Vector of a single page with folded corner and a pencil. Represents preparing to write a business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan in 11 Steps

Noah Parsons | May 10, 2023

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. The more you know about what goes into your plan, the easier it will be to write.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to put together a strong, detailed business plan. One that will impress bankers and potential investors, while helping you start, run, and grow a successful business.

Step-by-step guide for writing a business plan

Follow these simple steps and download one of our free business plan templates to make writing your business plan quick and easy.

Business plan templates and tools

Kickstart your plan writing by downloading one of our free business plan templates.

How to write a business plan FAQ

A document that describes your business, the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Having a business plan is your most valuable strategic tool when exploring a business idea, looking to set strategic milestones, or pursuing funding. When written correctly, it can be useful for any entrepreneur at any business stage.

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attract investors, and identify areas for growth. It ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, it needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place. If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

1. Not taking the planning process seriously. 2. Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information. 3. Inconsistent information or simple mistakes. 4. Failing to establish a sound business model. 5. Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

The core elements of business planning are the same for nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses. However, it’s far more important for a nonprofit to thoroughly outline how and from who they will continue to receive funding. This includes promotional, partnership, and fundraising strategies.