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The first step to marketing your business is writing a compelling business plan. Careful strategic planning is fundamental to success, whether you have a multimillion business or a one-person home based business, and it is a must-have for startup ventures.
You might want to write a business plan to apply for a bank loan, send it to venture capital firms to get them to invest in your business, or as part of a grant application. Raising money, however, is not the only reason to write a business plan. Business plans can serve as a strong foundation for your marketing materials and keep you focused as you plan ahead. It may even be used for communicating your mission and vision to your employees.
Whether its purpose is to garner loans and equity investment or just to get you thinking, a business plan, is essentially just a document. It typically ranges between 10 and 40 pages and concisely summarizes the reason for the existence of your business, making a compelling argument about why you will be successful. All plans typically include several common sections such as company history, market overview, description of the product and/or services, financial and cost analysis, financial projections, marketing strategy, sales forecasts and team overview.
Remember also, that while a business plan is certainly a strong tool, it is not an invariable one. It develops and grows as your business and ideas do, and you should always have an updated one handy.
There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for a business plan. You will find various templates and variations, but all effective business plans share several common characteristics. Explore the guidelines and documents on this page to understand what makes an effective business plan, get free samples and start creating your top-notch plan.