All posts by Craig Frazier

How To Write A Business Plan

how to write a business plan

If you are wondering how to write a business plan you have come to the right place!

You may be looking to start your own business and need funding, or you may have been asked to put together a business plan for an existing business or you may be a student who is writing a business plan for a class project.

For many of us, writing a business plan can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a clear understanding of each section needed and a visual example of the formatting and design of a standard plan. In fact, having a good example business plan to use as a reference can make a big difference and save you a TON of time – especially if you are a visual person like me.

The great news for you is that I have just released a brand new business plan design and I want to share it with as many people as possible. If you are trying to figure out how to write a business plan and can use an example plan for a reference you can download my full plan right here for FREE:

Click here to download the FREE Business Plan Example

If you want the editable source file for this business plan that will allow you to change out the images keep whatever design elements you like, plug in your wording and ultimately save you a MASSIVE amount of time you can find it here on sale for a limited time:

Click here to learn about the full Business Plan Toolkit

Finally, the video below is a walkthrough of each section of the business plan with a short explanation about how to write each part of it to ensure that your business plan will impress everyone that sees it and have investors begging to fund your project. 🙂

How To Write A Business Plan

If you still have questions about how to write a business plan or for other business plan related questions please leave me a comment below. If you want to see some other topic related to business planning as a video walkthrough please let me know that as well!

I wish you the very best in your business plan writing!


Top 5 Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid


Have you made any of these common business plan mistakes?

Going back to your business plan to cross reference your projections is a good idea but what if your business plan is wrong?  As the blueprint for your company the business plan is as important as any other part of your business.

Check out the list of common business plan mistakes below to make sure your plan is both accurate and actionable.



Top 5 Business Plan Mistakes

#1  The Plan is Poorly Written

You don’t need to be an English major to know that your plan is poorly written. Investors are looking for professional and clearly-written plans. Misspellings, typographical errors and basic grammatical errors should be avoided. If writing is not your strength, don’t do it on your own. It’s best to hire someone to help you review and edit your business plan.

#2  Bad Visuals

Great content always comes with well laid out visual components. You don’t need to have stellar graphic design to go with your plan. Just make sure that you avoid these things:

  • Unlabeled charts
  • Missing page numbers from the table of contents
  • Tables without headers

#3  The Business Plan is Incomplete

If you want your plan to cover all the bases, then it should have:

  • Detail on product or service features, including strengths and weaknesses.
  • What competitors are doing right and what are they doing wrong.
  • Overview of operations and how will it support the financial goals.
  • Sales and marketing plan to give investors and employees a sense of direction, whether it’s long term or short term campaigns.
  • Sales and financial goals should also be present. If you’re operating for three years, then an annual balance sheet will help show cash flow and the ability to reach projections.

#4  The Vague Business Plan

All plans need to be clear whether these are financial plans or marketing plans. Setting realistic and measurable goals will help your investors and team understand your intentions. Make sure it’s backed by research to make it more credible.

#5  Claiming There’s No Risk or No Competition

Plans are based on research and intelligent assumptions. When you set your goals, you always want to succeed. However, claiming that there is no risk involved is unrealistic. Investors see it as too good to be true.  Products or services without competition will sound too “scammy” or leave the impression you are hiding a major flaw.  Be honest about any obstacles or competition and how you plan to address those challenges.

Some entrepreneurs often make mistakes in planning for their business. However, the best advice every entrepreneur can get is to consult the experts. If marketing is not your strength, then look for a consultant or partner who can help you with this aspect. Or, if you find financial projections difficult, hire an accountant to do it for you or use a business plan package that has everything you need and can be modified to fit your business needs.

The most successful businessmen are usually the ones who delegate and work to avoid the common business plan mistakes that can prevent success.


Grab Top Search Engine Rankings Using Google Authorship for Business

Trying to get your business found online can feel a lot like buying a lottery ticket week after week just praying to get lucky with the search engines,

but now the odds are stacked in your favor and it is surprising how many businesses still aren’t taking advantage.
What I am talking about is Google authorship for business (maybe you have seen the little thumbnail image of an article author next to a search result) and here is why you need to grab a Google+ account as soon as you finish reading this post….

