Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn

Link copied

A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

Streamline Your Business Planning Activities with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needing to write a business plan to get there.

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated February 2, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: How to collaborate with AI on your business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information you need to cover in a business plan sometimes isn’t quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

If you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template to get you started, download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

Kickstart your business plan writing with one of our free business plan templates or recommended tools.

how to plan a business structure

Free business plan template

Download a free SBA-approved business plan template built for small businesses and startups.

Download Template

how to plan a business structure

One-page plan template

Download a free one-page plan template to write a useful business plan in as little as 30-minutes.

how to plan a business structure

Sample business plan library

Explore over 500 real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries.

View Sample Plans

how to plan a business structure

Write your plan faster with LivePlan

Try the business planning and growth tool trusted by over 1-million business owners.

Start your plan

How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

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

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

LivePlan Logo

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

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

how to plan a business structure

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

Related Articles

how to plan a business structure

8 Min. Read

How to forecast personnel costs

how to plan a business structure

14 Min. Read

8. Know all the ways to use your plan

how to plan a business structure

5 Min. Read

Agritourism business plan

how to plan a business structure

3 Min. Read

Add supporting information to an appendix

The LivePlan Newsletter

Become a smarter, more strategic entrepreneur.

Your first monthly newsetter will be delivered soon..

Unsubscribe anytime. Privacy policy .

Garrett's Bike Shop

The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.

LivePlan pitch example

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

how to plan a business structure

How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps

  • Search Search Please fill out this field.

Conducting Market Research

Crafting a business plan, reviewing funding options, understanding legal requirements, implementing marketing strategies, how much does it cost to start a business, what should i do before starting a business, what types of funding are available to start a business, do you need to write a business plan, the bottom line.

Building an effective business launch plan

how to plan a business structure

Starting a business in the United States involves a number of different steps, spanning legal considerations, market research, creating a business plan, securing funding, and developing a marketing strategy. It also entails decisions around a business’s location, structure, name, taxation, and registration.

This article covers the key steps involved in starting a business, as well as important aspects of the process for entrepreneurs to consider.

Key Takeaways

  • Entrepreneurs seeking to develop their own business should start by conducting market research to understand their industry space and competition, and to target customers.
  • The next step is to write a comprehensive business plan, outlining the company’s structure, vision, and strategy. Potential funders and partners may want to review the business plan in advance of signing any agreements.
  • Securing funding is crucial in launching a business. Funding can come in the form of grants, loans, venture capital, or crowdfunded money; entrepreneurs may also opt to self-fund instead of or in combination with any of these avenues.
  • Choosing a location and business structure can have many implications for legal aspects of business ownership, such as taxation, registration, and permitting, so it’s important to fully understand the regulations and requirements for the jurisdiction in which the business will operate. 
  • Another key aspect of launching a new business is having a strategic marketing plan that addresses the specifics of the business, industry, and target market.

Before starting a business, entrepreneurs should conduct market research to determine their target audience, competition, and market trends. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends researching demographic data around potential customers to understand a given consumer base and reduce business risk. It also breaks down common market considerations as follows:

  • Demand : Do people want or need this product or service?
  • Market size : How many people might be interested?
  • Economic indicators : These include income, employment rate, and spending habits of potential customers.
  • Location : Where are the target market and the business located?
  • Market saturation : How competitive is the business space, and how many similar offerings exist?
  • Pricing : What might a customer be willing to pay?

Market research should also include an analysis of the competition (including their strengths and weaknesses compared to those of the proposed business), market opportunities and barriers to entry, industry trends, and competitors’ market share .

There are various methods for conducting market research, and the usefulness of different sources and methodologies will depend on the nature of the industry and potential business. Data can come from a variety of sources: statistical agencies, economic and financial institutions, and industry sources, as well as direct consumer research through focus groups, interviews, surveys, or questionnaires.

A comprehensive business plan is like a blueprint for a business. It will help lay the foundation for business development and can assist in decision making, day-to-day operations, and growth. 

Potential investors or business partners may want to review and assess a business plan in advance of agreeing to work together. Financial institutions often request business plans as part of an application for a loan or other forms of capital. 

Business plans will differ according to the needs and nature of the company and only need to include what makes sense for the business in question. As such, they can vary in length and structure depending on their intended purpose. 

Business plans can generally be divided into two formats: traditional business plans and lean startup business plans. The latter is typically more useful for businesses that will need to adjust their planning quickly and frequently, as they are shorter and provide a higher-level overview of the company.

The process of funding a business can be as unique as the business itself—that is, it will depend on the needs and vision of the business and the current financial situation of the business owner. 

The first step in seeking funding is to calculate how much it will cost to start the business. Estimate startup costs by identifying a list of expenses and putting a number to each of them through research and requesting quotes. The SBA has a startup costs calculator for small businesses that includes common types of business expenses. 

From there, an entrepreneur will need to determine how to secure the required funding. Common funding methods include:

  • Self-funding , also known as bootstrapping  
  • Seeking funding from investors, also known as venture capital  
  • Raising money by crowdfunding
  • Securing a business loan
  • Winning a business grant

Each method will hold advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation of the business. It’s important to consider the obligations associated with any avenue of funding. For example, investors generally provide funding in exchange for a degree of ownership or control in the company, whereas self-funding may allow business owners to maintain complete control (albeit while taking on all of the risk). 

The availability of funding sources is another potential consideration. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back—however, as a result, they are a highly competitive form of business funding. The federal government also does not provide grants for the purposes of starting or growing a business, although private organizations may. On the other hand, the SBA guarantees several categories of loans to support small business owners in accessing capital that may not be available through traditional lenders.

Whichever funding method (or methods) an entrepreneur decides to pursue, it’s essential to evaluate in detail how the funding will be used and lay out a future financial plan for the business, including sales projections and loan repayments , as applicable.  

Legally, businesses operating in the U.S. are subject to regulations and requirements under many jurisdictions, across local, county, state, and federal levels. Legal business requirements are often tied to the location and structure of the business, which then determine obligations around taxation, business IDs, registration, and permits.

Choosing a Business Location

The location—that is, the neighborhood, city, and state—in which a business operates will have an impact on many different aspects of running the business, such as the applicable taxes, zoning laws (for brick-and-mortar, or physical locations), and regulations.

A business needs to be registered in a certain location; this location then determines the taxes, licenses, and permits required. Other factors to consider when choosing a location might include:

  • Human factors : Such as the target audience for your business, and preferences of business owners and partners around convenience, knowledge of the area, and commuting distance
  • Regulations and restrictions : Concerning applicable jurisdictions or government agencies, including zoning laws
  • Regionally specific expenses : Such as average salaries (including required minimum wages), property or rental prices, insurance rates, utilities, and government fees and licensing
  • The tax and financial environment : Including income tax, sales tax, corporate tax, and property tax, or the availability of tax credits, incentives, or loan programs

Picking a Business Structure

The structure of a business should reflect the desired number of owners, liability characteristics, and tax status. Because these have legal and tax compliance implications , it’s important to fully understand and choose a business structure carefully and, if necessary, consult a business counselor, lawyer, and/or accountant.

Common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietorship : An unincorporated business that has just one owner, who pays personal income tax on profits
  • Partnership : Options include a limited partnership (LP) or a limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • Limited liability company (LLC) : A business structure that protects its owners from personal responsibility for its debts or liabilities
  • Corporation : Options include a C corp , S corp , B corp , closed corporation , or nonprofit

Getting a Tax ID Number

A tax ID number is like a Social Security number for a business. Whether or not a state and/or federal tax ID number is required for any given business will depend on the nature of the business, as well as the location in which the business is registered.

If a business is required to pay state taxes (such as income taxes and employment taxes), then a state tax ID will be necessary. The process and requirements around state tax IDs vary by state and can be found on individual states’ official websites. In some situations, state tax IDs can also be used for other purposes, such as protecting sole proprietors against identity theft.

A federal tax ID, also known as an employer identification number (EIN) , is required if a business:

  • Operates as a corporation or partnership
  • Pays federal taxes
  • Wants to open a business bank account
  • Applies for federal business licenses and permits
  • Files employment, excise, alcohol, tobacco, or firearms tax returns

There are further situations in which a business might need a federal tax ID number, specific to income taxation, certain types of pension plans, and working with certain types of organizations. Business owners can check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about whether they need an EIN.

Registering a Business

Registration of a business will depend on its location and business structure, and can look quite different depending on the nature and size of the business. 

For example, small businesses may not require any steps beyond registering their business name with local and state governments, and business owners whose business name is their own legal name might not need to register at all. However, registration can include personal liability protection as well as legal and tax benefits, so it can be beneficial even if it’s not strictly required. 

Most LLCs, corporations, partnerships, and nonprofits are required to register at the state level and will require a registered agent to file on their behalf. Determining which state to register with can depend on factors such as:

  • Whether the business has a physical presence in the state
  • If the business often conducts in-person client meetings in the state
  • If a large portion of business revenue comes from the state
  • Whether the business has employees working in the state

If a business operates in more than one state, it may need to file for foreign qualification in other states in which it conducts business. In this case, the business would register in the state in which it was formed (this would be considered the domestic state), and file for foreign qualification in any additional states.

Some businesses may decide to register with the federal government if they are seeking tax-exempt status or trademark protection, but federal registration is not required for many businesses.

Overall registration requirements, costs, and documentation will vary depending on the governing jurisdictions and business structure.

Obtaining Permits

Filing for the applicable government licenses and permits will depend on the industry and nature of the business, and might include submitting an application to a federal agency, state, county, and/or city. The SBA lists federally regulated business activities alongside the corresponding license-issuing agency, while state, county, and city regulations can be found on the official government websites for each region.

Every business should have a marketing plan that outlines an overall strategy and the day-to-day tactics used to execute it. A successful marketing plan will lay out tactics for how to connect with customers and convince them to buy what the company is selling. 

Marketing plans will vary according to the specifics of the industry , target market, and business, but they should aim to include descriptions of and strategies around the following:

  • A target customer : Including market size, demographics, traits, and relevant trends
  • Unique value propositions or business differentiators : Essentially, an overview of the company’s competitive advantage with regard to employees, certifications, or offerings
  • A sales and marketing plan : Including methods, channels, and a customer’s journey through interacting with the business
  • Goals : Should cover different aspects of the marketing and sales strategy, such as social media follower growth, public relations opportunities, or sales targets
  • An execution plan : Should detail tactics and break down higher-level goals into specific actions
  • A budget : Detailing how much different marketing projects and activities will cost

The startup costs for any given business will vary greatly depending on the industry, business activity, and product or service offering. Home-based online businesses will usually cost less than those that require an office setting to meet with customers. The estimated cost can be calculated by first identifying a list of expenses and then researching and requesting quotes for each one. Use the SBA’s startup costs calculator for common types of expenses associated with starting a small business.

Entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business should fully research and understand all the legal and funding considerations involved, conduct market research, and create marketing and business plans. They will also need to secure any necessary permits, licenses, funding, and business bank accounts.

Startup capital can come in the form of loans, grants, crowdfunding, venture capital, or self-funding. Note that the federal government does not provide grant funding for the purposes of starting a business, although private sources do.

Business plans are comprehensive documents that lay out the most important information about a business. They are important references for the growth, development, and decision-making processes of a business, and financial institutions as well as potential investors and partners generally request to review them in advance of agreeing to provide funding or work together.

Starting a business is no easy feat, but research and preparation can help smooth the way. Having a firm understanding of the target market, competition, industry, business goals, business structure, funding requirements, tax and operating regulations, and marketing strategy, and conducting research and consulting experts where necessary, are all things that entrepreneurs can do to set themselves up for success.

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Loans .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Fund Your Business .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Pick Your Business Location .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Choose a Business Structure .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Get Federal and State Tax ID Numbers .”

Internal Revenue Service. “ Do You Need an EIN? ”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Register Your Business .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Apply for Licenses and Permits .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Marketing and Sales .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Grants .”

  • How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps 1 of 25
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example 2 of 25
  • Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Create One 3 of 25
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained 4 of 25
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One 5 of 25
  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills 6 of 25
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One 7 of 25
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Meaning, Types, Impact 8 of 25
  • How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan 9 of 25
  • Business Startup Costs: It’s in the Details 10 of 25
  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks 11 of 25
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons 12 of 25
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites 13 of 25
  • Starting a Business with No Money: How to Begin 14 of 25
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Business Credit 15 of 25
  • Equity Financing: What It Is, How It Works, Pros and Cons 16 of 25
  • Best Startup Business Loans 17 of 25
  • Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros and Cons, and Differences From an LLC 18 of 25
  • Partnership: Definition, How It Works, Taxation, and Types 19 of 25
  • What is an LLC? Limited Liability Company Structure and Benefits Defined 20 of 25
  • Corporation: What It Is and How to Form One 21 of 25
  • Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide 22 of 25
  • Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide 23 of 25
  • How to Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business: Essential Tips 24 of 25
  • How to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business: A Comprehensive Guide 25 of 25

how to plan a business structure

  • Terms of Service
  • Editorial Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your Privacy Choices
  • Online Degree Explore Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees
  • MasterTrack™ Earn credit towards a Master’s degree
  • University Certificates Advance your career with graduate-level learning
  • Top Courses
  • Join for Free

Business Plan: What It Is + How to Write One

Discover what a business plan includes and how writing one can foster your business’s development.

[Featured image] Woman showing a business plan to a man at a desk.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that defines your business goals and the tactics to achieve those goals. A business plan typically explores the competitive landscape of an industry, analyzes a market and different customer segments within it, describes the products and services, lists business strategies for success, and outlines financial planning.  

In your research into business plans, you may come across different formats, and you might be wondering which kind will work best for your purposes. 

Let’s define two main types of business plans—the traditional business plan and the lean start-up business plan. Both types can serve as the basis for developing a thriving business, as well as exploring a competitive market analysis, brand strategy, and content strategy in more depth. 

There are some significant differences to keep in mind [ 1 ]: 

The traditional business plan is a long document that explores each component in depth. You can build a traditional business plan to secure funding from lenders or investors. 

The lean start-up business plan focuses on the key elements of a business’s development and is shorter than the traditional format. If you don’t plan on seeking funding, the lean start-up plan can serve mainly as a document for making business decisions and carrying out tasks. 

Now that you have a clear business plan definition, continue reading to learn how to start writing a detailed plan that will guide your journey as an entrepreneur.  

How to write a business plan 

In the sections below, you’ll build the following components of your business plan:

Executive summary

Business description 

Products and services 

Competitor analysis 

Marketing plan and sales strategies 

Brand strategy

Financial planning

Explore each section to bring fresh inspiration and reveal new possibilities for developing your business. Depending on which format you're using, you may choose to adapt the sections, skip over some, or go deeper into others. Consider your first draft a foundation for your efforts and one that you can revise, as needed, to account for changes in any business area.

1. Executive summary 

This is a short section that introduces the business plan as a whole to the people who will be reading it, including investors, lenders, or other members of your team. Start with a sentence or two about your business, your goals for developing it, and why it will be successful. If you are seeking funding, summarize the basics of the financial plan. 

2. Business description 

Use this section to provide detailed information about your company and how it will operate in the marketplace.

Mission statement: What drives your desire to start a business? What purpose are you serving? What do you hope to achieve for your business, the team, and customers? 

Revenue streams: From what sources will your business generate revenue? Examples include product sales, service fees, subscriptions, rental fees, license fees, and more. 

Leadership: Describe the leaders in your business, their roles and responsibilities, and your vision for building teams to perform various functions, such as graphic design, product development, or sales.  

Legal structure: Are you operating as a partnership or a corporation? If you’re registering a specific legal structure within your province or territory, include it here and the rationale behind this choice. 

3. Competitor analysis 

This section will include an assessment of potential competitors, their offers, and marketing and sales efforts. For each competitor, explore the following:

Value proposition: What outcome or experience does this brand promise?

Products and services: How does each one solve customer pain points and fulfil desires? What are the price points? 

Marketing: Which channels do competitors use to promote? What kind of content does this brand publish on these channels? What messaging does this brand use to communicate value to customers?  

Sales: What sales process or buyer’s journey does this brand lead customers through?

4. Products and services

Use this section to describe everything your business offers to its target market. For every product and service, list the following: 

The value proposition or promise to customers, in terms of how they will experience it

How the product serves customers, addresses their pain points, satisfies their desires, and improves their lives.

The features or outcomes that make the product better than those of competitors

Your price points and how these compare to competitors

5. Marketing plan and sales strategies 

In this section, you’ll draw from thorough market research to describe your target market and how you will reach it. 

Who are your ideal customers?   

How can you describe this segment according to their demographics (age, ethnicity, income, location, etc.) and psychographics (beliefs, values, aspirations, lifestyle, etc.)? 

What are their daily lives like? 

What problems and challenges do they experience? 

What words, phrases, ideas, and concepts do consumers in your target market use to describe these problems when posting on social media or engaging with your competitors?  

What messaging will present your products as the best on the market? How will you differentiate messaging from competitors? 

On what marketing channels will you position your products and services?

How will you design a customer journey that delivers a positive experience at every touchpoint and leads customers to a purchase decision?

6. Brand strategy 

In this section, you will describe your business’s design, personality, values, voice, and other details that go into delivering a consistent brand experience. 

What are the values that define your brand?

What visual elements give your brand a distinctive look and feel?

How will your marketing messaging reflect a distinctive brand voice, including tone, diction, and sentence-level stylistic choices? 

How will your brand look and sound throughout the customer journey? 

Define your brand positioning statement. What will inspire your audience to choose your brand over others? What experiences and outcomes will your audience associate with your brand? 

7. Financial planning  

In this section, you will explore your business’s financial future. If you are writing a traditional business plan to seek funding, this section is critical for demonstrating to lenders or investors that you have a strategy for turning your business ideas into profit. For a lean start-up business plan, this section can provide a useful exercise for planning how you will invest resources and generate revenue [ 2 ].  

Use any past financials and other sections of this business plan, such as your price points or sales strategies, to begin your financial planning. 

How many individual products or service packages do you plan to sell over a specific time period?

List your business expenses, such as subscribing to software or other services, hiring contractors or employees, purchasing physical supplies or equipment, etc.

What is your break-even point, or the amount you have to sell to cover all expenses?

Create a sales forecast for the next three to five years: (No. of units to sell X price for each unit) – (cost per unit X No. of units) = sales forecast.

Quantify how much capital you have on hand.

When writing a traditional business plan to secure funding, you may choose to append supporting documents, such as licenses, permits, patents, letters of reference, resumes, product blueprints, brand guidelines, the industry awards you’ve received, and media mentions and appearances.

Business plan key takeaways and best practices

Remember: Creating a business plan is crucial when starting a business. You can use this document to guide your decisions and actions and even seek funding from lenders and investors. 

Keep these best practices in mind:

Your business plan should evolve as your business grows. Return to it periodically, such as every quarter or year, to update individual sections or explore new directions your business can take.

Ensure everyone on your team has a copy of the business plan, and welcome their input as they perform their roles. 

Ask fellow entrepreneurs for feedback on your business plan and look for opportunities to strengthen it, from conducting more market and competitor research to implementing new strategies for success. 

Start your business with Coursera 

Ready to start your business? Watch this video on the lean approach from the Entrepreneurship Specialization :

Article sources

BDC. “ Step 2—Prepare a winning business plan , https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/start-buy-business/start-business/create-effective-business-plan." Accessed November 13, 2022.

CBDC. " NEW fillable CBDC Business Plan ,   https://www.cbdc.ca/en/new-fillable-cbdc-business-plan." Accessed November 13, 2022.

Keep reading

Coursera staff.

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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

You’re our first priority. Every time.

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

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

Business Structure: How to Choose the Right One

Andrew L. Wang

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

Designing a killer website, prototyping your product, talking your way to your first big order — these parts of starting your business likely stir your entrepreneurial passions.

The business structure of your new enterprise? Not so exciting.

But hold on. Careful consideration of which structure is right for you is crucial because it will have implications for how the IRS taxes your business profits. It’ll also determine whether your personal property is protected when others demand money from your business. Other considerations, including the management of the new business and your long-term plans for it, come into play as well.

Below, we’ve outlined types of business structures and what to consider before choosing one.

Bizee

Starting at $0.00 (plus state filing fees)  

Business structure options

Business structures are largely creations of state law, so there are minor variations on the details from state to state. Here are five common models:

Sole proprietorship

An unincorporated business that is owned by one person who reports business profits on his or her individual tax return. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure and is straightforward to start.

Partnership

An unincorporated business owned by multiple owners, either people or other businesses. Profits are divided among its owners and reported on their tax returns. Common partnership types include general partnerships , limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and limited liability limited partnerships (LLLPs).

Limited liability company (LLC)

An LLC is a hybrid business structure that limits the personal liability of its owners — called members — like a corporation but allows the profits to be taxed on either a member level or the corporate level.

