How to Create a Blog Business Plan (Free Template) 7 Easy Steps to Write a Blog Business Plan: How I've Earned $1 Million+ Blogging

If you want to become a successful blogger, you’re going to need a smart blog business plan that can guide your decision-making, tell you what to invest your time in and keep pointing you toward the next stage in the growth of your blog business. Here’s how to write a blog business plan, including my free downloadable template.

how to write a blogging business plan

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For more than 10 years since I started my blog , I’ve been strategically implementing my own blog business plans with great results. This guide pulls from that exact plan—and you can download my (free) template to follow along as you grow your blog too.

Want My Free Blog Business Plan Template?

Grab my free blog business plan template in both Google Doc and PDF format (that’s helped me build a six-figure blog) and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today.

Last year alone, my blog generated $449,107 in revenue (see more in my blog income reports ), and it’s been earning in the six-figures for several years now.

Despite the numbers, it hasn’t always been easy—like all entrepreneurs will tell you as any small business owner, there are ups and downs with business blogging, too.

How to Create a Blog Business Plan (Quickbooks Blog Income Screenshot) Proof of Income

A blog business plan helps you navigate the storm and can keep you on track, working toward your most impactful goals despite short-term fluctuations. At the end of the day, I’m living proof that you can turn your passions into a profitable small business as an entrepreneur through blogging.

To turn your blog into a viable business, though, you need to create a strategic  blog business plan .

How to Create a Blog Business Plan in 7 Easy Steps (Free Template)

  • Define Your Blog Business Plans and Set Meaningful Goals
  • Do a Competitive Analysis of Other Blogs
  • Start and Grow Your Blog (the Profitable Way)
  • Map Out Your Traffic Generation Strategy
  • Formulate Your Blog’s Work Process
  • Launch (and Optimize) Your Blog
  • Download My Free Blog Business Plan Template

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase a product or service using my affiliate link, I’m compensated, which helps me create content like my ultimate guide about how to start a blog free of charge. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind.

What Makes a Blog a Business?

Any blog can easily make you a small business owner with the right level of strategy, care and time investment. The basic foundation of a blog business is that you’ve:

  • Developed a repeatable process for publishing content
  • Learned how to bring in traffic consistently
  • Figured out how to monetize that traffic through a variety of channels

The monetization aspect is where much of your efforts will (soon) be going as your blog evolves into a real business. You’ll experiment with tactics like running ads, taking sponsorships, joining affiliate programs , selling your own physical or digital products, and many other blog monetization strategies .

And in order to execute on these three core components, it helps immensely to have a solid blog business plan telling you what to do next.

What is a Blog Business Plan (and Why Should You Create One)?

A business plan, in its simplest form , is a roadmap for your business. It outlines your business and blogging goals and maps out how you’re going to achieve them. And in order to be effective, your business plan must be written down (so you can reference it often) and must include timelines wherever possible.

So why do you need a blog business plan ?

These are the four main ways you stand to benefit from creating a blog business plan, particularly for beginners:

  • A blog business plan gives you a clear picture of what you want to achieve
  • It helps you create a greater sense of accountability
  • It forces you to set clear priorities (that ladder up to your overall goals)
  • It shows you some of the challenges to expect along the way

A smart blog business plan is like a road map. If you follow it closely—and expect to spend some time experimenting, navigating detours and bumpy roads along the way—both the journey and the end destination will be very rewarding.

How do you write a business plan for a blog?

The first step to writing a business plan for your blog, is to define  what your blog business is going to be (the main ways you expect to generate revenue)—and set meaningful, realistic goals that can help you make daily, weekly, monthly progress toward achieving those goals that ladder up to success with your blog business.

From there, you’ll want to research your competitors, start your blog (if you haven’t already), make sure it’s set up the right way with the correct themes & plugins, put in place winning habits that’ll help you achieve your goals, figure out the best ways to drive in traffic and promote your blog content—then begin to work on monetizing.

For a step-by-step walkthrough on the process of writing your blog business plan, grab my free template right here in this guide (through the form just a little bit above here).

Now, let’s discuss how to create a blog business plan that will guide you to your desired goals in the coming weeks, months, and years.

We’ll start by helping you develop your own blog business plans, which will set you on the path to generating revenue as quickly as possible.

1. Define Your Blog Business Plans and Set Meaningful Goals

The very first step in creating a blog business plan is to define what your business is going to be. That’s where we’ll be talking about things like your mission statement (why you’re blogging in the first place)—and while I don’t  love the corporate term, executive summary, defining your blog business will be the closest thing we cover to that.

Blogger Working on Planning From Coffee Shop Ryan Robinson

That means laying the foundation for everything from which niche you’ll be blogging in, who your target audience is going to be , which (tangible) blogging goals are most important for you to aim for, and at least a loose sense of how you’ll plan to make money from your blog in the near future.

Picking a niche

Picking a niche to blog about is one of the most important steps you can take to eventually generate an income from your blog.

A niche is simply a specific range of related topics (segment of a target market or target audience ) that you want to specialize your blog around being a trusted resource. Examples of some highly lucrative niche topics you can blog about include things like:

  • Photography
  • Personal Finance
  • Career Development

When it comes to choosing a niche, the sky truly is the limit. If there’s a topic area that has enough demand—and you’re genuinely interested in building a blog business around it—then you’ve got the makings of a potentially profitable niche. Check out my guide for much more: How to Pick a Niche to Blog About (+ Examples) .

The reason why picking a niche comes first when laying out your blog business plans—is that how your blog functions as a business will be heavily influenced by the niche you’re operating in. It’s only after you’ve landed on a clear niche that you can move into defining and learning more about the audience you’ll be serving.

Learning about your target audience

After your niche, the next most important business decision you need to make is deciding who your target audience will be—and committing to learning more about them.

In a world with billions of people using the Internet , the reality is that not everyone will discover or even resonate with your blog, let alone be willing to buy whatever you’re selling when you eventually start monetizing your content.

You have to research your target audience and understand their pain points and how you can help them through your blog.

Think about your readers in terms of the demographics and psychographics that define them:

  • Demographics: The quantitative traits of your readers. Like age, gender, location, and job title.
  • Psychographics: More unmeasurable traits like values, interests, attitudes, and belief systems.

In short, who are your target readers, and which problems will you be solving for them?

The answer to that pivotal question will also help you determine the kind of content you’ll create and the best channels to monetize that content.

Determine how you’ll monetize your blog

There are many ways to make money blogging , but it’s extremely important to remember that you can only generate revenue from your blog—once you’ve started attracting an audience.

Still, it helps to plan today for which ways you’d like to monetize your blog (ideally in a manner that engages your own unique strengths & experience).

A few of the most time-tested blog monetization channels include:

  • Sponsored Blog Content
  • Affiliate Marketing (like how I generate sales from my Bluehost reviews roundup)
  • Blog Advertisements
  • Sell Online Courses (like my blogging courses and Built to Blog in particular)
  • Physical Products
  • Release a Software Tool
  • Selling Your Own Services
  • Writing an eBook and Selling Them (like my blogging books )
  • Launch a Virtual Summit
  • Business Partnerships
  • Podcast Sponsorships (see my guide on starting a podcast )
  • Freelancing and more

I’d caution you not to pursue a particular monetization path simply because it’s a money-making opportunity. Your most important task at this stage, is to decide which monetization channels will be best for your niche, the type of audience you plan to attract and how you can best engage your own interests.

Again, keep in mind that your audience will be the lifeblood of your blog—so learning from them in the early days will be key in collecting valuable feedback about how you can best help them. For an in-depth look at my best blog monetization strategies, check out my guide: How to Make Money Blogging This Year .

Setting blog business goals

Lastly, when defining your blog as a business, you have to set clear blog business goals to begin working toward.

This will help you break down the big-picture objectives into bite-sized tasks that won’t overwhelm you on a daily and weekly basis.

Setting smart goals will also help you stay ultra-focused on doing only the activities that move you closer to those goals.

A few examples of goals you  could consider setting for your blog during the first year include:

  • Getting to 10,000 monthly visitors (within 12 months)
  • Working 15 hours per week on creating and promoting blog content
  • Attracting 1,000 email subscribers (within 6 months)
  • Earning $1,000 in revenue from your blog (in the first 6 months)

Whichever goals you decide to set for yourself, make sure they’re as realistic as possible, clearly actionable and measurable—so that you can regularly look back and reassess how you’re doing.

Once you’ve laid this solid foundation for your blog business plan, we can move on to analyzing competitors and learning more about how they make it work in your niche.

2. Do a Competitive Analysis of Other Blogs

Before you even launch your own blog (or transform an existing blog into a proper business), you need to learn from your competition.

Yes, that’s allowed. And no, you don’t need to do anything shady—or involve Russian spies.

Competitor Analysis and Learning From Your Competition to Develop a Plan

Spying on your competitors and gathering insights is a great way to validate your own ideas for how to bring a blog business plan to life best. Take a peek at my top small business ideas to see if they inspire any new angles for your full-time (or part-time) business blogging efforts, too.

It’s also a fantastic way to learn what it takes to become successful within your niche. These are the three main things you’ll want to do when it comes to competitor analysis.

Identify your main competitors

Identifying your competitors helps you see the potential your blog business has within the niche you’re operating in.

Even more importantly, it also helps you clearly see the kinds of products your audience loves and is already paying (someone else) for.

So, how do you identify  who your competitors are?

  • Do some keyword research to determine which top words & phrases you want your blog to rank for in Google results (considering setting up Google Alerts to monitor them, too)
  • Take a careful look at the articles & sites already ranking on the first few pages of those search results
  • Examine their content, looking for ads, links to affiliate programs , products they’re selling, and other monetization efforts

For just about every keyword phrase related to your niche, there will already be competitive blogs, websites, and companies intentionally trying to rank their content at the top of those search results (in order to bring in readers and generate revenue somehow). For that reason, learning from the competition can provide meaningful insights to incorporate into your own blog business plans.

Use My Free Keyword Research Tool

Free Keyword Research Tool (AI-Powered) SEO Keyword Research and Ideas

Try my free AI-Powered Keyword Tool to get dozens of research-backed ideas for keywords & topics to write about on your blog today.

Research their strengths, weaknesses and top ranking keywords

Another smart reason to do competitor analysis is that it helps you identify your competitor’s unique strengths and weaknesses.

Doing this will help you identify some gaps in the market research that you can (profitably) fill by thoughtfully positioning yourself toward a segment of the audience, learning how to write a blog post that’s more impactful to readers, crafting catchier blog headlines and other ways to grow your blog .

As I’ve already alluded to, one of the best ways to gather this intel is through keyword research .

Keywords are simple words or phrases commonly used by people to search for something on the Internet.

You can use that information to thoughtfully position your own content to rank at the top of those search results.

Thanks to the awesomeness of technology, you can use many free tools (and free blogging resources ) for conducting keyword research today—including my very own free keyword tool . Type in your keyword phrase and get monthly search volume, difficulty & suggestions for other keyword phrases to target for your blog content:

I built this free AI-Powered Keyword Tool to solve a problem I’ve had in the blogging industry for nearly a decade. Anytime a new (free) keyword research tool comes out and gains popularity, a switch flips and it’s suddenly only a paid tool—or has dramatic limitations on usage. This keyword research tool was build to be forever free.

When you type in a keyword you’re considering blogging about, you’ll get dozens of research-backed ideas for keywords & topics to write about on your blog today. You’ll get insights like:

  • Monthly Search Volume: A snapshot of how many people search for a particular keyword phrase each month on major search engines like Google.
  • Difficulty Level: The difficulty level of ranking for a particular keyword phrase based on the amount of existing (and anticipated future) competition from established websites.
  • Country Targeting: The default country view is for the US (United States), but you can select other countries from a dropdown menu to see what regional search volume & difficulty look like for your target keyword phrases.
  • Ideas: Use the ideas tab (or click the lightbulb) to get dozens of AI-powered blog topic ideas related to the keyword you’ve chosen. It may even inspire some real business ideas to pursue with your business blogging efforts.

When it comes to competitor analysis, identifying the (most valuable) keywords your competitors are ranking for is a great leg up.

Sure, you can plug in your own keywords you think could be valuable (and attract the right audience), but you also risk choosing keywords that may miss the mark when it comes to driving traffic and ranking well in the search engine results.

Competitor analysis is a great way to find high-ROI keywords that others have already done the research on quickly. It’s also a good way to find lower-competition keyword opportunities to capitalize on yourself.

Which strategies do competitors appear to be using?

Competitor analysis isn’t complete until you have a clear picture of the strategies they’re using, too.

  • How do they appear to be monetizing their blog?
  • What do they do to promote their content?
  • How are they driving traffic to their blog?
  • Which keywords are they going after?
  • Is there a clear opportunity for creating better (more helpful) content than theirs?

This is particularly effective if your competitors are doing well.

You can learn a lot by studying how they operate—without spending a dime.

Decide how to set your blog apart

At the end of the day, the most important insight to come away with from doing competitor analysis is how you can set yourself apart from the crowd.

With thousands of blogs launched every day, one of the only ways you can succeed in the long term is by carving out a unique position for yourself within your niche.

To do that well, observe out what others aren’t doing—and make a call as to whether or not there’s a need you can fill in the market.

After you’ve spent some time analyzing the competition, let’s build another layer into your blog business plan.

3. Start and Grow Your Blog (the Profitable Way)

Now we come to the fun part—actually starting your blog .

If you already have a blog that’s live, you can skip down to the next section on mapping out your traffic generation strategy by clicking right here .

Starting a blog is very easy, but getting everything set up for being able to (soon) maximize your profit potential is a bit more nuanced.

The main difference is that you need to pay careful attention to your decisions and settings, as your blog is your primary business asset.

All of this is broken down in clear, step-by-step detail in this guide: How to Start a Blog (and Make Money) , but here’s the overview. These are the two most important aspects of setting up your blog.

Get your domain name and blog hosting

In its simplest form, a domain name is the name you give to your blog (.com, .co, .net, or otherwise).

And just like any business name, your domain name has to be registered. Try as much as possible to get a domain name that fits in with your brand, mission statement, or niche you’ll be blogging about. Use my free domain name generator to get tons of clever domain ideas.

How to Choose the Right Domain Name for Your Blog Ryan Robinson Homepage Example

Your web hosting plan on the other hand, is the service that actually gets your blog online (and discoverable on the Internet). That hosting service you choose will host your blog on their servers and keep your pages loading fast for the readers that discover your content.

It goes without saying, that you need to invest in a reliable hosting service to make sure you’re maximizing your opportunity to succeed.

I personally recommend Bluehost as they’re one of the most reliable, affordable and capable hosting companies that has a great team to help with technical support as you go.

Plus, they offer free domain registration when you sign up for your hosting plan.

Bluehost Hosting for Getting Your Blog Online (Bluehost Homepage)

If you’re not quite sure how to best name your blog, then dive a little deeper into this guide: How to Name a Blog (+ Examples) . And if you wan to shop around with your hosting options, check out these comparison guides, I keep regularly updated here on my blog:

  • The best month-to-month hosting plans on the market today
  • 9 of the best cheap hosting plans for blogging on a tight budget
  • My list of the top free hosting plans to get started without a budget

Design your blog with branding in mind

Another advantage of using Bluehost to power your blog is that they offer a one-click, easy WordPress installation immediately after you’ve signed up.

What is WordPress? WordPress is a simple blogging platform started in 2003 to help publishers, bloggers, and businesses quickly build, publish, and maintain websites without having to hire a technical team to do it, but WordPress has since become the most popular publishing platform in the world. Here’s what WordPress looks like behind the scenes:

Use WordPress in Your Blog Business Plan for Content Management (Screenshot)

The fact that WordPress also comes free makes it a no-brainer, as it means cutting down on your expenses (a bonus in any blog business plan).

As you design your website, make sure it feels professional enough to establish trust with the types of readers you want to attract and retain.

One aspect to nail right from the beginning is how you brand your blog. I’m not just talking about a beautiful logo (although that doesn’t hurt). Branding also includes:

  • Blog aesthetics : Aesthetics have to do with the visual appeal of your blog. Craft your blog layout in such a way that it’ll be attractive to your ideal audience and easy to navigate.
  • Blog personality : Your blog’s personality encompasses your writing tone, style, color palettes, and the vibe you want your readers to pick up on.
  • Your vision and mission : This will help dictate the content you produce. For example, my blog is all about helping fellow bloggers (like you) become more successful in turning their interests into a profitable online business.

For more, be sure to read my detailed guide: How to Start a Blog (and Make Money) to get all of the basic foundations squared away on your blog—before switching over to the traffic driving and revenue generating aspects of your blog business plan. And be sure to peek at these blog examples to see how successful blogs operate today.

4. Map Out Your Traffic Generation Strategy

Traffic is the currency of the Internet and one of the primary goals to work toward in your blog business plans. Without traffic, you won’t be able to monetize your blog.

Last year alone, my blog brought in over 4.4 Million readers—and it’s the helpful content I’ve provided for those readers that has helped me to generate in excess of $50,000/mo during some months of the year (through a combination of the many different ways I make money blogging ).

Blog Traffic Statistics (Google Analytics Screenshot) Executing a Blog Business Plan Example

The math is pretty simple here: more visitors = more revenue (potential) .

That’s why mapping out a clear plan for how you’ll bring more traffic to your blog over the long run is a critical step in creating your blog business plan.

Figure out how to nail your traffic sources for the types of readers you want to attract—and your blog business is almost guaranteed to thrive.

So how do you drive traffic to your blog?

Pulled from my (larger) guide: How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog , we’re going to break down a few of the highest-impact strategies for attracting readers to your blog.

Create niche-specific SEO optimized content

The largest single factor that’ll get more people to your blog is creating extremely value content within your niche.

If you can create content that’s worthy of being shared by your readers, then more people who stumble upon your article—whether it be from social media sites, search engines, online communities or otherwise—are going to want to spread the word to others they know.

The foundation for making that happen is providing real value within your niche.

However, no matter how great your content is, it still has to be discoverable on the search engines of the Internet (mainly Google, today).

