Your Guide to Business Development Planning

Meg Prater (she/her)

Published: July 05, 2024

Wondering why a marketer is writing about business development? It’s because I’ve learned that business development is more than just a fancy term for sales.

Business development planning — a step-by-step guide.

Business development is actually a company-wide strategy that brings every department on the same page — including marketing and sales.

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Table of Contents

Business Development Planning

How to develop a business development strategy, business development strategy example.

Business development planning is the process of creating a roadmap for your company’s growth and success. I think of it as a treasure map that lets you navigate the treacherous waters of the business world to find the buried treasure (aka long-term profitability).

business development plan sample

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That said, just like in a treasure hunt, you must also perform a series of steps to ensure you end up with a treasure in your hands:

  • Market analysis . Research the industry, competitors, and target audience to uncover opportunities and potential challenges.
  • Goal setting. Business development planning is incomplete without measurable goals, as the individual department members can’t see where to go without a big, red “X” on the map.
  • Strategy development. Create a game plan for reaching your goals, including tactics for marketing, sales, and partnerships.
  • Resource allocation. Ensure you have the team, budget, and tools to make your journey a success.
  • Performance tracking. To ensure you’re headed in the right direction, check your compass (metrics and KPIs).

While that’s enough of Jack Sparrow — or Captain Jack Sparrow — let’s dig deeper into how to develop a business development strategy.

  • Define your business objectives.
  • Conduct market research.
  • Identify your target customers.
  • Evaluate your current position.
  • Develop strategies.
  • Define tactics and action plans.
  • Set metrics and KPIs.
  • Allocate resources.
  • Implement and monitor.
  • Continuously review and update.

1. Define your business objectives.

While you might want to settle with “make more money than last year,” you need to define your wishes into clear objectives to have a shot at achieving them. So, whether your business objective is to reach a revenue figure, develop a new product, or expand into a new geographic region, lay it out.

To come up with clear business objectives, I recommend going SMART :

  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Time-Bound.

For instance, if you own an ecommerce company, you might define your business objective as: “Increase average order value by 15% in the next six months by implementing a personalized product recommendation system and offering bundled deals.”

If you’re having a hard time coming up with SMART business objectives, I find HubSpot’s free template for SMART goal setting incredibly helpful for getting started.

HubSpot’s SMART goal-setting templates help you come up with clear business development goals.

2. Conduct market research.

You might think that you know your market inside out, but let’s face it — assumptions can be dangerous.

In fact, Amy Kauffman , chief marketing officer at CMO Room , shares that, “The biggest mistake I see companies make when developing their business strategy is not doing enough market research upfront. Many founders are overconfident in their product or idea and assume that if they build it, customers will automatically come."

Put on a pair of X-ray glasses to see what’s really going on beneath the surface. Find out what your customers want, how much potential the target market has, and what your competitors are up to.

At this point, I typically scour industry reports, government statistics, and online databases. If you wish to do the same, here are my recommended sources:

  • Industry reports. Check out industry research from Gartner , McKinsey & Company , and Forrester .
  • Government statistics. If you manage an American business, I recommend the U.S. Census Bureau , Bureau of Labor Statistics , and Federal Reserve Economic Data for their incredible breadth of insights. Outside the U.S., you can try out location-specific sources, like Eurostat , or global sources, such as World Bank Open Data .
  • Online databases. While there are too many online databases to make sense of, I typically look for statistics from our annual reports, like HubSpot’s State of Marketing Report , since our researchers take due care in collecting data. Other than that, I also like eMarketer , Pew Research Center , and Statista .

That said, while these sources should provide most of the data you require, I still recommend using the good old-fashioned method of talking to people. Use surveys or interviews to get inside your potential customers’ heads. Find out what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night, and what they really need.

David Janovic , founder of RJ Living , especially recommends detailed market research for businesses expanding to new markets: “When entering a new market it's definitely crucial to be putting the time and effort into conducting thorough market research — which will help you understand the local landscape, customer preferences, and potential competitors."

Finally, I take all the juicy data and connect the dots to inform my business development strategy moving forward.

How to develop a business development strategy.

3. Identify your target customers.

Once you’ve done your market research homework, it’s time to zero in on your ideal customers. After all, you can’t please everyone.

I recommend creating buyer personas , which are fictional yet realistic representations of your ideal customers based on data. If you have existing buyer personas, update them based on the insights from the market research.

Pro tip: If you don’t have any buyer personas or need to develop another one for a new audience segment, check out HubSpot’s buyer persona generator . It helps you flesh out your target customers' pain points and motivations.

A persona of a property manager created using HubSpot’s buyer persona generator.

Next, evaluate the market size, growth potential, and opportunity of each buyer persona. See which buyer personas align with your business objectives and prioritize them accordingly.

4. Evaluate your current position.

Now that you have researched the market and the customers, I recommend taking a long, hard look in the mirror to assess your current position and figure out where you stand.

The best way to do this is with the trusty SWOT analysis — a strategic planning technique used to identify a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats — to help you determine where you’re at in comparison to your competitors.

Kauffman also shares the same opinion: “Competitive analysis should play a central role in developing the business strategy. It's critical to have a deep understanding of the competitive landscape — not just who the players are but their strengths, weaknesses, positioning, and likely moves."

A SWOT analysis template.

Once I have the data on the competitive landscape, I start filling out a SWOT analysis template :

  • Strengths. I start by noting whatever our brand is excelling at (i.e., your competitive advantage). For instance, when it comes to HubSpot, we have a strong brand reputation and a loyal customer base. Plus, our content marketing game is on point as well, with thought leadership pieces.
  • Weaknesses. Next up, I highlight the areas where we’re struggling or falling short. For instance, the sheer amount of features in the HubSpot platform might feel overwhelming for new users.
  • Opportunities. I look at the market trends, audience segments, and emerging technologies our brand can leverage. For instance, HubSpot benefits from remote work and ecommerce growth.
  • Threats. Lastly, I check out competitors, markets, and regulations to identify threats that could potentially derail our success. For example, if there’s an economic downturn, businesses might reduce their spending on martech such as HubSpot.

Pro tip: Remember, SWOT analysis isn't a one-and-done deal. So, even if you conducted a SWOT analysis during the startup stage, I suggest doing it again while developing a business development strategy since businesses evolve, markets shift, and customer preferences change over time.

While SWOT analysis provides a bird’s-eye view of the competitive landscape, I believe you can also find many granular but important details about business by taking a deep dive into your sales funnel, marketing mix, and customer experience.

In particular, you can look for clogs in the sales pipeline where potential customers are getting stuck. Or you can review your marketing efforts and see what’s working and what could be improved. Finally, you could ask customers to identify unmet needs.

5. Develop strategies.

Now it’s time to don your strategy hat and craft effective strategies for each department to drive business growth . While the exact strategy depends on your business and its objectives, here’s how it looks for different departments.

No effective business development strategy is complete without a sales plan . If you’ve already established a sales plan, make sure to unify it with your business development efforts.

Your plan should outline your target audience, identify potential obstacles, provide a “game plan” for sales reps, outline responsibilities for team members, and define market conditions. If you haven’t created a sales plan before, I recommend checking out our free sales plan template .

Besides that, see if you can benefit from any technology improvements in the sales department. For instance, our data shows that 81% of sales professionals found AI to be helpful for reducing manual tasks.

If you equate strategic business development to only sales, you’ll lack a steady sales channel to support your business development strategy.

After all, 96% of leads do their own homework before talking to a sales rep. So, if you don’t have marketing content to attract leads, your well-trained sales professionals end up doing, well, nothing.

According to Kauffman, it's a prevalent issue. “Failing to have marketing expertise at the table from the very beginning, when initially planning and developing the product or business, is another common pitfall. Marketing should not be an afterthought — it needs to be deeply embedded in the overall strategy from day one."

Amy Kauffman, chief marketing officer at CMO Room, stresses the importance of marketing in business development planning.

I recommend cooking up some marketing strategies to:

  • Resonate with the target audience. Identify appropriate channels, customize messaging, and personalize content to develop a marketing mix that aligns with the target customers’ preferences and behaviors.
  • Educate the audience. Don’t assume everyone will immediately “get” it. Instead, use marketing to attract, engage, and explain what you offer.
  • Increase brand visibility. Up to 71% of prospects prefer doing research independently without talking to a sales professional, so I recommend using search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing to build a trustworthy brand.

Customer Success

While it might appear that business development means getting more customers, it doesn’t have to be the case. You can also get more business from your existing customers since you’ve already earned their trust. In fact, our data shows that 72% of a company's revenue comes from existing customers.

While there are several ways to gain customers' trust, I recommend establishing a personal connection instead of relying on coupons, discounts, or free perks.

For instance, you can listen to customers’ feedback and improve your product to fully win them over to your side.

Arc incorporates feedback from customers.

Image Source

Paul L. Gunn Jr. , founder of the KUOG Corporation , agrees, saying that the “heartfelt action to go beyond the transactional to deliver a solution that speaks to the intangibles anchors them to often support a long-term relationship and make significant tangible impact."

6. Define tactics and action plans.

Once you’ve got your strategies in place, it’s time to get tactical. I recommend you start with identifying key initiatives and projects that will bring your strategies to life.

If you’ve already filled out our free sales plan template , your sales team will be well and ready. If you haven’t, start doing so by assigning roles, tasks, and responsibilities to everyone on the team. For fleshing out your marketing strategy, I like using HubSpot’s free marketing plan template .

If you like to work without a template, ensure your action plans include information on the following:

  • Tasks. Let the team members know what they’re responsible for, who the lead is, and what’s required of them.
  • Timeline. Instead of going with “we'll get it done when we get it done,” set realistic milestones and deadlines for each initiative to keep everyone on track and accountable.
  • Budgets. Since money doesn’t grow on trees, you need to be smart about where you allocate your resources. Instead of blowing your entire budget on a flashy marketing campaign, put money into initiatives that will truly move the needle.

7. Set metrics and KPIs.

If you can’t track your progress, you cannot know if your business plan for development is working. That’s why setting clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) is so important — it’s basically a scoreboard for your business development efforts.

To start, identify the specific metrics that align with your business objectives and strategies. I usually find the following metrics incredibly insightful:

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC) . CAC tells you how much you’re spending to attract new customers. By optimizing your marketing and sales, you can lower your CAC.
  • Conversion rate. Conversion rate measures the effectiveness of different marketing and sales processes, such as how many customers took a desired action.
  • Win rate . Unlike conversion rate, win rate deals only with sales opportunities. It’s a percentage of how many sales opportunities your sales team successfully closed — which provides insights into your sales progress.
  • Net promoter score (NPS) . NPS measures customer satisfaction with your brand or how likely they are to recommend your brand to others.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV) . CLV, also called LTV, helps businesses understand the total revenue they can expect from a single customer.

Gauri Manglik , CEO of Instrumentl , especially recommends tracking LTV to SaaS companies: “The key is that LTV captures both revenue and engagement over time, not just a snapshot. So rather than looking at new sales in isolation, I always encourage SaaS companies to make LTV their north star metric for business development.”

Gauri Manglik, CEO of Instrumentl, highlights the importance of LTV for SaaS companies.

Pro tip: After identifying the relevant metrics or KPIs, you can also set SMART goals for each to make tracking easier. Plus, you can create dashboards to visualize the progress against the KPIs. It’ll make it easy for team members to see how they’re doing and what they need to improve.

8. Allocate resources.

While I’ve already mentioned resource allocation during action plans, you must also approach resource management in a big-picture mode to execute your business development strategy seamlessly.

I recommend prioritizing the initiatives based on their potential impact and alignment with your business objectives. In other words, focus your resources on the areas that give you the most bang for your buck.

Beyond that, you must also take a hard look at your current resources. If you have any gaps in skills, expertise, or technology, fill those gaps first — by hiring new talent, investing in training, or getting a new tool.

For example, 63% of sales leaders share that AI makes it easier for them to compete with other businesses, so you might also improve your sales metrics by adopting an AI-powered sales solution .

Additionally, resource allocation isn’t a one-and-done deal (like other things on this list), so keep a close eye on the ROI of different initiatives outlined in your business development plan and shift your resources as required. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try a different approach.

9. Implement and monitor.

Since you’ve got a solid plan, a team of do-ers, and enough resources to pull it off, it’s time to put all the strategizing and planning into action and watch the magic happen.

First things first, ensure all your plans have reached the shop floor — everyone knows their role and has the tools they need to crush it. Plus, don’t forget to keep the communication lines open as situations arise to be on top of your game and fix the issue right there and then.

And once you have kicked things off, keep your fingers on the pulse and track your progress against the metrics and KPIs. It’s like checking your GPS in a new city to ensure you’re staying on course.

Lastly, remember to celebrate your wins along the way — whatever size they might be — to keep the team motivated and engaged for the long haul.

10. Continuously review and update.

Business development strategy requires regular review and updates.

Since markets evolve, customer trends change, and competitors improve, a business development strategy is never a finished document. Instead, you must keep reviewing and updating your strategies to generate new business for your brand.

Here’s how I approach it:

  • Conduct regular check-ins. Assess your current strategies regularly. Are you hitting your targets? Are there any areas that require improvement? Ask tough questions and adjust if required instead of sitting idly.
  • Collect market intelligence. Instead of only relying on internal feedback, stay up-to-date with market trends, customer needs, and competitor activities. Use that knowledge to update your strategies and tactics.
  • Ask customers for feedback. Your customers should be the center of your attention as they provide specific insights, relevant ideas, and word-of-mouth referrals.

While navigating all the moving parts of a business development strategy might appear confusing, here’s an example of a business development strategy I put together for an ecommerce store, “GreenThreads,” which sells eco-friendly clothing and accessories.

Business development strategy example.

Business Objectives Example

Increase online sales revenue by 25% within the next 12 months by expanding product range and implementing targeted marketing campaigns.

Market Research Example

  • According to Material Exchange, 86% of brands asked for sustainable material options in 2023, compared to 52% in 2022.
  • Millennials and Gen Z-ers make up 68% of the total sustainable apparel market .
  • According to McKinsey & Company, two-thirds of fashion brands who made decarbonization commitments are behind on their schedule.

Target Customer Persona Example

Meet “Eco-Conscious Sam,” a 24-year-old urban professional who values sustainability and ethical consumption. She‘s always on the lookout for fashionable clothing and accessories that align with her values, and she’s willing to pay a bit more for high-quality, eco-friendly products. Sam is active on social media and loves to share her favorite sustainable brands with her followers.

SWOT Analysis Example

  • Strengths. GreenThreads is like the superhero of sustainable fashion, fighting fast fashion with its eco-friendly powers and ethical production processes. With a user-friendly online platform, it makes it easier for customers to shop with a clear conscience.
  • Weaknesses. GreenThreads’ prices may be higher than those of its fast-fashion competitors. The limited product range might limit the options for customers.
  • Opportunities. With sustainable fashion becoming the talk of the town, GreenThreads has the chance to win over eco-conscious consumers. Partnering with influencers and expanding globally could make GreenThreads the world’s most wanted (in a good way!).
  • Threats. GreenThreads faces fierce competition from other eco-friendly brands. Plus, the volatile economic environment forces many customers to prioritize penny-pinching over planet-saving.