S corporation

An S corporation has one class of stock and no more than 100 shareholders, none of whom can be another for-profit business or a person without a green card who doesn’t meet IRS residency requirements . Profits are taxed on shareholders’ tax returns, and shareholders have limited liability.

C corporation

A corporation whose profit is taxed once on the business level and a second time on an individual basis when earnings are distributed to shareholders, who have limited liability for the business’s debts. C corporations can have multiple classes of stock and an unlimited number of shareholders.

Switching business structures is possible, but it's best to decide early on which one you'll need for the next few years. It can get complicated — not to mention pricey, in terms of legal fees — to change structures, and the effort could distract from running your business.

Choosing your business structure: What to consider

What’s your tolerance for risk to personal assets.

When you run a business, you’re at greater risk for a lawsuit. Why? Businesses interact with the world — other businesses, government, regular people — much more than most individuals, and when they do, there’s a good chance money’s involved.

In a sole proprietorship, if your business is sued and loses, your personal assets — real estate, cars, bank accounts — can be targets for the parties seeking to collect damages. The same can be said, in some cases, if you default on a business loan and you signed a personal guarantee, or the lender placed a lien on your assets. The lender can attempt to recover its investment from your personal property.

» COMPARE: Small-business lenders

In a general partnership, creditors can go after any of the partners’ personal assets to recoup the whole debt. It’s different in a limited partnership, where only the general partners are personally liable for the debts of the business, while limited partners are liable for the business’s debts only up to the amount of their investment. More common among lawyers are limited liability partnerships, which limit partners’ liability for the firm’s debts but still hold them individually liable for their professional activities. There are also limited liability limited partnerships, a sort of limited partnership that extends limited liability to general partners, not just limited partners.

LLCs and corporations limit their members’ or shareholders’ liability, so personal assets are protected.

Video preview image

How do you want the IRS to tax your business profits?

Sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations are pass-through entities , as are some LLCs. In a pass-through entity, profits are passed directly to the owners of the business. Come tax time, it is reported on the owners’ individual returns.

By default, the IRS views LLCs as pass-through entities unless they opt to be taxed as a corporation.

C corporations are separate entities from their owners, so their profits are taxed at the corporate level. If a corporation pays out dividends, which come out of its after-tax income, shareholders also must pay taxes on their proceeds.

How formal do you want your management structure to be?

If multiple owners are involved, structuring the business can be more complicated.

Partnerships are typically governed by agreements that specify how profits from the business are divided among parties and what happens when a partner retires, becomes disabled, declares bankruptcy or dies.

An S corporation or C corporation is required by law to have a board of directors to oversee the company’s direction on behalf of the shareholders.

An LLC structure generally allows the choice between being managed by members or overseen by a management team, which can include members or nonmembers. LLCs typically draw up an operating agreement that specifies roles.

How much administrative complexity can you handle?

For noncorporation business structures, initial paperwork and fees are relatively light, and are simple enough for owners to handle without special expertise (though it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer or an accountant for help). Ongoing requirements usually come on an annual basis.

For S and C corporations, the administrative complexity increases, and you will almost certainly need a lawyer and accountant. In every state, there are tax and legal hoops to jump through for corporations to become and remain compliant. Failure to meet deadlines, pay certain fees and file the proper forms can result in penalties.

What are your long-term goals for the business?

The right structure doesn’t just depend on the state of your business today; it also depends on where you would like to be in three to five years, or even longer.

If you’re looking for fast growth, which takes cash, C corporations allow for multiple classes of stock and don’t restrict the number or type of shareholders. They’re the best fit if you’re seeking investments from venture capitalists, or if you plan on becoming a publicly traded company, rather than a privately owned one, in the near- or mid-term.

Another consideration is what happens when you or another owner dies, goes bankrupt or withdraws. Corporations live on after these events, but generally the other types of business structure dissolve unless specified otherwise beforehand.

SMB_industry-guide-largerCTA1

On a similar note...

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

Growthink logo white

The Perfect Business Plan Layout & Outline

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Business plan layout

The layout of a business plan is not an area where great imagination and creativity is needed or recommended. It should be a more or less straightforward task to layout or outline your plan, using industry standard practices which funders have become familiar with through thousands of business plans. Use the following steps to implement this standard layout and save creativity for your business idea within the plan.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

Start by getting your hands on a good business plan template. This will speed your time to completing your plan. Business plans generally start with an executive summary and company overview, move through background research and market analysis, customers, and competition, describe the company’s intended methods in the marketing plan and operation plan, show who’s on the management team, and conclude with the financial plan and appendices featuring full financial statements.

Use the business plan template to guide your understanding of each section and to see how they relate to each other. Don’t assume that any one example should dominate your understanding unless it comes from an extremely trusted source with a reputation for business plan expertise and success.

Business Page Layout Tips

How to finish your business plan in 1 day.

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your professional business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Click here to finish your business plan today.

Sample Business Plan Outline

1. executive summary.

Your executive summary is the most important part of your plan. It comes at the beginning and is the first thing investors or lenders will read. If they aren’t excited by what they see, they’ll unfortunately stop reading. So make sure your executive summary gives a quick overview of what your company does and explains, in an exciting tone, why your company will be successful.

In your Company Description, provide background on your company. When did you incorporate? What have you accomplished to date? Here you will let readers know the history of your business.

In the Market Analysis section of your business plan provide background on the industry in which you operate. Conduct market research to make this section concrete and compelling. Answer questions such as: how big is your industry? what trends are affecting it?

Here you will document your target market. How are they? How many are there? What are their likes and dislikes? Ideally you can provide comprehensive demographic and psychographic profiles of your target customers and show how your company’s product or service are ideally suited to their needs.

In this section of your business plan, document your key competitors. Explain their strengths and their weaknesses. Remember that investors and lenders expect you to have direct competitors. They just want to feel confident that despite them, you can still achieve lasting success.

Finish Your Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your business plan?

Your marketing strategy should primarily focus on the promotional methods you will use to attract new customers. Will you use search engine marketing? Will you employ radio ads? Document each of the promotional methods you will use.

This section of your plan should discuss the key roles that your company must expertly perform and your strategies for operational excellence. You must also outline the long-term milestones your company plans to accomplish and the key dates for each.

In your Management Team section, detail the key members of your team. Document their backgrounds and how their past experiences make them well suited to succeed in your organization.

Here you will layout the key assumptions used in creating your financial model and then provide topline results from your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow projections. If you are seeking funding, document the amount of funding you seek and the key uses for it.

Business Plan Outline financial projections

In your Appendix, you will provide supporting information such as employee or customer agreements, store layouts, etc. You must also include your full, five-year financial model and projections.

By following the above business plan outline, you will ensure your plan is in the format investors and lenders expect.

OR, Let Us Write a Business Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Click here to see how Growthink’s business plan consulting services can create your business plan for you.

Business Page Layout FAQs

How do i lay out a business plan.

Laying out a business plan is not, and should not, be complicated. You can lay out your business plan using our sample business plan outline discussed here . An organized business plan structure is key to a successful business plan. 

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline allows you to organize your plan and present it in the format that’s most compelling to readers. Also, by starting with your outline, it’s easier to add the required information into the right sections of your business plan.

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Business Plan Template & Guide for Small Businesses

How to Write a Business Plan in 2023 [Examples Included]

how to plan a business structure

Table of contents

So you have come up with a business idea that will turn your company into a Forbes 500 enterprise? Sounds great!

However, you are going to need much more than an idea. You will need to do some comprehensive research, create operational standpoints, describe your product, define your goals, and pave out a road map for future growth.

In other words, you are going to need a business plan.

A business plan is a document that precisely explains how you are going to make your startup a success. Without it, your chances of attracting funding and investments significantly decrease.

Do you want to learn how to create a winning business plan that will take your company to the next level? We created a guide that will help you do just that.

Let’s dive in.

What Is a Business Plan?

Why and when do you need a business plan, types of business plans (what to include in each).

  • How Do You Write a Business Plan?

Best Practices for Writing a Winning Business Plan

Business plan examples.

  • Monitor the Performance of Your Business with Databox

marketing_overview_hubspot_ga_dashboard_databox

A business plan is a comprehensive document that defines how a business will achieve its goals. It is essentially a road map for growth that includes operational standpoints from all the key departments such as marketing, financial, HR, and others.

Startups use business plans to describe who they are, what they plan to do, and how they plan to achieve it. This is an extremely valuable document for attracting investors.

However, they are valuable for the company members as well. A good business plan keeps executive teams on the same page regarding the strategies they should implement to achieve their set objectives.

Related : Reporting to Investors: 6 Best Practices to Help Increase Funding

While business plans are especially useful for startups, each business should include them. In the best-case scenario, this plan will be updated from time to time and reviewed whether the goals of the company have been met.

The main things that investors want to check out in the business plan are:

  • Product-market fit – Have you researched the market demand for your products and services?
  • Team efficiency – Does your startup have devoted professionals that will work on achieving your goals?
  • Scalability – How probable is growth in sales volumes without proportional growth or fixed costs?

An organized business plan is essentially a blueprint of your goals and it showcases your abilities as an entrepreneur.

Related : Business Report: What is it & How to Write a Great One? (With Examples)

If you want to persuade venture capitalists and banking institutions to invest in your startup, you won’t be able to do it without a solid business plan.

A business plan is helpful in two ways – it allows you to focus on the specific goals you set for the future and it provides external parties with evidence that you have done your research in advance.

But don’t just take our word for it – here are some of the things that researchers from Bplans found out when they were analyzing the benefits of business plans with the University of Oregon.

  • Companies that use business plans have recorded a 30% faster growth compared to those that didn’t use them.
  • Getting investments and loans is twice as likely to happen with the help of business plans.
  • There is a 129% increased chance for entrepreneurs to go past the ‘startup’ phase through business plans.

You should create a business plan before you decide to quit your regular job. It can help you realize whether you are ready or not.

Also, creating a business plan is helpful when:

  • You want to attract investments or funding from external parties
  • You want to find a new partner or co-founder
  • You want to attract talented professionals to join your startup
  • You need to change things up due to the slow growth

While creating a business plan is an important step, you first have to know how to differentiate all the different types. This will help you choose the one that is most suitable for your business.

Here are the most common types of business plans and what you should include in each.

One-Pager Business Plan

Startup business plan, internal business plan, strategic business plan, feasibility business plan.

The one-pager is a business plan that only includes the most important aspects of your business. It is essentially a simplified version of a traditional business plan.

When creating the one-pager business plan, your primary focus should be on making it easily understandable.

Since this business plan is rather short, you should avoid using lengthy paragraphs. Each section should be around 1-2 sentences long.