That’s why you need to learn how to follow SEO best practices that can get your content discovered by more people. That includes things like:

  • Nailing your keyword research
  • Focusing on user intent and understanding the needs of searchers (not just search engines)
  • Taking your time writing SEO-friendly headlines
  • Using the right heading tags
  • Optimizing your page URL
  • Being strategic with your links
  • Crafting an enticing meta description
  • Optimizing your images
  • Ensuring mobile friendliness and reducing page loading times
  • Promoting your content (where your audience is spending their time online)

For a deep dive in how to quickly optimize your blog content, read my guide: 10 Blog SEO Strategies to Get More Readers today.

Use guest blogging to increase your reach

Guest blogging is hands down the #1 way to drive the best quality, highly targeted traffic to your blog (from the websites where your ideal readers are already spending their time).

Check out the spike in traffic I got from my very first guest post back in 2014 on the Buffer blog:

Google Analytics Traffic Graph of When My First Guest Post Published as Part of My Blog Business Plan

So, what’s guest blogging? It’s very simple, really.

Guest blogging is the act of writing a blog post that you publish on another website which is not your own—presumably one that has the right kind of audience you’re trying to tap into. It’s a win-win for the blog or publication that accepts your (high quality) guest post, because they’re getting free content that they want for their readers, and you’re getting the opportunity to tastefully link back to your own blog within the guest article.

Four of the biggest advantages you’ll get from guest blogging are:

  • Relevant traffic . This is extremely important, so make sure you’re guest blogging on sites frequented by your targeted audience (this comes down to smart blogger outreach ).
  • Build quality backlinks . Guest blogging is a great way to build your portfolio of reputable sites that link back to your blog (which is a positive signal search engines look at when evaluating the trust and credibility of a website). This in turn, will help improve your organic search rankings for your content over time.
  • Build brand awareness . Another great benefit of guest blogging as a new blogger is that it helps get your brand in front of more people, giving your new blog an opportunity to connect with new readers.
  • Establish your authority . One way you can set yourself apart from your competitors is by establishing yourself as an authority in your niche. Guest posting helps you do just that.

Now, it goes without saying that your guest posts have to be of the highest standards if you hope for your campaign to actually pay off on that objective of attracting readers who want more of your content. This far into your blog business plan though, I have no doubt you’re committed.

Build and grow an email list

Another dependable way of driving traffic (back) to your blog, is by building an email list of readers who’ve already consumed your content—and want to return for more.

ConvertKit Email Subscriber Figures December 2019 Ryan Robinson Blog Income Report

Growing your email list (over time) is one of the best ways to consistently bring more people to your blog. And blog email marketing isn’t as daunting a task as it may sound—it can even help you monetize faster with affiliate marketing & create a more successful business for you.

One of the most important ways of ensuring that you build an active and engaged email list, is to create a truly beneficial lead magnet that your target audience will find worthy of signing up to your email list, in order to get access to your gated content.

You’ll also need a reliable email service provider to help you with delivering your subscriber emails, eventually setting up automations and more.

If you want a deeper dive on how to be a better email marketer with your blog, read my guide: Email Marketing for Bloggers This Year .

Craft a creative social media marketing strategy

Social media—whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest (or otherwise)—is a great channel you can use to promote your blog content and drive traffic back to it.

Ryan Robinson Twitter Account Screenshot to See How to Promote Content on Social Media in Your Blog Business Plan

Make sure to genuinely connect with members of your community on the social platform(s) you choose to invest your time on—and be sure you grow a following on the main social media channel that your ideal audience actually spends time on.

If you use Instagram to promote your blog , use an Instagram follower tracker tool. If you see no increase in the number of followers, it means you should improve your content and create more engaging posts.

When you’re just getting started and still on a tight blog budget , organically sharing your content is the best way to go (as it’s completely free), and you can focus on connecting individually with people who seem to fit the profile of a potential reader.

However, as you grow (and start generating revenue on your blog), you can also increase your reach by promoting your posts and targeting a specific audience.

If you can drive traffic to your website (the right traffic, that is), then turning your blog into a money-making machine becomes a matter of giving your audience what they need… and finding win-win ways to provide more value in exchange for a payment.

5. Formulate Your Blog’s Work Process

Formulating a true process by which you’ll bring your blog business plan off the paper and into the real world is a critical step.

Your work process will be the roadmap that’ll direct the activities you spend your time on (creating content, promoting it, monetizing it) in order to push yourself forward and up to hitting your blog business goals. Some of the processes you’ll need to develop a clear game plan for include:

Deciding how often you’ll create and post content

Content, be it written, audio, or video, is the backbone of every successful blog.

The better your content, the more attractive (and profitable) your blog will be. For this reason, you need to develop both a smart blog strategy and a logical content marketing strategy , then stick to it.

Here’s a quick preview of what my content editorial calendar looks like. You can grab a free copy of it right here —and I recommend picking up my free blog post templates too.

How to Develop a Content Strategy (Calendar Screenshot Google Doc) in a Blog Business Plan

Aside from just the editorial calendar that dictates when you should publish new articles (and what those topics/titles should be), other aspects of content creation you’ll need to decide on include answering questions like:

  • How are you thinking about your blog titles ? Use my free blog title generator tool to help.
  • Will you be doing all of the writing yourself? If not, can you afford to hire writing help?
  • What’s a realistic goal for how often you can expect to publish a new article?
  • How will you promote your content ?
  • Are you going to get any custom designs or images for your content? Who will be in charge of your designs?

The bottom line, as far as content creation goes, is that you have to create high quality content that positively impacts outcomes for your readers (consistently).

When and why you should outsource

As with every business, growth eventually leads to one thing—work overload.

While it may not be today, you do need to anticipate and prepare for this stage in your blog business by determining when you should start outsourcing certain components of your process. The simple reality is that you can’t always do everything, and you’ll stand to get much quicker results on your blog if you can afford to bring on some help every now and then. Plus on the positive side, hiring contractors to help with tasks on your blog can make for a nice deduction when it comes to doing your taxes for bloggers at the end of the year.

It’s also important that you know which tasks you’ll outsource first, and strive to outline that early on in your blog business plans so that you have a set of rules to fall back upon when processes start to break down.

Trying to do everything on your own can lead to quality issues or worse—result in burnout that can lead to abandoning your blog altogether.

How much time you’ll spend on your blog business

One of the biggest advantages of running a blog is that you can do it as a side business for as long as you’d like.

However, just because it’s a side business, doesn’t mean you can neglect your blog and expect it to continue growing in spite of your lack of attention.

You have to decide from the beginning:

  • How many hours each day (and week) you can safely commit to your blog business
  • Find the exact blocks of time you’ll be using during the day—and put placeholders on your calendar
  • Respect the commitment you’ve made to the growth of your blog
  • Know that however much time you’re able to invest determines how much bloggers make
  • Set realistic expectations for how long it’ll take to make money from your blog

All the planning in the world isn’t worth a thing if you don’t stick to the times you’ve allocated for working on your blog. As a quick aside, if you’re having trouble with your content planning efforts, you can grab my free blog planner bundle and turn things up a notch today.

Carve out as much time as you can realistically spend—and naturally, the more, the better. It’ll not only help you grow your blog (and income) faster, but it’ll also help you view and value your blog as a serious business.

Make sure to detail your work process within your blog business plan (and follow it as strictly as possible).

It’ll require the formation of new habits and a level of discipline on your part—but so does everything in life that’s worth working hard to achieve.

6. Launch (and Optimize) Your Blog

Starting a blog is certainly not the lazy person’s ticket to riches (as many claim it to be). I’ll be the first to tell you it’s a ton of work.

Building a profitable blog takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears… as you can see from my personal journey executing my own blog business plan. But the rewards are well worth the effort.

Ryan Robinson Blogger Working in Coffee Shop on a Blog Business Plan

If you make it this far in your blog business plan—to launching your blog and shifting over to working hard on growing it— then congratulations! You need to reward yourself.

By this point, you’ll have:

  • Set your blog business goals
  • Carved out a clear niche for yourself
  • Researched your audience
  • Designed and built your blog (optimizing it for SEO)

And you’ve probably figured out an article or two you’re ready to start writing by now as well. Be sure to try my free AI article writer tool if you want to experiment with how AI writing tools can amplify your blogging efforts.

So… once you officially launch your blog, it’s time to boost the awareness and begin attracting readers.

Tap into the right online communities

There’s an art and science to figuring out exactly where your ideal readers spend their time online. Start by asking them!

My best blogging advice is to experiment with these platforms as well:

  • Start answering questions on Quora (and tastefully link back to your blog when appropriate)
  • Engage in thoughtful discussion on sites like Reddit and carefully test the waters promoting your blog after building your credibility in a space
  • Find niche communities on Slack, groups on Facebook, and forums on LinkedIn, and track down independently owned community sites that focus on your vertical

This is one of the most important times to  start building your good will in relevant online communities within your niche.

It’s these relationships you begin forming today that can lead to years-long collaborations, an influx of targeted readers, and more.

Promote your content on social media

If you already have some followers or friends on a particular social media platform, then start there.

Ask for support, build some buzz to lead up to your launch day and see how involved you can get your social network into your content creation process.

Now, if you don’t have much of a social presence today—that’s ok. It’s time to start planting the seeds of how you’re going to build one .

Check out my in-depth guide about how to promote your blog for several more proven strategies that’ve helped thousands of my readers build more profitable blogs.

Ask your network for help in getting the word out

One of the biggest benefits of blogging, is that it helps you build a network of like-minded people… and the chances are high that you  already have at least a small network of people you relate well with—ranging from friends to family, co-workers, former classmates, industry associates or otherwise.

And guess what? The person behind every meaningful relationship in your life wants to see you succeed.

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends to help you launch your blog. A few ways you can do this is by asking them to:

  • Announce your launch by re-sharing your social media posts
  • Take a guest post from you for their blog (if it’s a relevant destination)
  • Be a featured guest on their podcast—or ask for an introduction to a more relevant show host

There are many other ways you can leverage your network, but this gives you a pretty good idea of where you can start.

7. Download My Free Blog Business Plan Template (Google Doc and PDF)

Your blog business plan only works if you do (first). A blog can become a very meaningful, profitable business venture.

But in order to grow your site to that stage, it requires a strategic blog business plan. I’d highly recommend downloading my free blog business plan template today.

Grab my free blog business planning template in both Google Doc and PDF format (that’s helped me build a six-figure blog) and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today.


More than just a blog business plan, running a profitable blog requires a lot of commitment, discipline, and consistent hard work.

If you can pull it off though, you stand to increase your chances of escaping the 9-to-5 employment world—and give yourself the freedom to live life on your own terms as a full-time blogger with a real business model powering your long-term growth.

So, if you haven’t already, start drafting your own blog business plan using the structure I’ve broken down in this guide.

And if you need more actionable steps on how to turn your blog into a viable business, read my ultimate guide: How to Make Money Blogging This Year .

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Hi I'm Ryan Robinson

I'm a blogger, but I'm not my blog. I am not my business either. Occasional podcaster and very-much-recovering side project addict. Co-Founder at RightBlogger . Join me here, on to learn how to start a blog and build a purpose-connected business. Be sure to take my free blogging tools for a spin... especially my wildly popular free keyword research tool & AI article writer . They rule. Somehow, I also find time to write for publications like Fast Company , Forbes , Entrepreneur , The Next Web , Business Insider , and more. Let’s chat on Twitter (X?) and YouTube about our feelings (and business, of course).

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147 replies to “How to Create a Blog Business Plan (Free Template) in 7 Easy Steps: How I’ve Earned $1 Million+ Blogging”

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Wonderful, thank you

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I really need this information, thank you so much for sharing amazing information. I am currently building a website. Little nervous but I am going to make it.

Wishing you all the luck, Tanmai! You can do it 🙂

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Thank you so much for this free blog business plan. I want to create a blog, but didn’t have any idea where to start. Honestly, I rarely give my email address to a website because I don’t think the freebies are worth it. In this case, I’m so glad I did. Your How to Create a Blog Business Plan provided everything a new blogger needs to get their ideas organized and understand the purpose behind it. I will be checking out your site in the future for more guidance as my blog gets rolling. Thanks again for the great content!

You’re welcome, Erin! Looking forward to seeing how you do with your blog soon 🙂 and please let me know anytime you have a question I can help with!

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Should I use a pen name? In these polarized times, I am not so sure I would want someone to Google my uncommon, generally unpronoucable, unspellable French Canadian surname and find me, or even worse, since my town posts its tax list online, show up at my door.

Writing would be a new business for me, so no loss of continuity. I have a junk Facebook to join a couple of groups, but my hopes of moving have been put on hold so the information is irrevelant until I can. I have not interacted with anyone there. I doubt I even used my real name!

Is there an advantage to incorporating in a state different than the one of residence? When I Googled “ryanrob” to take me back to this site, I noted a different place of incorporation and was curious.

Good question! Using a pen name is totally your choice, I don’t personally go that route but there’s nothing wrong with it. My business is incorporated in California (where I live), and in my experience there are only advantages to be had by incorporating in more tax-friendly states like Delaware (or other countries) once you have a very substantial amount of income—though I’m personally an advocate of contributing my share 🙂

Want my free blog business plan template?

Portrait of Ryan Robinson

Grab a copy of my blog business plan template (in a Google Doc and PDF) that helped me build a six-figure blog and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today.



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How to Create a Bangin’ Blog Business Plan (Workbook Included!)

Melyssa Griffin

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This is my digital home, where I offer unfiltered advice and offerings about how to choose self expression, inner healing, ancient wisdom, and alignment as the pathway to real and lasting abundance.

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Get this: I did a recent survey of my audience (hey, like you!) and almost 75% of the people who responded said that they would love to turn their blog into a full-time business. Awesome, right?

Well, kind of.

Of everyone who responded, only about 15% said that they were actually making a living from their blog right now. So, what gives? What’s with all the people who yearn to do it compared to the small amount of people actually making it happen? For one, if you want to turn your blog into a business, you need to have a solid and strategic plan in place. That’s where today’s post comes into play. I’m going to show you how to create a Blog Business Plan , which is one of the first things you should do if you’re interested in one-day earning a full-time income from your blog.

how to write a blogging business plan

Also, if The Oprah Winfrey Show ever comes back for an encore, I’d love to see Oprah throw out blog businesses to her audience.  You get to earn a full-time income from your blog! And YOU get to earn a full-time income from your blog!  Make it happen, O.

Back to business here. 😉 Business plans, at their core, are used by nearly all profitable businesses in the world. Creating a business plan for your blog gives you the opportunity to nail down all of the specifics, do important research, and create strategies that will propel you forward. It is essentially a roadmap of your blog business, written with your audience in mind.

I’ve even got some free worksheets for you, that will guide you through this post and give you a free Blog Business Plan that you can download, print out, and keep forever. Sound good?

Download your free workbook here:

how to write a blogging business plan

Now, we’re ready to dive in! Let’s do this, yo. Here are the key components of a Blog Business Plan:

Step 1: Executive Summary

“Executive Summary” sounds really fancy pants, doesn’t it? It’s the very first section of your business plan, which is often written last, after everything else comes together. Here’s what you will want to include in your executive summary:

1. Your Mission Statement

This briefly explains what your business is about. What purpose does it serve? Why did you create it?

2. Highlights of Your Growth

If your blog has been around for any span of time, then you can mention the growth that you’ve already received here. You can mention any sort of growth, from an increase in money earned from your blog, to an increase in social media followers or pageviews. All of your growth contributes to your overall blog business, so this section is important (and motivating, yeah?).

3. Your products or services.

You’ll have the chance to talk more about your products and services in a later section, but here, write a couple brief sentences about the monetization methods you are using or the ones you intend to use.

4. Finally, what are your goals?

Here, you get to do some planning for the future! Always exciting, yes? Where do you plan to take your blog business in the future? What are some holy-crap-I-want-to-accomplish-this-one-day goals you have?

HOLD UP. What if you’re brand new to blogging?

In that case, you may not be able to fill out some of the sections above as easily. Instead, focus on your experience and how YOU are able turn your blog into a business. You can think of it as almost like a cover letter — what kind of research have you done and experience do you have that will make your business succeed? After that, make sure to talk about your future goals. Anyone can plan for the future. 😀

Step 2: Blog Business Description

In this section, we’re going to tackle the organization and culture of your blog business. You may not feel like you have a “company culture” just yet, but you are certainly building a brand, which is nearly the same thing. *hair flip* Let’s do this.

1. What sets your blog apart from others?

Take some time to think about this one — why would someone read  your blog over another, similar blog? In Step 4, we’re going to do some serious competitor analysis, but for now, just think about how you’re different and what you can do to separate yourself from your competition.

2. Who do you serve?

Your Blog Business Plan basically revolves around your target market. Actually, just about everything that you do for your blog should revolve around them! Without an audience, it will be impossible to grow a community around your blog or turn it into a full-time business. So, get really clear about who you serve.

  • How old are they?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What brought them to your blog?
  • How can you help them?
  • What are their future goals or aspirations?
  • What are their hobbies?

Keep in mind, even if you are new to blogging and don’t have much of an audience to analyze, you can absolutely still take part in this section. Truthfully, blogging is not about creating content and trying to figure out who is reading it. It’s the opposite — deciding who you want to serve and then creating content that helps that specific type of person. Get it? 😉

Related: How to Choose a Focus for Your Blog (And Why It’s the Most Important Thing You’ll Do As a Blogger)

3. What is your “company culture” or brand personality?

You may not be running a business casual office for your blog, but you still have a brand personality and culture to uphold.

  • When people interact with you or your blog, what do you want them to feel?
  • What words would you use to describe your blog’s personality?
  • What purpose does your blog serve?

The answers to these questions will help to analyze what your brand personality is. Developing a true personality for your blog means that you are consistent. It’s okay to try on different hats at first, but the most successful blogs are ones that have a distinct personality (perhaps similar to your own personality, you little blog hustler, you!).

4. What is the organizational structure of your blog business?

This may not be a concern for you at the moment, but in the future you may want to turn your blog into a recognized “corporation,” like an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). If you are currently running a blog and accepting money as a blogger, then you obviously need to file taxes on that income. However, as you work with more clients and customers, turning your blog biz into an LLC or Incorporation (Inc) can protect your income and business from things like lawsuits.

