Business Planning

Detailed Business Plan

What is a detailed business plan?

A business plan describes what you want to do with your business and how it will be done. By writing down the details of how to bring your idea into reality, you will have figured out answers to why, what, who, how, where, when, and how much for your startup. Writing a business plan will make you look closely at your idea and how you will turn it into a business.

Detailed Business Plan Template

Before you get started, copy the Detailed Business Plan template to your Google Drive and start writing your own!

Why should I write a long business plan?

The length depends on the audience for your plan. If you’re going to use the plan to search for potential bank loans or equity capital from a potential investor, then the Detailed Business is right for you!

Before you spend too much time on the details. Checkout our One Page Business Plan to quickly identify your potential customers and think through how to make your product or service unique.

How do I write a detailed business plan?

The person reading your business plan will need a full description of what your product or service will be to get a better understanding for how to support you or even to decide whether or not to provide you with funding. We developed a 9 section approach to give your audience all the details they need, but feel free to skip to sections where you might need the most guidance .

  1. The Product or Service
    What product or service do you provide that people need or want?

  2. The Customer and the Market
    Who is your customer? What is the current demand and growth potential for your target market?

  3. The Competition and the Industry
    Who are you up against? What is your strong competitive advantage and unique selling point for your business offering?

  4. Sales Channels and Marketing
    How will you reach your customers? What platforms do you plan to use to execute your sales? What is your marketing budget?

  5. Pricing Model
    What do you charge and why? Which sales and pricing model are you planning – single-time, recurring subscription, free and premium memberships, etc.?

  6. Partnerships
    Who are your partners? Do you have any strategic partnerships that give you advantages?

  7. Operations
    How will you run your business?

  8. Risk Mitigation and Exit Strategy
    What are the biggest risks and obstacles? How will you minimize risk?

  9. The Team
    Who are the people on your team? What are their roles and responsibilities?

1. The Product or Service

The person reading your business plan will need a description of what your product or service will be and how it will be used. You can also identify cool and unique features and benefits, and discuss what needs or problems they address in the market. In this section, you can include a general description, including the business idea (new or existing) and objective.

  • Example business idea: Sell T-Shirts online (only) with unique logo designs on the pocket, 20% of profits will go to a Chilean orphanage.

  • Example business objective: I want my clothing line to help people feel like they stand for something.

2. The Customer and the Market

In this section, you will discuss the market you want to enter. This foundation will help you prove that a market exists for your product or service and narrow the range of potential customers to the ones who are willing and able to buy your product. Here, you will define your target market, provide evidence of demand and research the potential for your target market to grow.

  • Here are some examples to help define your market

    • Target market: My products will be used by middle-class men and women around 20-35.

    • Demand: Reports from “All Knowing Research” have proven a 20% growth in the T-shirt market for the next 5 years. TIP: Include an example that illustrates this.

    • Growth potential: I can grow my clothing item selection to tanks or even create a new logo “series” to attract other customers.

3. The Competition and the Industry

In this section, you will discuss your approach to your market. This section is important because you have to keep in mind that your efforts to reach your potential customers and make money will be limited by similar businesses. Here, you will describe your competitive advantage, unique selling point, retail and online only competitors, trends. To find out more information on your competitors and trends, you can easily run an online search on your product or service type, just make sure to use reports and articles from reputable sources.

  • Here are some examples to describe to your customer

    • Competitive advantage: I will provide high quality materials and shopping with a purpose.

    • Unique selling point: 20% of our profits will serve to clothe children in a Chilean Orphanage. The T-Shirts will be unisex and the cut style will be longer in the back than the front. The back part of the shirt will also have a center slit and the short sleeves will be folded.

    • Competitors: Charitable clothing brands in store and online only retailers

    • Trends: Findings from Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse Survey revealed that at least 50% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that “support and act upon causes they have in common (e.g. social, charitable)”

4. Sales Channels and Marketing

In this section, you can include a general description for how you will reach your customers including sales channels and a marketing strategy. A good marketing plan should have a defined budget and focus on your target segment so ask yourself, what is the best way to get your message in front of this group? On the other hand, distribution decisions should concentrate on the methods and channels that will optimize your sales and profits. In the sales and distributions section, you will define your business reach, channels and strategic partnerships. In the marketing strategy section, will define how you will attract new customers, the steps you have already taken, and your future budget.

  • Here is an example to define distribution and sales channels

    • Reach, Local: I will sell T-shirts only in San Francisco

    • Sales channels: I will sell online only

    • Partnerships: Ideally, I would like to partner with a local San Francisco department store to carry my T-shirts

  • Here are some examples to help define your marketing strategy

    • Attract new customers: I will market my business on social media, specifically on Instagram.

    • Steps already taken: I have created an Instagram business account.

    • Budget: A quick online search revealed that typically, business spend between $200 to $350 per day, so I will start with $200 per month as a test and build from there.

5. Pricing Model

In this section, you will discuss what you will charge for your product and why. There are many pricing models available, from simple one-off (or per unit) to sophisticated subscription models. As you make your pricing decisions, make sure you’re thinking about your cost to produce your product or service and use that as a baseline, or “floor”, on your price. You should also think about how much other products or services similar to yours sell for in the market. In this section, you will define your sales model, explain why you chose your pricing model, and list estimate selling prices for your products.