Action Plans Example

  • Product expansion. GreenThreads will develop a line of eco-friendly accessories to complement clothing offerings.
  • Marketing. GreenThreads will use user-generated content and eco-friendly influencer partnerships to launch targeted social media campaigns.

Metrics and KPIs Example

GreenThreads will measure:

  • Sales revenue.
  • Product performance.
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC).

If GreenThreads hits the 25% sales revenue, they can pat themselves on the back. Plus, product performance and CAC will tell GreenThreads how effective they were in expanding the product range and their marketing efforts.

Budget Allocation Example

  • Marketing. $50,000.
  • Influencer partnerships. $20,000.
  • Product expansion. $115,000.

Create a Strategic Business Development Plan

With a strategic business development plan, you‘re not just throwing darts blindfolded and hoping for the best. You’re investing your precious resources, time, and hard-earned money into initiatives that'll knock the socks off your short-term and long-term goals alike.

But don’t take my word for it. Sit down with your team, break out the snacks, and start brainstorming your own master plan to set your business up for long-term success.

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Write a business development plan

Now that you’re in the growth stage of your business, set things in motion with a business development plan.

A business development plan sets goals for growth and explains how you will achieve them. It can have a short-term or long-term focus. Review and revise your plan as often as you can. And keep building on it as your business evolves.

How to write a business development plan

Your business development plan is your roadmap to growth, so make it clear, specific and realistic.

What to include in a business development plan

  • Opportunities for growth: Identify where growth will come from – whether it’s in creating new products, adding more services, breaking into new markets, or a combination of these.
  • Funding plan: Determine how you’ll fund your business growth. How much capital do you already have? How much more do you need and how will you get it? Check out our guide on financing your business.
  • Financial goals: Work out what revenue, costs and profits you’ll have if things stay the same. Use those numbers as a basis for setting new, more ambitious financial goals.
  • Operational needs: Identify what things about your business will need to change in order to achieve growth. Will you need extra people, more equipment, or new suppliers?
  • Sales and marketing activities: Figure out what sales and marketing efforts will effectively promote growth and how these efforts will change as the business gets bigger and better. Make sure your sales and marketing plan is sturdy enough to support your growing business.
  • Team needs: You may need people to take on some of the tasks you’ve been doing. Think about what parts of running the business you enjoy most – and you’re good at – and what parts you might want to delegate to others. And give some thought to the culture you want to develop in your business as it grows. Check out our guide on hiring employees.

A sample business development plan

Avoid these common business development mistakes.

  • Thinking short-term instead of long-term
  • Underestimating how much money it will take to grow
  • Not budgeting enough money to cover the costs of growth
  • Focusing on too many growth opportunities: think quality, not quantity

Micro-planning can keep you focused

You may want to create some micro-plans for specific growth projects so their details don’t get overlooked. And you can build in some KPIs to measure your progress and successes. As your business grows, take note of your progress and make periodic adjustments to your business development plan to make sure it’s still relevant.

Support is out there

Remember you’re not the first to go through this. Seek out mentors, advisors or other business owners who can help you with your planning. Your accountant or bookkeeper may also be able to help or point you in the direction of the right people.

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

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Before you leap into growth, reflect on where you’ve come from. Find out the stage of business growth you’re at.

Understanding your business performance will help you grow. Check out common examples of small business KPIs.

Increasing sales revenue is one obvious way to help grow your business. But how do you sell more?

You can grow your business by selling more things to more people, or fewer things to fewer people. Let’s look at how.

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Meet any target: business development plan template

business development plan sample

A company’s goals are an integral part of its productivity. When your team understands what targets they need to hit, they have something clear to strive for and feel a sense of pride when they succeed. Setting intentions about where your business is going and how to get there is an important part of the building process.

Gain clarity about what your company’s objectives are with the help of a free business development plan template. We’ll share a fully customizable template with you that you can use on monday.com. But before that, this article looks at the benefits of using such templates and what you should include in a business development plan.

Get the template

What is a business development plan template?

business development plan sample

A business development plan template is a customizable document that outlines the objectives of your business and actionable steps to meet them. These can be your company’s long or short-term goals, amounts needed for start-up costs, or specific milestones, such as hitting a specific monthly sales target, or getting your first repeat client. The plan outlines steps to take to get to those goals and assigns specific tasks to individuals to hold them accountable for meeting the deadlines.

A business development plan template is a pre-formatted tool that describes your business objectives and how you’ll achieve them.

Although you can always write these plans down in a regular, static document, many businesses opt to use a customizable pre-built format to get off to a strong start.

Why use a business development plan template?

As a business owner, creating a custom, agile business development plan helps you gain clarity regarding decision-making on areas, such as investments, resources, and budgeting. Unlike with pen and paper, or even a word doc, a template is dynamic. You can move initiatives around, assign ownership, store all relevant information on the template itself, and customize any aspect of the template from labels, template structure and appearance, automations, and more.

Of course, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to creating a well-thought-out document. Below, we’ll discuss some of the things you may want to consider and include in your business development plan.

What to include in a business development plan

A business development plan comes into play during the growth stage of your business. By specifying your targets and plans of action, the business development plan becomes a roadmap for achieving growth and success. To ensure you have a strong plan, consider including the elements summarized below.

Financial goals

A business’s growth is largely based on its financial success, so it’s critical to assess your current financial position to set targets for the future. Start by:

  • Looking to your past and current revenue as a baseline for what your business brings in
  • Assessing your overhead costs versus your profits
  • Setting goals for bringing in higher profits and revenue in the coming months and years
  • Getting specific about your timeline, so you can reassess your financial position when you hit those dates

Funding plan

Meeting your financial goals and achieving financial growth requires funding. Use this section of the business development plan to determine the amount of business capital you currently have and what steps you can take to secure more funding in the future within your target market segment.

Opportunities for growth

Look at your business to identify where you have room to grow. This will vary depending on what industry and business you work in. For some, this might mean developing a new line of products or adding additional services that can attract new clients and boost revenue.

Operational needs

Examine operational needs and take a practical look at what needs to change in the daily function of your business to support expansion and further development. This could mean investing in new equipment or hiring additional personnel to oversee specific departments or projects.

Sales and marketing plans

An important part of business growth is how you promote your company to consumers. Determine a marketing strategy to get customers excited about your new products and services or to inform consumers of investments you’re making in equipment upgrades. Your marketing plans are how you’ll communicate your investments and improvements to drive growth through customer interest.

Understand strengths and weaknesses 

Creating a business development plan requires a firm understanding of your company’s strengths and weaknesses. To identify these, consider performing a SWOT analysis . You can use the resulting information to develop a strategic plan to leverage strengths and improve on weak areas across all aspects of your business.

Building your team

For a business to grow successfully, you must also expand your workforce. This means hiring new team members and learning to delegate tasks with a lower priority or difficulty level, so you can focus on matters of high-level priority. Use this part of your plan to assess what tasks you can assign to someone else and how many people you might need to hire to meet the demands of your growing business.

Having a plan to develop your business is a great foundation. But you also need tools to put that plan into action. Starting with a solution that lets you bring people together, communicate priorities, and manage tasks can increase your chances of success.

monday.com supports business development and planning

Your business development plan template is the starting point for your company’s expansion. As you move toward creating targets and future plans for your business, you can make use of the many other features and templates on monday.com to understand where you’re at with your business and what areas are ready to support growth.

monday.com lets you create workflows to plan and track projects and day-to-day processes. Connect off-platform tools necessary for collaboration and communication with team members from around the world, and leverage no-code automation opportunities to streamline repetitive tasks.

You can start with our Business Development Plan Template, customizing the columns to meet your specific needs.  Take notes, mention team members on tasks to get their feedback, or color-code your business development plan to create a visual that’s easy to digest at a glance.

business development plan sample

Once you’re ready to put your business development plan into action, turn to our Template Center for plenty of other tools to help you get started on various tasks.

Related templates 

A business development plan template isn’t the only useful tool for growing your business. Consider some of these other options to help your teams increase efficiency and promote growth.

One-page business plan template

Our easy-to-use One-page Business Plan Template is meant to provide an overview of your objectives and deadlines at a glance. Completing the one-page business plan template creates a reference point for the scope of your business objectives that you can easily return to at any time.

Business executive summary template

Our Business Executive Summary Template is an ideal tool when you’re preparing to pitch your company to investors. It offers a guide for emphasizing the core of your business plan in a way that appeals to the interests of your target audience. You can include sales/marketing plans, staff expenses, and long-term goals to provide prospective stakeholders with a clear picture of where your business stands and where it’s going.

Writing business plans is easier when you start with a template. But knowing what to include and what might be most important can help you make the most of such documents. Check the FAQs below for some more tips.

FAQs about business development plan templates

business development plan sample

What are the main parts of a business plan?

A solid business plan should have four key components. The main parts of a business plan include:

  • An executive summary
  • A marketing plan
  • Key management bios
  • A financial plan that includes cost and pricing information

What is the most important part of a business plan?

The executive summary is the most important part of any business plan. The executive summary acts as the preface to the overall business plan and the hook that gets readers excited about the possibility of investing in your company. The goal of the executive summary is to entice the investor to read the rest of your plan, so aim for the most polished version possible.

Build your company’s future with a business development plan template from monday.com 

Your business development strategy is critical to growing your company and meeting future goals. Using templates from monday.com can help you build your business development plan to drive success.

Having a business plan creates a 30% higher chance of growth for your business compared to businesses that don’t start with written action plans. A customizable, user-friendly business development plan template provides a starting point to realizing your objectives.

business development plan sample

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Examples

Business Development Plan

business development plan sample

Not all of the so called development in business has the same impact. A lot of activities or projects implemented are tactical which is true to many sellers. Sometimes, we are caught within the pressures between having to work with a client and managing a new business which both have short term results and require little to no strategy. Getting to decide which target and decision to take would employ development in business . Something that obtains a good strategy leads to growth and more profit. That is why every business must secure a business development plan to help them be guided along the way.

10+ Business Development Plan Examples

1. business development plan template.

Business Development Plan Template

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2. Service Business Development Plan Template

Service Business Development Plan Template

3. Marketing Agency Business Development Plan Template

Marketing Agency Business Development Plan Template

4. Marketing Business Development Plan

Marketing Business Development Plan

5. Job/Business Development Plan

Job Business Development Plan

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6. Construction Business Development Plan

Construction Business Development Plan

Size: 552 KB

7. University Business Development Plan

University Business Development Plan

8. Strategic Business Development Plan

Strategic Business Development Plan

Size: 38 KB

9. Research Business Development Plan

Research Business Development Plan

10. Global Business Development Plan

Global Business Development Plan

Size: 986 KB

11. Business Development Action Plan

Business Development Action Plan

Size: 349 KB

Business Development Plan Definition

A business development plan is a type of document that provides an outline of the method of implementation set on a particular development strategy. It can be a plan, a practice or a firm. It covers most of the business aspects of which it includes marketing , sales, services and more.

Before you are going to start making a business development plan, consider doing a SWOT analysis first. This will ensure that you are on the right track. SWOT analysis, by nature, has the ability to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Contents of a Business Development Plan

1. Opportunities

You will be able to identify opportunities in creating new products, more services, new markets and other opportunities as well. Choose the option that you think is best for the development of your business.

2. Funding plan

Determine ways on how to fund your business . This may be in the form of a business capital.

3. Financial goals

Financial goals would include how you are going to achieve and manage profit, cost projections, and revenue.

4. Sales and marketing strategies

Decide what type of strategies are effective in the market that helps in promoting business growth. Make sure that you have a plan that aims in supporting your business.

5. Team needs

Think of a way that helps improve the capabilities of your team members. As much as possible, evaluate them.

Components of a Business Development Plan

1. Situation Analysis

Situation analysis  is the process of gathering information both from internal and external sources. External information involves those that are about economy, industry, as well as the competitors. Internal information are basically from employees, satisfaction, longevity and customers as well. Gathering information that are specific and factual would help lead in the development of the objectives and strategies.

2. SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. This is what every businesses use to review some information that during an analysis to know how it impacts the business.

3. Establishment of Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

Goals are the ones that needs to be accomplished in general sense. Objectives needs to be specific and clear. Strategies determine how a specific company can accomplish the objectives. Tactics are something that is operational and states what a company should do to achieve the strategies.

What to avoid in making a business development plan?

Avoid thinking short term and focusing too much on opportunities. Also, avoid not practicing the act of budgeting money.

Why is positioning important?

Positioning is essential during a time where you start choosing which firm to work with. Positioning will help in developing your marketing tools.

What are some of the typical marketing channels that can be considered when writing for a business development plan?

Marketing channels would include inbound leads, paid search advertising, paid social advertising, referrals, outbound leads, networking, channel sales, up-sells and cross-sells.

Generally, it is just all about picking for the right business development strategy. This enables you to reach, engage and convert your prospects. Writing a business development plan requires more time, effort and critical thinking skill to come up with an idea that helps in the growth and development of your company. As what the guidelines entail, you should be able to write specifically and with organized structure of plan.

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Small Business Trends

How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Executive summary.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

Company Description

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

Market analysis.

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

Competitive Analysis

Organization and management team.

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

Logistics and Operations Plan

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Income Statement

Cash flow statement.

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

SectionDescriptionExample
Executive SummaryBrief overview of the business planOverview of EcoTech and its mission
Overview & ObjectivesOutline of company's goals and strategiesMarket leadership in sustainable technology
Company DescriptionDetailed explanation of the company and its unique selling propositionEcoTech's history, mission, and vision
Target MarketDescription of ideal customers and their needsEnvironmentally conscious consumers and businesses
Market AnalysisExamination of industry trends, customer needs, and competitorsTrends in eco-friendly technology market
SWOT AnalysisEvaluation of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and ThreatsStrengths and weaknesses of EcoTech
Competitive AnalysisIn-depth analysis of competitors and their strategiesAnalysis of GreenTech and EarthSolutions
Organization & ManagementOverview of the company's structure and management teamKey roles and team members at EcoTech
Products & ServicesDescription of offerings and their unique featuresEnergy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers
Marketing & SalesOutline of marketing channels and sales strategiesDigital advertising, content marketing, influencer partnerships
Logistics & OperationsDetails about daily operations, supply chain, inventory, and quality controlPartnerships with manufacturers, quality control
Financial ProjectionsForecast of revenue, expenses, and profit for the next 3-5 yearsProjected growth in revenue and net profit
Income StatementSummary of company's revenues and expenses over a specified periodRevenue, Cost of Goods Sold, Gross Profit, Net Income
Cash Flow StatementOverview of cash inflows and outflows within the businessNet Cash from Operating Activities, Investing Activities, Financing Activities

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

What is a Business Plan?