If you’re just getting started, I would recommend waiting to turn your blog into an LLC or Inc unless you are in some sort of high-risk blogging industry. *Casually puts on sunglasses like and walks off into the sunset.* When I started my first business through my blog, it took me about a year before I turned it into an LLC. If you are the only employee and choose not to create an LLC or Incorporation, then you are simply known as a “sole proprietor,” which is totally legal and fuss-free.

Related: How to File Taxes as a Blogger

Step 3: Competitor Analysis

Before launching your blog into a business, it’s important to research your competitors and similar blogs, so that you can try to stay ahead of the game. A little warning for you though: When doing your research, make sure of two things:

  • You’re researching with analysis eyes, not copycat eyes. It can be easy to look at a competitor’s website and get a flood of ideas for your own blog. Don’t do that, k?
  • If your competitors are farther along than you, don’t feel let down.  It’s okay if they have a larger following, earn more money, or have some other statistic that has got you feeling like a failure. Remember, you’re here. Right now. Putting in the work. This isn’t about looking at other people and playing the comparison game. This is about being analytical and doing your research so that you can build your own empire. You got this, yo. Promise.

Lastly, I just want to mention that analyzing your competitors is an important part of starting a business, but it doesn’t mean you have to operate from a “competition mindset.” In fact, I’d discourage it. You will get much farther in your blog business if you focus on collaboration and relationships than if you focus on competing with other people. This section is simply another important way for you to do research so that you can build a strong foundation for your future online biz. *fist bump*

Now, when doing your competitor analysis, you’ll want to take the following steps:

1. Identify who your competitors are.

Make a list of all of your competitors. Which other bloggers are in your niche, doing something similar to you or to what you want to do? Which other bloggers have potentially similar products or offerings? Write down who they are, with a link to their website.

Now, if you’re brand new to blogging, then you may not know who your competitors are. Here are a few ways to find them:

  • By being active on social media.  The more active you are on social media (so long as you’re sharing content for your niche), the more you’ll naturally discover who your potential competitors are. Observe. See who people are talking about, sharing content from, and engaging with.
  • By joining Facebook groups.  Facebook groups are a fabulous place to learn more about your market and competition. Again, observe in Facebook groups. You’re obviously welcomed (and encouraged) to participate, but make sure that you are also observing what people say. Who do they mention? You can also start a new thread in a Facebook group (so long as it’s not against the group rules) to ask who people’s inspirations are in _____ niche. That should deliver some stellar results!
  • By searching for relevant keywords on Google and seeing what pops up.  This is one of the easiest strategies. Think of a few “keywords” to describe your blog or niche. For example, if you write about hand-lettering, then some of your keywords might be “hand-letting for beginners” or “best calligraphy tools.” If you type your keywords into Google or Pinterest, whose content pops up first? These may very well be some of your competitors.

2. Research your competitors’ strategies and goals.

Now that you know who your competition is, take some time to research their strategies and goals. Go through their websites and social media accounts.

  • What do they promote and how do they promote it?
  • Are there any strategies that many of your competitors seem to use (for example, are most of them hosting webinars)?
  • What sets them apart from the other competitors on your list?
  • What goals do they have? Of course, you may not know the answer to this, but based on your research, what do you feel they are trying to achieve?

3. Know your competitors’ price points and ranges for their products.

If your competition has any products for sale, then write down what the price ranges are for those products. This will give you an overview of how much is typical for a product you may create one day and what your target audience is used to paying.

4. Create a list of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, after reviewing their websites, strategies, and offerings, you’ll probably have a good idea about what exactly “exists” in your niche and how people are creating their businesses and blog communities. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Choose 3-5 of your competitors and make a list of some of their strengths and weaknesses. What do they excel at and what can they improve? And how can you use that knowledge to craft your own, well-rounded strategy?

Again, the competitor analysis is a great way to get more tuned in to the trends and strategies that are alive and kickin’ in your niche.

After you’ve done your competitor analysis? Don’t visit your competitors’ sites again.

Yup. Seriously serious. You will  not reach your goals if you spend your time checking in on what everyone else is doing and trying to replicate it. So, do your research, decide what works for you, and then create your own path.

Step 4: Audience Research

In Step 2, you identified who your target market is. Now, we’re going to dig in a little further!

1. Research your audience by doing a survey.

Surveys are a killer way to understand more about your audience without having to guess. You can use free sites like SurveyMonkey or Typeform  to create your survey, and then you just need to share it with your peeps. I recommend sharing it with your email list, on your blog, and on social media multiple times during a 1-2 week span of time.

  • What will you use to create your survey?
  • What are three of the most important questions you can ask that will help you learn more about your audience?
  • How will you deliver your survey to your audience and get people to take it?

If your audience is small or currently non-existent, then rather than doing a survey, you can put on your observation glasses and pay attention on social media. Again, things like Facebook groups and Twitter chats are amazing ways to gain more information about your target audience. Just make sure to join groups and chats where your target market would be hangin’ out.

2. How can you help your audience specifically?

Going back to the Brand Personality that we talked about in Step 2 and the Competitor Analysis that we did in Step 3, how can YOU help your audience? What sets your blog apart from others and allows you to help your peeps in a different way? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here! You can use many of the same strategies that others do, but it’s just about adding your own flair and personality to the things you create.

Step 5: Building Community

Before you launch a product through your blog, it’s essential to first grow your community and audience. If you want to grow a blog business, then you can buy all the e-courses and books you’d like. But if they only give you strategies for creating and launching product, without strategies for first building a strong audience and growing your traffic, then it’s just unlikely you’ll get the same results. For a successful blog, you totally need both: a community and a product.

1. Social media

One of the best ways to build community is by harnessing the power of social media. Social media is a ridiculously helpful space for growing your tribe and increasing your traffic. You can focus on Pinterest for traffic growth , and Twitter/Facebook/Instagram for finding your potential audience members and engaging with them.

So, for your blog business plan, it’s important to create your social media strategy.

  • On which platforms will you put the most emphasis?
  • Where does your target market hang out the most?
  • What strategies will you use on each platform in order to grow your audience and community?
  • How will you find your target audience on social media?

Related: 6 Ways to Create a More Engaged Audience on Instagram

2. Email list

In addition to partying on social media, you also want to put a large focus on your email list. Not only will your email list be essential for selling your products, but it will also be an incredible medium for connecting with your audience.

  • Which strategies will you use to grow your email list?
  • How often will you communicate with your list?
  • Which types of things will you send your email list?
  • What will you use for your email list’s lead magnet ?

Related:  8 Things You Can Send to Your Email List (For the Blogger Who Has No Idea What to Say)

3. Humanizing your brand

If you’re going to build a true blog business and community, you have to “humanize your brand.” In other words, what steps will you take so that your audience feels connected to you and can relate to you? Remember, people don’t buy from faceless corporations; they buy from people.

Related: How to Prime and Grow Your Audience for Your First Info Product

Step 6: Your Service or Product

Woop woop! It’s time to start planning your monetization strategies. Exciting, right? Now’s your chance to decide  how you will turn your blog into a biz. Will you launch services? Will you create an e-product? Here are some steps to get you started.

1. What do/will you sell?

What is a product or service that would help your target market or is something that you know they need (because you did a survey or observed them!)?

Don’t be afraid to get a little detailed here.

  • Will it be an e-course?
  • How many modules will it have?
  • Which topics will it cover?
  • How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • When will you launch it?
  • Will it be a set of services?
  • What kind of service packages will you offer?

Related: How to Create and Prepare Your First E-Product

2. How does your product or service benefit your peeps?

Remember, your blog business plan is all about serving  your audience . They are the people who can turn your blog into a community and a business, so we want to serve them! Think critically about the monetization method you chose in the previous step…how will that product or service impact the lives of your tribe members? Why do they need or want it?

3. How is your product or service different from what your competitors are selling?

Lastly, go back to your competitor research and take a look at what your competitors are selling and promoting. How is your offering different, or how can you make it different? Is there anything you could add to your offering that would make it feel even more valuable than whatever else is out there?

Step 7: Marketing and Sales Strategy

Holy moly. You are such a trooper for making it this far. Who knew planning a business could be so much work? 😉 But really, you are putting in the effort right now and I am straight up impressed. Finally, we’re going to talk about your marketing and sales strategy, because once you create your products or services, you actually need to promote them! Let’s get started.

1. How will you market your products, services, and blog?

Take a moment to write down the methods that you will use to market your products, services, and blog. Will you use Facebook ads, schedule tweets, create a robust Pinterest strategy ? Write down all of the methods you’ll employ when promoting and marketing your content.

If you’re looking for ways to market your e-product or service, then check out this post where I share a variety of ways to market and launch your offerings.

2. How long will you spend on marketing and promotion per day?

We’re all busy, right? But turning your blog into a business does take some time. Make sure you analyze how much time you’ll realistically be able to spend on marketing and promotion each day and week. You may need to make some sacrifices or move your schedule around, but it will be worth it when you sell your first e-product and realize you’ve got what it takes to create your own business. 🙂

3. If you haven’t started your blog, what strategies will you use to launch it?

Now, if you’re a new blogger, you may need to start by creating a “launch” strategy specifically for your blog! How will your blog come into existence? What are some things you can do to launch your blog with a bang and get people excited about what you create and do?

One simple technique is to launch your blog with 5-10 pre-published (and freakin’ awesome) posts. If you only have one or two posts for your new visitors to browse during your launch, then they might not find anything that’s relevant to them. Creating multiple pieces of content gives them the chance to browse your site for a longer period of time, find something that interests them, and potentially subscribe and get hooked on your brand.

4. What is your growth strategy? In other words, what techniques will you use to continue growing your audience and income?

Finally (finally!), you want to come up with some strategies that you can use to  grow your brand. Imagine that your blog has been around for a few months or even years (maybe it has!) — what types of marketing and promotion strategies will you use to keep your growth on the up and up? Will you do monthly webinars? Biweekly guest posts on bigger sites? Hire an assistant? Launch a new course every quarter? Think about some things that you can add to your tool belt, which will keep your blog business growing and thriving.

MAJOR high five to you, friend. I can tell that you’re here because you’re truly ready to take your blog to a new level by turning it into a community and launching your very own blog business. Doing the same for my own blog (this one you’re reading!), was one of the absolute best decisions of my life.

What is something you struggle with in terms of turning your blog into a community and launching your own products? Let’s chat down below!

p.s. If you’re eager to turn your blog into a business, then I’ve got something BIG coming for you at the end of November. Make sure you sign up for the free Blog Business Plan Worksheets here so that you’re notified when more details are released!

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Back to blog home.

My name is Melyssa Griffin

I believe that an unstoppable mindset can be your #1 business tactic. So, my job is to lead you back to yourself and to help you reprogram the limiting beliefs and patterns that are keeping you small. 

Around these parts, I share my best business secrets, as well as help you cultivate a life of true freedom, purpose, and fun. I’m also big on bear hugs, anything unconventional and creative, and teaching people like you how to live an abundant and limitless life. Let’s get weird.


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How She Grew an Email List of 5,000 Subscribers and Had a $20,000 Course Launch (In a Tiny Niche!) 

If you’ve been in my sphere for awhile now, you know that one of the things I am most passionate about is community and helping others reach their potential by going after their dreams...

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6 things you need to know about coming up with a profitable e-course idea, read the post.

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The Sacred Power of Cacao with Christine Hernandez (episode 111)

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Uplevel Your Life with Hypnosis with Juliet C. Obodo (episode 110)

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Hey! I’m Melyssa.

I’m a former school teacher turned entrepreneur who believes that the best way to grow a thriving business is to heal the leader behind the scenes (that’s you!). Together, we’ll reprogram the limiting beliefs and patterns that are keeping you stuck so that you can create unapologetic success and abundance.

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  • The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Blog Business Plan…

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Blog Business Plan (Updated)

James Parsons

Listen to audio podcast

Blog Plan

What sets apart the top-tier blogs in every industry and the blogs most people run? What's the difference between success and mediocrity? As often as anything, the answer is a business plan.

When many people start a blog, they don't have a goal, plan, or drive to succeed. They might know some of the basics of how a blog can be a business. They might know some of the elements of SEO, something about marketing, maybe they've read about maintaining a schedule, and an assortment of other tips and tricks for blogging success.

Few people realize that developing and adhering to a business plan is critical if you want your blog to succeed. You can't simply write some content every week and expect to compete on par with industry giants. Even if you keep at it for years, you might never make a break-even point, let alone a successful brand.

What is a business plan? It is many things.

  • A business plan is a roadmap. It guides your business from A-B-C and beyond, with each milestone marked as a tangible goal or achievement.
  • A business plan is a tangible document. It's something you can open up and reference to ensure that you're keeping your business on track.
  • A business plan is for accountability. You have tangible goals and a roadmap to achieving them. If you fall behind or veer off track, your business plan holds you accountable.
  • A business plan is priorities. It's a document that helps you guide your efforts to know what to do next and where to spend your energy.
  • A business plan is a prediction. No business has smooth, even growth. There will always be ups and downs, challenges and problems to solve along the way. A business plan helps you predict what and when those challenges may occur.

How do you, a newcomer to blogging (and someone using a blog for their business), go about creating a business plan for a blog?

Blog Strategy Template

Business plans vary as widely as business owners do. Some businesses run on a single-page document of outlines and a bunch of information in the CEO's head. Others have comprehensive living documents filled to the brim with details, guiding every move the business makes. Most are somewhere in between.

Before you can start making a business plan, you need to know what goes into one. What I've done here is pared down many of the business plan examples I've seen online and added some missing steps to create something that is "middle of the road," so to speak. It's not the most comprehensive and detailed business plan, but neither is it the simplest. You can feel free to pick and choose what ends up being the most useful to you.

For example, if you're starting a blog, how important is setting up a members-only area, subscription service, or affiliate account? In your first month, it's not very important; your first goal is to get traffic because monetization strategies aren't actualized until you have some.

Blog/Brand/Executive Summary

First up, we have the executive summary. While this might sound fancy and over-the-top for a one-person operation like a new blog, it's a pretty critical part of a business plan.

What is it?

Executive Summary Step

Simply put, it's your elevator pitch, your vision, your reminder to yourself of what your blog is and what purpose it serves. It can include elements such as:

  • A mission statement.  Why did you make your blog? What is your goal? What do you want your blog to look like when it's successful?
  • A growth summary.  If you're starting a blog from scratch, you don't have milestones yet - you can ignore this for now. If your site has been around for a while, this is where you chart out your existing growth milestones. When did you first start to see organic traffic? When did you make your first sale? You can use this as a motivating force, too.
  • A monetization summary.  How do you want to monetize your blog? You don't need to go into great detail here; note down the methods you want to use. Display ads, affiliate links, sponsored content, product sales, services, consulting; there are tons of monetization options, and this is where you list what you want to use (and what you don't).
  • A goals list.  Later on, you can talk about SMART goals, but you're just listing your pie-in-the-sky goals here. Do you want to make a living? Do you want to get links and citations from major publications? Do you want to network with your favorite bloggers in the industry? This list is where you outline the goals that make you think "I made it" when you achieve them.

Remember, none of this needs to go into great detail. It's an overview, a summary, and it doesn't need to be anything more. That's what your business plan is for; remember, this plan is for your blog.

Your Unique Value

Next up, you need to dig deep and consider what you have to offer to the world via your blog. What are you bringing to the table that makes people want to follow you, read your content, partake in your monetization strategies, and otherwise make your business a success?

Tips from Multiple Experts

Again, we're still thinking in more general terms, not deep specifics. You can dig into the specifics later when you do competitive analysis and take a look at the niche and industry you're entering. So, some ideas to get you started:

  • You offer unique insight and information about your topic based on your own experience.
  • You offer a look at a newcomer's journey from start to finish that others can use as an example.
  • You have a new and innovative product you want to bring to market.
  • You can offer an existing product presented in a new and exciting way or for a lower price or higher quality than what already exists.
  • You have a unique perspective on your industry based on your demographics, past experiences, or situation.

These ideas exist to get you started as much as anything. Some of these apply more to businesses that want to sell a product and use a blog to do it. People who want to be bloggers and make a living on the side might not have goods in mind. There are many potential unique selling points, so feel free to dig deeper into the subject with posts like this:

Competitive Analysis

What is your niche? Are you starting a food blog? A marketing blog? A blog about sports? Music? Any topic you can imagine is something you can write a blog about, so long as you have the expertise to fuel it, or at the very least the interest to learn. Hobbies, careers, it's all viable. There are people with incredible, insightful, and fascinating blogs about organic chemistry, nitty-gritty marketing subjects, and other narrow niches.

Competitor Search Tool

The key isn't just knowing what your niche is; it's about knowing  who else is competing in your industry.  Performing detailed competitor analysis allows you to build an awareness of the field and figure out who you're competing with and aspiring to be.

Before I dig into how to do this, it's worth mentioning that this can change over time. Your focus and direction within your niche can change in response to your interests changing, the interests of your audience changing, and the industry as a whole changing. Your competitor analysis is, as I mentioned up above, a living document. Things change; you need to change with them.

The actual process for competitive analysis can be somewhat complicated. I'm going to simplify it a bit here under the assumption that you're just starting with a blog and business plan, so you might not have a lot of information when you first start. Once you grow and begin to find your feet, you'll be able to refine this. Competitive analysis is something you should often do because competitors come and go.

Competing Domains Ahrefs

If you want a more refined look, HubSpot has a great guide here:

In short, you need to:

1. Figure out who your competitors are. Identify as many other blogs in your niche as you can, from other small-scale blogs to the giants in the industry.

2. Figure out the scale of your competitors. Rank them; ones who are smaller than you, ones on par with you, larger than you, and as many tiers larger as you feel like dividing them.

3. Pin down information about your closest competitors. What do they do to monetize? How often do they produce new content, and of what quality level? How do they advertise their blog and their products? What sort of holes in their strategy can you identify and potentially be able to exploit?