Google wants to know that REAL people are behind the content that appears on its search results and linking your business site to your Google+ account is like walking up behind big brother Google and giving him a wet willie! It literally forces Google to pay attention to you, your content and your business.

Let me prove it… Here is a screenshot of the Google results for my main keyword in the business plan niche. This was shortly after I posted a link from my website page to my Google+ profile. I didn’t even have to wait days or weeks for this to hit the Google search results – it happened within MINUTES!

Now this search result was personalized for me which is why the little social icon is next to my search position. Meaning my little G+ post didn’t show up for the rest of the world, but Google does show personalized search results to people within my social network making it even more important as a social sharing and networking platform.

The real power of this strategy though is that Google almost immediately indexed a post of mine that contained a direct link back to my website. It is clear that Google is prepared to reward the content that is verifiable with the authors in the network.

This isn’t a loophole or some kind of trick to fool the search engines into indexing your content…this is what Google has established as an avenue for how it will find quality search results in the future. Google wants to know that the content it ranks highly on its search engine was created by real people who are knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter being shared.

By linking your authored content and or business website to your Google+ account you are verifying to Google that you are a real person. Not just that, you can invite Google to take a look at what you discuss on social media, who follows you and who you follow on Twitter, how many friends you have on Facebook, what you discuss and who you interact with all become data points for Google to establish your relevancy to the content you produce. This gives you credibility you can’t buy.

You may not be active on social media either personally or professionally, but if you have a business and you don’t set up a profile on the Google+ platform you are CRAZY! Any serious businessperson with a website cannot ignore the powerful impact social sharing has on search engine rankings. It is officially time to get on board.

The best article I have read on how to set your website up with Google Authorship is below. This is a step by step guide to make it simple for anyone to start benefiting from the new Google search results.

The Definitive Guide to Google Authorship Markup

In another article I will tell you how to make the most of your Google+ profile so that you will be seen as an expert in your field and your posts and articles will maximize the attention and rankings from Google. In the meantime connect with me on Google+ – I would love to hear from you!

If you have questions or feedback please leave them in the comments section and I will be happy to respond. Have a happy business!

Business Plan Market Summary Example

The Market Summary is a key element within the business plan but many people are confused about what to include when it comes to actually writing it.

The purpose of the Market Summary section is to describe the current state of the industry specific to your particular location and how your product or service will have relevance due to current or upcoming trends.  Unlike the Executive Summary or Company Summary sections – this is the point in the business plan where you can pull in some data points to convince the reader that your plan is solid and your business meets a legitimate need in the marketplace.

Below is an actual Market Summary section from a coffee shop business plan I wrote that you can use as a reference, or Save Time and Grab The Full Business Plan including the editable Word version and financial templates that you can use to just plug in your data.

Business Plan Market Summary:  Coffee Shop

According to a nation-wide survey conducted by the National Coffee Association, among all beverages consumed in the U.S., coffee ranked third in daily consumption.  Only two beverages, water and soft drinks are consumed more on a daily basis.  Coffee is no longer considered a drink for older generations who “like it black.”  Now, over half of the adult population drinks coffee everyday.  One in ten 17- and 18-year-olds rated coffee as their top beverage of choice.  As a result, several major coffee companies reported first-quarter earnings well over $100 million.

“The industry trade group Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) reports that the industry is not even set to peak until the year 2015.” 

Starbucks, a leader in the coffee industry, reported a net income earning of $xxx.x million in its first quarter for 20xx.  To ensure year-round success, the company provides holiday specials and flavors, gift cards, and desserts.  Our coffee shop will follow trends and employ many of these same proven business strategies.

The traditional cup of coffee is still popular with many, but the consumption of gourmet, or specialty coffee, drinks is on the rise.  Specialty coffee sales are increasing by around 20% per year, and make up nearly 8% of the 18 billion dollar U.S. coffee market.  The NCA reported that as many as 127 million members of the adult population 62% said that they drank gourmet coffee occasionally.  With specialty coffee drinks ranging in price from $x.xx to over $x.xx in some cases, one can see that this is an extremely profitable industry.  The average Starbucks’ customer, visiting the store between 15 and 18 times a month, is said to spend at least $x to $x per visit, according to CEO Orin Smith.