Why you should write a business plan.

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

Type of Business PlanPurposeKey ComponentsTarget Audience
Startup Business PlanOutlines the company's mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections.Mission Statement, Company Description, Market Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Organizational Structure, Marketing and Sales Strategy, Financial Projections.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Internal Business PlanServes as a management tool for guiding the company's growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision.Strategies, Milestones, Deadlines, Resource Allocation.Internal Team Members
Strategic Business PlanOutlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them.SWOT Analysis, Market Research, Competitive Analysis, Long-Term Goals.Executives, Managers, Investors
Feasibility Business PlanAssesses the viability of a business idea.Market Demand, Competition, Financial Projections, Potential Obstacles.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Growth Business PlanFocuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business.Market Analysis, New Product/Service Offerings, Financial Projections.Business Owners, Investors
Operational Business PlanOutlines the company's day-to-day operations.Processes, Procedures, Organizational Structure.Managers, Employees
Lean Business PlanA simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements.Value Proposition, Customer Segments, Revenue Streams, Cost Structure.Entrepreneurs, Startups
One-Page Business PlanA concise summary of your company's key objectives, strategies, and milestones.Key Objectives, Strategies, Milestones.Entrepreneurs, Investors, Partners
Nonprofit Business PlanOutlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation for nonprofit organizations.Mission Statement, Goals, Target Audience, Fundraising Strategies, Budget.Nonprofit Leaders, Board Members, Donors
Franchise Business PlanFocuses on the franchisor's requirements, as well as the franchisee's goals, strategies, and financial projections.Franchise Agreement, Brand Standards, Marketing Efforts, Operational Procedures, Financial Projections.Franchisors, Franchisees, Investors

Using Business Plan Software

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

SoftwareKey FeaturesUser InterfaceAdditional Features
LivePlanOver 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, progress tracking against KPIsUser-friendly, visually appealingAllows creation of professional-looking business plans
UpmetricsCustomizable templates, financial forecasting tools, collaboration capabilitiesSimple and intuitiveProvides a resource library for business planning
BizplanDrag-and-drop builder, modular sections, financial forecasting tools, progress trackingSimple, visually engagingDesigned to simplify the business planning process
EnloopIndustry-specific templates, financial forecasting tools, automatic business plan generation, unique performance scoreRobust, user-friendlyOffers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget
Tarkenton GoSmallBizGuided business plan builder, customizable templates, financial projection toolsUser-friendlyOffers CRM tools, legal document templates, and additional resources for small businesses

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

Can i write a business plan by myself, is it possible to create a one-page business plan.

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

What is a business plan outline, what are the 5 most common business plan mistakes, what questions should be asked in a business plan.

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

How is business planning for a nonprofit different.

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Business development plan

Embark on a journey of strategic growth with our business development plan template. Plan, execute, and succeed.

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What's inside this business development plan template?

In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship and business leadership, a well-crafted business development plan isn't just helpful—it's crucial for success. Our Business Development Plan Template, tailored for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and industry leaders, provides a comprehensive framework for planning and executing successful growth strategies.

Market analysis

Central to your business strategy, the Market Analysis section is your compass in the competitive business landscape. It encompasses:

  • Target market description: Clearly define your customers and their specific needs, ensuring your offerings hit the mark.
  • Competitor analysis: Identify key competitors and dissect their strategies to carve out your unique market position.
  • SWOT analysis: Conduct a thorough internal and external analysis, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, critical for informed strategic moves.

Growth strategies

In this segment, articulate your blueprint for attracting new customers and breaking into new markets. It's where you translate ambitious goals into actionable plans for customer acquisition and market expansion.

Sales and marketing plans

Align your sales objectives with robust marketing strategies. This alignment ensures a unified approach to driving business growth, with clear marketing goals and innovative sales tactics.

Financial projections and budget

The financial section is where you forecast your fiscal health and outline your budget. It's essential for effective financial planning and crucial for securing investments and stakeholder confidence.

Milestones and timelines

Set specific goals and deadlines to keep your team focused and progress measurable. This part of the template is your roadmap to achieving key business objectives within set timelines.

Team and resource management

Optimize your team and resources for peak performance. Plan your staffing and organizational structure to ensure the right people are in the right roles, driving your business forward.

Connect the template to your goals

This template is more than a document; it's a transformative tool for your business. Whether your aim is to streamline processes, explore new markets, or amplify team productivity, this template is your stepping stone towards these aspirations.

Benefits of using the template

  • Enhanced structured planning: This template streamlines the planning process, offering a well-organized framework that breaks down complex business development strategies into manageable segments. It guides you in defining clear objectives and aligns your actions with your business vision, ensuring a more effective and efficient planning experience.
  • Aligned team efforts: By providing a clear outline of business goals and strategies, the template ensures that every team member understands their role in the broader business context. This alignment fosters collaboration and enhances productivity, as team efforts are cohesively directed towards shared business objectives.
  • Informed decision-making: The template's comprehensive approach to analyzing market dynamics, competitor strategies, and internal strengths and weaknesses empowers you to make well-informed decisions. By identifying risks and capitalizing on opportunities, you can navigate your business towards sustainable growth and resilience in a competitive environment.
  • Strategic financial management: With its detailed section on financial projections and budgeting, the template becomes an invaluable tool for financial planning. It helps in forecasting revenue, managing expenses, and allocating resources efficiently, which is critical for maintaining financial health and attracting investments.

Embark on your strategic journey today. Use our Business Development Plan Template to bring clarity, focus, and dynamism to your business strategies. Give it a try for yourself, and experience firsthand how structured planning can elevate your business to new heights of success.

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Business development plan: A step-by-step approach

Lucia Piseddu

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A good business development plan can set you up for success. Learn how to create your own from scratch with zero experience!

If you’re just starting with business development , chances are that you’re a little confused about how you should do it. I got lost many times during my entrepreneurial journey. One of those moments was when I had to write a business development plan for the first time.

Now, the main problem was that I didn’t have a clue about what a business development plan was to start with. And of course, when I started digging, I got even more confused. I found a lot of information online, but nothing that would tell me how to do it step-by-step.

So after some years of trying and failing, I finally found my way to deal with it and build my own business development plan.

Below I’ll explain how to write a business development plan and what information you should include in practical terms. But first, let’s define what a business development plan is.

What is a business development plan?

A business development plan is a document that helps you implement your business development strategy in a step-by-step method. It involves a lot of research on the market and customers. But also, other aspects such as your competitors and buyer persona.

So, a business development plan is a detailed summary of important steps you’re going to take to grow your business. One key aspect to remember is that a business development plan is a LIVING document. This means that you have to update your plan continuously based on new information about your ecosystem.

This helps you strategize better but also ensures that it’s a document of quality insights.

A business development plan is divided into two main parts:

  • Research: in the research phase, you learn more about your market, customers, and competitors.
  • Action: you use your research and put it into action. Specifically, this translates into creating a value proposition, and content, and experimenting with ideas.

You can download our template for free at this link .

the business development school - the business development plan template

Step 1: Organize your business development plan

I’m a fan of organizing information in a structured, intuitive, and efficient way. Although it may sound basic, the first thing you should think about is to have a proper file you can consult on a daily basis.

It doesn’t have to contain every piece of information. Keep it simple by including only essential and key facts that will help you build an effective business development machine. Your business development plan needs to be easily accessible and quick to consult.

In this sense, you don’t need to get fancy and start looking for the latest software that promises you great time savings. Stick to something basic yet powerful. Google Sheets is your best ally when it comes to your business development plan.

So, the main goal of a business development plan is to keep information structured so that you can spot growth opportunities easier.

You can download our template for free at this link and start your business development plan.

Step 2: Market research

Market research is a stepping stone in a business development plan. It’s an activity to gather more information about customers’ preferences and needs. Many companies overlook this step thinking that their intuition will guide them through their challenges. Intuition can be helpful, but it’s still essential to know your customers better using research and data.

After all, most ideas start off from intuition. However, basing an entire plan on assumptions is never a smart strategy to use in business development. So, do your homework and make sure you always take educated guesses before starting to work on your business development plan.

Market research takes into account 3 variables . These will tell you the realistic size of the market you’re trying to target.

1 – Total Addressable Market or Total Available Market (TAM)

The TAM takes into account the entire market you’re operating in and basically tells you how much annual revenue there is available for your product or service.

Now, finding this information can be the first bummer. To me at least, it sounded quite impossible to find out. Later, I figured that there are many people out there that dedicate their life only to market research.

You can use Google to find out this information. But of course, you first need to know what you’re looking for. The information you need, in this case, is basically knowing how many companies or people would benefit from your product or service.

You also want to know how many companies operate in your exact space both in terms of services and geography. To get relevant market news, try Googling “your industry market trends”, “your market report”, or “your industry report”.

Many big consultancy groups and governmental institutions dedicate a lot of time to this type of research. It’s a good and reliable starting point.

PRO TIP: Choose your sources very carefully. You’ll find a lot of random information, learn to filter out what you’re reading.

2 – Total Served Market (TSM)

Once you know how big your market is, you need to check how much of it is already served by your competitors.

In this case, the information you’re looking for is all about your competition. You should ask yourself first how many of them you have.

Then you need to find out how well they’re doing and start hunting for as much intelligence as possible.

The info you need to look for is how many clients your competitors claim to have, what revenue they generate, and where they are present.

First, Google keywords to identify your competitors. Right after that, you can start digging deeper into their websites and find detailed info.

Bigger competitors will most likely have good press coverage. Read these articles to gather more insight.

Last, don’t overlook the importance of customer review websites. Customers can uncover many relevant details that your competitors don’t want to reveal. And of course, make use of technology to make the most out of your research.

3 – Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM)

The last step in your market research is to quantify how much you can realistically obtain with your business development effort.

Your SOM is your share in the market. So, to put it simply, it’s not possible to have an entire market buy only your products and services. There is a specific customer base that will buy from your company . So, your SOM refers to your market share and the people that can become your customers if they see a benefit from your products or services.

SOM takes into account your brand awareness, market insights, but also competition. It helps you forecast potential earnings and also gain customers. Based on the research, you become aware of what your competitors are offering to the market. Moreover, you will be able to tailor your products and services to meet the needs and preferences of your customers.

the business development school - business development plan market research

Step 3: Competitor analysis

The third step to do when creating your business development plan is to do a competitor analysis . So far, I discussed market research and how it helps you get to know the preferences of your target audience better. But, to grow your business sustainably and profitably, it’s vital that you analyze your competitors as well.

First, figure out who your direct and indirect competitors are. So, in a Google search, we try to identify or find the ID of each company that competes in your market. This can be found in the website’s ‘About us’ section. Then, the aim is to find key personalities such as managers and executives, and so on.

Once you have this information, you can move on to products and services. You can find this on your competitor’s website as well. This specific section defines what the company specializes in. You can use this information to compare your products to those of your competitors and try to find ways to improve them.

Continue by checking their clients, and the pricing they offer for their products and services.

PRO TIP: Read the customer reviews of your competitors to spot their strengths and weaknesses. Use the insights to improve your offer.

the business development school - business development plan competitor research

Step 4: Customer research

After identifying your market share, you can start thinking of what kind of customers within this segment, you are trying to sell your products and services to.

The best way to tackle this is by running proper customer research that will provide you with your Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona.

This is the part I like the most because it really helps you understand who you’re talking to. But how do you do it? First, if you already have some customers, start analyzing them. You want to gather more information on who they are, what they do, and their habitual traits.

For example:

  • What job titles do these people have?
  • How old are they?
  • What communication tools do they use?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What are their personalities like?
  • What are their challenges?
  • What do they do in their daily lives?

You can find all this info by simply checking social media profiles. Really, just by observing their social media platforms, you can get to know them in-depth! Take some time to check a few ones (at least 10) and you’re going to start seeing patterns.

Then, check some job descriptions about the people you’re targeting. This will highlight what are their professional responsibilities and how your product or service can help them. Last, it’s always advisable to run a survey.

Step 5: Build your Buyer Persona

Right after having run your customer research, you can now create your buyer persona.

The buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers based on data and research,

In your buyer persona, you need to include all the relevant information you found through your customer research. It should look like something below:

the business development school - buyer persona template

Step 6: Value Propositions

The customer research concludes the research part of your business development plan. Now it’s time to put your insights into action and start building your business development strategy .

The first valuable asset you need to build is a value proposition.

A value proposition is the value your customers get should they choose to buy your products and services

The value proposition helps you communicate your value as a company and you can use it on your website, sales calls, social media posts, etc. Having a clear value proposition will help you attract the right audience and persuade potential customers to work with you.

Of course, a good value proposition is based on that, and if you followed all the steps, you should have all the insights you need.

To build a value proposition we will use the Job-To-Be-Done framework. This helps you identify what are the responsibilities of your buyer persona when they’re doing their job.

For example, a typical responsibility for a recruiter is to find the right talent .

the business development school - job-to-be-done framework

Second, consider the pains and gains of your customers. Customers’ emotions are usually the reason behind their buying decisions. They influence their preferences, frequency of buying, and also which companies they buy from.

Especially the challenges are a crucial element in your value proposition because you can immediately link your solution to a concrete pain that your customers are facing.

For example, let’s go back to the example of the recruiter. We know that one main responsibility of a recruiter is to find talent. One major challenge for recruiters is to have enough time to process all the CVs they receive daily.

Now, let’s assume you work for a company that provides recruitment software that can automate CV screening.

A good value proposition, in this case, would sound like this:

Save 70% of your CV screening time using our recruitment software

the business development school - value proposition design template

Step 7: Content plan

Once you have your value proposition, the next step is to share it with your target audience. That’s when having a content plan becomes a must.

A content plan helps you strategize the type of information you want to feed your audience. It also helps you select the channels on which you should build your presence.

For content to be effective, you need to have a clear idea of your target audience when you write posts/emails, or articles. So, always consult your buyer persona before creating content.

Just like the value propositions, effective content revolves around the pain point you identified earlier. Use them to get the attention of your audience and provide valuable information that helps them alleviate these pains.

This will help you establish yourself as a valuable resource and when they will want to solve their issues, you’ll be the first to pop into their minds.

Step 8: Experiments

The last step in your business development plan is all about creativity and finding opportunities. This is the moment in which we create experiments to validate some of our business assumptions. Your experiment should be ideas that you think will bring sustainable growth to your company.

Once you identify some ideas, define some goals and set up the methodology you will follow to run this experiment. For example, if you heard of a new social media and you think your audience might be on it, build an experiment to validate if this is true and if it can bring you results.

Attach a goal to this idea, for example, generating 10 qualified leads on this new channel.