4. What kind of audience is the competitor targeting, and how engaged are they?

If you're starting with a brand new marketing blog, don't make the mistake of digging into analysis for "competitors" that aren't your competition. For example, you're more likely to analyze me than you are HubSpot, Neil Patel, or Moz.

We create blog content that converts - not just for ourselves, but for our clients, too.

We pick blog topics like hedge funds pick stocks. Then, we create articles that are 10x better to earn the top spot.

Content marketing has two ingredients - content and marketing. We've earned our black belts in both.

Audience Definition

Armed with information about your competitors, niche, and industry, you can now start to do audience definition. If possible, you're going to want to build up a list of  audience personas . These are sort of like "character sheets" for archetypal examples of a blog reader. Who are you going to try to target with your blog? The single mom, the college student, the theater performer, and so on.

Market and Audience

What sort of information is helpful?

  • Different age groups like other kinds of content and have different types of interests. Older people might like a more formalized language, for example, and might not get video game references.
  • You want to relate to your audience, so knowing the kinds of careers they have can help. A food blog creating elaborate, time-consuming recipes won't resonate with an audience of people who have 10 minutes to cook dinner.
  • Understand your visitor's goals. Why is this person visiting your site? Do they want to be educated, need a tutorial for a task, or are they just interested in the subject and want to read about it?
  • Other demographics. Gender, sexual identity, general location, income level, marital status; again, all of these help you relate and resonate with your audience and fulfill your reader's needs in a way that keeps them coming back.

Your personas can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make them. They're also just guesswork, at least initially. If you don't have traffic, you don't have an actual audience to measure, after all. These guesses are just examples of who you want to target. Then, once you have some traffic, you can see who you're attracting and adjust accordingly.

Content Production Pipeline

In my mind, the most critical part of a business plan is establishing a content production pipeline for your blog content. From start to finish, you should have a defined methodology for creating your content.

The number one most critical aspect of content production is topic ideation. You can spend a decade writing content in a niche, but if you're writing random topics that come to mind, you might never resonate with other people, never get picked up by Google, and never have any success.

Content Calendar Example

Every good blog post needs to recognize three things. First, it needs to understand the topic it's covering. Second, it needs to know the audience it's targeting. Third, it needs to grasp the intent of the audience. All three of these combine to create a good blog post.

The audience and their intent can define one subject. For example, let's take a food blog's post about dinner. Your topic is, in general, dinner meals.

  • An audience of nutritionists might have questions about the importance of eating dinner, what nutritional profiles it should fit, and how different diets compare.
  • An audience of food lovers might be interested in elaborate recipes with stunning presentations that they can replicate or enjoy vicariously.
  • An audience of busy working adults might be interested in quick and easy dinner recipes they can follow to make a quick family meal in under an hour.

Thus, by learning who the audience is and what they want, you can shape your content to improve engagement and user experience.

Should it be educational? Should it be deep or superficial? Should it be instructive? All of these have their roles, which is why you need to know what you're producing.

For your blog to perform, it's also necessary for you to focus on competitive topic analysis. You're not the only one covering this topic and probably not the only one targeting this audience with it. How do other blogs compare? Are they shorter, lower-quality posts or longer, high-quality posts? Are they deep or broad? Are the sites that are surfacing small or massive? Did they leave anything out, or can you expand on this topic and create a much better version?

Competition Analysis for Blog

You can also analyze the core keyword of the topic. Specifically, you're looking for subjects that strike the right balance between search volume and competition. A blog topic with too much competition will be impossible to rank for, and a blog post that doesn't get any organic traffic is a failure in my eyes. A topic with too little search volume will get you little or no traffic, even if you rank #1 for it. It would help if you found something in the middle.

From there, your content production pipeline gets into the actual details of production. Here's my general process:

  • Begin with topic ideation, as mentioned above.
  • Do the research and generate a compelling headline.
  • Create an outline for the blog post .
  • Flesh out the outline, rearrange sections into a logical order and write the post.
  • Edit the post for spelling, grammar, factual information, consistency, and logical flow.
  • Add formatting; headings , bold/italics/underlines, symbols, lists, etc.
  • Create images. All good blog posts need solid pictures and preferably unique ones.
  • Review the post for SEO factors, such as keyword usage, links to other blog posts internal and external, calls to action, and so on .
  • Publish the post, or schedule it as part of a backlog for a consistent schedule.

At any given time, I have articles in nearly every stage of this pipeline. I can start and stop as necessary by establishing a defined calendar and maintaining a constant production flow.

A defined pipeline like this also allows you to offload some work to freelancers, contractors, or employees as you grow. For example, you might do your topic ideation and outlining and then hand off the actual writing to a writer, do the editing and formatting, hire someone for graphic design, and do your SEO review and publishing.

Promotion Strategy

Blogs don't work on their own. There's no Field of Dreams-Esque "If you build it, they will come" effect going on. No, the internet is far too packed with content for that to work these days. Today, you need to promote your blog, which means developing a promotion strategy. Your blog business plan should include your primary, secondary, and tertiary promotion strategies in organic and paid methods.

Stealing Links from Content

I'm not going to go too deep into specifics about promotion, but here are strategies you can use for ideas and research more into how to do them effectively.

  • Paid marketing. Paid ads, sponsorships, paid promotion on social networks; spending money gets you results, as long as you have the money to spend.
  • Attract the attention of Google. You want your articles to get ranked for their respective topics and keywords to earn some organic traffic. This one is essential for every blog and the real reason most people start a blog in the first place.
  • Link building . One of the core pillars of SEO is links pointing to you from other relevant sites. Getting those links can be complicated and is an industry in and of itself.
  • Influencer marketing. This strategy involves networking with influential content creators in your niche, particularly those with active social network audiences.
  • Social media posting and sharing. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Imgur, YouTube; any relevant social network can be a source of traffic when you promote yourself using the site.
  • Content repurposing. A blog post doesn't need to stay a blog post. You can use it as a basis for  other forms of content , including videos, podcasts, infographics, and more.
  • Newsletter marketing. Building up a newsletter and actively using it is a powerful technique that many bloggers ignore for far too long.

Promoting your content is how you grow. Without it, you're just howling into the void.

Timeline Estimates

Another element of a blog business plan is establishing a timeline. Timelines are flexible, but you can estimate how your blog will grow and set goals to reach specific milestones with SMART goals.

Long Term Blog Goal

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. SMART goals mean that you can pin them down, measure them, and set them as specific goals with a success or failure attached to them.

A non-SMART goal would be :

"I want to grow my blog."

A SMART goal would be:

"I want to reach at least 100 monthly active users by January 1, 202x."

Developing a timeline helps you set goals and progress towards them, with the added benefit of allowing you to reevaluate and adjust your strategy if you achieve them much earlier than (or fail to achieve them by) the original estimated goal date.

Wrapping Up

While creating a business plan for a blog might sound like unnecessary work, it separates real bloggers from hobbyists. Don't get me wrong; if all you want to do is write about your life in a format you can share with friends and family, that's fine. But, if you're going to earn a living from your blog, you need to treat it like you would anything else you make a living through.

Take it seriously, and your blog will reward you for your effort.

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James Parsons is the founder and CEO of Content Powered, a premier content marketing agency that leverages nearly two decades of his experience in content marketing to drive business growth. Renowned for founding and scaling multi-million dollar eCommerce businesses through strategic content marketing, James has become a trusted voice in the industry, sharing his insights in Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and other leading publications. His background encompasses key roles across various agencies, contributing to the content strategies of major brands like eBay and Expedia. James's expertise spans SEO, conversion rate optimization, and effective content strategies, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.

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March 09, 2022 at 7:22 pm

Awesome guide! Extremely useful for a newbie like me.

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March 10, 2022 at 9:38 am

Thanks Tom! Good luck with your new blog 🙂 feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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March 23, 2022 at 9:48 pm

What other things should I keep in mind transitioning from writing on a personal blog to a business blog?

March 25, 2022 at 1:50 pm

I think successful blog marketing can be broken down into two categories; research and execution. One falls flat without the other.

Here's an article I wrote on research:

Here's an article I wrote on execution:

These two should help you out quite a bit!

March 25, 2022 at 2:01 pm

I wrote a great guide on this here, focused on business blogging:

The most significant shift between a personal blog and a business blog is the increased importance of choosing the correct blog post titles.

Traffic volume, pain points, and conversions aren't always as crucial with a journal or a for-fun blog. With a business blog, those things are essential.

Here's a guide that I wrote on how to find great blog post titles:

I hope this helps!

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How to Create a Blog Business Plan, How do I write a business plan for a blog, Do bloggers need a business plan, How do you make a blog plan, How to Create a Blog Business Plan, Business plan template, Blog strategy template, How to start a monetized blog, blog business plan sample pdf

Written by Casey Botticello

Disclosure : Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Read our full affiliate disclosure here .

It’s all well and good to want to start a blog.

Perhaps it’s just a hobby, or a side hustle. However, if you’re looking to become a successful blogger and monetize, you’ll need to treat your blog like a business!

Behind any successful business is a business plan. If you’re a smart blogger, then you’ll want to create a blog business plan . This will help guide any decisions you make and grow your brand down the line.

To learn how to create a blog business plan effectively, read on to discover all the elements you need to consider!

What Is a Blog Business Plan?

how to write a blogging business plan

In general, a business plan is a document that you, the business owner, creates in order to lay out your goals more efficiently.

Essentially, you can think of it as a “roadmap” for your business.

It functions as a guide to the core activities of your business, how you plan to move forward, what your goals are, ethos of the business, and any projections. 

A well-crafted business plan will contain the following:

  • An executive summary
  • Information about your services and products
  • Plans for your marketing strategy
  • Analysis of the market and competitors
  • Budget and financial planning or considerations.

So how does this relate to your blog? 

Well, if you think about your blog as a business , then you can see how important it is to craft a blog business plan. How much better is it if you know what you’re aiming for with your blog, rather than stumbling around in the dark?

Making sure you have a blog business plan will enable you to:

  • Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve with your blog
  • Hold yourself accountable to your goals
  • Be clear about your priorities in order to achieve your goals
  • Be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Yes, putting together a business plan is a bit of an undertaking, but you’ll be relieved when you have it in place. Not only that, but you’ll set yourself on the path to success!

The Elements of a Blog Business Plan

how to write a blogging business plan

So now you know the why , let’s get into the how . Here are all of the things you need to prepare:

The Executive Summary

This should always be the first section of your business plan. It’ll lay out exactly what your business — in this case your blog — is all about.

Your executive summary should be broken down into several sections:

  • Your mission statement

What purpose does your blog serve and what is it about? Do you fit into a particular niche?

Really dig in and consider why you started your blog in the first place. This is your opportunity to evaluate your ethos and core values.

  • Information about you

Who are you? What’s your background? Why should you be considered an authority on your topic?

  • Who is your ideal target audience?

What kind of person is your perfect reader? What is their demographic?

  • Any relevant blog growth highlights

If you’ve already been running your blog for some time, this is your opportunity to boast about your achievements thus far!

Have your followers increased? Were you able to monetize through affiliate partnerships, or otherwise? Have your unique views increased?

Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to put in this section yet — remember, your business plan can (and should) be updated!

  • Any services or products you offer

You don’t need to go into excessive depth here, as you’ll be able to expand on this later in your business plan. However, you should mention in brief what you’re doing, or planning on doing, in order to monetize.

  • What goals are you hoping to achieve?

The most exciting bit! Here’s where you get to lay out your dream goals and vision statement for the future.

Don’t scare yourself off, really think hard about what it is you want to achieve and put it down. Not only is it motivating, but once you’ve written it down, you can start to consider how to make those goals reality.

Brand Identification

The backbone of any business is the brand identity. This is what hooks customers, inspires brand loyalty, and brings a touch of humanity to a service.

For a blog, this is even more important, because what you’re selling is, well — you! As a blogger you’re putting yourself out there as the authority on your subject or topic, bringing value to your audience.

While it can be tempting to create a brand persona for your blog, what readers really love is authenticity and trustworthiness. Plus, how exhausting would it be to have to keep up a double life?!

Maybe your brand identity is a little more extra than you are in person, but at the core it’s still you. Lean into this and build off it in order to find what works for you, your blog, and your audience.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Why does your blog exist?
  • How do you want your audience to feel when they interact with your blog or you?
  • What keywords would you use to describe your blog?

It’s also important to know what your “ definitely wouldn’t do” s as well as your “ would love to do” s are. That way you can refine the core values and ethos of your blog.

In this section you should note:

  • Your blog details

What’s your blog called? What kind of vibe are you aiming for?

  • What do you cover?

Here you’ll want to explain what topics and categories you cover on your blog, i.e. what’s your niche? Include what hashtags you use on your social media channels, too, as this will be relevant for your marketing strategy.

  • What are your posting processes or practices?

Do you have a specific format or style guide to stick to? How about images? This is important to know not just for you but for any guest bloggers you may invite to your blog.

  • How would you like to expand on your blog later down the line?

How could your blog and brand expand in the future? What opportunities exist?

Here you could think about publishing books, starting a video channel, doing live demonstrations and events — anything you can think of that you’d like to do!

Overall Business Strategy

Here’s where you’re going to talk about how you plan on executing your goals. You’ll want to include:

  • Your posting schedule

Consistency is key! Blogging regularly not only helps you, but it lets your audience know when to expect content. Create a schedule and stay the course!

  • Your marketing strategy

What methods are you planning on using for marketing yourself and your blog? Social media and email mailing lists are commonly used, but there are other forms of marketing out there, too.

What about using guest bloggers, or link exchanges? Known as outreach marketing, this can also be an extremely effective form of marketing for blogs.

  • How you’ll monetize and what you offer

What techniques will you use to bring money in, while also offering value to your audience? Check back over your goals and future expansion ideas for help with this if you’re stuck.

Remember : There are lots of different ways to monetize your blog, but don’t stray too far from your mission statement, blog ethos, and brand identity.
  • Analytics of your blog

Being able to analyze your blog performance and track unique views, keywords, and more, is essential to the success of your blog. While Google Analytics is an excellent choice here, it isn’t the only one.

Identify which analytics service(s) or tools you’ll use and how they can help drive your blog forward.

Market and Audience Analysis

As with any business, one of the most important steps is identifying who your audience are, the current market, and any competition.

Knowing who you’re trying to reach with your blog and how you can stand out from the crowd is essential to success.

In this section you should lay out:

  • Who are your target readers?

How old are they? What demographic are you trying to reach?

It could be helpful to imagine your ideal reader here, as this can help you when writing your blog posts if you imagine that you are writing for that specific person.

  • Who is your competition?

Who are the successful bloggers in your niche? What sets them apart and what tools or marketing strategies are they using?

It’s a good idea to profile your competition and include not just your main rivals but also smaller blogs. What are they doing right? How could you improve on what they’re doing?

  • What networking opportunities exist?

No man is an island and blogging is all about community. That’s not just the community that you’re building, but the community that already exists around you.

There are plenty of opportunities to collaborate and work with others in your field. Identify these and use them to your advantage.

Financial Considerations

Of course, you can run a blog for free. However, in order to really level up, you’re going to want to spend a bit of money.

Even if you’re running your blog for free right now, it’s a good idea to be clear about what expenses you may need in the future.

  • Domain and hosting costs
  • Branding or logo design costs
  • Any subscriptions you may need for themes, plugins, tools, or software
  • Photography costs, whether that’s your own or licenses required
  • Any promotional materials, eg, business cards and Facebook ads
  • Office supplies
  • Internet provider costs
  • Any fees associated with starting a business (not necessarily required).

How Blogs Can Turn into a Business

As soon as you monetize your blog, it’s no longer a hobby but a business! On your blogging journey, somewhere along the line you may decide that doing it for no return isn’t worth the effort any more. 

After all, you’re putting time into creating a resource for others– so why shouldn’t you be compensated?

When you decide that your blog should be a business, you’ll want to make sure that you:

  • Post consistently
  • Market and promote your content in order to grow your audience
  • Communicate with your followers though email mailing lists, social media, and more
  • Find different ways to monetize your blog
  • Keep going!

You may find that what works for other blogs doesn’t for yours. That’s okay! Just keep hustling, and you’ll eventually find a winning formula.

How to Create a Blog Business Plan

how to write a blogging business plan

While we’ve already covered a lot of the steps you need to go through in order to create your blog business plan, let’s break it down even further.

1. Create a Blog Roadmap: Define Your Blog’s Goals, Mission, & Vision

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

What Is Your Niche?

Defining your niche is the most important step: what are you going to blog about? What sets you apart from your competitors as the authority on this subject? Niche vs. micro niche ?

You really could pick any topic you like, as long as there’s a demand!

Who Is Your Target Market?

Who is your ideal reader? What are their demographics and psychographics?

Research your target market — what are their pain points? How can you tap into this to create content that’s of value to them?

How Will You Monetize Your Blog?

There are a million and one ways to monetize your blog. Here are some ideas:

  • Become an affiliate partner
  • Sell advertising space
  • Partner with brands
  • Sell physical or online products or courses
  • Write and sell e-books

Be sure to stay true to your blog’s ethos and brand when choosing monetizing opportunities , as not all will be a good fit.

What Do You Want Your Blog Business to Achieve? 

Perhaps you want to hit a certain unique visitor milestone, or email subscriptions? 

Maybe you want to earn a specific amount of money, or even spend a particular amount of time working on your blog.

Whatever it is, be reasonable and realistic with your timeframes. You want this to be a way to measure your success.

2. Do Competitive Research & Analysis

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

Who Are Your Main Competitors?

Use Google Alerts and keyword searches to figure out who your main competitors are. 

Knowing who your competitors are means that you’ll be better equipped to place yourself as the authority in your niche.

What Are Their Strengths, Weaknesses, and Keywords?

If you’re able to identify your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, and keywords, you’ll know what pitfalls to avoid and how you can better them.

Keyword research is vital here. When it comes to beating your competition, it’s all about placing higher in Google searches so that you become the top-ranked blog in your niche.

How Can You Differentiate Your Blog from Theirs?

Your USP (unique selling point) is what’s going to give you the edge over anyone else in your niche. What is it that makes you special and unique?

Make a list of all of the ways your blog is or could stand out from the crowd, then use this as a guide for your content and strategies.

