Writing a good business plan can be a challenging task. In essence, business planning is the first major challenge an entrepreneur faces as it is a blueprint of their venture. In this article, I will outline 5 elements that make a good business plan. This is based on my own experience as a tech founder, consultant and writer. 

Writing a good business plan goes beyond proposing a viable business proposition. It entails clear articulation, milestones, well-written content and a thorough blueprint of how your business will succeed. 

There are plenty of articles that will refer to the basic and compulsory parts of a business plan such as SWOT analysis and regard them as factors contributing to a good business plan. 

However, my aim in this article is to provide you with the correct mindset and approach to:

  • Produce a solid plan
  • Assess your business idea as you write the business plan 

With the aforementioned in mind, let’s highlight the 5 key elements of a good business plan.

Inclusion of the key standard sections 

Okay, so let’s briefly highlight an obvious part, which many entrepreneurs surprisingly fall short of. 

Regardless of the purpose of your business plan and where you are, several key sections must be included in every business plan. These key sections are:

  • Executive summary 
  • Founding team’s background & skillset 
  • Market & opportunity overview 
  • Product/service description 
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Marketing & sales strategy 
  • SWOT analysis 
  • Organisational & operational structure 
  • Financial projections 

Clear & realistic business vision

Entrepreneurship and starting a business require vision. And it is fantastic to set high goals. Nevertheless, this is where many entrepreneurs make a mistake. And the mistake is that they “fly too high” and set goals and visions that are essentially unrealistic. 

Your vision and anticipated goals should be realistic and based on market trends supported by research. 

Clear business milestones 

The ideal business plan is not a fancy document to impress your investors or other parties. It is the blueprint of your business as a commercial entity. 

And what does a blueprint entail? Clear procedural steps with timelines and outcomes. 

Moreover, this is not just related to one part of the business plan, for example, product development. 

Each aspect of the business (plan) should be subjected to prior anticipation with clear input/output estimations, whether it is product, marketing, sales or anything else. 

Objective market research and avoiding the “founder bias”

As stated earlier, I will not highlight standard business plan sections. 

However, this part is crucial and you notice that I have used the word “objective”.

You may have a business proposal that does respond to a genuine market need. However, this is where what I call the “founder bias” kicks in. 

The “founder bias” is when a founder only states market research that supports the notion that there is a need for their product and/or service. This eliminates the “objectivity” aspect. 

Your plan must be supported by objective market research, and this is why a business consultant like me is useful. 

By highlighting all the facets of the market, you demonstrate enhanced commercial awareness. Plus, it enables you to anticipate and prepare for unexpected market shifts and how to respond accordingly. 

Money, money, money (the financials)

Regardless of the type of project, the primary goal of a venture is making money. Even if you are starting a non-profit/charity, your finances matter the most. 

This is one of the most neglected aspects of many business plans. You must anticipate and account for cash inflows and outflows of your business. 

And I get it: this is perhaps among the most difficult aspects, and hence why it is often neglected. However, without a financial analysis that is subject to scrutiny, you are almost always doomed for failure.

Sohrab Vazir at NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards

About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs and all founders with their businesses, including their business plans.