Then decide for how long you will run the experiment – ideally a couple of weeks. Once the experiment is over analyze what happened. If the experiment was successful, you need to scale this activity. If not, take the learnings for further improvements.

Read this article with 10 business development examples to have some ideas on how to implement your strategy.

The business development plan is a key document that helps you map your ecosystem and strategize your business development efforts .

It consists of a research part and an action part. In the first part, you analyze your market, competitors, and customers. In the second, you use your insights to build value propositions, content plans, and experiments.

The business development plan is a live document, so you have to update it every time you have new insights. Of course, you have to use it in your daily operations to make sure you’re on the right track.

The business development plan is one of the assets you will build during our training. Would you like to shake up your business development career and work in a more structured way? Then join our next cohort .

Last, if you are a company wanting to train your business development team, our custom training solutions are the best way to take your team to the next level.

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Business Development Plan Template

Business Development Plan Template

What is a Business Development Plan?

A business development plan outlines the strategy and goals for a business to achieve growth and success. It can help with the development of new products and services, customer acquisition, market expansion and other activities that drive a business forward. The plan will also include key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress and help determine when changes need to be made.

What's included in this Business Development Plan template?

  • 3 focus areas
  • 6 objectives

Each focus area has its own objectives, projects, and KPIs to ensure that the strategy is comprehensive and effective.

Who is the Business Development Plan template for?

This Business Development Plan template is designed to help business teams of all sizes and industries create a plan to grow and develop their business. It's an ideal tool for small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs who need to develop and execute a strategy to achieve their goals.

1. Define clear examples of your focus areas

Focus areas are the broad topics that you'll be tackling with your business development plan. These may include generating new business opportunities, improving customer retention, and streamlining business processes. Think about what you want to achieve and what areas you should focus on in order to reach your goals.

2. Think about the objectives that could fall under that focus area

Objectives are the goals you want to achieve under each focus area. For example, under the focus area 'Generate New Business Opportunities' you may have the objective 'Increase Sales Lead Generation'. By breaking down a focus area into objectives, you'll be able to create a plan to reach your goals.

3. Set measurable targets (KPIs) to tackle the objective

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable targets that you can use to track your progress towards an objective. For example, under the objective 'Increase Sales Lead Generation' you may set a KPI to 'Increase number of leads generated'. By setting a KPI, you'll be able to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your strategy.

4. Implement related projects to achieve the KPIs

Projects are the specific actions you'll need to take in order to achieve your KPIs. For example, under the KPI 'Increase number of leads generated' you may implement a project to 'Launch marketing campaigns'. Projects are the building blocks of your plan and should help you achieve each KPI.

5. Utilize Cascade Strategy Execution Platform to see faster results from your strategy

Cascade Strategy Execution Platform helps business teams create, plan, and track their strategic goals. Cascade's easy-to-use interface makes it simple to create a business development plan and track progress towards your goals. With Cascade, you'll be able to see the results of your strategy faster and make data-driven decisions to ensure success.

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How to write a business development plan: a step by step guide.

How to Write a Business Development Plan: A Step By Step Guide

So we’ve already tackled how to write the infamous business plan , but now that you’re in the growth stage of your business – what’s next?

Many business owners will look to write a business development plan with the aim to make their business better. Running a business is never a stationary job, you constantly have to be looking to grow and improve.

But what exactly is a business development plan and how do you write one? Let’s find out.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a Business Development Plan?

How to write a business development plan, key takeaways.

A business development plan is a document put together by the business owner with the aim to grow and improve their business. The plan will set goals for growth and explain how you will achieve them.

A business development strategy can have a short-term or long-term focus, or both. They should also be constantly reviewed and revised as things shift and your goals may change.

A health plan is one that builds as your business evolves.

business development plan sample

A standard business development strategy can be split up into 6 different sections, each one with a different aim and purpose. These sections are:

You should always be looking to grow your business. In this section, you will identify where growth will come from. For example, whether it’s new product development, adding different services or breaking into new markets. Your main business development goals should always point towards growth.

According to a U.S. Bank study, 82% of small businesses fail because of poor cash flow management and understanding. That’s why it’s vital that you have a constant eye on your funding and your bottom line.

You need to understand how you’ll fund your business development. So in this section, you should lay out your current capital, and how much more you will need to sustain growth.

3. Financial Goals

You should have a good idea of your current revenue, costs and profits. These numbers can then be used as a starting point for setting new, more ambitious revenue goals. This is for when you have expanded and developed your business.

4. Operational Needs

When growing a business, your operational needs will change. For example, what started out as a two-person job can develop into needing a whole team of people. So in this section, you will need to identify what things about your business will need to change to accommodate and promote growth.

5. Sales and Marketing

No business can succeed without a strong and stable sales team and marketing team. As your business grows, so will your sales and marketing needs. So you will need to take the time to figure out your target market and what sales and marketing efforts will promote growth. You should then put all of your focus on those efforts.

It’s vital that your sales process and marketing strategies are strong and sturdy enough to support a growing business.

business development plan sample

6. Team Needs

Every strong business needs a strong team around it. When you started your business, it’s likely that you shouldered a lot of the jobs and responsibilities. As your business grows, you’ll soon come to realize that you can no longer do this alone.

So as a business developer, you need to think about what jobs and tasks you are best and most effective at. You should then correctly delegate the other responsibilities to the appropriate team members. This is often a good way to figure out if you have the right team around you. If you dread the thought of offloading tasks to your team, you may not have the trust in your team that you should.

Also Read: Tuckman Theory of Team Development

Business development plans may seem like a relatively daunting task. But once you figure out the basics then they can almost write themselves.

You need to have an open mindset, a realistic approach and the ability to accept some potential failures.

Expanding and developing a business is hard work, but with the right plan in place, you are giving yourself the best chance possible.

Are you looking for more business advice on everything from starting a new business to new business practices?

Then check out the FreshBooks Resource Hub .

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What is Business Development Plan Template?

A business development plan is a roadmap that outlines how your business will grow over time. It includes objectives, strategies, tactics, KPIs, timelines, responsibilities, budgets, and status. This template allows you to plan and track your business development activities in a structured and organized manner. With Lark's advanced features, you can customize this template to suit your business needs, collaborate with your team, and monitor your progress in real-time.

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Who is this Business Development Plan Template for?

This template is designed for businesses of all sizes and industries. Whether you are a startup looking to scale, a small business aiming to expand, or a large corporation planning to diversify, this template is for you. It is particularly useful for business development teams, marketing teams, product development teams, operations teams, and executive leadership teams. It allows you to:

- Clearly define your business objectives and strategies

- Plan and execute your tactics effectively

- Monitor your KPIs and adjust your strategies as needed

- Keep track of your timelines and responsibilities

- Manage your budget efficiently

- Stay updated on the status of your business development activities

Why use this Business Development Plan Template?

A business development plan is crucial for the growth and success of your business. Here's why you should use this template:

- It provides a structured approach to planning and executing your business development activities

- It allows you to monitor your progress in real-time and make necessary adjustments

- It promotes collaboration and transparency among your team members

- It helps you manage your resources efficiently and stay within your budget

- It enables you to track your KPIs and measure your success

- It saves you time and effort in creating a business development plan from scratch

- It is customizable and easy to use, thanks to Lark's user-friendly interface and advanced features

Get Started with Business Development Plan Template.

Follow these few steps to get started with Lark templates:

1. Click 'Use this template' on the top right corner to sign up for Lark

2. After signing up for Lark, you will be directed to the Business Development Plan Template on Lark Base. Click 'Use This Template' on the top right corner of Lark Base to copy a version of the Business Development Plan Template to your workspace.

3. Change fields of the template to fit your needs

4. Take advantage of the full potential of this Business Development Plan Template.

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9 steps for writing a strategic business development plan

Updated 04 October 2023 • 7 min read

Developing a business plan can mark the start of an exciting phase, as you start charting future growth. This document serves as the roadmap for your business development strategy as you take your business to new heights.

Creating an effective business development plan can be a tough task. It requires you to think through several aspects of your business that you may not consider on a day-to-day basis.

Don’t worry — we’re here to help. This article will walk you through how to write a business development plan, so you can grow your business in the most effective way possible. 

What is a business development plan?

A business development plan is the growth roadmap for your business. It’s a strategy document that lays out where you want to take your business and how you intend to get there. 

A thorough and carefully crafted business development plan lays out your growth targets, financial projections and the tools and resources your company needs. It may also define your marketing and efforts that support your goals.

A business development plan provides clarity and helps you keep your objectives in focus during the day-to-day grind. It also provides a strong foundation for making business decisions — if you’re not sure whether a move makes sense, you can always consult your plan.

Why do you need a business development plan?

Creating a proper business development strategy can be a lot of work. But it pays dividends by providing clarity and focus. It also helps when trying to secure funding, as it shows you've thought through all the possibilities. 

A business development plan helps you:

Get clarity

A strong business development plan helps you get clear about priorities during the hectic launch phase of your business. It helps you define your goals and objectives, as well as chart out how you’ll reach them. 

Stay focused

As you dive into the day-to-day running of your business, it can be easy to get bogged down in details and lose sight of your larger goals. Your business plan provides an anchor that keeps you in place. And if you’re already in business, it can help you take a step back and refocus on the fundamentals.

Secure funding

A detailed business plan is one of the most effective ways to show investors that you can be trusted. This is especially important when you’re just starting out and have no track record of performance. Your business plan shows that you’ve thought about how your business will fare in the long run, not just in the short term.

Achieve growth

A proper business development plan should include a roadmap. This is your high-level strategy document that serves as the map to your company’s growth. It lays out how you’ll measure success, provides targets to aim for and defines your plans for hitting them.

How to write a business development plan

If you’re convinced that you need to write your own business development plan (or update the one you have), you might be wondering where to start. Let’s walk through the process. 

1. Set clear financial goals

Your business development strategy should include clear financial goals. For example, every business wants to increase sales; however, that’s not a specific goal. Instead, set a target for your sales figures within a certain timeframe, and keep it realistic by using your current numbers as a baseline.

To do this, project your revenue, profit and expenses if business were to stay the same. Then consider what a realistic target might be and include that. This number may be lower than you'd expect, but it’s more important that it’s actually achievable.

2. Refine customer profiles

Detailed customer and audience profiles help your business effectively target its marketing efforts. Your business might already have customer profiles — updating your business plan is a perfect time to update these profiles, as well. And if you don’t have profiles yet, there’s no time like the present.

You can start refining your customer profiles by examining your current customer base. Look at their demographics and habits. Then use a similar strategy to create profiles of your ideal customers.

3. Identify key growth opportunities

Next, identify your key growth opportunities. These could be new products or services, an expansion into a new market, or even a complete rebuild of your current offerings.

Whatever these opportunities are, include them in your business development plan. Articulate how and why these opportunities will help grow the business. 

4. List funding sources

Your plan should include not just the amount of funding you’ll need, but how you plan to get it — loans , equity investors or crowdfunding , for example. Now is the time to come up with an in-depth funding strategy. Doing this legwork on the front end, while developing your plan, makes it easier to focus on execution when stress inevitably creeps in. 

This part of your plan should include the sources you’ve secured, as well as those you’d like to seek funds from. It should also include how much you’ll seek from each source, what form those funds will take, and any obstacles you might encounter.

5. Determine operational needs

You’ve laid out your goals, growth opportunities and potential funding sources. Now, look over these items and determine how to make all this happen. 

Be aware that as your operational needs expand, your business expenses will also increase. For example, you may require additional equipment, a new warehouse to enable expanded logistics, or more employees to help serve customers. Whatever it is, build it into your business development plan.

6. Develop a sales and marketing strategy

Your business development plan is the perfect place to include sales and marketing strategies. Ultimately, these will be some of the key drivers for leveraging your growth opportunities and hitting your financial goals.

As you draft these ideas, run them through this simple test: Will they still hold up if you reach your growth targets, or will you need to rework them? Ideally, you want sales and marketing strategies that can grow along with your business.

7. Create your elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch is the short-and-sweet version of your company’s mission. The premise is simple: If you were to meet someone on an elevator and only had that brief ride to pitch your company, what would you say?

Some people adopt arbitrary rules on their elevator pitch, such as limiting it to a Twitter-length 280 characters. While this limitation isn’t necessary, it should give you a good idea of the brevity of an elevator pitch and the impact you’ll need to make. 

8. Identify your resource needs

You’ve identified your broad operational needs — equipment, facilities and employees. You’ll also want to identify your resource needs. These include how you might manage your technology and team members in a more specific way.

For example, if your marketing plan involves creating video content, you’ll need the proper equipment and software to create it. Your sales strategy might involve retooling your CRM or migrating to a new system. Or, your growth targets might mean that you need to move to a new accounting platform .

9. Determine how you'll measure success

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to decide how you’ll measure progress towards your goals. How will you know when you’ve hit that ambitious sales target or grown your business in that new market? 

You need to be able to measure your business performance and progress. Setting targets and KPIs for your employees may be good ways to keep things on track.

Business Development Plan Template

If you need a business development plan example, we’ve put together this template . It’ll help you shape your own business plan and outline the key sections. 

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A strong business development plan is a powerful asset for driving growth. It helps you outline your plans and stay on course, even when you’re overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks. 

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Business Development Plan Template

Business Development Plan Template

A business development plan template provides business owners with a guide to strategize on what they can do to acquire new businesses..

  • Design style modern, fun
  • Colors light, vibrant
  • Size Letter (11 x 8.5 in)
  • File type PNG, PDF, PowerPoint
  • Plan premium

A business development plan is a written guide for growing your business. It outlines your goals and strategies for achieving them. Such a document should be reviewed and updated regularly. A good business development plan is realistic and specific. It sets measurable goals and outlines your steps to achieve them. This method allows you to track your progress and make the necessary adjustments. Creating a business development plan can seem daunting. Still, having one is essential if you want to grow your business. With a well-crafted plan, you can make intelligent decisions to help you reach your goals. There is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding the best way to go about this, as the business development plan will vary depending on the company's specific objectives. However, the following departments are typically involved in business development: sales, marketing, project management, product management, and vendor management. The sales department needs a business development plan to help them identify new prospects and target them effectively. Such a plan allows the marketing team to identify potential customers and understand their needs. The project management group uses a business development plan to

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7 Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2024)

Need support creating your business plan? Check out these business plan examples for inspiration.

business plan examples

Any aspiring entrepreneur researching how to start a business will likely be advised to write a business plan. But few resources provide business plan examples to really guide you through writing one of your own.

Here are some real-world and illustrative business plan examples to help you craft your business plan .

7 business plan examples: section by section

The business plan examples in this article follow this template:

  • Executive summary.  An introductory overview of your business.
  • Company description.  A more in-depth and detailed description of your business and why it exists.
  • Market analysis.  Research-based information about the industry and your target market.
  • Products and services.  What you plan to offer in exchange for money.
  • Marketing plan.   The promotional strategy to introduce your business to the world and drive sales.
  • Logistics and operations plan.  Everything that happens in the background to make your business function properly.
  • Financial plan.  A breakdown of your numbers to show what you need to get started as well as to prove viability of profitability.
  • Executive summary

Your  executive summary  is a page that gives a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. It’s easiest to save this section for last.