Tools You Can Use for Competitive Analysis

There are many tools out there you can utilize when analyzing your competition. 

Some will be paid, and some will be free with the option to upgrade. We recommend starting with free versions first and seeing if you need to upgrade.

You may find that a combination of tools works best for you, as some will analyze particular social media whereas others will look at keywords and SEO-related analytics . 

You may want to check out tools such as:

  • SproutSocial
  • SocialBlade

3. Establish Website

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

Domain Name

This is what you’ll name your blog . Make sure it’s registered, fits with your brand and blog in some way, and that the domain has a clean history .

Blog Hosting

This is where your blog lives on the Internet. Make sure you choose a reliable and reputable blog web hosting service — a blog with a lot of downtime isn’t going to help you!

Website Elements 

What will you use to design your website? WordPress is one of the most used platforms for building a blog– and for good reason. It’s extremely user-friendly, and you don’t need to know code to get going.

However, there are plenty of other website building tools out there, so do your research and pick the best one for your blog.

You’ll want to think about the visual appeal and aesthetics of your blog as well as the personality and tone. Make sure it all ties into your blog’s ethos, message, and vision, too.

4. Make a Content Strategy

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

SEO and Keywords

SEO and keywords are, arguably, the most important part of getting your blog out there. If you aren’t ranking highly on search engines then how will anybody see your hard work?

Make sure you take the time to get your SEO up to scratch and do thorough keyword search. That way you can ensure that you’re giving yourself the best chance for your blog to be seen.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to bring new traffic into your blog, whether you’re hosting another blogger or creating a post for someone else.

Be sure to align yourself with others in your niche to draw the right traffic into your blog. 

Building backlinks with other blogs is also a great way to improve your SEO. Guest blogging also helps to establish you as an expert in your niche and build awareness of your brand.

In other words: There’s no downside to guest blogging as long as it’s carried out legitimately and with reputable partners!

Email Marketing 

Email mailing lists are still a great way of keeping in touch with your existing audience, as well as helping to grow your readership.

Encourage people to sign up by having a great lead magnet. Don’t forget to be consistent and send out newsletters to your readership, directing them to where you want them to go.

Social Media 

Social media can be an excellent way to build community around your blog. Ideally, your blog’s community will be engaged, and social media is where you can really make that happen.

You can even use social media to drive more traffic to your blog. Just don’t forget to be authentic and engage with your audience in a genuine way!

5.  Develop Standard Operating Procedures

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

Content Calendars 

Creating content calendars can be extremely helpful as you continue to refine your blog posting processes and operating procedures. 

This lays out exactly what you’ll be posting and when, making it easier for you to create content regularly.

Your content should always be high quality and of value to your audience. Knowing what you’re going to post and when allows you to plan your content to make sure this is true every time!

Should You Outsource?

You may find at some point that the growth of your blog has exceeded your individual ability to fulfill its needs. At this point, you may want to consider outsourcing parts of your blog .

This is also why it’s important for you to lay out your business plan early on — what are the essential tasks that only you can do? 

What other menial tasks could you outsource, without affecting quality, value, or your bottom line?

Time Spent on Blog

There’s going to come a point when your blog side hustle is now your main hustle, and when that time comes you’ll need to be able to respect the commitment required.

How much time is reasonable for you to spend on your blog? Is it going to be financially sustainable? How will the time you spend on your blog affect its future valuation should you choose to sell it?

Try to define your time commitment to your blog and balance this with the rest of your life.

6. Sales & Marketing

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

There are so many different ways to market your blog, some of which we’ve already outlined in this article. Whatever you choose, just make sure that it remains true to your blog’s brand!

7. Performance Tracking

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

Don’t forget : Once you’ve put everything else in place, you’ll want to use various tools to track your performance. 

Google Analytics is a great place to start, but there are many free and paid-for tools available, too.

Only by tracking your performance will you be able to make positive changes for success.

8. Launch Your Blog

Affiliate Marketing Illustration Blogging Guide

And, you’re off! Now that you’ve put in all the prep work, it’s time to get your blog off the paper and into the world. Start your blog today !

The Bottom Line

Anyone can have a blog, but to have a successful blog takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

By creating a blog business plan, you can ensure that you’ve got a framework to work from, measure your progress, motivate you, and make sure that you stay true to your values.

If you’re ready to take your blog from a side hustle to a business, then following the above steps will ensure that you’re prepared to do so. 

Just remember to stay true to why you started your blog in the first place, as well as your values and blog ethos. Best of luck!

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Raelyn Tan: Proven Marketing Systems For Creator CEOs

How To Craft Your Blog Business Plan (Template Included!)

how to write a blogging business plan

If you’re just starting out, chances are that you would want to create a blog business plan for your business.

If you want to create a successful blog + biz, you need a plan. You can’t just launch a website  (although that’s important) and hope that it would work out.

Yes – your blog business plan is your blog’s BLUEPRINT.

But first, if you have not started your blog yet, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog .

You’re back? Great! I will share with you the exact blog business plan template I used… when I first started this blog.

Sounds good?

How to craft your blog business plan, with free printable template included for all entrepreneurs! Make money in your biz, sell products and rock social media with this blog business plan.

A blog business plan is great because you get real clear on the direction, goals and vision of your business, leaving no stone unturned. When you organize your thoughts and plans into one central place, it increases the chances of you starting a successful blog .

Clarity = better business!

Without further ado, here are the components of my blog business plan:


You should come up with a brand name. This is the same as your blog name. Don’t need to go over the top – keep it simple. Here’s a tutorial on how to pick a blog name , if you need help.

  • Vision & mission of your brand

What’s the vision you have for your blog + business? Why are you doing what you are doing?

  • Your brand style

Your branding has to look cohesive. Create a cohesive and attractive brand style. Decide on your brand colors, brand fonts and other aesthetic aspects of your brand. This will be incorporated uniformly across your website, social media platforms, and other collaterals.

  • Brand vibes/ values

This is threading into the more intangible part of your brand: What vibe/ values do you want people to associate your brand with?

For instance, for me, its no-nonsense, smart, action-oriented, etc.



  • Target audience

Who are you targeting (specifically) with your website? Why? For more info, there’s a tutorial about defining your target audience on this blog as well.

  • Competitors (VERY IMPORTANT)

Who are your competitors? Go scope out the situation. I always tell my 1:1 private clients: You don’t open an offline ice-cream store without checking out the other ice-cream stores down the street, do you?

The same applies to your online biz. One does not simply start a blog without knowing who else is in business.

  • Points of difference

This is something I always like to do with all my businesses. How are you different from your competitors?

This could be your experience, your personality, certain things you cover, your brand positioning, better design, better service etc. There’s an article about how to make your brand stand out that could be helpful for you.


  • Infrastructure

What host will you be on? What domain name provider will you use? Check out this tutorial on how to start a blog for more information about this.

I highly recommend that you use SiteGround as your host – their support is THE BEST, and my website runs perfectly with them. I have lost count of the number of times that SiteGround has saved me from losing sleep because something on my website messed up.

You also need a website theme – I recommend Divi (very customizable, great for beginners) or Genesis (for the more tech savvy ones).

The best option is my done-for-you website kit made with Divi where you can get an amazing website up by this week… all for a fraction of Divi’s website! Check out  Your Stunning Website 🙂

  • Content Planning

What topics will you blog about? Having some idea of what your blog content will consist of. This will save you valuable time later. Make sure it is something that your target audience (that you’ve decided earlier) would want.

Also, how often will you post?



For my long-term readers you would know that I’m big on email marketing.

If you are new and don’t really know why you need an email list ASAP, check out this post:  Why Building an Email List is a MUST for Your Blog & Business

I highly recommend Convertkit . I love Convertkit so much because it’s just so easy to use, while giving me a ton of functions that my business needs at an affordable price. Click here to check out Convertkit  and get your email list started! Feel free to email me if you’ve any questions about using it.

With that out of the way, some things you need to think about:

  • What will you be sending to your subscribers?

For more ideas, you can check out my post about newsletter content ideas  to send and engage your subscribers.

  • How often will you send an email out to your subscribers?

Best to get this out of the way and decide once and for all. Once a week is a safe decision.



Social media is a huge part of marketing your blog + business for most entrepreneurs.

  • Facebook fan page strategy

Chances are you will want to create a Facebook business page. You need a plan for that! Some things you’ll have to decide and plan for include: What will you post on the page (make sure it is interesting to your target audience)? How often will you post on your Facebook page?

  • Facebook group

Many people decide to create a Facebook group. You can check out mine here .

You don’t need to have a Facebook group. Feel free to skip this section (or any other section in the social media section, actually). Not every business has to be on every single social media platform.

So… do the same for every other social media platform you want to be on:

What’s your Pinterest strategy , if any?

What’s your Instagram strategy, if any?

What’s your Twitter strategy, if any?

Rinse and repeat for any other social media platform that you intend to use to market your online business . REMEMBER, only write a business plan out for social media platforms that you intend to use. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. You don’t need to be everywhere.




Here, you plan for any other ways that you intend to market your business.

For instance, you could choose to collaborate with other businesses, or do networking events offline, etc. Whatever it is, be sure to include it in your blog business plan.

How will you be marketing your business via these channels? When will you start? Who will you be working with? Etc. [Tweet “Great post on how to craft your blog business plan, template included!”]



No money, no business. Simple as that. You can’t run a charity, trust me!

  • Financial goals

What’s your income goal that you aim to reach for this blog + business? Make sure that it’s a specific income goal, and have a timeframe for it too.

  • How do you intend to monetize?

What are some monetization channels that you intend to use for your blog? For extra help, you may find my post about having an online business model as well as my post about different online business ideas (where I explore different monetization methods) helpful.

Relevant posts:

  • Why I Switched To Teachable To Host And Sell My Online Courses
  • The Ultimate Guide: How to Become a Successful Infopreneur Online
  • How to Create an Online Course in 72 Hours (With Guided Instructions!)
  • How to Sell Online Courses 101
  • 10 Highly Effective Tips To Get More Clients Online (From My Personal Experience!)

For me, I do 1:1 coaching (check out how you can work with me here – that’s hands-down the best way you can get success for your blog + biz, as you get personal attention and guidance from a coach that has been there before), courses (I provide step-by-step guidance and give my best tips in my quality courses), and affiliate marketing by recommending helpful blogging tools and resources that you can view  here .

(Update 2021: I no longer do 1:1 coaching. You can check out my programs instead!)

What about you? 🙂



Break down what you have to do for your business week by week. I recommend that you have an action plan down for the next 3 months or so.

Having a deadline for certain activities will work wonders for your blog + biz. What will you do each week of your business?

No action, no results! 🙂

That’s all, folks!

I hope that you have found this helpful.

New pin design?

Blog business plan template for bloggers: Tips to start your blog and business successfully, get more traffic, and make money money - for bloggers and entrepreneurs (FREE PRINTABLE TO DOWNLOAD!) #blog #business #plan #template

God bless, Raelyn

P.S. Want comprehensive guidance on how you can attract an online audience and get more traffic?

That’s exactly where my signature course, List Building Incubator will help. It’s my step-by-step system to grow & monetize your email list. Check it out here .

A tiny request: If you liked this post, please share this?

I know most people don’t share because they feel that us bloggers don’t need their “tiny” social share. But here’s the truth…

I built this blog piece by piece, one small share at a time, and will continue to do so. So thank you so much for your support, my reader.

A share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog.

Some great suggestions: –  Pin it!  (I even made a pretty pin for ya!) –  Share it to your favorite blog + biz Facebook group –  Tweet it!

It won’t take more than 10 seconds of your time. The share buttons are right here. 🙂

Thank you so much!

If you enjoyed this post, get updates from me. (it’s FREE)

You’re awesome for staying till the end.  Signup for my newsletter below.

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How to start a blog in 10 steps: a beginners guide

  • Rebecca Strehlow
  • 28 min read

Get started by: Creating a blog →  | Getting a domain →

how to start a blog

If you’re wondering how to create a blog , you’ve come to the right place. As a blogger myself, I can tell you it’s a rewarding way to hone your writing skills, explore new ideas and build an online presence that revolves around your passions and expertise. You’ll get the chance to inspire, educate, and entertain your readers—and as your blog grows, you can even start making money and turn it into a full-time job or use it to start a business .

In other words, blogging is the first step toward finally pursuing your dream job or favorite hobby, so you really can’t go wrong. While starting a blog might seem daunting, I’m going to walk you through every step to make it as smooth and successful as possible. The process is actually quite easy, and you’ll have your blog up and running, as well as your first blog post written, before you know it.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll find all the guidance and tools you’ll need to start a blog and get writing blog posts. You’ll learn how to make your website , write your first blog post and draw in loyal readers. Sounds exciting? Let’s dive in.

How to start a blog in 10 steps

Choose a blogging platform. Use a platform that offers customizable templates.

Pick a hosting platform. Consider a platform with good bandwidth, uptime and customer support.

Find the right niche. Narrow down your theme and have a specific audience in mind.

Select a blog name and domain. Choose a descriptive name that piques readers’ interests.

Set up and design your blog. Include imagery and effects that reflect your theme.

Brainstorm blog topics. Write down all your ideas before narrowing down topic selections.

Write your first blog post. Engage your audience with a killer title and use headers to make the content skimmable.

Create an editorial calendar. Create a calendar to help you publish consistently and hold yourself accountable.

Promote your blog. Use marketing strategies to expand your reach.

Make money blogging. Take advantage of opportunities to monetize your blog.

how to start a blog

In this complete how to blog A to Z tutorial, we’ll cover everything from choosing your blogging platform to making money from your written work. With a little bit of guidance, you can get your blog online in 30 minutes or less.

This is going to be the most comprehensive advice you’ll find on building a successful blog from scratch. If you want to start a blog fast, though, feel free to use the numbered steps above as a quick cheat sheet. You can go directly to the step you need the most help with, or grab a cup of coffee and read it all the way through.

What is a blog?

While a blog can encompass an entire website or simply be its own section of a website, this is a place to share content about a topic you’re passionate about. A blog will typically include both written and visual elements published in an easy-to-read, article format so visitors can swiftly browse and find what they’re looking for. And with over 31.7 million blogs in the US alone, you can literally find blogs about every subject out there, from home renovation to baking to local business marketing strategies . Once you’ve established a community of readers, the possibilities are truly endless.

There's no definitive "perfect" time to start a blog. If you feel that you have the time and resources to start, manage and promote a blog and are enthusiastic about sharing your ideas with the world, it might be the right time to take the plunge and start your blogging journey. The sooner you start, the sooner you can learn and grow as a blogger.

Ready to start your blog now? Sign up with Wix today.

01. Choose a blogging platform

The first step in starting a blog is to select a blogging platform or Content Management System (CMS) for publishing your content. A quick Google search will show you that there are several different sites available that suit bloggers from all industries. I recommend Wix because it’s a good all-around blogging platform that satisfies most needs.

Wix’s blogging platform is fairly straightforward to get the hang of, and it offers a variety of attractive design options and templates to work with. In addition, it comes with features to analyze your blog’s performance and monetize your content, which will come in handy as you setup your blog and build your readership.

how to start a blog - choose a blogging platform

How much does it cost to start a blog?

When researching how to create a blog, one of the biggest questions people have is how much does it cost to start a blog . On many platforms, starting a blog is completely free .

You can decide at any point whether you’d like to upgrade to a variety of different plans, depending on your budget and needs. Learn more about how much does it cost to build a website.

02. Pick a hosting platform

Once you select your preferred blogging platform, you’ll need to choose a hosting platform. A blog, like other types of websites , requires a host. This essentially stores websites on a server under a unique address so that visitors can easily reach them.

pick a hosting platform - start a blog

faqOn some blogging platforms, hosting is already included, so you won’t need to find a separate web host when setting up your blog. In that case, you can skip this step and move to Step 3 .

With other website builders, such as WordPress, you will need to find and pay for a separate web hosting platform. Some popular options include:

If you’re not sure which web hosting platform to choose, take into account these factors:

Uptime: The amount of time that the server hosting your website is up and running. A strong uptime rate (99.95% or above) is a good indication that the host’s servers perform well.

Bandwidth: The amount of data your website can transfer to visitors over a certain period of time. This factor is based on the size of your website pages as well as the amount of traffic you expect. This quick bandwidth calculator can help you determine your site’s bandwidth.

Customer support: Customer service you can contact in the event something goes wrong. Ideally, your hosting provider should offer an online help center, offer callbacks and respond to questions and concerns on social media.

Once you’ve chosen your blogging platform and hosting provider, you can start coming up with your blog idea.

Don’t worry about picking and registering your domain name just yet. We’ll walk through that process together in Step 4 .

03. Find the right profitable blog niche

Let’s move away from the technical and dive into the more theoretical. Take a step back and think about the main element that will form the foundation of your blog, from its URL and domain name to its content and design: your blog’s niche. What, exactly, do you want your blog to be about?

There is virtually no limit when it comes to your choice of subjects. The most crucial thing is that you select a specific topic area that will be the central focus of your entire blog and its content strategy.

Possible blog types range from fashion blogs to real estate blogs to book blogs or food blogs . Because there are lots of other blogs focusing on the same subjects, you’ll need a way to stand out while still writing about what you love.

Here are three simple steps for choosing the perfect blog niche —one that not only is in line with your passions, but one that you can also monetize and grow:

Narrow down your interests

Research your audience

Check if it’s profitable

find the right blog niche - start a blog

Narrow down your blogging interests

When you start a blog, think long term. To motivate yourself to blog regularly, you’ll need to write about something you’re genuinely interested in. If you choose a topic solely on the basis of its being popular or profitable, your efforts will peter out pretty quickly, along with your entire blog content strategy.

If you aren’t sure right off the bat what you should be blogging about, that’s okay. Begin with a simple brainstorming session about subjects you like. What do you get excited talking about? What are you eager to learn more about?

