A do it yourself business plan is a great way to form a strategy for your business, but you need to be sure that you keep key aspects of starting a business in mind. Many entrepreneurs write their own business plans, but they do it with the help and advice provided through online resources and other business professionals.

Basics of a Business Plan

A successful business plan should be sure to address the following basic aspects of a business:

  • Organizational structure.
  • Market position.
  • Product descriptions.
  • Sales and marketing.
  • Finances.

You'll also want to work out exactly when, how, and where you will run your business to accomplish your long-term goals. Be sure to keep detailed notes as you work through your plan and think about what you're hoping to do with your business. Not writing down your ideas can be a huge mistake as it's easy to forget things as time passes.

Once you've written out and weeded through all of your different ideas, you should begin drafting your organized business plan. This is where you focus on the essential aspects of running a business and how you plan to handle them.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great online resource for entrepreneurs as they are in the beginning stages of their business planning. Using such resources will help you do it yourself, without missing important elements.

Help With Your Business Plan

If you aren't interested in handling the planning stage by yourself, you have plenty of options for assistance. Many companies out there specialize in offering professional help with business planning. They provide resources like:

  • Software.
  • Templates.
  • Online classes.

All you need to do is perform a general online search for "help with business planning," and you'll have everything you need right at your fingertips. Be careful to only get help from reputable sources.

Tips For Creating a Good Business Plan

First, you'll want to think carefully about the type of business you plan to start. Ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • What needs in the market will your business meet?
  • How will you meet such needs?
  • Why and how will your services or products stand out among the competitors?
  • How will you get the word out about what you have to offer?
  • How will your business function?

Be sure to perform a good analysis of the market. Know about your target audience and how you plan to reach them. Sometimes there won't be a clear need for your product or service in the market, but you can create what's called a perception in the market. This means that you show a need for your product through your marketing.

Once you know what audience you are trying to reach, you can create a marketing and sales plan. Basically, how will you get out what you have to offer to potential customers or clients? Word of mouth is usually not enough to get your products or services in the hands of buyers. Look for ways to make what your offering memorable and different from other goods that are already available.

Sales plans cover the details of how you plan to distribute what you're selling. Will you have a storefront or just an online presence? Some companies use at-home parties among friends to sell their products. You'll also need to decide if you'll hire a team of salespeople or use independent sales representatives.

When thinking about how exactly your business will function, you'll need to decide what its structure will be. Your basic choices are:

  • Sole proprietorship.
  • Partnership.
  • Limited liability company (LLC).
  • Corporation (C corporation or S corporation).

Also, you'll want to figure out how ownership and management will work. Usually, determining the structure of the business will help decide what the management will look like.

Choosing a Name for Your Business

Don't forgot the name! The name you choose for your business will be how customers or clients know you. Be sure that it represents your business well and makes it clear what you have to offer. Ask friends and family members what they think about different name ideas. You'll also want to perform a business name search through the Secretary of State (SOS) office in your state to make sure that the name you want it available for use.

If you need help with a do it yourself business plan, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.