In this  free business plan template , the executive summary is four paragraphs and takes a little over half a page:

A four-paragraph long executive summary for a business.

  • Company description

You might repurpose your company description elsewhere, like on your About page, social media profile pages, or other properties that require a boilerplate description of your small business.

Soap brand ORRIS  has a blurb on its About page that could easily be repurposed for the company description section of its business plan.

A company description from the website of soap brand Orris

You can also go more in-depth with your company overview and include the following sections, like in the example for Paw Print Post:

  • Business structure.  This section outlines how you  registered your business —as an  LLC , sole proprietorship, corporation, or other  business type . “Paw Print Post will operate as a sole proprietorship run by the owner, Jane Matthews.”
  • Nature of the business.  “Paw Print Post sells unique, one-of-a-kind digitally printed cards that are customized with a pet’s unique paw prints.”
  • Industry.  “Paw Print Post operates primarily in the pet industry and sells goods that could also be categorized as part of the greeting card industry.”
  • Background information.  “Jane Matthews, the founder of Paw Print Post, has a long history in the pet industry and working with animals, and was recently trained as a graphic designer. She’s combining those two loves to capture a niche in the market: unique greeting cards customized with a pet’s paw prints, without needing to resort to the traditional (and messy) options of casting your pet’s prints in plaster or using pet-safe ink to have them stamp their ‘signature.’”
  • Business objectives.  “Jane will have Paw Print Post ready to launch at the Big Important Pet Expo in Toronto to get the word out among industry players and consumers alike. After two years in business, Jane aims to drive $150,000 in annual revenue from the sale of Paw Print Post’s signature greeting cards and have expanded into two new product categories.”
  • Team.  “Jane Matthews is the sole full-time employee of Paw Print Post but hires contractors as needed to support her workflow and fill gaps in her skill set. Notably, Paw Print Post has a standing contract for five hours a week of virtual assistant support with Virtual Assistants Pro.”

Your  mission statement  may also make an appearance here.  Passionfruit  shares its mission statement on its company website, and it would also work well in its example business plan.

A mission statement example on the website of apparel brand Passionfruit, alongside a picture of woman

  • Market analysis

The market analysis consists of research about supply and demand, your target demographics, industry trends, and the competitive landscape. You might run a SWOT analysis and include that in your business plan. 

Here’s an example  SWOT analysis  for an online tailored-shirt business:

A SWOT analysis table showing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

You’ll also want to do a  competitive analysis  as part of the market research component of your business plan. This will tell you who you’re up against and give you ideas on how to differentiate your brand. A broad competitive analysis might include:

  • Target customers
  • Unique value add  or what sets their products apart
  • Sales pitch
  • Price points  for products
  • Shipping  policy
  • Products and services

This section of your business plan describes your offerings—which products and services do you sell to your customers? Here’s an example for Paw Print Post:

An example products and services section from a business plan

  • Marketing plan

It’s always a good idea to develop a marketing plan  before you launch your business. Your marketing plan shows how you’ll get the word out about your business, and it’s an essential component of your business plan as well.

The Paw Print Post focuses on four Ps: price, product, promotion, and place. However, you can take a different approach with your marketing plan. Maybe you can pull from your existing  marketing strategy , or maybe you break it down by the different marketing channels. Whatever approach you take, your marketing plan should describe how you intend to promote your business and offerings to potential customers.

  • Logistics and operations plan

The Paw Print Post example considered suppliers, production, facilities, equipment, shipping and fulfillment, and inventory.

Financial plan

The financial plan provides a breakdown of sales, revenue, profit, expenses, and other relevant financial metrics related to funding and profiting from your business.

Ecommerce brand  Nature’s Candy’s financial plan  breaks down predicted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs.

A sample bar chart showing business expenses by month

It then dives deeper into the financials to include:

  • Funding needs
  • Projected profit-and-loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Projected cash-flow statement

You can use this financial plan spreadsheet to build your own financial statements, including income statement, balance sheet, and cash-flow statement.

A sample financial plan spreadsheet

Types of business plans, and what to include for each

A one-page business plan is meant to be high level and easy to understand at a glance. You’ll want to include all of the sections, but make sure they’re truncated and summarized:

  • Executive summary: truncated
  • Market analysis: summarized
  • Products and services: summarized
  • Marketing plan: summarized
  • Logistics and operations plan: summarized
  • Financials: summarized

A startup business plan is for a new business. Typically, these plans are developed and shared to secure  outside funding . As such, there’s a bigger focus on the financials, as well as on other sections that determine viability of your business idea—market research, for example.

  • Market analysis: in-depth
  • Financials: in-depth

Your internal business plan is meant to keep your team on the same page and aligned toward the same goal.

A strategic, or growth, business plan is a bigger picture, more-long-term look at your business. As such, the forecasts tend to look further into the future, and growth and revenue goals may be higher. Essentially, you want to use all the sections you would in a normal business plan and build upon each.

  • Market analysis: comprehensive outlook
  • Products and services: for launch and expansion
  • Marketing plan: comprehensive outlook
  • Logistics and operations plan: comprehensive outlook
  • Financials: comprehensive outlook

Feasibility

Your feasibility business plan is sort of a pre-business plan—many refer to it as simply a feasibility study. This plan essentially lays the groundwork and validates that it’s worth the effort to make a full business plan for your idea. As such, it’s mostly centered around research.

Set yourself up for success as a business owner

Building a good business plan serves as a roadmap you can use for your ecommerce business at launch and as you reach each of your business goals. Business plans create accountability for entrepreneurs and synergy among teams, regardless of your  business model .

Kickstart your ecommerce business and set yourself up for success with an intentional business planning process—and with the sample business plans above to guide your own path.

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Business plan examples FAQ

How do i write a simple business plan, what is the best format to write a business plan, what are the 4 key elements of a business plan.

  • Executive summary: A concise overview of the company's mission, goals, target audience, and financial objectives.
  • Business description: A description of the company's purpose, operations, products and services, target markets, and competitive landscape.
  • Market analysis: An analysis of the industry, market trends, potential customers, and competitors.
  • Financial plan: A detailed description of the company's financial forecasts and strategies.

What are the 3 main points of a business plan?

  • Concept: Your concept should explain the purpose of your business and provide an overall summary of what you intend to accomplish.
  • Contents: Your content should include details about the products and services you provide, your target market, and your competition.
  • Cashflow: Your cash flow section should include information about your expected cash inflows and outflows, such as capital investments, operating costs, and revenue projections.

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Writing a Business Growth Plan

Look ahead and plan for business growth and revenue increases.

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Table of Contents

When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught in the moment and focus only on the day in front of you. However, to be truly successful, you must look ahead and plan for growth. Many business owners create a business growth plan to map out the next one or two years and pinpoint how and when revenues will increase. 

We’ll explain more about business growth plans and share strategies for writing a business growth plan that can set you on a path to success. 

What is a business growth plan?

A business growth plan outlines where a company sees itself in the next one to two years. Business owners and leaders apply a growth mindset to create plans for expansion and increased revenues.

Business growth plans should be formatted quarterly. At the end of each quarter, the company can review the business goals it achieved and missed during that period. At this point, management can revise the business growth plan to reflect the current market standing.

What to include in a business growth plan

A business growth plan focuses specifically on expansion and how you’ll achieve it. Creating a useful plan takes time, but keeping your growth efforts on track can pay off substantially.

You should include the following elements in your growth plan:

  • A description of expansion opportunities
  • Financial goals broken down by quarter and year
  • A marketing plan that details how you’ll achieve growth
  • A financial plan to determine what capital is accessible during growth
  • A breakdown of your company’s staffing needs and responsibilities

How to write a business growth plan

To successfully write a business growth plan, you must do some forward-thinking and research. Here are some key steps to follow when writing your business growth plan.

1. Think ahead.

The future is always unpredictable. However, if you study your target market, your competition and your company’s past growth, you can plan for future expansion. The Small Business Administration (SBA) features a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan for growth.

2. Study other growth plans.

Before you start writing, review models from successful companies.

3. Discover opportunities for growth.

With some homework, you can determine if your expansion opportunities lie in creating new products , adding more services, targeting a new market, opening new business locations or going global, to name a few examples. Once you’ve identified your best options for growth, include them in your plan.

4. Evaluate your team.

Your plan should include an assessment of your employees and a look at staffing requirements to meet your growth objectives. By assessing your own skills and those of your employees, you can determine how much growth can be accomplished with your present team. You’ll also know when to ramp up the hiring process and what skill sets to look for in those new hires.

5. Find the capital.

Include detailed information on how you will fund expansion. Business.gov offers a guide on how to prepare funding requests and how to connect with SBA lenders.

6. Get the word out.

Growing your business requires a targeted marketing effort. Be sure to outline how you will effectively market your business to encourage growth and how your marketing efforts will evolve as you grow.

7. Ask for help.

Advice from other business owners who have enjoyed successful growth can be the ultimate tool in writing your growth plan.

8. Start writing.

Business plan software has streamlined the process of writing growth plans by providing templates you can fill in with information specific to your company and industry. Most software programs are geared toward general business plans; however, you can easily modify them to create a plan that focuses on growth. 

If you don’t have business plan software, don’t worry. You can create a business growth plan using Microsoft Word, Google Docs or a similar tool. For each growth opportunity, create the following sections: 

  • What is the opportunity? Is your growth opportunity a new geographic expansion, a new product or a new customer segment? How do you know there’s an opportunity? Include your market research to demonstrate the idea’s viability.
  • What factors make this opportunity valuable at this time? For example, your growth opportunity could utilize new technology, take advantage of a strategic partnership or capitalize on a consumer trend.
  • What are the risk factors for this opportunity? Identify factors that may make this growth opportunity challenging to execute. For example, challenges may include the state of the overall economy, intense competition or supply chain distribution issues. What is your plan for dealing with these challenges?
  • What is your marketing and sales plan? Identify the marketing efforts and sales processes that can help you seize this growth opportunity. Detail the marketing channel you’ll use ( social media marketing , print marketing), your message and promising sales ideas. For example, you could hire sales reps for a new geographic area or set up distribution deals with relevant brick-and-mortar or online retailers .
  • What are the costs involved in this growth area? For example, if you add a new product, you may need to buy new manufacturing equipment and raw materials. While marketing costs are a given, remember to include incremental sales costs like commissions. Outline any economies of scale or places where your existing operations make the new growth area less expensive than a stand-alone initiative.
  • How will your income, expenses and cash flow look? Project your income and expenses, and prepare a cash flow statement for the new growth area for the next three to five years. Include a break-even analysis, a sales forecast and all projected expenses to see how much the new initiative will add to the bottom line. Include how the new growth area will positively (or negatively) impact existing sales. For example, if you sell bathing suits and you decide to grow by adding cover-ups and sunglasses, you will likely sell more bathing suits. 

After completing this exercise for each growth opportunity:

  • Create a summary that accounts for all growth areas for the period.
  • Include summarized financial statements to see the entire picture and its impact on the company. 
  • Evaluate the financing you’ll need to implement the plan, and include various options and rates. 

Why are business growth plans important?

These are some of the many reasons why business growth plans are essential:

  • Market share and penetration: If your market share remains constant in a world where costs consistently increase, you’ll inevitably start recording losses instead of profits. Business growth plans help you avoid this scenario.
  • Recouping early losses: Most companies lose far more than they earn in their early years. To recoup these losses, you’ll need to grow your company to a point where it can make enough revenue to pay off your debts.
  • Future risk minimization: Growth plans also matter for established businesses. These companies can always stand to make their sales more efficient and become more liquid. Liquidity can come in handy if you need money to cover unexpected problems.
  • Appealing to investors: For most businesses, a business growth plan’s primary purpose is to find investors . Investors want to outline your company’s plans to build sales in the coming months.
  • Concrete revenue plans: Growth plans are customizable to each business and don’t have to follow a set template. However, all business growth plans must focus heavily on revenue. The plan should answer a simple question: How does your company plan to make money each quarter?

What factors impact business growth?

Consider the following crucial factors that can impact business growth:

  • Leadership: To achieve your goals, you must know the ins and outs of your business processes and how external forces impact them. Without this knowledge, you can’t direct and train your team to drive your revenue, and you will experience stagnation instead of growth.
  • Management: As a small business owner, you’re innately involved in management – obtaining funding, resources, and physical and digital infrastructure. Ineffective management will impact your ability to perform these duties and could hamstring your growth.
  • Customer loyalty: Acquiring new customers can be five times as expensive as retaining current ones, and a 5 percent boost in customer retention can increase profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. These statistics demonstrate that customer loyalty is fundamental to business growth.

What are the four major growth strategies?

There are countless growth strategies for businesses, but only four primary types. With these growth strategies, you can determine how to build on your brand.

  • Market strategy: A market strategy refers to how you plan to penetrate your target audience . This strategy isn’t intended for entering a new market or creating new products and services to boost your market share; it’s about leveraging your current offerings. For instance, can you adjust your pricing? Should you launch a new marketing campaign?
  • Development strategy: This strategy means looking into ways to break your products and services into a new market. If you can’t find the growth you want in the current market, a goal could be to expand to a new market.
  • Product strategy: Also known as “product development,” this strategy focuses on what new products and services you can target to your current market. How can you grow your business without entering new markets? What are your customers asking for?
  • Diversification strategy: Diversification means expanding both your products and target markets. This strategy is usually best for smaller companies that have the means to be versatile with the products or services they offer and what new markets they attempt to penetrate.

Max Freedman contributed to this article.

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How to Write a Business Plan Outline in 9 Steps (Example Included!)

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Starting a business often begins with writing a business plan , especially if you need funding . It acts as a roadmap, guiding you through each stage of launching and managing your company, and it presents a clear, compelling case to potential investors and partners. But here's the thing: not everyone finds this step intuitive. That's where a business plan outline can be incredibly helpful.

Creating a detailed business plan outline helps you organize your thoughts and ensure you cover all the key aspects of your business strategy. Plus, it might be just what you need to overcome that blank page and start typing.

Below, you'll find an easy-to-follow guide on how to craft your business plan outline, and an example to show you what it should look like.

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What is an outline of a business plan?

Think of a business plan outline as the skeleton of your entire business plan. It gives a high-level overview of the main sections you'll need to flesh out later. It's not the final document but a crucial step in getting you there.

Simply put, it's like creating a detailed table of contents for your business plan, showing you exactly what information to include and how everything fits together. A well-structured business plan outline also helps you plan things ahead, saving time and effort.

Writing a business plan outline in 9 steps

Follow these steps to build your business plan outline and learn exactly what each section should include.