Now, write down the first five to 10 interests that come to mind. For the sake of this example, let’s say:

Next, think about your more specific interests within these subject areas and add them to your list. Your additions might look something like this:

Backpacking in Southeast Asia

Vegan recipes

Raising twins

Indie rock music

Hiking in the Rockies

Don’t worry about these niches being perfect just yet. You’ll research them more thoroughly in the next steps. (However, if you're looking for inspiration, check out how these popular art blogs are using their platforms to connect with audiences who share a similar passion.)

The next step of starting and creating a blog is to learn which topics people are interested in reading about. If your blog gains traction, you can eventually start making money from it and become a full-time blogger.

You can determine the demand for any given niche with a bit of market research. Begin by taking a look at Google Trends , which shows you how many people are searching for a particular topic. The more searches a topic gets, the more public demand it has.

For instance, let’s type “vegan recipes” into Google Trends. In the image below, you’ll see that there’s a relatively stable level of interest in this topic, so it’s a good candidate for a blog niche.

how to start a blog - research your blog audience

“Paleo recipes,” on the other hand, has a much lower degree of interest. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea—some bloggers prefer to write for a more specific crowd if they have a unique specialty—but it does mean there are fewer people interested in that particular subject area.

If Google Trends reveals that interest in a subject area is either very low or declining, then that topic is unlikely to gain traction.

Check if it’s profitable blog niche you want to start

Whether you run a personal blog or a professional one, it’s a good idea to check whether your niche is profitable. Even if you’re starting out as a hobby blogger or want to create a fan website , you’ll want to think about future monetization options in the event that your blogging efforts evolve into a career.

There are multiple ways to earn money as a blogger, but one of the most common methods is affiliate marketing. As an affiliate, you’ll work together with a specific company, providing a link to their products within your blog, and earning a commission for any sale made through your site.

Considering whether you could blog as an affiliate is a good way to figure out if your niche is profitable. Think about the kinds of “best of” or “how to” posts you might write. For instance, “Best kitchen appliances for easy cooking” or “How to make carrot cake in 10 minutes.” In both instances, you could include an affiliate link to your favorite food processor or electric mixer and make money for each purchase made through your blog.

You don’t need to plan out your money-making strategy just yet, but thinking generally about profitable opportunities can help you choose a niche. For now, focus on starting your blog—we’ll talk more about making money blogging in Step 10 .

04. Select a blog name and domain

As you think about how to make a blog, the question of what to name it is probably lurking somewhere in the back of your mind.

There are three main routes you can go with your blog's name. These include:

Your first and last name

The name of your business (if you have one)

A creative new name

When choosing your blog’s name, you should also think about the personality you want it to reflect. Should it be formal and professional? Sweet and romantic? Edgy and offbeat? If you’re stuck on names for your blog , this blog name generator is a helpful source of inspiration.

how to start a blog - select a blog name

Once you decide, you should also go ahead and choose your domain name for your blog. Also referred to as a URL, a domain is a site’s address on the web (this website’s domain name, for example, is Typically, your domain name will be the same as, or at least influenced by, the name of your blog.

If you really want your blog to stand out, consider a .blog domain extension . It's a clear and unique way to help your blog and content pop.

05. Set up and design your blog

Choose a blog template, decide which pages to include, get indexed on search engines, create a blog logo.

At this point, you’ve chosen a blogging and hosting platform, domain name and blog niche. You’re now equipped with all the basics for setting up your blog. Here's how to optimize your blog design :

The first part of setup for a blog is selecting a template. Like your blog’s name, its look and feel will be an important part of its personality.

The most efficient way to get your blog up and running is to choose a pre-designed blog template . Afterwards, you can customize it based on your preferences.

Be sure to pick one that conveys your blog’s subject area. There are website templates for bloggers of any genre, whether you’re a food blogger, photography blogger or business blogger. As you browse, think about the mood you want your website to communicate, for example. whether it’s classic, modern, rugged or minimalist.

You should also take that into account as you further personalize the template with your preferred colors. Color psychology plays a huge role in forming your audience’s impression of your blog. As you choose a color palette, keep in mind the feelings and attitudes that different colors evoke. Blue, for instance, tends to evoke dependability and trust, while yellow evokes energy and joy.

If you’re unsure of which templates to choose, these blog examples serve as a helpful source of design inspiration.

Once you’ve chosen a template, think about which pages to include. Most blogs include more than just a section to display their posts. They might also include an online store, as in the image below, or a contact page.

blog pages example - how to start a blog

Here's an overview of the different options when designing your blog:

01. Contact page: This is a place to put your email address so that fans and potential business partners can reach out to you. You can also include a contact form so that people can send a message directly through your site.

how to start a blog - create a contact page

02. About page: This tells visitors who you are, what you do, and why you do it, providing some context behind your blog and humanizing your content.

how to start a blog - about us page

03. Online store: You’ll also want to add a separate online store page if you’re thinking of selling items related to your blog. You can call this page “Products” or “Shop.”

how to start a blog - create an online store

If you want to beef up your blog with even more pages, a Tutorials page, Now Trending page or Author’s Pick page are all popular options.

Furthermore, some blogs opt to place their posts directly on the homepage, while others keep their homepages and blog pages separate. If you do this, make sure to include a navigation menu so that visitors can easily access your blog as well as any other pages.

There’s no right or wrong way to set up a blog, so play around with different options to see what best suits your style and personality. Keep in mind that you can always add or remove pages over time as your blog evolves.

Another part of starting a blog is making sure it’s visible on Google and other search engines. This is crucial if you want your content to pop up in search results, so you’ll want to take care of this step right away.

First, make sure your site is indexed on Google. Essentially, this means giving Google a heads up that your blog exists. You can do this by submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console .

Pro tip: Google Search Console is not only important for indexing your site, but it’s also a valuable platform that you’ll be using throughout your blogging journey. It tells you important data about your blog’s site visitors and clicks, which you can use to improve your content.

how to start a blog - use google search console

To find out whether your site is already included in Google’s search index, do a quick site search (a site search uses your homepage URL and takes the form of ). If your blog pops up in the search results, then your site is already indexed.

Finally, polish off your site with an attractive blog logo . This is another way to add personality to your site, and it’s an essential step if you want to create a blog that evolves into a recognizable brand.

One option is to design your own or outsource the task, but you can also use an online logo maker . These tools give you plenty of room to customize your logo with your preferred colors, fonts and icons, and tend to be quicker and more affordable than hiring a professional designer.

Once you create your logo, place it in the upper left-hand corner of your website, and link it to your homepage. This will help brand your content while improving the navigation experience for readers.

create a blog logo

06. Brainstorm blog topics

On the technical side, your blog is now setup and ready to go. It’s time to start thinking about which topics you’ll get started with.

Begin by thinking about your experiences, successes, failures or discoveries related to your niche. What insights can you share? What ideas are you looking to explore in-depth?

As you think of topics, try to get into your readers’ heads. Here are some questions to guide you through the brainstorming process:

What characteristics does my target audience possess?

What subjects does my target audience get excited about?

What challenges does my target audience face?

You can also come up with ideas using the topic cluster model . Essentially, this is a tightly organized system that strings together related posts using a series of internal links. While this process is usually considered part of SEO, you can also think of it as a mind map for coming up with ideas.

By this model, think about a broad topic—say, recipes—and then divide that up into smaller subtopics, like dinner recipes or brunch recipes. Then, divide those up into even more specific topics, like 20-minute dinner recipes, mimosa recipes, and cake decoration ideas. Any of these topics could be its own blog post.

brainstorm blog topics when starting a blog

If you’re still stuck, this list of blog ideas can help jumpstart the brainstorming process. They include:

A 30 before 30 list (also 40 before 40, or 50 before 50)

Your sources of inspiration

Beginners’ guides

Time-saving hacks

A challenge you’ve faced

Use these ideas to guide you, but feel free to add your own creative twist based on your niche.

07. Write your first blog post

Start with keyword research, come up with a blog post title, outline your main points, write engaging content, insert images, optimize for seo, edit and publish.

Now that you’ve come up with ideas, you’re ready to dive into the writing. Let’s go over how to write a blog post from start to finish:

Finding the right keywords is crucial for getting people to read your posts. By targeting certain phrases with your article, you increase the chances of your blog appearing on search results pages for those queries.

Let’s say, for instance, that you want to share a carrot cake recipe in your blog. You’ll want to target keywords such as:

Carrot cake

Carrot cake recipe

Best carrot cake recipe

How to make carrot cake

Depending on your topic, some keywords may be more obvious than others. You can refine your keywords using free keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner or you can use more robust paid options like SEMrush or Ahrefs .

how to start a blog - start with keyword research

Next, you’ll need to strategically target your selected keywords throughout your article. This means two things: First, you’ll need to sprinkle those phrases throughout your post (but try to do so as organically as possible—no one likes unnatural keyword stuffing). Second, you should structure your article based on the format you see in the top 10 search results for those keywords (you can also reference these results when deciding how long should a blog post be ).

Let’s say, for example, that you want to write an article about your favorite carrot cake recipe. Start by checking your competitors—the top 10 search results on Google for the keyword “carrot cake recipe.”

When you type that phrase into the search engine, you’ll notice that the top results are written as numbered steps, rather than as a story. You can therefore assume that most readers prefer the list format for these types of posts. In order to provide valuable content to your readers—and to rank high on Google as a result—you’ll want your own post to assume a similar format.

Likewise, you’ll want to touch on all the main points covered by your competitors. This doesn’t mean you can’t be be creative. It’s just to say that in addition to sharing your own original insights, you should cover all the bases.

To continue with our example, let’s assume that when you look up “carrot cake recipe,” the top search results include a section about how to make cream cheese frosting. This is an indicator that many readers find this content helpful. In addition, it shows that Google has a preference for articles including that detail. You’d be wise, then, to touch on this idea in your own article.

Keyword research gives you an idea of the best format for your blog post, as well as which sections to include. This naturally segues into the outline stage of the writing process.

First, choose which type of blog post you’d like to write. Will it be a how-to guide? A product recommendation? An op-ed? Whichever blog post template you choose, you’ll want to have a clear idea in mind before structuring the outline.

Then, use headers and subheaders to break up your content into organized, bite-sized chunks. Beneath each heading, make bulleted notes of the main points you’ll include in each section. This will be the skeleton of your first blog post.

Feel free to use this downloadable blog post template to help with your outline. All you need to do is fill in the blanks:

download your free blog template

The next part of starting a blog article is coming up with a strong title. You can come up with your blog titles at any stage of the planning process, but the best ideas often arise as you build your outline.

A blog title is a small but mighty piece of content. Often, it makes the difference between whether or not people click on your article.

To make your blog titles catchy and compelling, put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Think about what might interest and excite them, and try the following strategies:

Be clear and direct

Promise value

Appeal to your readers’ emotions

Pique their curiosity

Use humor, alliteration or wordplay

Here are a few fill-in-the-blank blog title ideas to help you:

blog title ideas when starting a blog

Here’s more information on how to write a headline that stands out. If you’re curious about diving more into what makes a headline a success, Buzzsumo’s shared headlines study is also an insightful resource.

Looking to make the most out of your blog? Subscribe to the Wix blog newsletter and get fresh content and updates straight to your inbox.

Now, it’s time to start typing away. Keep in mind that you’ll need an introduction, body text broken up by headers and sub-headers, and a conclusion (optional).

In the introduction, grab your audience’s attention with a captivating anecdote, a compelling quote or statistic, or an interesting fact. Then, share a brief summary of what the article is about, making sure to grab the interest of your readers.

Next, write the body text, using your outline as a guide. This is where you share your knowledge and expertise as a blogger. Be sure to avoid fluff; writing for the sake of writing is one of the biggest blogging mistakes . Instead, make sure each sentence is meaningful, and dive straight into sharing your original insights and actionable tips. You should also use a tone of voice that resonates with your audience, whether it’s funny and casual or serious and formal.

Finally, wrap up the post with a concluding section. While not every blog includes this final bit, it’s a nice way to tie your ideas together and share your closing thoughts.

Keep in mind that writing a blog post can take several hours, and it’s a process that shouldn’t be rushed. Set aside at least half a day to write your first draft.

There are quicker ways to research, plan and create blog content, if you choose to decide with AI content generation tools. There are several to choose from - including Open AI's Chat GPT, Google's BARD and others such as Just be sure to heavily edit any AI generated content, be on top of fact checking it's output and don't forget to bring your own voice and style to the content.

Write a blog post with AI

As AI content generators become more popular and as their output improves, considering whether to use AI to write blog posts is a valid question a lot of bloggers are asking themselves. AI content generation can speed up the blog writing process and help you create more, faster. However, in our experience, AI generated content still requires a large degree of human editing, fact checking and injecting of experience into it. So while it might help you create drafts faster, it's not going to be something you can publish fresh from an AI content generator.

However you can use AI for other parts of the blog writing process. You can use it to:

Create blog titles

Write meta titles and descriptions

Structure your blog articles

Help you proofread for grammar and spelling mistakes

As you start your blog, remember that your choice of images can strengthen readers’ overall impression of your article. Whether you add photos, screenshots or illustrations to your articles, they should be functional as well as beautiful. Make sure they convey your main points and highlight important examples in the post.

If you don’t have your own images, begin by browsing free stock photos on the web. Pexels and Unsplash are both popular sites for gathering visual material. While you might eventually want to use photos you take yourself, stock photos are a quick way to get your blog started.

Once you create your content, there are a couple things you’ll need to take care of before hitting Publish. These steps primarily revolve around strategy, from improving your blog SEO to generating conversions through your article. Here’s a quick post-writing checklist to guide you:

Double check your keywords: Quickly search your content (CTRL+F) to review your use of keywords. Did you include all the keywords you intended to? If not, check to see whether there are any other opportunities to incorporate the keywords throughout your article. (Keep in mind that keyword stuffing is considered a bad practice, and search engines can penalize you for it. Incorporate them naturally into the text, rather than forcing them in.)

Add internal links: One trick up every bloggers’ sleeve is to link between their blog posts (also known as the practice of internal linking). This helps improve your posts’ SEO, and it also encourages your readers to browse your other articles. Rather than linking randomly, you should link between primarily related blog posts; this is better for SEO, and it also makes the links more valuable to your readers. If you’re just starting a blog and don’t have much content yet, don’t forget to go back into your posts and add in the links later.

Incorporate CTAs: The next trick in the book is to include calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout the article. These little snippets of content often take the form of phrases such as Buy Now, Subscribe, or Read More. By placing call-to-action buttons in your article, you can direct readers to buy your products, subscribe to your newsletter, or click for further reading.

Use alt text: Because Google can’t read photos, bloggers often add a short description to each image (ideally using keywords) to help the search engine understand what is being displayed. This description, called alt text, helps your images show up in Google image searches.

Write your post’s metadata: Metadata is the term for the text used to display a web page in Google search results. This includes the meta title (also known as the title tag) and meta description. Sometimes, the meta title is the same as the title of your blog post, while other times, you’ll want to choose a slightly different title for displaying your post. There’s no right or wrong here, so long as your title is engaging and includes your most important keyword. The meta description, which is the short snippet of text beneath the meta title, should also include your main keywords and should preview the article’s main points.

blog metadata breakdown - how to start a blog

Choose your URL: Every webpage has a dedicated URL, and your blog posts are no different. A strong URL helps your articles rank high on search engine results pages, and typically contains a keyword. Blog post URLs often take the form of or .

You now have everything you need for your first blog post. Give it a couple reads, and share it with family members or friends to review. It’s always helpful to have a second, third, or fourth pair of eyes.

When you think your article is ready to go, upload it to your blog. Your blogging platform will also have a place for you to type in the metadata and URL. Once that’s done, hit Publish and let the celebrations begin.

08. Create an editorial calendar

Whew! You’ve just written your first blog post. Take a break, and when you’re ready, plan out the rest of the month’s posting schedule.

Creating an editorial calendar is an important part of starting a blog. It’s an effective way to ensure you publish content consistently, letting you hold yourself accountable as a writer and ensuring you don’t deviate from your blogging goals. Your readers want new content, and you need to deliver. Plus, search engines take into account how frequently you publish when determining your site’s overall ranking.

You probably already have a handful of topics from your brainstorming session in Step 6. If not, use the same process to come up with new ideas. Once you have at least 10 or so ideas, start building a content calendar.

Your calendar doesn’t need to cost a thing, and it certainly doesn’t require the use of unfamiliar tools or platforms. Open up Excel or Google Sheets, and start building a schedule from there. The columns you use are completely up to you, but you’ll probably want to create different sections for the publishing date, blog title, main keywords, article status and comments.

create a blog editorial calendar

Pro tip: If you know you’re prone to procrastination (aren't we all?), open up a Google Calendar and fill in your deadlines there. You can even set aside blocks of time in your calendar for writing.

How often should you blog?

When learning how to start a blog, a big question people ask is how often they should be publishing new content. As a rule of thumb, the more often you blog, the more traffic you get. There’s no black-or-white answer for exactly how frequently that is, but studies have pointed us to a few important statistics :

11 or more posts per month yields a noticeable increase in traffic. Among small companies of 10 or fewer employees, those who published at least 11 blog posts a month had twice as much traffic as those who published two to five blogs a month.

Small companies also found that publishing at least 11 posts per month yields twice as many leads as those publishing six to 10 monthly articles. This is important if your goal is to obtain subscribers, sell products or work as an affiliate (more on that in Step 10).

impact of monthly blog posts on traffic - how often to post when starting a blog

How often you blog also depends on your goals . If your main goal is to generate brand awareness, start with one to two new posts per week. On the other hand, if you’re primarily aiming to increase blog traffic , you should ideally be writing three to four new posts per week.

Keep all this in mind as you create your editorial calendar, but make your goals small and achievable. If you set unrealistic deadlines that you can’t meet, you’ll get thrown off course and even discouraged.

You can always ramp up your efforts once you get used to publishing and make it a habit to stick to your schedule. In addition, remember that you can always bring in guest contributors to up the quantity of published content each week.

09. Promote your blog

Share on social media

Create a blog newsletter

Write for other sites

Reach out to an existing community

Participate in question and discussion sites

Invest in paid ads

Try new content formats

At this stage, you have everything you need to start a blog. These last couple of steps will focus on how to spread the word about your blog and grow it into a serious monetization tool.

