12 Tips to Write Your Business Plan

Rows of lightbulbs with dollar signs. Represents tips to help you write a winning business plan.

2 min. read

Updated January 3, 2024

Learn to craft an excellent business plan with our curated selection of business plan tips and tricks—developed by seasoned planning experts with over 40 years of experience writing and reviewing business plans.

  • Tips to write your business plan

1. Do this before writing your business plan

If you dive right into the planning process you’re more likely to waste time and become overwhelmed. Before you start, consider why you need a plan and organize your thoughts on a single page.

2. Understand what makes a great plan

There are certain factors that make a great business plan. This includes the plan fitting your business needs, being realistic, and addressing assumptions. Here are a few other traits that can truly elevate your plan.

3. Focus on crafting a compelling message

Many small business owners use their plan to convince others that their business idea is worth investing in. To do this successfully, you need to consider how the plan will be read and what can make it engaging.

4. Know why business plans fail

A big reason why businesses fail is ineffective planning. Knowing what causes business plans to hinder business growth or be rejected by lenders can help you write a better plan and become a better business owner.

5. Avoid these common planning mistakes

Simple mistakes can lead to a mediocre or ineffective business plan. Skipping planning altogether is the biggest, but several others connected to your financials can sink your idea before it ever gets off the ground.

6. Don’t forget to spend time formatting

You may have a killer business idea, detailed market research, and captivating descriptions that will grab the attention of anyone who reads your plan. But none of it matters if your plan appears dense and overly complex…

7. Use the right tools and resources

Take the time to explore any tools or resources that can help you write a business plan. Aside from this guide that you’re already reading, here are a few of our favorites that you should check out for yourself.

8. Know all the ways to use your plan

You likely have a single goal in mind for your business plan, like applying for a loan or making your idea official. Stay focused but take note of the many other ways to get immediate and long-term use out of a plan.

9. Disregard these planning myths

There are numerous misconceptions about business planning that have developed over the years. These range from what your plan should include to if plans are truly valuable—and you should know why they aren’t true.

10. Try writing your business plan in one day

Did you know that you can get all of the components of your business plan down in just a single day? All it takes is a little prep work, knowledge of what to include, and a focus on keeping things simple.

11. Participate in writing a business plan month

There’s never a wrong time to write or update your business plan. However, if you want the inspiration of writing alongside thousands of other entrepreneurs, why not participate in “Write a Business Plan Month.”

12. Consider working with a business plan writer

Working with a business plan writer allows you to spend more time on the other startup steps. But the wrong writer can lead to wasted money on an unusable business plan. So, be sure that you ask the right questions.

LivePlan Logo

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

best business plan tips

Table of Contents

Related Articles

best business plan tips

7 Min. Read

How to Write an Arcade Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

best business plan tips

2 Min. Read

Why You Should Care about Intellectual Property

best business plan tips

10 Min. Read

How to Write the Company Overview for a Business Plan

best business plan tips

6 Min. Read

How to Write an Ice Cream Shop Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

The Bplans Newsletter

The Bplans Weekly

Subscribe now for weekly advice and free downloadable resources to help start and grow your business.

We care about your privacy. See our privacy policy .

Tax Season Savings

Get 40% off LivePlan

The #1 rated business plan software

Transform Tax Season into Growth Season

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

Laptop displaying LivePlan

  • Credit cards
  • View all credit cards
  • Banking guide
  • Loans guide
  • Insurance guide
  • Personal finance
  • View all personal finance
  • Small business
  • Small business guide
  • View all taxes

You’re our first priority. Every time.

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.



A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

best business plan tips

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

On a similar note...

Find small-business financing

Compare multiple lenders that fit your business

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.


  1. 7 Essential Elements of a Winning Business Plan [Infographic]

    best business plan tips

  2. How to Write a Business Plan

    best business plan tips

  3. 5 Tips For A Strong Business Plan

    best business plan tips

  4. How to Build a Business Plan

    best business plan tips

  5. How to create a perfect Business Plan? Steps to create a successful plan

    best business plan tips

  6. Top 5 Tips for a Killer Business Plan [Infographic]

    best business plan tips


  1. Low Competition Business Idea

  2. Top 10 Business Plan Software for General Contractors (2024)

  3. best business plan ever #story #motivation #emotional #fact #ytshorts #10kviews

  4. best business plan #motivation

  5. Advanced Business Ideas

  6. New Business Ideas Part 01 #business


  1. 12 Expert Tips to Write Your Business Plan

    1. Executive Summary. While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it’s the section you’ll write last. That’s because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager. Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what’s inside the ...

  2. Business Plan: What it Is, How to Write One

    Learn about the best business plan software. 1. Write an executive summary. This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your ...