  • Sales model: “One-off” sales (or price per unit)

  • Pricing model: I chose this pricing model because I am selling individual products. Other retail businesses, like Fabletics, offer a subscription based pricing model, but they offer a much larger product inventory. I did not think it would provide any additional benefit to use anything other than one-off sales.

  • Selling prices

    • $18.99, T-Shirt with our signature cut style, no pocket design

    • $20.00, T-Shirt with our signature cut style and pocket design 1

    • $25.00, T-Shirt with our signature cut style and pocket design 2

6. Partnerships

In this section, you will discuss who you want to bring on as potential partners. You will define who can help you sell your product or services, determine how to make your products, describe what was your logic to select your partner, create a communication plan, think through a backup plan and backup partners.

  • Partners: I will partner with High Quality Cuts to cut and print my T-shirts

  • Vendor/Manufacturer: High Quality Cuts will cut and print my t-shirts in the styles I design

  • Logic for partnership: They have a lot of experience with national t-shirt manufacturing processes, allowing me to select a variety of different ‘pre-made’ cut styles OR custom styles. The have also had great success in local San Francisco.

  • Partner communication: I have made the initial call to High Quality Cuts. They requested design samples for both the cut style and logos so they can give me a manufacturing quote.

  • Backup plan: If High Quality Cuts has a really high quote, I will have to find another manufacturer. I have already found a couple more companies I would be interested in partnering with.

  • Backup partners

    • Manufacturing: Alternative companies - Soft Cotton, San Fran Cuts

    • Distributors: Will hire employees to drive and/or bike to deliver my customers’ orders.

    • Marketing companies: Currently, not needed. I will create and run all social media marketing campaigns myself.

7. Operations

In this section, you will define the stuff that needs to happen for you to launch and run your business successfully. Some important aspects you should think about should include if you will need to hire employees and how to protect your business from imitators especially if you have innovative products. In this section, you will define a realistic timeline, determine your biggest expenses, define your plan to hire employees, determine if you will need to rent a location to house your store or products and decide if you want to create a trademark or copyright (also known as intellectual property).

  • Timeline

    • 3 months before launch: Ensure inventory is on time for launch. Ensure website or selling platform is live and functional, continue testing with sample users to fix bugs and issues.

    • 1 month before launch: Begin marketing my business to incentivize “pre-orders”

    • 1 month after launch: Ensure all orders are delivered on time, continue marketing

    • 6 months after launch: Evaluate demand forecast and modify business plan as needed

    • 1 year after launch: Consider expanding and hiring 1 or 2 more people

    • 2 years after launch: Re-evaluate business plan

  • Business costs

    • Inventory, actual t-shirts

    • Delivery, hiring 1 or 2 additional employees to deliver t-shirts in the local San Francisco area

    • Marketing, monthly social media marketing budget

  • Hiring employees: I will find employees by asking friends and family first since I only need 1 or 2 more people to help me fulfill orders on an on-call basis.

  • Lease agreements: Currently not needed, but I might need to look into it if year 1 goes well, order volume increases and I can no longer store my inventory at home.

  • Intellectual property: I want to trademark my company logo and copyright all original t-shirt designs.

8. Risk Mitigation and Exit Strategy

This section will help you prepare for some of the typical obstacles new businesses have to overcome. You should outline your plan for complying with relevant regulations and keep in mind that every business is subject to local, state, and federal regulation. Typical examples include legal requirements, poorly estimated sales forecasts, customers refusing to pay or taking too long to pay, poor performance from key suppliers and lack of exit strategy.

  • Legal requirements: San Francisco requires a small business license

  • Sales: I expect to sell X t-shirts in the first 6 months to offset my costs. If I sell less than X, I will not make any profit. If that happens, I will

  • Non-payment from customers: Because my business is online, purchases will not be completed if credit/debit card information is not processed so this will not be a problem for me.

  • Failed key suppliers: If my suppliers deliver my orders late, I will contact my customers immediately and look into my backups, compensating customers for time lost

  • Exit strategy: I will consider selling my business 3 years after launch if the right offer is on the table.

9. The Team

In this section, you will define who, if anyone, is helping you launch your business.

After describing who the key people are, you will want to describe how you will organize each person’s responsibilities and authorities for the efficient operation of your business.

You will define who is currently involved, what their time commitments are and how much they have or are willing to invest financially.

  • Current team: My sister and I

  • Time/Financial commitments

    • My sister is not spending any time to develop the business, but has loaned me $5,000 to start. She expects to be paid back within the first year after opening or receive 10% ownership.

    • I am developing the business part time, after work and have invested all my savings.

Why is writing a business plan for my business important?

A business plan is important because it helps provide direction by making you discuss where you want to take your business and define what you want out of it. It also provides structure to your thinking and helps you make sure you’ve covered all of the important areas. And it forces you to start thinking about the future, like how you will deal with your competitors after your business launches.

Pro Tip

We want you to be aware that the financial (sales and pricing) sections of your business plan will be examined closely by those interested in joining you, investing in the venture, or lending you money. They will want to know how you will use invested funds to create a successful business. So make sure it is thorough and as accurate as possible.