The things you should include in a one-pager business plan are:

  • The problem – Describe a certain problem your customers have and support the claim with relevant data.
  • The solution – How your products/services can solve the issue.
  • Business model – Your plan on how to make money. Include production costs, selling costs, and the price of the product.
  • Target market – Describe your ideal customer persona. Start with a broad audience and narrow it down by using TAM, SAM, and SOM models. This lets investors in on your thought process. To understand these models better, check out, for example, the importance of proper TAM evaluation for B2B startups .
  • Competitive advantage – How are you different from your competitors?
  • Management team – Include your business’s management structure.
  • Financial summary – This part should revolve around the most significant financial metrics (profit, loss, cash flow, balance sheet, and sales forecast).
  • Required funding – Define how much money you need to make your project a success.

PRO TIP: How Well Are Your Marketing KPIs Performing?

Like most marketers and marketing managers, you want to know how well your efforts are translating into results each month. How much traffic and new contact conversions do you get? How many new contacts do you get from organic sessions? How are your email campaigns performing? How well are your landing pages converting? You might have to scramble to put all of this together in a single report, but now you can have it all at your fingertips in a single Databox dashboard.

Our Marketing Overview Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics 4 and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:

  • Sessions . The number of sessions can tell you how many times people are returning to your website. Obviously, the higher the better.
  • New Contacts from Sessions . How well is your campaign driving new contacts and customers?
  • Marketing Performance KPIs . Tracking the number of MQLs, SQLs, New Contacts and similar will help you identify how your marketing efforts contribute to sales.
  • Email Performance . Measure the success of your email campaigns from HubSpot. Keep an eye on your most important email marketing metrics such as number of sent emails, number of opened emails, open rate, email click-through rate, and more.
  • Blog Posts and Landing Pages . How many people have viewed your blog recently? How well are your landing pages performing?

Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring your leads. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!

marketing_overview_hubspot_ga_dashboard_preview

You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.

To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Get the template 

Step 2: Connect your HubSpot and Google Analytics 4 accounts with Databox. 

Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.

Related : Check out our comprehensive guide on writing a marketing plan report .

New businesses use startup business plans to outline their launching ideas and strategies to attract funding and investment opportunities. When creating startup business plans, you should primarily focus on the financial aspect and provide evidence that supports it (e.g. market research).

These are some of the main things that should be included:

  • Vision statement – Explain your vision for the company and include the overall business goals you will try to achieve.
  • Executive summary – A quick overview of what your company is about and what will make it successful. Make sure to include your products/services, basic leadership information, employees, and location.
  • Company description – A detailed overview of your company. Talk about the problems you will solve and be specific about customers, organizations, and growth plans. This is the place where you should state your business’s main advantages.
  • Market Analysis – Show investors that you have a good understanding of your industry and target market by providing a detailed market analysis. Try to point out certain trends, themes, or patterns that support your objective.
  • Organization and management – This section explains the structure and the management hierarchy. Also, describe the legal structure of your business.
  • Service or product line – Go into detail about the products and services you are going to sell. Explain the benefits they bring and share your intellectual property plans.
  • Marketing and sales – Talk about your marketing strategy and describe how you plan to attract new customers.
  • Financial projections – This section should be about convincing your readers why the business will be a financial success. Create a prospective financial outlook for the next few years and it includes forecasts.

An internal business plan is a document that specifically focuses on the activities within your company. While external business plans focus on attracting investors, internal business plans keep your team aligned on achieving goals.

Related : Internal vs. External Reporting: What Are the Differences?

This business plan can differentiate based on how specific you want it to be. For example, you can focus on a specific part of the business (e.g. financial department) or on the overall goals of the whole company.

Nonetheless, here are some things that should universally be included in all internal business plans:

  • Mission statement – Focus on the practical, day-to-day activities that your employees can undertake to achieve overall objectives.
  • Objectives – Provide specific goals that you want your company to achieve. Make the objectives clear and explain in which way they can be reached. Focus more on short-term objectives and set reasonable deadlines.
  • Strategies – Talk about the general activities that will help your team reach the set objectives. Provide research that will describe how these strategies will be useful in the long term.
  • Action plans – These plans revolve around particular activities from your strategy. For example, you could include a new product that you want to create or a more efficient marketing plan.
  • Sustainability – This refers to the general probability of achieving the goals you set in the internal report. Sometimes, plans may seem overly ambitious and you are going to have to make amends with certain things.

A strategic business plan is the best way to gain a comprehensive outlook of your business. In this document, forecasts are examined even further and growth goals tend to be higher.

By creating a strategic business plan, you will have an easier time aligning your key stakeholders around the company’s priorities.

Here is a quick overview of what a strategic business plan should include:

  • Executive summary – Since strategic business plans are generally lengthy, not all executives will have time to go through it. This is why you should include a quick overview of the plan through an executive summary, you can also create an executive summary template to make the step easily repeatable.
  • Vision statement – Describe what you wish to achieve in the long term.
  • Company overview – This refers to past achievements, current products/services, recent sales performances, and important KPIs.
  • Core values – This section should provide an explanation of what drives the business to do what it does.
  • Strategic analysis of internal and external environments – Talk about the current organizational structure, mission statements, and department challenges.
  • Strategic objectives – Go into detail about the short-term objectives your team should reach in a specific period. Make sure the objectives are clear and understandable.
  • Overall goals – This section should include operational goals, marketing goals, and financial goals.

A feasibility business plan is also known as a feasibility study. It essentially provides a foundation for what would be a full and comprehensive business plan. The primary focus of a feasibility plan is research.

The things you should include in a feasibility plan are:

  • Product demand – Is there a high demand for your product? Would customers be interested in buying it?
  • Market conditions – Determine the customer persona that would be interested in buying your products. Include demographic factors.
  • Pricing – Compare your desired price with the current pricing of similar products. Which price would make your service profitable?
  • Risks – Determine the risks of launching this new business.
  • Success profitability – Is there a good way to overcome the risks and make your company profitable?

How Do You Write a Business Plan Report?

As we explained in the previous heading, there are a few different types of business plan. Depending on the audience you are referring to, the language you use in the plan should be adjusted accordingly.

Nonetheless, there are certain key elements that should be included in all business plans, the only thing that will vary is how detailed the sections will be.

Include these elements in your business plan.

Executive summary

Company description, market opportunity and analysis, competitive landscape, target audience, describe your product or service, develop a marketing and sales strategy, develop a logistics and operations plan, financial projections, explain your funding request, compile an appendix for official documents.

An executive summary is a quick overview of the document as a whole that allows investors and key stakeholders to quickly understand all the pain points from the report.

It is the best way to layout all the vital information about your business to bank officials and key stakeholders who don’t have the time to go through the whole business plan.

If you summarize the sections well, the potential investors will jump into the sections they are most interested in to acquire more details.

You should write the executive summary last since you will then have a better idea of what should be included.

A good executive summary answers these questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you sell?
  • How profitable is it?
  • How much money do you need?

This section of the business plan aims to introduce your company as a whole. The things you include in the company description can vary depending on if you are only starting a business or you already have a developed company.

The elements included in this section are:

  • Structure and ownership – Talk about who the key shareholders in your company are and provide a full list of names. Also, mention details such as where the company is registered and what the legal structure looks like. In most countries, this is a legal requirement for AML regulations.
  • History – This segment is if you already have an existing company. Use this section to show your credibility. Include company milestones, past difficulties, and a precise date for how long your company has been operating.
  • Objectives – Describe the overall objectives of your company and how you plan to reach them.

Market analysis refers to creating your ideal customer persona and explaining why they would be interested in buying your products.

Market opportunities are the gaps that you found in the current industries and creating a way for your product to fill those gaps.

The most important step in this section is to create a target market (persona) through demographic factors such as location, income, gender, education, age, profession, and hobbies.

Make sure that your target market isn’t too broad since it can put off potential investors.

A good idea is to also include a detailed analysis of your competitors – talk about their products, strengths, and weaknesses.

Related : 12 Best Tools Marketers Use for Market Research

Although you may include a competitive analysis in the market analysis section, this segment should provide a more detailed overview.

Identify other companies that sell similar products to yours and create a list of their advantages and disadvantages. Learning about your competitors may seem overwhelming, but it’s an indispensable part of a good business plan.

Include a comparison landscape as well that defines the things that set you apart from the competitors. Describe the strengths of your product and show which problems it could solve.

Related : How to Do an SEO Competitive Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide

Use the target audience section to fully describe the details of your ideal customer persona. Include both demographic and psychographic factors.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the demographic characteristics of the people who will buy my product?
  • What are their desires?
  • What makes my product valuable to them?

Make sure to answer all of these questions to get in the mindset of your customers.

If you need more details on how to identify your target audience , check our full expert guide.

When talking about your products and services, be as precise as possible. Mention your target audience and the marketing channels you use for targeting this audience.

This section should reveal the benefits, life cycle, and production process of your products/services. Also, it is a good idea to include some pictures of your products if possible.

When describing your products, you should highlight:

  • Unique features
  • Intellectual property rights
  • What makes the product beneficial

Marketing is the blood flow to your business’s body. Without a good marketing and sales strategy, the chances of your product succeeding are very slim.

It’s always best to already have a marketing plan in place before launching your business. By identifying the best marketing channels, you will show your investors that you researched this topic in detail.

Some of the things you should include are:

  • Reach – Explain why a specific channel will be able to reach your target market
  • Cost – Is the marketing strategy going to be cost-effective? How much money do you plan on spending on the strategy?
  • Competition – Are your competitors already using this channel? If so, what will make your product stand out?
  • Implementation – Who will be taking care of the implementation process? Is it a marketing expert? Which suppliers did you reach out to?

Related : 14 Reasons Sales And Marketing Alignment Is Crucial for Skyrocketing Company Growth

This section should explain the details of how exactly your company is going to operate.

These are the things you should include:

  • Personnel plan – Define how many people you plan to employ and their roles. Also, if you plan on increasing your staff, you should explain what would be the cause of that.
  • Key assets – This refers to assets that will be crucial for your company’s operation.
  • Suppliers – Mention who your suppliers will be and what kind of relationship you have with them. Your investors will be interested in this part of the section since they want to be reassured that you are cooperating with respectable counterparties.

The financial projections section is one of the most important parts of your business plan. It includes a detailed overview of expected sales, revenue, profit, expenses, and all the other important financial metrics .

You should show your investors that your business will be profitable, stable, and that it has huge potential for cash generation.

Monthly numbers for the first year are crucial since this will be the most critical year of your company.