In order to get readers, you’ll need to find creative ways to drive traffic to your site. While improving your SEO is an important step, the following methods can also help you promote your blog . Note that most of them are completely free, while a few (like advertising) are paid.

Share on social media: Social media is an excellent place to post your content and draw attention to your blog. Whether you promote your blog on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, it’s a great way to reach new readers. Learn more about blogging vs instagram in our guide.

Create a blog newsletter: Send out a weekly email newsletter to engage your readers and get them coming back to your blog for more. This will help you sustain a loyal fan base. To get subscribers to your blog email list in the first place, include a prominent Subscribe button in your website’s navigation bar, footer, and within your blog posts.

how to start a blog -  promote your blog with a newsletter

Write for other sites: Strengthen your reputation as a writer and expert in your niche by publishing content outside your own website. Consider opening a Medium account and making a name for yourself there, or post articles on LinkedIn . You should also keep an eye out for guest blogging opportunities, which are offered by publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur .

Reach out to an existing community: Facebook groups, forums and LinkedIn groups are gathering places for people interested in a particular topic. If you find an online community that’s relevant to your blog niche, share your website with them and network among their group members.

Participate in question and discussion sites: Sites such as Quora and Reddit give you the opportunity to highlight your blog in discussion threads. Use one of your blog posts to answer a question or follow up on a comment, but be sure to come across as helpful and informative rather than promotional.

Invest in paid ads: In addition to sharing posts on social media, you can boost your posts with a paid promotion so that they reach more people. Likewise, you can pay for Google ads and reach new users through the search engine.

Try new content formats: Expand your reach even further by trying new content formats. These essentially repurpose the same information provided in your posts. For instance, you can turn your blog posts into videos and start a YouTube channel. You might even create a podcast or offer a webinar. The sky's the limit.

Learn more: Blogging vs Youtube

10. Make money blogging

Affiliate marketing

Advertise within your blog

Offer paid subscriptions

Write sponsored content

Sell e-books and merchandise

Provide consulting services

If you’re looking to start a blog with a large readership, chances are you’re also aiming to make money from your blog’s popularity. We touched on affiliate marketing earlier in the article, but let’s talk more about this and other money-making strategies that can help you generate passive income from your writing efforts.

how to promote your blog - make money blogging

There are more ways than one to make money blogging . Here’s a quick overview of each method:

Affiliate marketing: This is one of the most common ways to make money blogging, and it’s easy to get started. Intermediate affiliates can earn between $300 to $3,000 per day , and that number only goes up with experience. There are plenty of affiliate marketing programs out there, but Amazon Associates is a popular choice for beginners.

Advertising within your blog: Another option is to display ads within your blog, which means you’re essentially selling your blog real estate as ad space. This is a fairly reliable way to make money, as you’ll be earning revenue with each click. If you’re thinking of taking this route, Google AdSense is by far one of the most lucrative and popular programs.

Offering paid subscriptions: You know how the New York Times makes you pay to read their content? You can do the same thing with your blog. While some of your articles should be free, you can also create exclusive content that readers can buy access to through a subscription plan.

Write sponsored content: Reach out to companies—or, as you blog grows, make it easy for brands to contact you—regarding sponsorship opportunities. You’ll be writing articles that promote those companies’ products, and the business, in turn, will compensate you for the posts.

Sell e-books and merchandise: You can also sell digital or physical goods directly from your site. This might include branded merchandise, products related to your field, or e-books and other online resources. One way to do this is by adding a Pay button to your homepage that your readers can click to browse your merchandise.

Provide consulting services: This approach involves making use of your professional experience and harnessing the knowledge you’ve gained as a professional blogger. Based on your insights and expertise, think about the kinds of consulting services you might be able to offer to your clients. If you’re writing a nutrition blog, one such idea could be making customized diet plans or working as a nutrition coach for clients.

For further details, take a look at this article on how to monetize a blog or check out the Wix Learn online course on monetizing your blog.

5 reasons to start a blog and is it worth it

People start blogs for a variety of reasons, many of which mean blogging is still worth it, some of these reasons include:

01. Share your ideas with the world

Sometimes you just want to be heard and get your ideas out into the universe. This is where a blog can help—it’s a form of communication and space that’s entirely your own. You can use your creativity and passion to create a space customized exactly to your liking where you can share your ideas, expertise and experiences.

02. Promote a product or service

Blogging for business  is a great way to engage potential customers and provide more information about a product or service. Additionally, blogging does wonders for a website's SEO.

03. Build your brand

A blog provides a platform to showcase your knowledge and skills, establishing yourself as an authority in your field and building credibility and trust with your audience. As Ophyr Hanan, Blog Growth and SEO Outreach Specialist at Wix, says, "By fostering relationships and collaborating on content, it can help build the foundation for thought leadership and authority building both for you and within your industry."

04. Earn income

Blogging can be profitable with time and continued effort. The best way to see the monetary fruits of your labor is by posting quality content regularly that draws in new readers and brings more traffic to your website. This will help your blog gain advertisers and can also boost your status as an online influencer, which can open up the door for affiliate marketing.

05. Build a community

Thanks to the internet, we no longer need to live in the same city, state or even country to feel connected to others. A blog, as part of a wider blogosphere  community, creates a space to share your story, ideas and start conversations with people all over the world with mutual interests. A blog typically has a comments section where your readers can speak with you directly, allowing you to engage in conversation and build relationships.

Is it too late to start a blog?

Blogging is crucial to build your brand's voice and community, and allows you to expand your reach to a relevant audience who might otherwise not know you exist.
Judit Ruiz Ricart, Team Lead of Blog Growth at Wix

Blogs are still a popular and effective way to share your thoughts, ideas and expertise with the world. In fact, blogging is one of the most popular forms of content marketing. It can also be a great way to build a community and connect with other people who share your interests.

Remember that the internet is still growing, with more and more people using it every day. This means that there's a large and growing potential audience for your blog, too. While there are many blogs out there, there's always room for new voices and perspectives. If you have something unique to share, people will be interested in reading it. And the best part is that there are many tools and platforms that make it easy to create and manage a blog.

There are a number of reasons why blogging is still relevant, including:

Search engines love blogs

Blogs are a great way to improve your website's SEO and rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is because blogs provide fresh, high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience.

Blogs build authority

When you write informative and engaging blog posts, you establish yourself as an expert in your field. This can help you attract new customers and clients, and build trust with your existing audience.

Blogs build connections

Blogs provide a platform for you to share your thoughts and ideas and to connect with other people who share your interests. This can help you build a community around your brand. This is especially true of service industries, fitness blogs for example are a great way to build a loyal health focused audience and the same is true for almost every industry.

Blogs generate leads and sales

When you write blog posts that are relevant to your target audience, you can include calls to action that encourage them to learn more about your products or services, or to contact you for a consultation.

The blogging landscape has changed in recent years, the space is more competitive as more blogs exist and competition for audience numbers grows. Hand in hand with this social media and video have become more popular ways to consume content, especially amongst younger audiences. However amongst all of this blogs still play an important role in the content marketing mix.

Blogging resources - how to become a blogger

As you learn how to create a blog and become a blogger, browse these blogging resources to help guide you through the writing process, SEO and more:

Blog post checklist : Check off these steps to ensure you’ve covered all the bases with your first blog post.

Blogging for beginners : Read through these additional tips on how to start your blog from scratch.

Free online writing courses (Udemy) : Browse Udemy for professional writing courses that will help you develop your blogging skills.

Free SEO tutorial (Moz) : Learn the basics of SEO with this free six-part video course.

Blogging tools

Finally, online tools are a big part of launching a blog, since they make the process more streamlined and efficient. Here’s a quick list of some helpful blogging tools you can use to start a blog—don’t forget to bookmark them for future reference:

Google Keyword Planner : Get data about which keywords to use in your blog posts.

Google Analytics : Obtain insights into your blog’s data to strengthen its performance.

Google Search Console : Have a clear view of the number of website visitors and clicks your blog receives.

ShareThrough’s headline analyzer : Type in your headline and get feedback on its strengths and weaknesses.

Pexels : Find free stock photos for your blog articles.

Grammarly : Review your writing with an AI editing tool.

BuzzSumo : Keep track of trending content to create relevant, targeted posts.

Asana : Manage your writing schedule with an online task management tool.

At this point, you have all the tools and resources you need for starting a blog. You couldn't have found a more rewarding endeavor, and I couldn't be more honored to help you get your blog off the ground. Feel free to bookmark this guide as a reference as you begin this new journey, and happy blogging.

Start a blog FAQ

How can i start a blog for free.

First of all you'll need to choose a blogging platform with free user options. With Wix, for example, you can create a blog for free. You can also save money when starting a blog by writing all of your content yourself and by using as many free content planning and keyword research tools as possible. You can also use stock images included within the template or editor of your blogging platform for free in most cases.

How do I make a successful blog?

Is blogging still worth it in 2024, how to make a blogging website, how do bloggers get paid, can you start a blog as a side hustle, how to write a blog post with ai, do blogs make money, how do i start a blog with no money, related posts.

How to write catchy blog titles: 12 tips and examples

120 profitable blog niche ideas and how to pick the right one

How to make money blogging: the complete free guide

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how to write a blogging business plan

Blog Business Plan (Why You Need One & How to Write It)

Blog Business Plan (Why You Need One & How to Write It)

Starting a blog may sound like an easy thing to do. However, it's not the case since starting such a business involves a lot of things to settle. In general, there's so much more to starting a blog that you need to have a business plan to be successful. Otherwise, you will end up being overwhelmed with so many things.

Now, if you're wondering about a business plan and how it's essential as you start your blog, you've come to the right place!

A business plan for a blog generally illustrates your goals, financial strategies, research, and everything else involved with your business. It contains the strategy for guiding and helping you start and run your business.

In this article, we'll talk more about the business plan for a blog and every concern you may ask about, mainly how to write one.

Without further ado, let's get into it!

What is a blog business plan?

A blog business plan is a document that defines (in detail) a blog' objectives and how it plans to achieve its goals.

For instance, a blog typically needs an initial investment. As such, you need to include the said amount in your plan and how you can acquire such, either from your pocket or through a business loan or any other financing option (learn more about a blog financing .

Profit and goal are other examples. It is also included in your business plan as a goal to achieve within a set period, usually within months.

Overall, the business plan is the document that lays out a written road map for the blog from a marketing, financial, and operational standpoint. You should also have a basic idea about a blog profitability .

Business plans are essential for startups and established businesses, and the blog is no exception. Every business, regardless of the type, should have one.

Further, business plans are critical documents for internal and external audiences. For instance, you may use these plans to attract investors before establishing a track record. It can also help you secure loans from financial institutions.

Business plans can also help keep your blog' leadership team on track for meeting established goals and on track with strategic action items.

Overall, business plans are particularly helpful for new businesses, including the blog. Ideally, goals should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect achievements or changes. When an established business changes direction, a new business plan is created.

Why do you need a blog business plan?

You need a blog business plan for several reasons. However, the main reasons are to help you establish your company, set the goals you want to achieve, and evaluate your blog’ status after a specific timeframe.

As a general rule, your business plan serves as a guide. Revising and adjusting this plan may also be necessary as circumstances change throughout your actions.

You should know that if you plan to apply for a business loan (which any knowledgeable entrepreneur should do), lenders want to see a business plan.

For your blog to succeed and meet your goals, you need a precise and robust business plan.

Learn more about starting a blog :

Where to start?

-> How to finance a blog? -> How much does it cost to start a blog? -> Pros and cons of a blog

Need inspiration?

-> Other blog success stories -> Marketing ideas for a blog -> Blog names -> Blog Instagram captions

Other resources

-> Profitability of a blog -> Blog tips

How to write a blog business plan?

When creating a business plan, you need to include more than just the steps on how you start. It also includes how you will sustain it and how you can develop it even further as you move forward. Simply put, it should include everything related to your blog.

If you’re wondering how to write a business plan for your blog, here are the things you need to include:

1. Executive summary

The executive summary in a business plan includes a gist of your entire blog. Further, it includes the general reason why it will turn out successful.

2. Company description

The company description details every information about your blog. As such, it includes your advantages over your potential competitors and the things that make your business stand out above other similar companies.

3. Organization and management

The organization and management are the part of your business plan that states the structure of your blog.

It includes the entire staff, especially the ones who will run your blog, whether you’re solo, with a partner, or with a group of people. Simply put, it shows what type of business you run and who is responsible for it.

4. Market analysis

The market analysis is the part of your business plan that shows your perspective on the industry where your blog belongs.

Since it’s about marketing, it includes your target market or customers. Further, it includes your potential competitors since they can take away your potential customers.

5. Financial plan

The financial plan is the part that concerns everything related to your blog finances. This document consists of a detailed financial statement and an analysis of your finances and the required funds .

6. Marketing strategy

The marketing strategy outlines the concerns about reaching out to potential customers . Moreover, it demonstrates how to expose the products and services your blog offers.

Besides attracting customers, it also includes strategies for gaining new customers and keeping the regular ones from leaving. Finally, it outlines strategies for increasing sales for your blog to grow.

What makes a good blog business plan?

A good blog business plan serves as a roadmap that outlines the strategies and actions required to achieve the goals and objectives of a business. It typically includes information about the business's products or services, target market, competition, marketing and sales strategies, operations, financial projections, and management team.

Here are some key elements that make up a good business plan:

  • Executive summary : This is a brief overview of the entire business plan, summarizing the key points and objectives of the company.
  • Company description : This section provides detailed information about blog, including its history, mission statement, and legal structure.
  • Market analysis : This section should describe the industry and market that blog operates in, including target customers, competitors, and market trends.
  • Products or services : This section should describe the products or services blog offers, highlighting their unique features and benefits.
  • Marketing and sales strategies : This section should detail the strategies that blog will use to promote and sell its products or services, including pricing, distribution, and advertising.
  • Operations : This section should outline the day-to-day operations of blog, including manufacturing, production, and distribution.
  • Financial projections : This section should provide detailed financial projections, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
  • Management team : This section should introduce the key members of blog's management team, highlighting their qualifications and experience.

Overall, a good blog business plan should be well-researched, realistic, and focused on achieving specific goals and objectives. It should also be adaptable and able to evolve as the business grows and changes over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i write a blog business plan myself.

Yes, you can write a blog business plan yourself. It requires a clear understanding of your goals, target audience, competition, financial projections, and marketing strategy. Research successful plans and use templates. Ensure it's comprehensive, realistic and seek help if needed. Ultimately, a good business plan sets you up for success.

How long should a blog business plan be?

There is no standard length for a blog business plan. It can range from a one-page summary to a comprehensive document of 50+ pages. The length depends on the complexity of the business, audience, and purpose. A concise plan that covers key elements is often more effective than a lengthy one.

In a nutshell, creating a business plan for a blog is a bit complicated, but you still need to do it.

Overall, a business plan will help you make the right calls, obtain the funding you need, and strongly start your new blog. As such, you must make a robust and precise one.

The six parts we included above should be handy throughout this process. With this information, you can begin writing your business plan and see what it takes to become a professional entrepreneur.

  • 39 Stories & Case Studies of Successful Bloggers [2024] 1 of 10
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how to write a blogging business plan

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BLOGGING BUSINESS PLAN: 2023 Template & How to Write

  • by Kenechukwu Muoghalu
  • August 12, 2023
  • No comments
  • 7 minute read

bloggig business plan

Table of Contents Hide

What is a blogging business plan, what is the importance of a blogging business plan, do i need a business plan for my blog, #1. executive summary , #2. market & competitor analysis, #3. brand overview, #4. blog content overview, #5. sales and marketing strategy, #6. financial plan, how do i start a blog and make money, what kind of blog is profitable, how do bloggers get paid, what blog is most popular, how do i get readers to my blog, how much do beginner bloggers make, how much does it cost to start a blog, what type of blogs are in demand, does composing a blogging business plan seems too demanding, final thoughts , is blogging profitable, how is blogging a business, how do i choose a topic for my blog.

It’s certain you already have a killer theme, a super fun blog name, and a few reserved blog posts brimming with passion, but what is starting a blog without owning a blogging business plan? A blogging business plan will guarantee your growth, help you figure out how to navigate any storm and keep you on track. Having a catchy name and snappy content is not enough, and that is why this article will cover all there is to know about your blogging business. With the help of our unique template below, you will also get to create a blogging business plan for yourself. 

If you have limited time to assimilate all the information below, then you can simply get our pre-made blogging business plan here .  

A blogging business plan is a living document that helps you navigate an obstacle and still keeps you on track while working towards your most impactful goals. To make it simpler, one can also define a blogging business plan as a roadmap for your business. 

A plan simply outlines your business and goals and then maps out how you’re going to achieve them. If you can get this luxury easily, then what is keeping you from getting a plan?

Why do you need a business plan? There are tonnes of reasons why you do need one. When you have a plan by your side, it automatically gives you a clear picture of what you want to achieve and helps you create a greater sense of accountability as well. That’s not all. Having a business plan forces you to set clear priorities and shows you some challenges to expect along the way. 

All these factors and benefits of having a business plan are basically what make up a good business and enforce constant growth. Once followed closely, you can never go wrong with a business plan.

As long as you consider your blog as a form of business and a way to earn profits, you need a business plan. In some cases, one can choose to start a blog out of passion, and if this is the case, then you can start without a plan. But when these two factors are involved, then a plan is essential. 

Having known this, let’s look at how you can write your blogging business plan using this banging template below. 

How to Write a Blogging Business Plan

Writing a blogging business plan requires specific strategies and elements that will enable the plan to fulfil its purposes in your business. To write a blogging business plan effectively, you must ensure to follow this template in accordance.

When writing your business plan, you should see your executive summary as the most important section of your plan. It summarises the other sections of your plan and briefs your readers about your blog. In this section, you would also need to include your blog’s name, a brief blog description, and a short description of your blog’s target market. Most readers end up reading this section, so you should make it as clear as possible. 

I mentioned the target market in the previous section. Your target market is the audience that follows and views your blog posts. To be able to analyse who they are and how to reach out to them, you will need to conduct some niche market research . It is only when this research is completed that you will be able to compose this section of your business plan. While on that, you will also have to do some basic research on the top competitors in your blog’s area of expertise and tell your readers how you intend to get ahead of them.