(Bear in mind that every business plan is unique, tailored to the specific needs and goals of the business. While the structure below is common, the order of sections may vary—only the executive summary will always come first.)

1. Executive summary

Imagine you have just 60 seconds to convince someone to invest in your business. That's the essence of a strong executive summary. Although it appears first on your business plan, this section is often written last because it sums up the entire plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch . This section gives a quick overview of your entire business plan, highlighting key points that grab the reader's attention.

Keep it clear and concise. Start with a brief overview of your business, including its name and what it offers. Summarize your mission statement and objectives, and don’t forget to mention crucial aspects like financial projections and competitive advantages.

2. Company description

Here's where you provide detailed information about your company. Begin with the business name and location. Describe the legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) and ownership. If your business already exists, share a brief history.

For new ventures, explain the business's nature and the problems you aim to solve. Go into more detail about your vision and mission statements, outlining your goals and the principles guiding your business. This section helps potential investors and stakeholders grasp your company’s identity and purpose.

3. Market research and analysis

This section shares insights into your company’s industry. Start with a landscape analysis to give an overview of the market, including its size, growth rate, and key players.

Next, define your target market and customer demographics—age, location, income, and interests—detailing who your ideal customers are. Identify market needs and trends your business will address, and highlight customer pain points your product or service aims to solve.

Consider conducting a SWOT analysis to evaluate your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and gain a strategic view of where your business stands in the competitive landscape.

4. Organization and management

Describe how your business is structured and who runs it. Outline the organizational structure, and if helps, include a chart. Introduce the leadership team and key personnel, highlighting their qualifications and roles. If you have a board of directors, mention them and briefly explain their involvement.

Then, outline your production processes, detailing how your product or service is (or will be) created—from sourcing materials to delivery—to give a comprehensive view of your operational capabilities.

5. Products and services

This section of your business plan outline is crucial for showing potential investors what makes your products and services unique and valuable.

Clearly describe what your business offers, emphasizing your unique selling propositions (USPs) and the benefits and features that set you apart from the competition. Talk about the product life cycle, including any plans for future updates.

If your business holds any intellectual property or proprietary technologies, detail them here to underscore your competitive advantages.

6. Marketing strategy

Having a fantastic product or service is just half the battle. The marketing plan section should outline how you'll reach your target market and convert them into customers.

Begin with market positioning and branding, explaining how you want your brand perceived. Detail your marketing and promotional strategies, including specific tactics to reach your target audience.

Discuss your sales strategy, focusing on how you'll convert leads into customers. Lastly, include your pricing strategy and provide a sales forecast, projecting your expected revenue over a certain period.

7. Operations plan

Here, the goal is to give a detailed overview of the physical and logistical aspects of your company. Start with the business location and facilities, describing where it operates and any significant physical assets. Detail the technology and equipment needed for daily operations.

Briefly describe your supply chain and logistics processes to illustrate how you manage inventory, procurement, and distribution. Finish it by outlining your production process and quality control measures to ensure your products or services consistently meet high standards.

8. Financial plan

Use this section of the business plan to show how your company will succeed financially. Include financial projections like income statements and cash flow statements. Specify how much capital you need and how you plan to use it, discussing funding sources.

Conduct a break-even analysis to estimate when your business will become profitable. Be transparent and address any financial risks and assumptions, outlining how you plan to mitigate them.

9. Appendices and exhibits

In this section, include any additional information that supports your business plan. This might be resumes of key personnel to highlight your team's expertise and experience, or even legal documents and agreements.

Include market research data and surveys to back up your market analysis. Add financial statements for a detailed look at your financial plan. Also, provide detailed product specifications to give a clear understanding of your products and services.

Here's a business plan outline example

Not quite there yet? Take a look at this business plan outline example—it will make everything clear for you.

3.1 Executive Summary

  • Overview of the business
  • Key points of the business plan

3.2 Company Description

  • Business name and location
  • History and nature of the business
  • Legal structure and ownership
  • Vision and mission statement

3.3 Market Research and Analysis

  • Industry analysis
  • Target market and customer demographics
  • Market needs, trends
  • Customer pain points
  • SWOT analysis

3.4 Organization and Management

  • Organizational structure
  • Leadership team and key personnel
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Board of directors (if applicable)
  • Production processes

3.5 Products and Services

  • Description of products or services offered
  • Unique selling propositions, benefits, features
  • Product lifecycle and development plans
  • Intellectual property and proprietary technologies

3.6 Marketing Strategy

  • Market positioning and branding
  • Marketing and promotional strategies
  • Sales strategy and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and sales forecast

3.7 Operations Plan

  • Business location and facilities
  • Technology and equipment
  • Supply chain and logistics
  • Production process and quality control

3.8 Financial Plan

  • Financial projections (income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements)
  • Funding requirements and sources
  • Break-even analysis
  • Financial risks and assumptions

3.9 Appendices and Exhibits (if applicable)

  • Supporting documents and additional information
  • Resumes of key personnel
  • Legal documents and agreements
  • Market research data and surveys
  • Financial Statements
  • Detailed Product Specifications

Bonus tips on how to write a winning business plan

Once you've done your business plan outline, it's time to fill in the gaps and craft a winning business plan. Here are some bonus tips to keep in mind:

  • Tailor it to fit your business : Customize sections to meet industry-specific needs and highlight what makes your business unique.
  • Keep it clear and concise : Use straightforward language and support your points with data to ensure easy understanding and avoid any confusion.
  • Set actionable and realistic goals : Define measurable objectives with clear timelines and milestones to track your progress.
  • Update regularly : Keep your plan dynamic by making regular updates to reflect changes in goals, market conditions, and strategies.
  • Seek feedback : Gain insights from mentors and advisors to refine your plan.

Read this next: How to Start a Business in 8 Steps: A Comprehensive Guide from Concept to Launch

business development plan sample

ProfitableVenture

Business Development Business Plan [Sample Template]

By: Author Tony Martins Ajaero

Home » Business Plans » B2B Sector

Are you about starting a business development company? If YES, here is a complete sample business development business plan template & feasibility report you can use for FREE .

Business development consulting is one of the many business niche ideas in the management consulting industry that someone with experience and certifications in sales, financial services, investment banking or management consulting, and delivery can successfully launch in the United States.

Business development is defined as the tasks and processes concerning the analytical preparation of potential growth opportunities, and the support and monitoring of the implementation of growth opportunities, but does not include decisions on strategy and implementation of growth opportunities.

A Sample Business Development Business Plan Template

1. industry overview.

Business Development consulting is a niche idea in the Management Consulting industry and Management consultants advise businesses, nonprofits and public-sector agencies in the following areas: organizational design, human resources, corporate strategy, information technology strategy, marketing and sales, finances and logistics.

It is important to note that firms who are involved in providing day-to-day administrative services and establishments that are concentrated in recruitment, training, public relations, market research, engineering design, computer systems design and investment advice et al are not considered part of the management consulting industry.

To be specific, business development firms carry out tasks and processes with the aim of developing and implementing growth opportunities within and between organizations. It is a subset of the fields of business, commerce and organizational theory.

Business development firms are involved in the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.

A close study of the management consulting industry shows that over the years, the industry has been experiencing success as a stronger corporate profitability and increasing business expenditure resulted in higher demand for advisory services.

The demand for this industry comes from a number of different sectors and services. Demand was strong from financial institutions, professional firms and healthcare companies. So also, the ongoing transition toward digital technology has provided new opportunities for operators.

Going forward, the industry is expected to grow with the general US economy. Information technology will continue to be a key growth area for firms, while other sectors, such as healthcare, also provide new business opportunities.

The Management Consulting industry that business development is part of is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom , France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Australia, Canada etc.

Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 723,001 registered and licensed management consulting firms (business development consulting firms inclusive) scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 1,517,845 and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $223 billion annually.

The industry is projected to grow at 3.1 percent annual growth within 2012 and 2017. It is important to state that Accenture, DTT and McKinsey has a lion market share in the industry. A recent report published by IBISWORLD shows that the Management Consulting industry is in the mature stage of its life cycle.

The report highlighted the fact that the industry is characterized by growth in line with the overall economy, an increasing number of industry players and technological change based on improving efficiency rather than developing entirely new services.

The report also stated that over the past five years, the industry has experienced strong growth as a result of surging corporate profit and new demand for advisory services as digital technologies change the way companies do business.

Furthermore, consultants continue to be a key component in helping firms navigate a constantly changing business landscape. The report further reveals that over the 10 years to 2022, industry value added (IVA) is projected to increase an annualized 3.4 percent.

One good thing about business development consulting business is that there are readily available markets for their services. This is because in most cases, organizations that are looking towards achieving excellence and good results in any of their new products or services or new business projects would naturally want some professional touches hence the need to hire business development consulting firms.

2. Executive Summary

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is a licensed business development consulting firm that will be located in New York City – New York, United States. We have been able to secure a long – term lease for a standard office facility in a good business district in the heart of New York City.

We will handle all aspects of business development consulting services for players in various industries. Our business-development specialists have skill sets and experience that consists of a mixture of sales, finance, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, legal, strategic management and proposal management or capture management.

We are aware that to run a standard business development consulting firm can be demanding which is why we are well trained, licensed and equipped.

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is a client-focused and result driven business development consulting firm that provides broad-based services and experience at an affordable fee that won’t in any way put a hole in the pocket of our clients.

We will offer a complete range of business development consulting services to our local, state, national, and multi-national clients and we will ensure that we work hard to provide the required consulting and business development solutions needed by our clients.

At Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP, our client’s best interest come first, and everything we do is guided by our values and professional ethics. We will ensure that we hire certified business developers and management consultants who are experienced in a variety of business development consulting services.

We will ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by meeting our client’s needs precisely and completely. We will at all times demonstrate her commitment to sustainability, both individually and as a firm, by actively participating in our communities and integrating sustainable business practices wherever possible.

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is founded by Rowland Pence. Rowland Pence graduated from the University of New York – Berkley (First Degree), and Brock School of Business at Stamford University (MBA). He is a Certified Project Management Professional with over 15 years of hands – on experience working as a senior business development and project management consultant.

3. Our Products and Services

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is going to offer varieties of related business development consulting services within the scope of the management consulting services industry in the United States of America.

Our intention of starting our business development consulting services business is to make profits from the industry and we will do all that is permitted by the law in the US to achieve our aim and ambition. Our business offerings are listed below;

  • Develop business and marketing plans in coordination with the Managing Director to achieve revenue goals.
  • Assist in company’s branding and media communication activities such as press releases, advertisements, marketing collaterals, and web site.
  • Establish and achieve sales targets and promote various banking services to customers. Coordinate with various banking employees and develop relationship with new and present clients.
  • Analyze current and past financial data, such as sales reports, and provide strategies to cut costs and increase revenue.
  • Perform market research to identify new opportunities and engage with executives to establish strategies for pursuing those new opportunities.
  • Create and improve proposals for our existing and new clients.

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision is to become the number one business development consulting firm in the whole of New York City – United States of America.
  • Our mission is to provide professional, trusted and result oriented business development consulting services that revolves around sales, finance, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, legal, strategic management and proposal management or capture management to assist businesses and non-profit organizations in operating sustainably and maximizing profits in the business.

Our Business Structure

Starting a small – scale business development consulting firm would require that you settle for two or three staff members, but as part of our plans to build a world – class business development consulting service in New York City, we have perfected plans to get it right from the beginning which is why we are ensuring that we have competent, qualified, honest and hardworking employees to occupy all the available positions in our firm.

The kind of business development consulting firm we intend building and the goals we want to achieve is what informed the amount we are ready to pay for the best hands available in the industry. Below is the business structure that we will build Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP;

  • Chief Executive Officer / Lead Consultant
  • Business Development / Management Consultant

Legal Secretary

Admin and HR Manager

Marketing and Sales Executive

  • Customer Service Executive

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Executive Office / Lead Consultant:

  • Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results; developing incentives; developing a climate for offering information and opinions
  • Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
  • Responsible for fixing prices and signing business deals
  • Responsible for providing direction for the business
  • Evaluates the success of the organization
  • Responsible for drawing up contracts and other legal documents for the company
  • Produces information by transcribing, formatting, inputting, editing, retrieving, copying, and transmitting text, data, and graphics; coordinating case preparation.
  • Provides historical reference by developing and utilizing filing and retrieval systems; recording meeting discussions; maintaining transcripts; documenting and maintaining evidence.

Business Development/Management Consultant 

  • Prepare the company budget and continually track expenses, as well as make sure we’re on track to hit revenue targets.
  • Provide training and mentoring to members of the business development team.
  • Develop and deliver pitches for potential investors
  • Handle any other responsibility as assigned by the Lead Consultant
  • Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
  • Design job descriptions with KPI to drive performance management for clients
  • Regularly hold meetings with key stakeholders to review the effectiveness of HR Policies, Procedures and Processes
  • Maintains office supplies by checking stocks; placing and expediting orders; evaluating new products.
  • Ensures operation of equipment by completing preventive maintenance requirements; calling for repairs.
  • Defining job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carrying out staff induction for new team members
  • Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
  • Responsible for arranging travel, meetings and appointments
  • Oversee the smooth running of daily office activities.
  • Identify, prioritize, and reach out to new partners, and business opportunities et al
  • Identifies development opportunities; follows up on development leads and contacts.
  • Responsible for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
  • Document all customer contact and information
  • Represent the company in strategic meetings
  • Help increase sales and growth for the company
  • Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports
  • Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting for one or more properties.
  • Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Responsible for administering payrolls
  • Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for the company
  • Serves as internal auditor for the company

Client Service Executive

  • Ensures that all contacts with clients (e-mail, walk-In center, SMS or phone) provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
  • Through interaction with clients on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
  • Manages administrative duties assigned by the manager in an effective and timely manner
  • Consistently stays abreast of any new information on the company’s products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to clients when they make enquiries
  • Receives Visitors / clients on behalf of the organization
  • Receives parcels / documents for the company
  • Handles enquiries via e-mail and phone calls for the organization
  • Distribute mails in the organization
  • Handles any other duties as assigned by the manager

6. SWOT Analysis

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP engaged the services of a professional in the area of business consulting and structuring to assist the firm in building a reputable business development consulting firm that can favorably compete in the industry.

Part of what the business consultant did was to work with the management of the firm in conducting a SWOT analysis for Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP. Here is a summary of the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP;

Our strength lies in the power of our team; our workforce. Our team that are considered experts in the industry, a team with excellent qualifications and experience in business development consulting services. Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected workforce, we have qualified and certified business development consultants under our payroll.

So also, Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is well positioned in a business district with the right demography and we know we will attract loads of clients from the first day we open our doors for business.

As a new business development consulting firm, it might take some time for our organization to break into the market and work for some high profile and high paying clients; that is perhaps our major weakness.

  • Opportunities:

Digital technology has provided new opportunities for business development consulting firms to assist multiple businesses per time. No doubt, the opportunities available to business development consulting firms is indeed massive and we are ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes our way.