At the very least, you should provide:

  • Funding needs
  • Profit-and-loss statement forecast
  • Balance sheet forecast
  • Cash-flow statement forecast

Related : How to Write a Great Financial Report? Tips and Best Practices

When providing the funding request, be realistic. Explain why you need that exact amount of money and where it will be allocated.

Also, create both a best-case and worst-case scenario. New companies don’t have a history of generating profits which is why you will probably have to sell equity in the early years to raise enough capital.

This will be the final section of your business plan. Include any material or piece of information that investors can use to analyze the data in your report. 

Things that could be helpful are:

  • Local permits
  • Legal documents
  • Certifications that boost credibility
  • Intellectual properties or patents
  • Purchase orders and customer contracts

After reading the previous heading, you should have a clear idea of how to write a compelling business plan.

But, just to be sure, we prepared some additional information that can be very helpful.

Here are some of the best practices you should implement in your business plan according to the most successful companies.

Keep it brief

Make it understandable, be meticulous about money, design is important.

Generally, business plans will be around 10-20 pages long. Your main focus should be to cover the essentials that we talked about, but you don’t want to overdo it by including unnecessary and overwhelming information.

In business plan, less is more.

Create a good organizational outline of your sections. This will allow investors to easily navigate to the parts they are most interested in reading.

Avoid using jargon – everyone should be able to easily understand your business plan without having to Google certain terms. 

Make a list of all the expenses your business incurs. Financial information should be maximally precise since it will directly impact the investor’s decision to fund your business idea.

After you wrap up your business plan, take a day off and read it again. Fix any typos or grammatical errors that you overlooked the first time.

Make sure to use a professional layout, printing, and branding of your business plan. This is an important first impression for the readers of the document.

Now you know what a business plan is, how you can write it, and some of the best practices you can use to make it even better.

But, if you are still having certain difficulties coming up with a great business plan, here are a few examples that may be helpful.

HubSpot’s One-Page Business Plan

Bplan’s free business plan template, small business administration free business plan template.

This One-Page Business Plan was created by HubSpot and it can be a great way to start off your business plan journey on the right foot.

You already have fields such as Implementation Timeline, Required Funding, and Company Description created so you will just need to provide your specific information.

HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

This free business plan template highlights the financial points of the startup. If your primary focus will be your business’ financial plan and financial statements, you can use this template to save up some time.

It can also be useful for making sure everyone in your company understands the current financial health and what they can do to improve it.

BPlan’s Free Business Plan Template

If you need additional inspiration to kick start your own business plan, you can check out this free template by small business administration .

You just have to decide which type of plan you want to create and then review the format of how it should look like.

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Monitor and Report on the Performance of Your Business with Databox

Tracking your company’s performance is an indispensable part of quality decision-making. It is crucial that you know how your business strategy is performing and whether it needs to be optimized in certain areas.

However, doing this manually will undoubtedly take a hefty amount of your valuable time. You will have to log into all of the different tools, copy-paste the data into your reports, and then analyze it. And this isn’t a one-time thing – you have to do it at least once a month.

Luckily, Databox can lend a helping hand.

By using customizable dashboards from Databox, you will be able to connect data from all your different tools into one comprehensive report. Not only that, but you can also visualize the most important metrics to make your presentation to shareholders immensely more impactful.

Did you spend a lot of time cutting and pasting? Say ‘no more’ to that. You will be able to use that time to better analyze your business performances and monitor any significant changes that occur.

Leave the grueling business reporting process in the past and sign up for a free trial with Databox.

Share on Twitter

Get practical strategies that drive consistent growth

8 Best Reporting Tools in 2024

How to do an seo competitive analysis: a step-by-step guide.

' src=

How to Write Data Analysis Reports in 9 Easy Steps

how to plan a business structure

Build your first dashboard in 5 minutes or less

Latest from our blog

  • 23 Ways to Improve Your Landing Page Conversion Rates February 22, 2024
  • How to Create an Analytical Report: 9 Best Practices February 22, 2024
  • Metrics & KPIs
  • vs. Tableau
  • vs. Looker Studio
  • vs. Klipfolio
  • vs. Power BI
  • vs. Whatagraph
  • vs. AgencyAnalytics
  • Product & Engineering
  • Inside Databox
  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • We're Hiring!
  • Help Center
  • API Documentation

Pledge 1%

How to Write a Business Plan: Organization Structure

How to write a business plan: organizational structure, what is the organizational structure for a business plan.

The organization structure section should discuss whether your business will be a sole proprietor, limited liability corporation, or corporation, who will run your business, each person’s responsibility, and how your business will expand if needed.  There are numerous benefits to a detailed assessment of the company’s structure.  First, examining the structure of the business will help for tax purposes.  For example, limited liability and corporations are considered excellent for protecting shareholders concerning liabilities.  However, tax-wise, these firms often are double taxed.  The second benefit of a detailed assessment of a company’s structure is to understand how each owner will contribute to the company.  In other words, if there is more than one owner, what are their responsibilities, and how are these responsibilities to be carried out.

Why is the Organizational Structure important? 

There are numerous reasons why the organizational structure is essential for a business plan. In this section, the business owner will lay out how the company will be structured.  For example, this section will include job titles and responsibilities, resumes from owners and management, showing expertise in the industry, and supporting accolades for expertise.  Through discussing job responsibilities and experiences for management, readers will better understand why this type of business structure, and this management team, will be successful in the proposed business.

A second important reason for the organizational structure is that the section introduces business owners.  The owners and management team should not only be introduced in this section, but their experiences in the industry need to be highlighted and thoroughly explained.  In doing this, a sound foundation for management competence will be established.

A final reason for its importance is the job responsibility segment.  Ownership and management need to have a written document showing specific duties for each owner, if applicable, and specific job responsibilities for each position within the company.  By having this document, readers will see how the business will function and better understand the breakup of management responsibilities.

When to write the Organizational Structure?

The organizational structure should be written after the company description.   In the company description, readers will be introduced to the problem that the company is going to solve and how they propose to solve this problem.  This is usually the product or service offered.  The logical next step is to show a business structure that will allow the company to supply that product or service effectively and efficiently.  Thus the need for the organizational section follows immediately behind the company description.

How to write the Organizational Structure?

When I write my organizational structure for a business plan, for the most part, I start the first paragraph by reminding the readers of the company name.  From this, I then introduce how the company will be held in ownership.  For example, will the company be a limited liability corporation?  Sole proprietorship?  Next, I briefly introduce the management team and owners.  Further, I also briefly introduce their experience in the industry.

By following this structure, the first paragraph is an excellent summation of the section. This allows the reader to understand the breadth of the ownership structure without gaining significant details.

Organizational Structure:  Ownership

In the ownership section, I usually start writing the section by introducing the CEO/founder/majority owner.  In this portion, I usually write the segment, almost like a brief biography.  I will discuss the CEO's history in the industry and the reason why they feel that they are best suited to start and run the operation.

Once this is complete, I then follow the same structure with the other management team members and minority stakeholders.  When this is done, the reader should walk away with an excellent understanding of the qualifications of the ownership team and how their skills will complement each other.

Need Help Writing an Organizational Structure for a Business Plan?

Call or Text Paul, Doctoral Candidate, MBA.

321-948-9588

Email: [email protected]

Organizational Structure:  Responsibilities

In the job responsibility section, I usually structure this portion as a bullet-pointed list.  At the top, I put the title such as CEO, project manager, or job title.  Following this, I list the responsibilities and expectations for each position.  Not only does this help show structure and foresight for the company.  But also, this will help management divvy up duties for the business.

Organizational Structure: Resume

The resume section is for senior managers and owners.  By including resumes, supporting documentation is available for claims made related to experience.  For example, if the CEO claims to have 20 years of experience in the industry, then the resume will show where this experience came from.  This adds credibility to previous claims made.

Organizational Structure: Compensation

Compensation is sometimes necessary to include in the organizational structure component.  Investors expect management to be compensated and employees as well.  However, excessive compensation is often an issue with startups and established businesses.  By showing reasonable compensation for each position, not only will a solid understanding of the pay for each position be shown, but restraint for compensation by the management team and ownership may be highlighted as well.

Organizational Structure: Achievements

This final section is almost like a cherry on top of the cake.  By this point, the reader should be well-versed in the experience and expertise of ownership and the management team.  Adding achievements highlights their expertise in their chosen industry.

Organizational Structure Example

Organizational structure.

Legal Structure

ABC Restaurant will be a limited liability corporation.

Management Summary

John Smith, Sr., MBA., is the founder and CEO of ABC Restaurant.  He has started and managed numerous successful small restaurants over the last ten years.  Restaurants started, and managed, including a breakfast cafe, food truck, and 24-hour diner.  For each business, he was responsible for all aspects of the organization, from marketing to strategic planning.

Job Responsibilities

  • Create and execute marketing strategies for business growth.
  • Align business strategies with the vision statement.
  • Negotiating contracts with vendors.
  • Ensure legal compliance for the business.
  • Continually examine the firm’s external environment for new market opportunities.

General Manager:

  • Control inventory to ensure optimal levels are attained.
  • Manage day-to-day operations of the restaurant.
  • Servers and cooks during high volume times.
  • Interview and hire new employees.
  • Assist in the onboarding process for new employees.
  • Set up all workstations in the kitchen
  • Prepare ingredients to use in cooked and non-cooked foods.
  • Check food while cooking for appropriate temperatures.
  • Ensure great presentation by dressing dishes as trained.
  • Keep a sanitized and clean environment in the kitchen area.
  • Stock dining area tables with needed items.
  • Greet customers when they enter.
  • Present dinner menus and help customers with food/beverages selections.
  • Take and serve orders quickly and accurately.

Author: Paul Borosky, MBA., Doctoral Candidate, Published Author

Updated: 3/4/2022

New York Tech

How to Start Your Own Small Business?

M any people try their luck in business. This industry is enormous and offers a wide range of options for development. Many smart people can start their small businesses without being educated. There are multiple ways to enjoy success in this industry.

For example, you may use the assistance of the small business management software . It can control and carry out various processes. Of course, you need more than simply using smart technology. Thus, the experts from Vcita have prepared this comprehensive guide. It highlights the most effective tips to start your small business.

Determine Your Business Concept

The first task is to figure out what exactly you want to do. You may have plenty of ideas. Refine them to define the best option for you. It’s necessary to ask definite questions, such as:

  • What do you like?
  • What do you hate? (to avoid this niche)
  • Is there anything that can make things run easier?
  • What are your best skills?
  • What spheres are you good at?
  • Is there something you always wanted to do?