The coffee industry is still growing nationwide as more and more people are beginning to try gourmet coffee and tea.  ABC City is poised for growth in the coffee industry, and should continue to experience growth through preferred demographic shift, increased exposure in town, and increased premium coffee drinking in nearby XYZ City.

According to demographic information provided by DemographicsNow SRC, LLC., the numbers of households in ABC City zip code xxxxx total 14,963.  The average household income in this area is $52,063 with 19.6% in the range of $50,000 – $74,999 which is the highest category by percentage.  Projections over the next five years indicate growth in this category by 7.8%, as well as growth in the $75,000 – $99,999 category by 27.2%.  Wealth categories above $100,000 are projected to grow over 30% in the next five years.

Population for xxxxx is 33,783 with the largest category 14.5% of those between the ages of 25-34.  35-44 and 45-54 comprise the next two largest segments of the population at 13.8% and 13.5% respectively.

Educational attainment for households in the immediate area include 20.6% with some college, and 28.2% of the population with some form of higher education degree (Associates, Bachelors, or Graduate Degree).  Another 24.8% have a high school diploma.

According to the SCAA, educational attainment has a direct bearing on coffee consumption.  Individuals who finished college bought 49% more gourmet coffee on average, and those finishing with a post-graduate degree bought 71% more.  The SCAA describes their typical customer as “an educated urban resident with disposable income to spend on fine coffee.”

This information about the neighboring community shows favorable trends for expendable income and growth within the immediate area, especially over the next five years.

Exposure for the premium coffee market is already starting in ABC City, as demand for a fresh cup of coffee is now being filled at ABC Mall.  At least 5 other coffee shops in ABC City have been sustaining business as more people continue to find a way to satisfy their coffee craving here in town.  Increased exposure and competition has a positive effect on sales because most coffee shops do not compete on price, but rather on coffee quality, atmosphere, and customer service.

With the exposure created by some of the larger national chains, consumers generally expect to pay a premium for a cup of specialty coffee.  By leveraging the current exposure from nearby XYZ City, ABC City will soon expand the premium coffee drinking base, and growth in the market will continue.  With over 40 coffee shop establishments in XYZ City, the number of coffee drinkers in the area continues to rise.

Part of this is due to the fact that the coffee business or more accurately the espresso business can be very profitable.  Espresso is the “base” used in most specialty coffee drinks like a “latte” or “mocha”, in fact the cost of the ingredients in a 12 oz. latte is around .xx cents, according to Acorto coffee and equipment supplier.  With customers already accustomed to paying $x.xx on average for a specialty coffee drink, profits can be substantial, for the dozens of espresso based drinks.

With more and more businesses and restaurants finding their way into ABC City, a relaxing coffee shop in which customers can unwind and finish off a night out of the house is inevitably in demand.  However, in our area, there are relatively few coffee shops in existence.  With such favorable trends and lack of market penetration, a coffee shop will create the perfect blend of business opportunities.

Our coffee shop will provide a relaxing, eclectic environment that will attract consumers of all ages.  To maintain a loyal customer base, our coffee shop will sell an assortment of specialty drinks and coffee while differentiating itself from all competition by serving fresh baked pies and desserts.  National trends are showing a long-term pattern of consumers purchasing decadent desserts, especially those containing chocolate, according to the U.S. Foodservice Market.  By incorporating this niche into our coffee shop and providing high quality desserts, our shop will not only be a relaxing retreat from a hectic day, but it will also provide a boost to the bottom line, and remain a must-have staple for one’s sweet tooth.

Adam Hoeksema

Craig Frazier

About the Author

Craig is a small business marketer, author and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business management and marketing.

Example Business Plans – Business Planning

Now is the perfect time to evaluate your success or opportunities from the past year and make necessary changes to start the new year off right.  Modifying your existing business plan or putting together your business plan for the first time can help you focus your efforts and plan for success in the new year.

