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A business plan is absolutely essential for the success of your business. A good business plan serves as a road map for your business and projects about 3-5 years ahead.

The US Small Business Administration (US SBA) has a thorough guide to writing a plan for your small business. US SBA is an especially good resource because they also provide guidance on nearly every aspect of setting up and running a small business, from choosing your business’s structure to how to hire and retain employees.

According to the US SBA, a good business plan should include:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary is a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals. Read these tips about what to include.

Company Description

Your company description provides information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves.

Market Analysis

Before launching your business, it is essential for you to research your business industry, market and competitors.

Organization & Management

Every business is structured differently. Find out the best organization and management structure for your business.

Service or Product Line

What do you sell? How does it benefit your customers? What is the product lifecycle? Get tips on how to tell the story about your product or service.

Marketing & Sales

How do you plan to market your business? What is your sales strategy? Read more about how to include this information in your plan.

Funding Request

If you are seeking funding for your business, find out about the necessary information you should include in your plan.

Financial Projections

If you need funding, providing financial projections to back up your request is critical. Find out what information you need to include in your financial projections for your small business.