Ask these questions to define the best business concept for you. For example, you may sell service based business ideas . This is a vast branch of business. It includes a skilled service or person, expertise, or a physical product. So, you will surely have a lot of interesting perspectives. Here are some of the most popular concepts you can start:

  • Online writing
  • Photography
  • Landscaping
  • Vending machine business, etc.

Of course, you can choose other ideas too.

Conduct Marketing Research

Although you may find a standpoint that seems to be perfect, don’t haste! Your idea may have little chance of success. You need to carry out marketing research to find it out. Your main goal is to find out how perspective the selected niche can be.

To enjoy success with this task, undertake several steps. Make allowances for them here below:

  • Primary research. This method uses the opinion of your direct customers. It takes the forms of questionnaires, surveys, polls, or interviews. You ask potential customers to get honest and direct answers.
  • Secondary research. This method involves ways of finding, studying, and analyzing data from various sources.
  • A SWOT analysis. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are behind the abbreviation. It helps to find out all the pros and cons, potential benefits and drawbacks in the direction.

Remark! Do not forget to study your direct competitors. It’s vital to learn from their successful cases. Yet, you can learn from their failures too. You will understand what mistakes you can avoid.

Have a Business Plan

Once you have the direction and data, create a business plan . This is the core of your campaign and future business. It includes important peculiarities you must check and follow. These are as follows:

  • Executive summary. It highlights your business, and what you propose, and outlines the goals of your company.
  • Company description. This one clarifies the issues your product or service can solve. It also convinces your customers that what you offer is the best for them.
  • Market analysis. This point states how you stand against your competitors. It should include all possible positions. It includes segmentation analysis, market size, growth rate, and so on.
  • Organization and structure. This section outlines your risk strategies and what experts you need to make things run.
  • Mission and aims. This one states your mission, outlines the main wishes, and how you can achieve them.
  • What do you sell? You should outline the product or service you’re selling. Discover its main benefits and values.
  • Background summary. A comprehensive analysis of all possible factors that may impact your business.
  • Marketing plan. This section determines the main characteristics of your product or service. You need to add to it strategies of promotion, comparison with competitors, budget, etc.
  • Finance plan. This section shows how much money you need to run your business. It also includes hidden expenses.

Make sure all these sections are written properly!

Choose the Structure

Think of a structure your business will acquire. An LLC, LLP, corporation, or sole proprietorship are there. Each comes with its pros and cons. Pay attention to how many taxes will be charged. Besides, what your daily operations will be, and if your employees are put at risk.

Choose the Name and Register It

You should choose the name of your business. Make sure it is unique and no one else uses the same name. Register it according to the laws of your region to make it legal.

Open a Bank Account

You need to bring your finances to order. You surely require the capital that can guarantee that your company can be launched. Or, it can survive the competition. To ensure that, open a bank account. If you don’t have enough funds, you can borrow them.

It may be necessary to hire a bookkeeper. A professional expert will help to maintain your budget to use it wisely. An alternative solution is to use good software.

Use Technology

Don’t forget that technology is your friend. If you use it properly, it will surely provide a lot of benefits for your small business. A lot of apps and software provide tips, and examples, comprehensive analysis. Here are the best ones that suit small business:

Look for other tools if you need something else.

Fund Your Business

You surely have to find money to launch your business. There are various ways of getting the required money. People divide them into internal and external funds.

Internal funding:

  • Personal savings
  • Credit cards
  • Funds from friends and family

External funding includes:

  • Small business loans
  • Small business grants
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capital
  • Crowdfunding

You can combine both funding sources.

Get Insurance

The business industry is tricky. You need to apply for business insurance too. Thus, you’ll be able to protect your investments and the entire company.

It’s not too difficult to establish and run your own small business. You can use the tips we have provided above, as well as hire a few competent experts. This combination will help to launch it smoothly and enjoy the desired outcomes.

Many people try their luck in business. This industry is enormous and offers a wide range of options for development. M

  • Auto Insurance Best Car Insurance Cheapest Car Insurance Compare Car Insurance Quotes Best Car Insurance For Young Drivers Best Auto & Home Bundles Cheapest Cars To Insure
  • Home Insurance Best Home Insurance Best Renters Insurance Cheapest Homeowners Insurance Types Of Homeowners Insurance
  • Life Insurance Best Life Insurance Best Term Life Insurance Best Senior Life Insurance Best Whole Life Insurance Best No Exam Life Insurance
  • Pet Insurance Best Pet Insurance Cheap Pet Insurance Pet Insurance Costs Compare Pet Insurance Quotes
  • Travel Insurance Best Travel Insurance Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance Best Cruise Travel Insurance Best Senior Travel Insurance
  • Health Insurance Best Health Insurance Plans Best Affordable Health Insurance Best Dental Insurance Best Vision Insurance Best Disability Insurance
  • Credit Cards Best Credit Cards 2024 Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards Best Rewards Credit Cards Best Cash Back Credit Cards Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards Best 0% APR Credit Cards Best Business Credit Cards Best Credit Cards for Startups Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit Best Cards for Students without Credit
  • Credit Card Reviews Chase Sapphire Preferred Wells Fargo Active Cash® Chase Sapphire Reserve Citi Double Cash Citi Diamond Preferred Chase Ink Business Unlimited American Express Blue Business Plus
  • Credit Card by Issuer Best Chase Credit Cards Best American Express Credit Cards Best Bank of America Credit Cards Best Visa Credit Cards
  • Credit Score Best Credit Monitoring Services Best Identity Theft Protection
  • CDs Best CD Rates Best No Penalty CDs Best Jumbo CD Rates Best 3 Month CD Rates Best 6 Month CD Rates Best 9 Month CD Rates Best 1 Year CD Rates Best 2 Year CD Rates Best 5 Year CD Rates
  • Checking Best High-Yield Checking Accounts Best Checking Accounts Best No Fee Checking Accounts Best Teen Checking Accounts Best Student Checking Accounts Best Joint Checking Accounts Best Business Checking Accounts Best Free Checking Accounts
  • Savings Best High-Yield Savings Accounts Best Free No-Fee Savings Accounts Simple Savings Calculator Monthly Budget Calculator: 50/30/20
  • Mortgages Best Mortgage Lenders Best Online Mortgage Lenders Current Mortgage Rates Best HELOC Rates Best Mortgage Refinance Lenders Best Home Equity Loan Lenders Best VA Mortgage Lenders Mortgage Refinance Rates Mortgage Interest Rate Forecast
  • Personal Loans Best Personal Loans Best Debt Consolidation Loans Best Emergency Loans Best Home Improvement Loans Best Bad Credit Loans Best Installment Loans For Bad Credit Best Personal Loans For Fair Credit Best Low Interest Personal Loans
  • Student Loans Best Student Loans Best Student Loan Refinance Best Student Loans for Bad or No Credit Best Low-Interest Student Loans
  • Business Loans Best Business Loans Best Business Lines of Credit Apply For A Business Loan Business Loan vs. Business Line Of Credit What Is An SBA Loan?
  • Investing Best Online Brokers Top 10 Cryptocurrencies Best Low-Risk Investments Best Cheap Stocks To Buy Now Best S&P 500 Index Funds Best Stocks For Beginners How To Make Money From Investing In Stocks
  • Retirement Best Gold IRAs Best Investments for a Roth IRA Best Bitcoin IRAs Protecting Your 401(k) In a Recession Types of IRAs Roth vs Traditional IRA How To Open A Roth IRA
  • Business Formation Best LLC Services Best Registered Agent Services How To Start An LLC How To Start A Business
  • Web Design & Hosting Best Website Builders Best E-commerce Platforms Best Domain Registrar
  • HR & Payroll Best Payroll Software Best HR Software Best HRIS Systems Best Recruiting Software Best Applicant Tracking Systems
  • Payment Processing Best Credit Card Processing Companies Best POS Systems Best Merchant Services Best Credit Card Readers How To Accept Credit Cards
  • More Business Solutions Best VPNs Best VoIP Services Best Project Management Software Best CRM Software Best Accounting Software
  • Manage Topics
  • Investigations
  • Visual Explainers
  • Newsletters
  • Abortion news
  • Coronavirus
  • Climate Change
  • Vertical Storytelling
  • Corrections Policy
  • College Football
  • High School Sports
  • H.S. Sports Awards
  • Sports Betting
  • College Basketball (M)
  • College Basketball (W)
  • For The Win
  • Sports Pulse
  • Weekly Pulse
  • Buy Tickets
  • Sports Seriously
  • Sports+ States
  • Celebrities
  • Entertainment This!
  • Celebrity Deaths
  • American Influencer Awards
  • Women of the Century
  • Problem Solved
  • Personal Finance
  • Small Business
  • Consumer Recalls
  • Video Games
  • Product Reviews
  • Destinations
  • Airline News
  • Experience America
  • Today's Debate
  • Suzette Hackney
  • Policing the USA
  • Meet the Editorial Board
  • How to Submit Content
  • Hidden Common Ground
  • Race in America

Personal Loans

Best Personal Loans

Auto Insurance

Best Auto Insurance

Best High-Yields Savings Accounts

CREDIT CARDS

Best Credit Cards

Advertiser Disclosure

Blueprint is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service focused on helping readers make smarter decisions. We receive compensation from the companies that advertise on Blueprint which may impact how and where products appear on this site. The compensation we receive from advertisers does not influence the recommendations or advice our editorial team provides in our articles or otherwise impact any of the editorial content on Blueprint. Blueprint does not include all companies, products or offers that may be available to you within the market. A list of selected affiliate partners is available here .

How to start a business in Virginia

Kristin Zaslavsky

Alana Rudder

Alana Rudder

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Updated 7:26 a.m. UTC Nov. 21, 2023

  • path]:fill-[#49619B]" alt="Facebook" width="18" height="18" viewBox="0 0 18 18" fill="none" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg">
  • path]:fill-[#202020]" alt="Email" width="19" height="14" viewBox="0 0 19 14" fill="none" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg">

Editorial Note: Blueprint may earn a commission from affiliate partner links featured here on our site. This commission does not influence our editors' opinions or evaluations. Please view our full advertiser disclosure policy .

Featured Image

yacobchuk, Getty Images

If you’d like to start a business in Virginia, the process may seem daunting. However, you can start a business in Virginia in only nine steps:

  • Start with a business plan .
  • Select a business entity .
  • Choose a business name .
  • Choose a registered agent .
  • Register your business in Virginia .
  • Apply for an EIN .
  • Register your business with Virginia Tax .
  • Apply for applicable licenses or permits .
  • Open a business bank account and other financial accounts .