Using example business plans to take the hassle out of creating a business plan from scratch can be beneficial strategy for anyone that is creating a plan for the first time.

Don’t get hung up on the process as much as the results – there is no need to reinvent the wheel when professional business plan templates are available.

Some of the benefits to having an up-to-date business plan include:

Find Profit Niches – track your progress by setting a financial baseline and plan your expenditures.  By planning and evaluating your profit / loss you can see where you need to focus more effort or resources on profitable areas.

Get Funding – if you need funding for an expansion or a new product line a business plan with profit forecasts may help you land the capital you need.

Set Your Business Apart – successful businesses constantly evaluate the company goals and mission / vision statements in order to meet the needs of customers in an ever changing marketplace….don’t get stale!

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be hard.  Find some example business plans to get started and replace the info with your company specific data.  You will be surprised how fast your business plan can come together by taking one section at a time and filling in your details.

Grab my actual business plan at the link below and use it to create your own customized plan without all the hassle!

Business-Plan Toolkit

Don’t let the unknown keep you from putting together your business plan.  Start planning for success today!

Adam Hoeksema

Craig Frazier

About the Author

Craig is a small business marketer, author and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business management and marketing.

Craig Frazier Interview with Small Biz Kaizen

Earlier this year I was contacted about doing a podcast interview with Small Biz Kaizen to discuss the business planning process and explain how to get started writing a business plan.
I wanted to post it out here again as I think it was a great interview and uncovered some simple steps that anyone can…

Writing A Business Plan

Writing a business plan can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to seem like work.  Getting started is half the battle and finding a good template that you can use as a guideline is a quick way to begin making progress.  In order to find a good business plan template that can meet your needs keep a few things in mind:

1) Look for a template of an actual business plan so you can see how the different sections were worded and you can get an idea for the type of information that was included.

2) Find a business plan that was written for a similar size company.  This doesn’t need to be exact but a business plan for a small business will be much different from the detail needed to be included in a plan for a large corporation.

3) Find a pro-forma template to use as a guide for projecting your monthly and annual cost and profits.  Every good business plan should have one of these and you can find them several places online.

4) A break even analysis is a good visual to include in the business plan to show potential investors what will be needed to turn a profit.  Your financials should show how you intend to get there and the break even graph will illustrate the point.

5) Don’t let the charts, graphs and layout keep you from getting started on your business plan.  If you find that you are having trouble finding the pieces you need to put together a professional business plan then grab the whole set of files I used to create a winning business plan for a small business that is still in operation today.  My actual business plan, financial spreadsheet and break-even graph are all included in the “Business Plan Toolkit” you can find by clicking the link here – Business Plan Toolkit.

You know more about your business than anyone else but it is important that your knowledge about the industry and your business are professionally communicated to investors and potential business partners.  Take the hassle out of writing a plan by using one that has already been written – feel free to change it however you need.  Grab the Business Plan and Files now and get started writing a plan for your successful small business.

Adam Hoeksema

Craig Frazier

About the Author

Craig is a small business marketer, author and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business management and marketing.

Example Business Plans – Business Planning

Now is the perfect time to evaluate your success or opportunities from the past year and make necessary changes to start the new year off right.  Modifying your existing business plan or putting together your business plan for the first time can help you focus your efforts and plan for success in the…

Business Plan Resources

The Business Plan Examples website is a collection of business plan resources, tools and guides for creating your own quality small business plan.  When I began writing my first business plan I had no idea where to start.  I knew what I wanted to say but I had no clue what kind of format I should use or how to set it up.

As you begin to put pen to paper on a business plan it always helps to have an example to look at or in some cases even copy.  Yes, I am giving you permission to actually copy my work and use it how you see fit.  My actual business plan source files including the pro-forma spreadsheet and my break-even graph are available here:  Business Plan.

I plan to post topics on a good business plan layout as well as the top 5 pieces of info every business plan should contain.  If you have any related topics you would like to discuss please let me know and I will pull some business plan resources and additional info together for you.  Happy Business Planning!

Adam Hoeksema

Craig Frazier

About the Author

Craig is a small business marketer, author and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business management and marketing.