coverage does this get?
What is their customer service like?
Which pricing and sales strategies do they use?
What is their ranking on third-party rating sites?
Think about what makes you different. Be prepared to share the pain points that customers have if your idea is truly original. Your business may not have any direct competitors.
5. Description of your product/service
This section explains the benefits, production processes, and life cycles of your products and services. It also demonstrates how your business is different from your competitors.
Focus on the following:
Transforming features into benefits
Customers will appreciate your emotional and practical support
Patents protecting differentiation and intellectual property rights
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