Some of the threats that we are likely going to face as a business development firm operating in the United States are unfavorable government policies , the arrival of a competitor within our location of operation and global economic downturn which usually affects spending / purchasing power. There is hardly anything we could do as regards these threats other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for our good.

7. MARKET ANALYSIS

  • Market Trends

Business development activities can be done internally or externally by a business development consultant. External business development can be facilitated through Planning Systems, which are put in place by governments to help small businesses. In addition, reputation building has also proven to help facilitate business development.

Notable trends have also emerged in the management consulting industry which is why business development consulting firms are positioning their organizations to survive the peaks and troughs of an ailing economy. Most of these trends aid business development consulting firms to become more creative, competitive, efficient, and productive in the global market.

Some other trends in the consulting industry could be attributed to changing demographics, attitudes and work styles. As the cost of management consulting services continues to increase and as corporate spending falls, new consulting delivery methods will continue to emerge and gain momentum. Fast adjustments made to changing regulations is also key to the growing trends in this industry.

Lastly, with companies becoming more and more conscious of ethical practices, closely watching themselves to avoid scrutiny, a business development consulting firm’s reputation has become a great concern.

Ethical business practices are closely tied with reputation which makes it essential to follow ethical guidelines if a business development consulting firm is looking to build their reputation. In fact, business development consulting firms that develop quickly and successfully have tendencies to show honesty, impartiality, and service to all of their stakeholders.

8. Our Target Market

Although Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP will initially serve small and medium sized businesses, but that does not in any way stop us from competing with the leading business development consulting firms in the United States. We hope to someday merge or acquire other smaller consulting firms and expand our services beyond the shores of the United States of America.

As a full service and standard business development consulting firm, Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP have a variety of practice areas to help startups grow especially as it relates to sales, finance, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, legal, strategic management and proposal management or capture management.

While we work with a variety of organizations and industries, Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP will also specialize in working with startups, real estate investors, and contractors, manufacturers and distributors, banks, lending and financial institutions. Below is a list of the organizations that we have specifically design our products and services for;

  • Banks, Insurance Companies and other related Financial Institutions
  • Blue Chips Companies
  • Manufacturers and Distributors
  • Real Estate Owners, Developers, and Contractors
  • Research and Development Companies
  • The Government (Public Sector)
  • Households and families
  • Schools (High Schools, Colleges and Universities)
  • Sport Organizations
  • Entrepreneurs and Start – Ups

Our competitive advantage

The level of competition in the management consulting industry depends largely on the location of the business and of course the niche of your business development consulting service. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.

For instance; if you are the only business development firm that handles mergers and acquisitions, legal, strategic management and proposal management or capture management in your location, you are sure of monopolizing that aspect.

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP might be a new entrant into the industry in the United States of America, but our management staff and board members are licensed and highly qualified business development management consultants in the United States. These are part of what will count as a competitive advantage for us.

Lastly, our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category (startups business development consultancy firm) in the industry meaning that they will be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and objectives.

9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY

We are mindful of the fact that there are stiff competitions amongst players in the management consulting industry in the United States of America, hence we have been able to hire some of the best business developers to handle our sales and marketing.

Our sales and marketing team will be recruited based on their vast experience in the industry and they will be trained on a regular basis so as to be well equipped to meet their targets and the overall goal of the organization. We will also ensure that our excellent job deliveries speak for us in the market place; we want to build a business that will leverage on word of mouth advertisement from satisfied clients.

Our goal is to grow our business development consulting service to become one of the top 10 business development consulting firms in the United States of America which is why we have mapped out strategies that will help us take advantage of the available market and grow to become a major force to reckon with not only in the U.S but in the world.

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is set to make use of the following marketing and sales strategies to attract clients;

  • Introduce our business by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to businesses, organizations and key stake holders in New York City and other parts of the United States of America.
  • Promptness in bidding for business development consulting services contracts from the government and other cooperate organizations
  • Advertise our business in relevant business magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations.
  • List our business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
  • Create different packages for different categories of clients in order to work with their budgets and still deliver quality business development consulting services to them
  • Leverage on the internet to promote our business
  • Engage in direct marketing approach
  • Encourage word of mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied clients

10. Sales Forecast

We are well positioned to take on the available market in the U.S. and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough income/profits from the first six months of operation and grow the business and our clientele base beyond New York City to other states in the U.S.

We have been able to examine the business development cum management consultancy market, we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast. Below is the sales projection for Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP, it is based on the location of our business and the wide range of consulting services that we will be offering;

  • First Year:  $250,000
  • Second Year:  $500,000
  • Third Year:  $1,000,000

N.B : This projection was done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same services as we do within same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

We have been able to work with our in-house consultants and other brand and publicity specialist to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market. We are set to take the management consulting industry by storm which is why we have made provisions for effective publicity of our business development consulting firm.

Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote our business development consulting service;

  • Place adverts on both print (community – based newspapers and business magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, twitter, et al to promote our brand
  • Install Bill Boards in strategic locations all around New York City and major cities in the United States of America
  • Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where we intend getting clients
  • Ensure that all our staff members wear our customized clothes, and all our official cars are customized

Sources of Income

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the management consulting industry and we are going to go ensure that we do all it takes to attract clients on a regular basis. We will generate income by offering the following business development consulting services;

  • Develop business and marketing plans in coordination with Managing Director to achieve revenue goals.
  • Assist in company branding and media communication activities such as press releases, advertisements, marketing collaterals, and website.
  • Establish and achieve sales targets and promote various banking services to customers.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

Hourly billing for consulting services is a long – time tradition in the industry. However, for some types of consultancy services especially business development consulting, flat fees make more sense because they allow clients to better predict consultancy costs. As a result of this, Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP will charge our clients a flat fee or per deal for many basic services.

At Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP we will keep our fees below the average market rate by keeping our overhead low and by collecting payment in advance. In addition, we will also offer special discounted rates to start – ups, nonprofits, cooperatives, and small social enterprises.  

  • Payment Options

The payment policy adopted by Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different customers prefer different payment options as it suits them but at the same time, we will ensure that we abide by the financial rules and regulation of the United States of America.

Here are the payment options that Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP will make available to her clients;

  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will enable our client make payment for our services without any stress on their part.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

Starting a business development consulting firm can be cost effective because you are not expected to acquire expensive machines and equipment. What you should be concerned about is the amount needed to secure an office facility in a good and busy business district, the amount needed to furnish the office, pay bills, purchase relevant software apps, promote the business and obtain the appropriate business license and certifications.

Basically, these are the areas we are looking towards spending our startup capital on;

  • The total fee for incorporating the business in the United States of America – $750.
  • The budget for basic insurance policy covers, permits and business license – $2,500
  • The Amount needed to acquire a suitable Office facility in a business district for 6 months (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive) – $40,000.
  • The cost for equipping the office (computers, software applications, printers, fax machines, furniture, telephones, filing cabins, safety gadgets and electronics et al) – $ 5,000
  • The cost for purchase of the required software applications (CRM software, recruitment software and Payroll software et al) – $10,500
  • The cost of launching our official Website – $600
  • Budget for paying at least three employees for 3 months plus utility bills – $10,000
  • Additional Expenditure (Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions et al) – $2,500
  • Miscellaneous: $1,000

Going by the report from the research and feasibility studies, we will need about $150,000 to set up a small scale but standard business development consulting service in the United States of America.

Generating Funds/Startup Capital for Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP

Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is owned and managed by Rowland Pence and other business partners. They may likely welcome partners later which is why they decided to restrict the sourcing of the startup capital for the business to just three major sources.

  • Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings
  • Source for soft loans from family members and friends
  • Apply for loan from the Bank

N.B: We have been able to generate about $50,000 (Personal savings $40,000 and soft loan from family members $10,000) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $100,000 from our bank. All the papers and documents have been duly signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

It is a fact that the future of a business lies in the number of loyal customers that they have, the capacity and competence of their employees, their investment strategy and the business structure. If all of these factors are missing from a business (company), then it won’t be too long before the business closes shop.

The goal of starting Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP is to build a business that will survive off its own cash flow without the need for injecting finance from external sources once the business is officially running.

At Rowland Pence & Co® Business Development Consulting, LLP, we will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and re-training of our workforce is at the top burner.

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of ten years or more. We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.

Check List/Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check : Completed
  • Business Incorporation: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
  • Generating part of the startup capital: Completed
  • Applications for Loan from our Bankers: In Progress
  • Writing of Business Plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents: In Progress
  • Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
  • Printing of Promotional Materials: Completed
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of the needed furniture, software apps, office equipment, electronic appliances and facility facelift: In progress
  • Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business (Business PR): In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement: In Progress
  • Establishing business relationship with key players in the industry: In Progress

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Business Development Business Plan

Start your own business development business plan

Palms and Bonds

Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">, opportunity.

Botswana has increasing number of entrepreneurs and competition amongst existing companies which presents an increased demand for market information and services. Companies need market research and info to stay ahead of their competitors.

Palms and Bonds is based in Botswana and offers the expertise that a proactive-oriented and market-opportunity seeking company needs to develop and enter new product distribution and new market segments in new markets. We intend to provide a number of necessary services to the business community and to the public. These can be summed up in two main divisions — Business and Training Services. Our business services can be taken as marketing research, market research reports, project-based consulting, business and marketing plans, plan consulting and writing, high-level retainer consulting and company registration. Our training services include workshops and seminars on such topics as sales and marketing, as well as in-house training of receptionists, secretaries, and sales and marketing personnel.

Our intended markets are increasingly growing towards recognizing the difference between poor quality business consultancy service and that of high quality. This development is an important trend for us as it represents our target market, and hence opportunity. We now are having an increasing number of people who appreciate quality information and the importance of having comprehensive and concise market and business plans undertaken.

Another trend is the one toward greater use of specialized and focused consultants, instead of in-house resources. Companies are looking for out-sourcing (but unfortunately few offer such a service) and, in general, a preference for variable costs instead of fixed costs.

Competition

There are numerous companies operating in Gaborone who classify themselves as “business consultants”. However, upon contacting these, it appears that the vast majority of these companies are bookkeeping and secretarial services companies. There are some companies that provide services similar to those offered by us and that is good, but none of them specialize in market/marketing research. The following are some of our main competitors:

Palms and Bonds offers clients reliable, quality information and proposals for business development, market development, and channel development that will maximize business development. A true alternative to in-house resources we offer a very high level of practical experience, know-how, contacts, and confidentiality. At Palms and Bonds we are able to provide comprehensive solutions to our clients’ problems that will foster business development. Clients must know that working with Palms and Bonds is a more professional, less risky way to develop new areas even than working completely in-house with their own people. Palms and Bonds must also be able to maintain financial balance, charging a competitive and realistic value for its services, and delivering an even higher value to its clients. Initial focus will be development of the local market clientele.

Expectations

The annual sales projections for three years are included in the table below. It should be noted that as we become established and known on the market we project sales to increase at a faster rate than the initial year.

Financial projections are in Botswanan Pula (P).

Financial Highlights by Year

Financing needed.

The co-founders will each contribute $35,000, for a total investment of $70,000. Total start-up capital and expenses covered (including legal costs, logo design, stationery and related expenses) came to approximately $49,000. Start-up assets required and utilized included personal computers, vehicles, office furniture, and other office equipment is an additional $20,000.

Problem & Solution

Problem worth solving.

With the increase in the number of entrepreneurs and competition amongst existing companies presents. We see an opportunity for an increased demand for market information and services that will enable companies to stay ahead of the pack.

Our Solution

The keys to Palms and Bonds success will undoubtedly be effective market segmentation through identification of several niche markets and implementation strategies. Along these lines the company intends to implement personal selling and direct marketing strategies to the target markets. Our personal selling marketing strategies will rotate around keeping in touch with investment and finance bodies for major clients and word-of-mouth for more individual investors. our key success factors will include the following:

  • Excellence in fulfilling the promise: completely confidential, reliable, trustworthy expertise and information. This dictates that we have the latest technology and software.
  • Uncompromising commitment to the quality of the work: that is, quality data, information and solutions.
  • Developing visibility to generate new business leads.
  • Leveraging from a single pool of expertise into multiple revenue generation opportunities: retainer consulting, project consulting, market research, and market research published reports.
  • Successful niche marketing: we intend to find and target the quality-conscious customer in the right channels, making sure that the customer will find us through aggressive marketing.
  • Timeous response to clients orders: we cannot afford to delay the client’s order for whatever reason as this will have a negative bearing on our image and reputation, including future business. We need to be continually communicating with the client.
  • Marketing know-how: in an increasingly competitive market there is need to aggressively market our business and the services we provide so as to be continuously at the top of our prospective and current clients minds.
  • Entrepreneurial Flair: market volatility and increasing duplication of business ideas advocates that we continuously keep abreast of new trends and our competitors.

Target Market

Market size & segments.

Market Segmentation

Palms and Bonds will be focusing on local businesses and foreign investors looking at investing in the country. These will be small, medium, and large-sized companies looking for a total service and quality work.

Our most important group of potential customers are foreign investors. These are potential investors who want to have a feel and understanding of the local markets and the opportunities, and constraints they present to them. They do not want to waste their time or risk their money looking for bargain information or questionable expertise. As they go into markets looking at new opportunities, they are very sensitive to risking their company’s name and reputation.

Large corporations: one of our most important market segment is the large organization looking at penetrating new or existing markets. These companies will be calling on Palms and Bonds for development functions that are better spun off than managed in-house, for market research, and feasibility studies. 

Medium-sized growth companies: particularly in rapidly expanding markets, Palms and Bonds will offer an attractive development alternative to the company that is management constrained and unable to address opportunities in new markets and new market segments.

Small-sized companies: in an increasingly competitive environment entrepreneurs are becoming more cautious in the markets they seek to enter and on establishing new market opportunities. They are often seeking for prior research to be done to identify possible markets that are suited to their resources and capabilities.

Hence the most likely types of businesses to require our services would include:

  • New businesses seeking investment or start-up capital
  • New firms looking at investing in the country
  • Existing companies which are expanding or introducing a new product/ service.

Target Market 

Pro Tip:

Our strategy calls for the development of relationships with investment bodies, attorneys, accountants and financial institutions to support our business with referrals. Interviews with commercial loan officers have indicated that there is a serious need for a professional firm like ours to help their clients in market/marketing research, and development of comprehensive and concise business and marketing plans.

Current Alternatives

There are numerous companies operating in Gaborone who classify themselves as "business consultants". However, upon contacting these, it appears that the vast majority of these companies are bookkeeping and secretarial services companies. There are some companies that provide services similar to those offered by us and that is good, but none of them specialize in market/marketing research. The following are some of our main competitors:

The high-level prestige management consulting firms

Strengths: Prime locations managed by owner-partners with a high level of presentation and understanding of general business. Enviable reputations, which make purchase of consulting an easy decision for a manager, despite the very high prices.