Featured registered agent service offers

how to plan a business structure

Via LegalZoom’s website

$299 per year

Same-day document delivery

Phone support

ZenBusiness

how to plan a business structure

Via ZenBusiness’ website

$199 annually

Northwest Registered Agent

how to plan a business structure

Via Northwest Registered Agent’s website

9 steps to start a business in Virginia

1. start with a business plan.

A business plan should walk readers through every step of managing your business. The process can help you determine:

  • Whether your business idea is viable. 
  • Whether you can manage it alone or need employees.
  • The required funding. 
  • How your products or services should be tweaked to meet demand.
  • The necessary tools.

Begin with market research. Market research can help you determine whether there is a need for your business, who your competitors might be and what customers are willing to pay for your goods or services. Researching the current market can also help you determine how to differentiate yourself in the market.

Doing this research before funding your business is important because it will give you a tool to raise capital. If you need investors, partners or shareholders, they’ll want to understand how you plan to make money before they decide to give you money, time or resources. 

Here are the general components of a business plan:

  • Executive summary: Tell readers what your company does and what factors will make it successful. Overview your mission, products or services, leadership, unique value and financial growth plans. 
  • Company overview: Go into detail about your company’s value proposition and who it serves. 
  • Market analysis: Put to use your market research and describe your industry outlook, target market and how your company competes against competitors in the industry. 
  • Structure and management: Use charts and text to outline how your company will be structured (corporation or LLC, for example) and who will serve in key management positions. You may not have all of this information yet but compile as much as you can, then fill in details when you know more.
  • Offerings: Describe what your business will sell, whether products or services, how they benefit your target market and what the product life cycle will be. Mention any copyright or patent filings you have or will have and any research and development that’s underway.
  • Marketing: Outline your marketing strategy and how it will highlight your unique value proposition over time. 
  • Funding request: If you plan on requesting funding, here is where you will make that request. Include your funding requirements for one year, then five years and how you plan on fulfilling them. Outline where funds will go if secured. 
  • Projections: Following your funding request, outline why your company will be a financial success by offering a financial outlook for the first five years. Offer forecasted income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. Focus heavily on the next year.
  • Appendix: Add supporting documents, like managers’ resumes, licenses, permits and patents.

As part of your business planning, do some research on what business software you need. For example, you may need a credit card processor or payroll software to accept payments and pay employees. 

2. Select a business entity

Virginia recognizes four common types of business entities, including:

  • Limited liability companies (LLCs).
  • Limited partnerships.
  • Registered limited liability partnerships.
  • Corporations.
  • Sole proprietorships. 

It also recognizes some less common entities, such as trusts. Each comes with its own pros and cons.

With each entity type, the level of protection you receive as a business owner varies. However, as a general rule, the more your business is treated as a separate legal entity from its members or shareholders, the more protected you are against business liabilities and the more legal requirements you’ll have to adhere to.

Use the table below to consider which type of common legal structure is right for your business.

3. Choose a business name

In Virginia, business names must be unique and distinguishable from other services. Refer to Virginia’s business naming guidelines for legal rules on how to name your business. In addition, to ensure your name is marketable and not protected from national infringement, check out our business naming guide .

You can use the Virginia business name search tool to see if your business name is available. If your name appears in this database, you must either distinguish it or choose another name. For guidance on how to appropriately distinguish the name, refer back to Virginia’s naming guidelines. 

If you know what business name you’d like but aren’t quite ready to file your business’s formation paperwork with the state, you can reserve the name. To do so, you must create an account with the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) clerk’s information system (CIS) . Follow this guide to create your account. From there, you can use your account to reserve your business name for 120 days for a $10 filing fee (with the option to extend it another 120 days). 

4. Choose a registered agent

All businesses in the state of Virginia are required to have a registered agent . A registered agent is the primary person or entity responsible for receiving and managing legal and tax documents on your business’s behalf. A registered agent must have a physical location in the state of Virginia and be able to receive business documents during normal business hours.

There are strict requirements for serving as a registered agent. For example, the person must be available during all business hours throughout the year at the listed address, with no leaving for business travel or a sick day. For this reason, instead of appointing an internal person to carry out this duty, many companies outsource the role to a registered agent service provider . 

5. Register your business in Virginia 

To form your business in Virginia, you must file appropriate paperwork based on your entity type. For example, an LLC must file articles of organization, while a corporation must file articles of incorporation. This table shows what paperwork you must file, where to file and your filing fee, depending on your entity type. 

6. Apply for an EIN

Next you’ll need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). An EIN is issued by the IRS to identify your business for tax administration purposes. It also has a lot of business uses, including when hiring employees, obtaining business licenses and opening a business bank account.

To obtain an EIN, visit the IRS website between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST Monday through Friday to fill out the online application form. The process is quick and free, and you’ll receive your EIN instantly on the form’s confirmation page.

7. Register your business with Virginia Tax

Even if your business is a pass-through entity (such as an LLC) and your members pay its taxes on their personal income tax returns, your business may have to pay some taxes directly. These may include sales tax if you sell tangible goods or withholding taxes if you hire employees. The state of Virginia offers a checklist to walk you through what you’ll need to register with Virginia Tax. Doing so will allow you to pay most tax types. 

Once you have all the information on the checklist, you can register your business with Virginia Tax . When you do, you will receive a Virginia tax account number for each applicable tax type and your sales tax certificate (if applicable). You can then return to this account to pay your taxes.

8. Apply for applicable licenses and permits

Virginia does not require all businesses to obtain a license to operate. However, certain categories of businesses are required to obtain professional licenses and permits. For example, some financial and health professionals must obtain a license in addition to architects, engineers, home inspectors and auctioneers. 

To learn if your business needs a professional license to operate in Virginia, visit Virginia’s license’s page . You may also have to obtain licenses on the county level on an annual basis. You can find out more about local licensing requirements on the Virginia Association of County Regions website by choosing your county. To learn more about how to fulfill your business licensing requirements, check out our business licensing guide . 

9. Open a business bank account and other financial accounts

Opening a business bank account can help you avoid ‘piercing the corporate veil.’ This means that, as you separate your business and personal finances, you prove your separation from the business, thereby enhancing any limited liability protection you may be entitled to.

To open a business bank account in Virginia, you’ll need a number of documents and pieces of information which vary slightly depending on the type of business you operate and individual bank requirements. Here are the likely requirements by entity type:

To find the right account for your business needs, either visit local bank branches to compare pricing (such as initial deposit amounts) or check out our best business checking accounts list. 

In addition to opening your business bank account, you may want to open a credit card for your business. This can help keep your business expenses and liabilities separate from personal accounts, thereby enhancing your limited liability protection. We’ve prepared a list of the best business credit cards for your use in this step.

Find the best company formation services for Virginia: Best LLC services of 2023

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Starting an LLC in Virginia costs $110. That is $10 to reserve the business name and another $100 to register the LLC. To start a corporation, you’ll pay $35 to reserve your business name and file your articles of organization. Other costs associated with opening a business include designating a registered agent, applying for business licenses and opening a bank account. These fees vary based on the provider. 

The length of time it takes to start a business in Virginia varies depending on the type of business and what licenses it may require. However, in general, it takes about two weeks to process formation paperwork for a corporation or LLC in Virginia.

While you do not need a physical location for your operations, Virginia does require that you designate a physical address in Virginia to receive important tax and legal correspondence for your business. This must be a physical address, not a P.O. box. You can obtain this location through a registered agent or by operating a physical location where you and any employees work during all regular business hours throughout the year. 

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Kristin Zaslavsky

As a former small business owner who has worked with organizations of all sizes, from mom-and-pop through Fortune 10, Kristin focuses on technology and financial solutions that work for your business and enable you to grow.

Alana is the deputy editor for USA Today Blueprint's small business team. She has served as a technology and marketing SME for countless businesses, from startups to leading tech firms — including Adobe and Workfusion. She has zealously shared her expertise with small businesses — including via Forbes Advisor and Fit Small Business — to help them compete for market share. She covers technologies pertaining to payroll and payment processing, online security, customer relationship management, accounting, human resources, marketing, project management, resource planning, customer data management and how small businesses can use process automation, AI and ML to more easily meet their goals. Alana has an MBA from Excelsior University.

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

Business Eric Rosenberg

  • Work & Careers
  • Life & Arts

Become an FT subscriber

Limited time offer save up to 40% on standard digital.

  • Global news & analysis
  • Expert opinion
  • Special features
  • FirstFT newsletter
  • Videos & Podcasts
  • Android & iOS app
  • FT Edit app
  • 10 gift articles per month

Explore more offers.

Standard digital.

  • FT Digital Edition

Premium Digital

Print + premium digital.

Then $75 per month. Complete digital access to quality FT journalism on any device. Cancel anytime during your trial.

  • 10 additional gift articles per month
  • Global news & analysis
  • Exclusive FT analysis
  • Videos & Podcasts
  • FT App on Android & iOS
  • Everything in Standard Digital
  • Premium newsletters
  • Weekday Print Edition

Complete digital access to quality FT journalism with expert analysis from industry leaders. Pay a year upfront and save 20%.

  • Everything in Print
  • Everything in Premium Digital

The new FT Digital Edition: today’s FT, cover to cover on any device. This subscription does not include access to ft.com or the FT App.

Terms & Conditions apply

Explore our full range of subscriptions.

Why the ft.

See why over a million readers pay to read the Financial Times.

International Edition

  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

The BT Tower in central London

BT Tower to become hotel as London landmark sold for £275m

Telecoms group agrees sale of Grade II-listed tower to US operator MCR Hotels

  • BT Tower: a history in pictures
  • Share your memories of the BT Tower

The BT Tower is to be converted into an upmarket hotel, after the British telecoms company agreed to sell the London landmark to the owner of some of New York’s best-known places to stay for £275m.

BT Group said the deal with MCR Hotels would preserve the Grade II-listed building for the future, given that the evolution of fixed and mobile networks meant it no longer relies on the tower to carry microwave signals from London to the rest of the UK.

The conversion of the site, in London’s Fitzrovia, will take time, as BT Group will take years to vacate the tower because of the scale and complexity of removing its technical equipment.

BT said its media and broadcast division had already started moving services to a cloud-based platform, to ensure a “more straightforward move to a more modern and efficient premises”. MCR will pay for the site over “multiple years” as BT phases out its operations there.

MCR, which operates about 150 hotels in the US including New York’s High Line hotel and the TWA hotel at JFK airport, said the transition period would give it time to develop its design plan and engage with local communities before putting forward a final proposal.

The conversion into a hotel will be carried out by the architectural studio of Thomas Heatherwick, whose previous designs for the capital have included the new Routemaster buses for Boris Johnson when he was mayor, the Olympic cauldron for the 2012 Games and the abandoned plan for a Garden Bridge across the Thames.

BT’s 177-metre tower – which reached 189 metres tall when equipped with its aerial rigging – has been part of London’s skyline for decades, after its official opening in 1965 by the then prime minister, Harold Wilson.

Designed by the architects Eric Bedford and GR Yeats, and commissioned by the General Post Office, the tower served as a main hub for UK communication networks. It at one time featured a revolving restaurant on its top floor that was open to the public and made a total turn every 23 minutes, giving diners 360-degree views of the City. The restaurant was temporarily closed after a bomb exploded in a men’s toilet in 1971 on Halloween night, in an attack for which both the IRA and the Angry Brigade group of far-left terrorists claimed responsibility. It shut for good in 1981.

BT Group has since used the top floor for corporate and charity events, with its “infoband” screen regularly displaying adverts and messages across London, including “Control the Virus” and other government advice during the Covid pandemic.

The top of the BT tower seen nest to a neighbouring skyscraper, with its circular messaging board displaying the message ‘Protect the NHS’ against a bright yellow background

It remained the tallest structure in the city until the NatWest Tower overtook it in 1980, and BT’s switch to fixed and digital networks led to the tower’s microwave aerials being removed more than a decade ago.

The sale of the building is part of BT Group’s cost-cutting plans, with the company having already cut the number of offices from more than 300 to 30. That included the sale of its former headquarters, BT Centre, for £210m in 2019. The company has since moved to a new hub in Aldgate, on the edge of the City of London.

after newsletter promotion

Those cost cuts have involved slashing tens of thousands of jobs. Last May, BT revealed it would cut as many as 55,000 roles across the company by 2030, citing the need for a leaner business as well as the impact of artificial intelligence (AI). The latest move will take its global headcount from 130,000 to between 75,000 and 90,000 by 2030.

BT Group property director, Brent Mathews, said: “The BT Tower sits at the heart of London and we’ve been immensely proud to be the owners of this important landmark since 1984.

“It has played a vital role in carrying the nation’s calls, messages and TV signals, but increasingly we’re delivering content and communication via other means. This deal with MCR will enable BT Tower to take on a new purpose, preserving this iconic building for decades to come.”

The MCR chief executive, Tyler Morse, said he saw many parallels between BT Tower and its JFK TWA hotel, which was a reimagining of the Finnish-American designer Eero Saarinen’s 1962 landmark flight centre and received a national architecture award from the American Institute of Architects.

“It has been a privilege to adapt the TWA Flight Center into new use for future generations, as it will be the BT Tower,” Morse said.

  • Telecommunications industry

More on this story

how to plan a business structure

TV, terrorists and strawberries all year round: the story of London’s BT Tower

how to plan a business structure

Notting Hill: 25 years after the film, what is left of the district’s character?

how to plan a business structure

BT Tower: a history of the London landmark – in pictures

how to plan a business structure

Printworks London may reopen by 2026 after developers submit plans

how to plan a business structure

Millions of BT customers could get up to £400 as ‘overcharging’ lawsuit begins

how to plan a business structure

Developer of Las Vegas-style Sphere in east London withdraws plans

how to plan a business structure

BT to transform old street cabinets into electric vehicle chargers

how to plan a business structure

London mayor’s decision to reject Las Vegas-style sphere to be reviewed

how to plan a business structure

Stays in Vegas: London mayor rejects plan for Stratford Sphere venue

how to plan a business structure

Philip Jansen got the strategy right at BT. Shame about the share price

Most viewed.

Barclays focuses on Britain, cost cuts, buybacks to win over investors

  • Shares rise following 10 bln stg buyback plan
  • Lender eyes billions of cost cuts
  • Targets returns in excess of 12% in 2026
  • 2023 FY profit falls 6%, in line with forecasts

A woman walks past a branch of Barclays Bank, in London

NEW STRUCTURE

Reporting by Lawrence White and Iain Withers; Editing by Sinead Cruise and Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. , opens new tab

A sign is pictured in front of the Vitol Group trading commodities building in Geneva

Union demands Lufthansa makes improved offer before agreeing fresh talks

German labour union Verdi on Saturday demanded Lufthansa offers a higher wage increase for thousands of the German airline's ground crew before it agrees to a fresh round of pay talks aimed at averting further industrial action.

The company logo for AT&T is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York

IMAGES

  1. How to structure your business plan?

    how to plan a business structure

  2. How to write a business plan effectively in 2024: a comprehensive guide

    how to plan a business structure

  3. Business Structure

    how to plan a business structure

  4. 9 Key Elements of an Effective Business Plan

    how to plan a business structure

  5. Creating a Business Plan: Why it Matters and Where to Start

    how to plan a business structure

  6. Step-By-Step Guide to Write Your Business Plan + Template

    how to plan a business structure

VIDEO

  1. business plan

  2. Business Structure for Investment ?#financialliteracy #business #businesstip

  3. Business Structure

  4. How to Write a Business plan? 10 Important Steps of Business Plan

  5. business plan

  6. কি ভাবে ব্যবসা করবেন #shortvideo #shots #bussinesidea #business #motivation

COMMENTS

  1. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Bottom Line Frequently Asked Questions Show more Every business starts with a vision, which is distilled and communicated through a business plan. In addition to your high-level hopes and...

  2. Write your business plan

    Executive summary Briefly tell your reader what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company's leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing.

  3. How to Write a Simple Business Plan

    Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan Get free Smartsheet templates By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021 A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry.

  4. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Raise money Grow strategically Keep your business on the right track As you start to write your plan, it's useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is. At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to.

  5. How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps

    Fact checked by. Vikki Velasquez. Starting a business in the United States involves a number of different steps, spanning legal considerations, market research, creating a business plan, securing ...

  6. How to Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Step 7: Financial Analysis and Projections. It doesn't matter if you include a request for funding in your plan, you will want to include a financial analysis here. You'll want to do two things here: Paint a picture of your business's performance in the past and show it will grow in the future.

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

    1. Write an executive summary 2. Describe your company 3. State your business goals 4. Describe your products and services 5. Do your market research 6. Outline your marketing and sales plan 7....

  8. 10 steps to start your business

    Write your business plan Your business plan is the foundation of your business. It's a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. You'll use it to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice. Learn more about writing your business plan; Fund your business

  9. Business Plan: What It Is + How to Write One

    A business plan typically explores the competitive landscape of an industry, analyzes a market and different customer segments within it, describes the products and services, lists business strategies for success, and outlines financial planning. ... If you're registering a specific legal structure within your province or territory , include ...

  10. Business Plan Format & Structure

    Every business plan should begin with a simple business plan cover page including the business name, your name and contact information. An easy to read table of contents should follow. Example Business Plan Table of Contents I: Executive Summary a. Business Overview b. Success Factors c. Financial Highlights II: Company Overview a.

  11. How To Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

    According to Investopida.com and Nerd Wallet, most business plan templates include seven elements: an executive summary, company description, products and services, market analysis, marketing strategy, financials, and budget. You will also want to include an appendix that contains data supporting the main sections.

  12. How To Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (2024)

    Keep the tone, style, and voice consistent. This is best managed by having a single person write the plan or by allowing time for the plan to be properly edited before distributing it. 6. Use a business plan template. You can also use a free business plan template to provide a skeleton for writing a plan.

  13. Business Structure: How to Choose the Right One

    Sole proprietorship An unincorporated business that is owned by one person who reports business profits on his or her individual tax return. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business...

  14. The Perfect Business Plan Layout & Outline for a Great Plan

    Sample Business Plan Outline. To help you get started, you can download our business plan outline pdf or follow the outline below: 1. Executive Summary. Your executive summary is the most important part of your plan. It comes at the beginning and is the first thing investors or lenders will read. If they aren't excited by what they see, they ...

  15. How to Write a Business Plan in 2023 [Examples Included]

    Vision statement - Explain your vision for the company and include the overall business goals you will try to achieve. Executive summary - A quick overview of what your company is about and what will make it successful. Make sure to include your products/services, basic leadership information, employees, and location.

  16. How to write a business plan

    4. Financials. Include a cash flow forecast, usually broken down on a monthly basis and presented as a spreadsheet. Also add your financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement and statement of retained earnings). And if you're a new business, list start-up costs.

  17. How to write a business plan

    Use this free template to help you write a great plan for launching your new business. A business plan helps you set goals for your business, and plan how you're going to reach them. When you're starting out it's a good idea to do a full and thorough business plan. Quick-focus planning to make sure you work on the right things for your ...

  18. How to Write a Business Plan: Organization Structure

    First, examining the structure of the business will help for tax purposes. For example, limited liability and corporations are considered excellent for protecting shareholders concerning liabilities. However, tax-wise, these firms often are double taxed.

  19. Choose a business structure

    Partnership Partnerships are the simplest structure for two or more people to own a business together. There are two common kinds of partnerships: limited partnerships (LP) and limited liability partnerships (LLP). Limited partnerships have only one general partner with unlimited liability, and all other partners have limited liability.

  20. How to start a business in 2024

    Step 3: Write a business plan. You don't have a business without a business plan. Your business plan is the foundational document that outlines how you will structure, operate, fund, market and ...

  21. How to Start Your Own Small Business?

    Executive summary. It highlights your business, and what you propose, and outlines the goals of your company. Company description. This one clarifies the issues your product or service can solve.

  22. Becoming a sole trader

    Business structure overview. Is contracting right for you? Choose your business structure. ... you can't be an expert in all areas of business, for example day-to-day finances or business planning, as well as your specialist area — and you shouldn't have to try to be. Think about getting advisors, such as accountants, mentors and lawyers ...

  23. How to start a business in Virginia

    Start with a business plan. Select a business entity. Choose a business name. Choose a registered agent. Register your business in Virginia. Apply for an EIN. Register your business with Virginia Tax.

  24. Barclays to return £10bn to shareholders

    Barclays is also planning to keep a tight lid on expenses, targeting £2bn in "gross efficiency savings" by 2026 and aiming for a cost-to-income ratio of 63 per cent this year, down from 67 ...

  25. BT Tower to become hotel as London landmark sold for £275m

    Last May, BT revealed it would cut as many as 55,000 roles across the company by 2030, citing the need for a leaner business as well as the impact of artificial intelligence (AI). The latest move ...

  26. Barclays focuses on Britain, cost cuts, buybacks to win over investors

    Barclays laid out a three-year plan to revive its flagging share price on Tuesday, including axing 2 billion pounds of costs, returning 10 billion pounds ($12.6 billion) to shareholders and ...