Weaknesses: General business knowledge doesn’t substitute for the specific market, channel, and distribution expertise of Palms and Bonds, focusing on local markets and products/services. Also, fees are extremely expensive, and work is generally done by very junior-level consultants, even though sold by high-level partners.

General Business Consultancy firms

Strengths: Expertise in certain functional areas particularly bookkeeping. Palms and Bonds intends not to compete with general business consultancy firms in these  markets.

Weaknesses: The inability to spread beyond a specific focus, or to rise above a specific focus, to provide actual marketing and market research expertise, experience, and wisdom beyond the specifics.

The most significant competition is no consulting at all,  companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house.

Strengths: No incremental cost except travel; also, the general work is done by the people who are entirely responsible, the planning is done by those who will implement it.

Weaknesses: Most managers are terribly overburdened already, unable to find incremental resources in time and people to apply to incremental opportunities. Also, there is a lot of additional risk in market and channel development done in-house from the ground up. Finally, retainer-based antenna consultants can greatly enhance a company’s reach and extend its position into conversations that might otherwise never have taken place.

Attorneys and Accounting firms

Strengths: Able to provide sound accounting or legal advice and services with the plans being done by the partners.

Weaknesses: They often lack the imagination to write a comprehensive and effective business plan. The attorneys tend to dwell on the legal aspects and contractual arrangements while accountants sweat over the balance sheets, cash flow statements, product costs and income statements. Very little market research, if any, is often undertaken, and often ineffectively.

Our Advantages

We have sought to identify competition in terms of companies that satisfy the same client needs that we intend to. Our competitors are few in our main service, and, including Government agencies, numerous in our ancillary services. There will be a need to strongly differentiate ourselves from these other businesses. However on a broader scale our competition comes in several forms:

  • The most significant competition is no market research consulting at all, companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house. Their own managers do this on their own, as part of their regular business functions. Our key advantage in competition with in-house development is that managers are already overloaded with responsibilities, they don’t have time for additional responsibilities in new market development or new channel development. Also, Palms and Bonds can approach alliances, investment bodies, and channels on a confidential basis, gathering information and making initial contacts in ways that the corporate managers can’t.
  • The high-level prestige management consulting: XXX and international firms. These are essentially generalists who take their name-brand management consulting into specialty areas. Their other very important weakness is the management structure that has the partners selling new jobs, and inexperienced associates delivering the work. We compete against them as experts in our specific fields, and with the guarantee that our clients will have the top-level people doing the actual work.
  • The third general kind of competitors are the various trading and Investment bodies. These companies are formidable competitors for published market research and market forums, but cannot provide the kind of high-level customized consulting that Palms and Bonds will provide. 
  • The fourth kind of competition are the business consultancy firms, which undertake business plans for various organizations. For example: LLL, MMM, NNN, and OOO Consultancy. 
  • The fifth kind of competition are the numerous "fly-by-night" business consultants that claim to offer the same services as we do. Often they offer a below par service with no qualified personnel.

Keys to Success

Marketing & sales, marketing plan.

One core element of our strategy will be that of differentiation from our competitors. In terms of marketing, we intend to sell our company as a differentiated strategic ally, not just our services. In price, we intend to offer reasonable and competitive prices in comparison to competition and we need to be able to sustain that. Market penetration through lower prices shall be undertaken where need be whilst premium pricing in the case of high quality services targeted at the upper-end of the market. Our service marketing will recognize more that our product. Service and establishing long relationships with clients will be key to our future service marketing. We primarily intend to sell a relationship more than services.

We intend to focus on the individual or group who wants information that may not be readily available, specially customized to their requirements. However not wanting to limit our horizons in the initial period we intend to serve other clients requiring services such as company registration and trading licenses.

In all cases we intend to provide a thorough understanding and appreciation of the service to the client as well as follow up to ensure customer satisfaction. We also intend to inform the customer on how best to maintain and/or improve their market positions.

Palms and Bonds will be competitively priced in relation to the dictates of the market. The pricing fits with the general positioning of Palms and Bonds as providing high-level quality expertise.

We intend our income structure to match our cost structure, so as to ensure that the salaries/consultants fees we pay to assure good reports and service are balanced by the fee we charge. We will make sure that we charge for the service, workmanship and any delivery with our aim being to achieve a gross profit margin of at least 50%. Naturally services targeted at the higher end of the market will have higher mark ups as these clients are less price sensitive. All in all we intend our prices to be extremely competitive on the market.

Consulting will be based on Pula per hour per project in the initial year for project consulting, market research, and retainer consulting. With time and as we become known on the market we foresee an increase in our consultancy fee — tempered by market dictates. Market research reports should be competitively priced which will, of course, require that reports be very well planned, focusing on very important topics, and well presented.

Palms and Bonds will maintain the latest market research software and Windows capabilities including:

  • Complete email facilities on the Internet for working with clients directly through email delivery of drafts and information.
  • Complete presentation facilities for preparation and delivery of multimedia presentations on Windows machines, in formats including on-disk presentation, live presentation, or video presentation.
  • Complete desktop publishing facilities for delivery of regular retainer reports, project output reports, marketing materials, and market research reports.

Milestones & Metrics

Milestones table.

Milestone Due Date
Apr 20, 2020
May 24, 2020
July 19, 2020
Sept 20, 2020

Key Metrics

Our keys to success are: 

  • # of new business leads generated 
  • # of business leads that were referrals 
  • amount of time it takes for the customer to get a phone call or email. we are aiming to have our customer service people trained to return within the hour, within 15 or 20 min are even better. 
  • # of facebook pageviews and Linkedin and google shares 
  • # of tweets and retweets sharing expert consultant advice 

Ownership & Structure

Grizzly Bear Financial Managers is a sole proprietorship owned by Meghan Malcolm

Management Team

Meghan Malcolm received her Bachelor of Arts from Reed College.  While at Reed College, Meghan supplemented her school loans with income from being an accounting clerk for Hollywood video.  While Meghan learned accounting backwards and forwards from this job, she found it boring.  After graduation Meghan took the GMAT’s in preparation for getting her MBA.

Meghan decided that she needed to take at least a year off between school so she worked for a bicycle touring company that took clients on mountain bike trips through the Rocky Mountains. Meghan developed people and communication skills on this trip.  It was her responsibility to make sure that the clients were always happy.  Although at the time Meghan did not know how valuable these communication skills would become, she did recognize that they were useful.

Meghan entered Willamette’s MBA program a year after graduating from Reed.  During the second year Meghan was allowed to choose her courses and she took a concentration of finance, investing, options, etc.  She enjoyed the investing of money, and it was at this point that she realized that this is the type of work that she wanted to do.  She figured it would be initially tough to start her own financial planning company by herself, but with all of the contacts that she has made over the years, first at Reed then at Willamette, she was prepared to go ahead with her dream.

Personnel Table

2020 2021 2022
Meghan $43,200 $44,064 $44,945
Admin Assistant $33,600 $34,272 $34,957
Totals $76,800 $78,336 $79,902

Financial Plan investor-ready personnel plan .">

Key assumptions.

  • Stability in investment markets
  • No significant change in regulatory environment
  • Trackable, provable performance results
  • Good word of mouth bolstered by social media

Revenue by Month

Expenses by month, net profit (or loss) by year, use of funds.

Grizzly Bear Financial Managers will incur the following start-up costs:

  • Desk, chair and file cabinet.
  • Couch and table.
  • Fax machine, copier.
  • Computer with printer, CD-RW, and Internet connection.
  • Legal fees for business formation.

Please note that the items which are considered assets to be used for more than a year will labeled long-term assets and will be depreciated using G.A.A.P. approved straight-line depreciation method.

Sources of Funds

Meghan will invest $23,000. 

Projected Profit & Loss

2020 2021 2022
Revenue $121,494 $180,000 $280,000
Direct Costs $3,645 $5,400 $8,400
Gross Margin $117,849 $174,600 $271,600
Gross Margin % 97% 97% 97%
Operating Expenses
Salaries & Wages $76,800 $78,336 $79,902
Employee Related Expenses $15,360 $15,667 $15,981
Sales and Marketing $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Insurance $1,800 $1,800 $1,800
Rent $18,000 $18,000 $18,000
Startup Expenses $900
Total Operating Expenses $114,060 $115,003 $116,883
Operating Income $3,789 $59,597 $154,718
Interest Incurred
Depreciation and Amortization $456 $456 $456
Gain or Loss from Sale of Assets
Income Taxes $833 $14,785 $38,566
Total Expenses $118,994 $135,644 $164,304
Net Profit $2,500 $44,356 $115,696
Net Profit/Sales 2% 25% 41%

Projected Balance Sheet

2020 2021 2022
Cash $22,229 $39,904 $12,001
Accounts Receivable $0 $0 $0
Inventory
Other Current Assets
Total Current Assets $22,229 $39,904 $12,001
Long-Term Assets $4,560 $4,560 $4,560
Accumulated Depreciation ($456) ($912) ($1,368)
Total Long-Term Assets $4,104 $3,648 $3,192
Total Assets $26,333 $43,552 $15,193
Accounts Payable $0 $0 $0
Income Taxes Payable $833 $3,696 $9,641
Sales Taxes Payable $0 $0 $0
Short-Term Debt
Prepaid Revenue
Total Current Liabilities $833 $3,696 $9,641
Long-Term Debt
Long-Term Liabilities
Total Liabilities $833 $3,696 $9,641
Paid-In Capital $23,000 $23,000 $23,000
Retained Earnings ($27,500) ($133,144)
Earnings $2,500 $44,356 $115,696
Total Owner’s Equity $25,500 $39,856 $5,552
Total Liabilities & Equity $26,333 $43,552 $15,193

Projected Cash Flow Statement

2020 2021 2022
Net Cash Flow from Operations
Net Profit $2,500 $44,356 $115,696
Depreciation & Amortization $456 $456 $456
Change in Accounts Receivable $0 $0 $0
Change in Inventory
Change in Accounts Payable $0 $0 $0
Change in Income Tax Payable $833 $2,863 $5,945
Change in Sales Tax Payable $0 $0 $0
Change in Prepaid Revenue
Net Cash Flow from Operations $3,789 $47,675 $122,097
Investing & Financing
Assets Purchased or Sold ($4,560)
Net Cash from Investing ($4,560)
Investments Received $23,000
Dividends & Distributions ($30,000) ($150,000)
Change in Short-Term Debt
Change in Long-Term Debt
Net Cash from Financing $23,000 ($30,000) ($150,000)
Cash at Beginning of Period $0 $22,229 $39,904
Net Change in Cash $22,229 $17,675 ($27,903)
Cash at End of Period $22,229 $39,904 $12,001

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How To Start A Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Creating a business plan is a critical first step for any entrepreneur. Knowing how to start a business plan will help you create a roadmap, guiding your business from startup to growth and beyond. Whether you're looking for investment, trying to set clear goals, or simply organizing your thoughts, a solid business plan can make all the difference.

Here is a guide to help you get started on your business plan:

1. executive summary.

What It Is: This section summarizes your business plan as a whole and outlines your company profile and goals.

What to Include:

  • Business name and location
  • Products or services offered
  • Mission statement
  • The purpose of the plan (e.g., seeking funding, guiding the startup process)

Tip: Keep it concise. Although it's the first section, it's often best to write it last, after you’ve detailed everything else.

2. Company Description

What It Is: This section provides detailed information about your company, including who you are, what you do, and what markets you serve.

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  • Your business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation)
  • The industry and marketplace needs your business meets
  • Your business’s objectives and how you stand out from competitors

Tip: Use this section to highlight your company’s strengths and what makes you unique.

3. Market Research

What It Is: Market research demonstrates your understanding of the industry and target market.

  • Market size and growth potential
  • Target customer demographics
  • Market trends and outlook
  • Competitive analysis, including strengths and weaknesses of competitors

Tip: Include data and statistics to back up your findings and show that you’ve done your homework.

4. Organization and Management

What It Is: This section outlines your business’s organizational structure and management team.

  • Organizational chart
  • Information about the ownership of the company
  • Backgrounds and qualifications of the management team
  • Roles and responsibilities within the company

Tip: Highlight the skills and experiences of your team that will help the business succeed.

5. Products or Services Line

What It Is: Here, you detail the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

  • A description of each product or service
  • The lifecycle of products or services
  • Research and development activities, if applicable
  • Intellectual property, such as patents or trademarks

Tip: Focus on the benefits your products or services bring to your customers.

6. Marketing and Sales Strategy

What It Is: This section explains how you will attract and retain customers.

  • Marketing strategies, including advertising, promotions, and public relations
  • Sales strategies, including sales processes, channels, and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and how it compares to competitors

Tip: Ensure your marketing and sales strategies are aligned with your market research findings.

7. Funding Request

What It Is: If you’re seeking funding , this section outlines your requirements.

  • Your current funding needs
  • Future funding requirements over the next five years
  • How you intend to use the funds
  • Potential future financial plans (e.g., selling the business, repaying debt)

Tip: Be specific and realistic about how much funding you need and how it will be used.

8. Financial Projections

What It Is: Financial projections provide a forecast of your business’s financial future.

  • Income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Break-even analysis

Tip: Use realistic and conservative estimates. Consider hiring a financial professional to help with this section if needed.

9. Appendix

What It Is: The appendix includes any additional information that supports your business plan.

  • Resumes of key management team members
  • Permits and leases
  • Legal documents
  • Detailed market research data
  • Product photos

Tip: Only include essential information that adds value to your business plan.

Final Tips for Creating a Business Plan

Creating a business plan requires clarity and precision. First and foremost, keep your business plan clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or complex language that could make the plan difficult to read or understand. Your aim should be to communicate your ideas effectively and efficiently.

Next, be realistic in your approach. Ensure that your goals and financial projections are attainable based on your research and understanding of the market. Overly ambitious projections can undermine your credibility and potentially lead to unrealistic expectations.

It's also essential to remember that a business plan is a dynamic document. As your business grows and market conditions change, you should revisit and revise your plan regularly. This helps you stay aligned with your goals and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Finally, seek feedback from experienced business professionals. Having someone with business experience review your plan can provide valuable insights and help identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. Their feedback can enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of your business plan.

By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to create a robust and effective business plan that can guide your business towards success.

The bottom line is that starting a business plan may seem challenging, but with careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a comprehensive guide to steer your business toward success. Use this step-by-step guide to ensure that all essential components are covered, giving your business the best possible start.

Melissa Houston, CPA is the author of Cash Confident: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Profitable Business and the founder of She Means Profit . As a Business Strategist for small business owners, Melissa helps women making mid-career shifts, to launch their dream businesses, and I also guide established business owners to grow their businesses to more profitably.

The opinions expressed in this article are not intended to replace any professional or expert accounting and/or tax advice whatsoever.

Melissa Houston

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