Your brand or company overview simply covers an in-depth history of your blog business. If you have not gone far in your business, not to worry, you can just include the little you have done. A good company overview should include a description of your brand’s personality, what your blog is about, and your blog’s core values and mission. You can also include your blog’s logo, typography, brand colours and taglines.

The content of your blog will greatly determine the quality of your website. So you need to sit down and make a clear analysis of how you want to pull that through. You should add a summary of your content strategy in this section. You will also include the types of content you will be creating, and how you intend to maintain high-quality content. As a blogger, this section should be highly applied in your blog business, your posting frequency should be constant. 

What are your plans when it comes to your marketing plan ? Which marketing methods would you apply to your blog business in order to create more awareness for your brand? These questions are what is required of you in this section. You should tell your readers what your launch and social media strategy should be and how you intend to use an SEO strategy and other related forms of promotion.

Phew, that was a lot already! The last step in creating a solid blogging business plan is to have a strong financial plan . You should consider what it’s going to cost you to get started, and if you are looking for any form of financial assistance, then you should pay attention to this particular section. You can include the cost of basic things you need to start off and how much you will need to make it happen. A proper financial plan should also have an income statement, a cash flow statement and a balance sheet.

Starting a blog is not as easy as it sounds, but to make it happen, you need to start off at the right place. To do this, you have to choose a profitable niche first, have a working blog content strategy, create awareness for your brand, monetize your blog, and always be consistent with all activities.

There are thousands of niches on the internet, but the most profitable blogs are about pets, dating and relationships, self-improvement, beauty treatments, gadgets and technology, personal finance and a host of others. 

Bloggers get paid in many possible ways, from affiliate marketing to getting paid according to the amount of traffic their blogs pull in a month. Occasionally, when a brand sees that a particular blog attracts a large amount of traffic, it will reach out directly to a blogger to place an ad on the blog. From there, a commission is paid to the blogger. 

The most popular blogs on the internet are lifestyle blogs. Lifestyle blogs attract a whole lot of readers. It also consists of a variety of topics ranging from culture, local news, arts, family, and politics. This vast option gives a lifestyle blogger a wide range of topics to cover, and hence they always have content to write about. 

To boost your readership and increase traffic to your blog, you can simply carry out some basic procedures that have proven to be valid in this situation. You can choose to write more, use social media platforms, narrow down your niche, incorporate keywords and links, add sharing buttons that are linked to socials, write catchy titles, and include photos and a host of others. 

A beginner blogger can make up to £3,000-£5,000. This average income can also be increased depending on the amount of traffic their blog attracts. The payment can also be influenced when the blog has multiple monetizing activities. 

When it comes to making an analysis of the amount of cash you are likely to spend when starting a blog, you will find it difficult to make an analysis. On average, a blogger would need a range of £50,000-£200,000 to start up a blog. Then there are also monthly subscriptions that you will need to pay per month. 

The most demanding blogs on the internet are lifestyle blogs, DIY blogs, valuable content, unique selling propositions, affiliate marketing, online stores, pet blogs, Google AdSense and a host of others. 

Not being able to write a blogging business plan yourself, even with the simplified template above, is understandable, especially when you’re a first-timer. But because of the importance of having a business plan, you need to make provisions for it, irrespective of its daunting nature.

If you find yourself in this tight situation, it’s better to opt-in for a professional pre-made blogging business plan . 

Over the years, businessyield consult has solely debuted its time and efforts into creating professional business plans for entrepreneurs. We have so far helped millions of businesses stand on their feet and we are happy to help you too. Get hold of your business plan here and watch your blog grow.

It is one thing to open a blog website, and it’s another to plan what its activities are going to look like. But when a business plan is brought into the spotlight, it makes the journey easier. You should remember that you really do have to use a well-composed blogging business plan like this to experience valid results. More than just a blogging business plan, running a profitable blog also requires a lot of discipline, commitment and consistency. 

Yes, blogging has proven to be one of the most effective ways to make money across the globe. The only thing a blogger needs to do is to pick up a profitable niche idea, be consistent with it and then monetize it with any promotional platform.

Blogging becomes a form of business when the blogger’s real intention is to make a profit from it. If the blogger’s intention is solely out of passion, then it should not be regarded as a form of business. Most bloggers monetize their blogs and hence tag them as their business.

Choosing a topic for what to write for your blog can be daunting, but to make the process easier, you can look at your past content, uncover topics that have generated the most engagement and pick inspiration from there. You can choose a similar topic within the niche and give it your best.

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Kenechukwu Muoghalu

Kenny, an accomplished business writer with a decade of experience, excels in translating intricate industry insights into engaging articles. Her passion revolves around distilling the latest trends, offering actionable advice, and nurturing a comprehensive understanding of the business landscape. With a proven track record of delivering insightful content, Kenny is dedicated to empowering her readers with the knowledge needed to thrive in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of business.

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How to Create a Blog Plan (That You’ll Crush)

  • November 22, 2021
  • Blogging for Beginners

Reading Time

Here’s a secret:

I, Pete McPherson, am a  master  procrastinator.

Ya know the stories you hear about college students waiting until the day before the exam to start studying? 

Nice you meet you!

I ALWAYS wait till the last minute, but I somehow still get stuff done by the due date.

However, it wasn’t until later in life that I discovered this is actually an asset.

Question for you:

  • Why is it that late December is the best time of year to buy a used car?
  • Why do companies tend to push themselves harder than ever in Q4 every year?
  • Why do you seem to get SO much work done the day before you leave for vacation?

Answer: Deadlines .

Car dealerships and corporations set annual sales goals—and December brings a mad dash to meet their quotas.

When you know you’re leaving on vacation, you work extra hard/smart to make sure you won’t be thinking about work when you should be throwing your kids into swimming pools at Disney World ????????

People work harder during periods of procrastination—because they have to. Deadlines and short-time frames encourage harder and/or smarter work.

How you can use this for your blog:

That’s the real trick, isn’t it?

Trying to replicate the feeling of “OMG I HAVE to get this stuff work work work,” even though you  don’t  have an actual deadline.

It turns out, the answer is simple—but still really hard?

  • Use shorter timeframes for your goals
  • Set strategic plans on the weekly (or even daily) levels

Step 1 – Cast aside “annualized” thinking for a second…

When folks start blogs , businesses, or any project, it’s almost ALWAYS accompanied by annualized thinking.

Annualized thinking = setting a 2020 goal.

This is why 99.99% of New Year’s resolutions fail—it’s simply too long a time frame to accurately predict what’s going to happen!

You have NO idea where your blog will be 10 months from now. Planning that far out has diminishing returns

Consider a long road trip.

Annualized thinking/planning is like if I decided to drive from Georgia to California—with no maps, GPS, or asking for directions.

I know which way is west from my hometown, and I’d probably make it a few states over—but I’d soon need to course-correct before I get completely lost, eventually getting stranded with no food, eventually resorting to a life of crime on the streets in order to survive.

Here’s a quote from “ The 12-Week Year ,” the book that spurred this blog post and the 12-Week Blog Plan course. (my affiliate link above)

“At the heart of annualized thinking is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to makes things happen. In January, December looks a long way off.”

This is totally true.

We get a tad behind in late January or February, and  we’re not worried, because “there’s so much time left!”

Back to the book…

“We mistakenly believe that there is a lot of time left in the year, and we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important. Ultimately, effective execution happens daily and weekly!”

So what to do?

Shorten the timeframe for your goals.

Note: I’m not saying you should scrap your annual New Year’s resolution or your 2022 goals.

By all means, set a general target for 2022!

Implementing the 12-Week Blog Planner is not a replacement for an annual goal—it’s a supplement.

A necessary supplement if you’re like me.

In fact, an annual goal can help you step back from day-to-day grinds and think objectively and long-term.

That’s a crucial step to 12-week years as well–but it HAS to be coupled with shorter-term planning.

How to create an #actionable blog plan.

Again, we go through this in a step-by-step, interactive format within the 12-Week Blog Planner below—but I did want to leave an overview here.

Here are the 3 steps:

  • Define a vision for your blog/biz
  • Create 2-4 SMART(ER) goals
  • Map out tactics on a weekly (and daily) basis.

1 – Why vision is incredibly important

Simply put, you need to know where you’re going.

You can work 23 hours a day at PEAK efficiency, but if  what you work on  isn’t aligned with where you want to  be  in life, it will have been worthless.

A compelling vision = a crystal-clear picture of the future.

It is critical that your business/blog vision aligns with—and enables—your personal vision. This alignment ensures a powerful emotional connection that promotes a sustained commitment, and continual action.

No vision = no emotional connection to stick with the plan.

“If you’re lacking in passion for your business or in a relationship, it’s not a crisis of passion; it’s a crisis of vision.”

Brainstorming and completing the Vision Worksheet is the first step in the 12-Week Blog Planner.

You’ll need a vision for your blog

  • 12 weeks from now
  • 3 years from now

You need to make dang sure your short-term vision/goals line up with your long-term vision.

Here’s an (outdated) 12-week DYEB vision:

2 – Why 2-3 goals is optimal for a 12-week year.

The next step is to create a few goals you can aim for 12 weeks from now.

These goals become planning “targets” on which you’ll base your weekly and daily actions.

If you’ve never heard of the “SMARTER” framework for goals, you can read about that  here , but I’mma just hit you with what I think is crucial for bloggers:

1 – Make them specific and measurable.

This is the bare mimimum.

“Make more money” “Get affiliate revenues” “Grow email list”

THESE ARE NOT GOALS. They are not specific or measurable.

“Make $1,000 gross from the blog via ads and affiliate links, and grow my email list by 75%.”

That’s a bit better.

3 – They should be obtainable within the time frame!

This one’s huge.

Honestly. Realistically. Set 2-3 goals that you CAN legitimately complete in a 12-week timeline.

Why? Because you’re going to be DOING IT.

Goal setting should not JUST be some inspirational-motivational-super “it’d be great but it’ll never happen” sort of process.

You’re going to be hitting these goals, and if you do, you should have been working to your vision.

4 – But still a tad lofty 🙂

My friend Jenny from Good Life, Better once referred to them as “stretch” goals. I like that term.

Targeted goals  should  make you a tad uncomfortable.

There is a proper balance of “I can do this” mixed with “Wow—what I’m  currently  doing won’t hit that goal, so how can I hit it?”

5 – They should align with your vision.

You might even just change the way you’ve phrased your vision—to be specific and measurable goals.

Here’s my (outdated) goals for DYEB 12 weeks out:

6 – Each of these 12-week goals becomes a planning target for which you need to write tactics.

The overall 12-week goals are then broken out into weekly goals and corresponding #actionable tactics.

That’s up next 🙂

3 – Identify the actions that MATTER

Using your blogging vision and the goals—this is where we’ll set a strategic, weekly plan of action— that if completed, will move you to your goals.

Mmmmm tasty.

Important: What makes a good tactic?

1 – Your tactics should start with a verb and be a complete sentence.

“Email 3 people this week with a guest post pitch.”

“Write 1 blog post and publish, and write 1 blog post draft to get ahead.”

“Create automation workflow “shell” in Drip, start-to-finish.”

2 – Your tasks should be “executable in the week they are due to be delivered.”

I.e. If your task can’t be completed in one week, it’s too long. Break it up into smaller chunks.

How do I create weekly plans?

  • You could take your big 12-week plans and break them into 12 chunks (hard)
  • You could brainstorm—then organize—your tactics into weeks, and THEN make weekly goals (what I have to do).

For me personally, I have to start with the overarching goals (the 12-week ones), then create tactics, then create weekly goals in the process of organizing the tasks.

Here’s a step-by-step to your weekly plan.

Step 1 – For each goal, brainstorm ALL actions that are required to hit your goals

What do you need to work on to hit your goals? 

Braindump everything on a sheet of paper or spreadsheet.

Step 2 – Identify the high-priority and high-leverage tasks

Not all activities will move you towards your goals equally.

  • Checking email
  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Fixing broken backlinks
  • Writing and perfecting SEO content

Which of those are more important for hitting my SEO goals?

  • Finding new productivity apps
  • Going through a new blogging course
  • Recording and editing podcast episodes
  • Setting up my advanced email funnel

Which of those are more important for hitting my monthly recurring revenue goals via my funnel?

Which actions will have the greatest impact?

Step 3 – Map out high-priority tactics by week

This is the hard part. The time-consuming part.

Map out every week for 12 weeks using high-leverage tasks.

In the 12-Week Blog Planner, we complete a worksheet containing this weekly breakdown—and send you the results—but it’s also crucial to keep some sort of spreadsheet/document.

See below for why.

Keep score & Keep track = stay committed.

There’s one more obvious reason why people fail on their blogging and/or life goals = a lack of commitment.

“It’s one thing to define new actions that will lead to higher results, it’s another thing to consistently do them.”

Entire books and classes attempt to cover this subject.

However, for the 12-week blog plan, there are 3 slices that help make up your commitment pie:

  • An emotional connection to the outcome of your work—or non-work—i.e. a proper vision
  • Effective tracking & “reminding” at weekly intervals
  • Effective measurement—i.e. scorekeeping! Woot!

To-do 1 – Have a weekly recurring meeting—with yourself.

I’m running mine every Monday directly after my mastermind call.

In this meeting you’ll

  • Score the previous week (see below)
  • Plan out the current week in greater detail
  • Refresh yourself on your long-term vision and goals.

To-do 2 – Keep score on your progress!

This is the magic bullet for the 12-week year—literally assigning yourself a percentage-based SCORE for every single week, based on how effectively you completed your tactics.

Every single week (that’s important), you’ll calculate the percentage of tactics you fully completed. I.e. the number of tactics you did, divided by the number of total tactics.

That’s your score

Aim for 80% or greater, and aim for improvement.

The idea behind this:

If you’ve done the homework starting from the vision, the goals–then determined the highly-leveraged actions to take to accomplish your goals—the ONLY step left is execution.

So what if you execute—and you don’t hit your goals?

Measurement is the ONLY way to properly diagnose a lack of results and figure out whether it was your plan that was flawed or your execution.

Tactic scoring example:

If you had 4 tactics in week 1, and you completed (and I mean completely completed) 3 out of the 4, your score for the week is 75%.

Insanely important note:  If you score less than 100%, you have NOT failed! You should aim to score around 80% and above. If you were to correctly plan, then execute 80% of the identified tactics, chances are high that you have realized a lot of your goals/vision!

The problem is doing the work 😉

Let’s get some clarity and focus!

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How to Write a Detailed Business Plan, Step-by-Step (Free Templates)

Posted november 14, 2022 by noah parsons.

how to write a business plan step by step

Writing a business plan is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business. Study after study proves that business planning significantly improves your chances of success by up to 30 percent . That’s because the planning process helps you think about all aspects of your business and how your business will operate and grow.

In fact, writing a business plan is one of the only free things you can do to greatly impact the success and growth of your business. Ready to write your own detailed business plan? Here’s everything you need ( along with a free template ) to create your plan.

Before you write a detailed business plan, start with a one-page business plan

Despite the benefit of planning, it’s easy to procrastinate writing a business plan. Most people would prefer to work hands-on in their business rather than think about business strategy. That’s why, to make things easier, we recommend you start with a simpler and shorter one-page business plan .

With a one-page plan, there’s no need to go into a lot of details or dive deep into financial projections—you just write down the fundamentals of your business and how it works. A one-page plan should cover:

  • Value proposition
  • Market need
  • Your solution


Target market.

  • Sales and marketing
  • Budget and sales goals
  • Team summary
  • Key partners
  • Funding needs

A one-page business plan is a great jumping-off point in the planning process. It’ll give you an overview of your business and help you quickly refine your ideas.

If you’re ready to work on your one-page plan, check out our guide to writing a one-page business plan . It has detailed instructions, examples, and even a free downloadable template .

When do you need a more detailed business plan?

A one-page plan doesn’t always capture all the information that you need, however. If that’s the case, then it may be time to expand into a more detailed business plan.

There are several reasons for putting together a detailed business plan:

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Create a professional business plan

Using ai and step-by-step instructions.

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

Flesh out the details 

A one-page business plan is just a summary of your business. If you want to document additional details such as market research, marketing and sales strategies, or product direction—you should expand your plan into a longer, more detailed plan. 

Build a more detailed financial forecast

A one-page plan only includes a summary of your financial projections. A detailed plan includes a full financial forecast, including a profit and loss statement , balance sheet , and cash flow forecast —one of the most important forecasts for any business.

Be prepared for lenders and investors

While investors might not ask to actually read your business plan, they will certainly ask detailed questions about your business. Planning is the only way to be well-prepared for these investor meetings.

Selling your business

If you’re selling your business, a detailed business plan presentation will be part of your sales kit. Potential buyers will want to know the details of how your business works, from marketing details to your product roadmap.

How to write a detailed business plan

When you do need to write a detailed business plan, focus on the parts most important to you and your business. If you plan on distributing your plan to outsiders, you should complete every section. But, if your plan is just for internal use, focus on the areas that will help you right now.

For example, if you’re struggling with marketing, spend time working on your target market section and marketing strategy and skip the sections covering the company organization.

Let’s go step-by-step through the sections you should include in your business plan:

1. Executive summary

Yes, the executive summary comes first in your plan, but you should write it last, once you know all the details of your business plan. It is truly just a summary of all the details in your plan, so be careful not to be too repetitive—just summarize and try to keep it to one or two pages at most. If you’ve already put together a one-page business plan, you can use that here instead of writing a new executive summary.

Your executive summary should be able to stand alone as a document because it’s often useful to share just the summary with potential investors. When they’re ready for more detail, they’ll ask for the full business plan.

For existing businesses, write the executive summary for your audience—whether it’s investors, business partners, or employees. Think about what your audience will want to know and just hit the highlights.

The key parts of your plan that you’ll want to highlight in your executive summary are:

  • Your opportunity: This is a summary of what your business does, what problem it solves, and who your customers are. This is where you want readers to get excited about your business
  • Your team: For investors, your business’s team is often even more important than what the business is. Briefly highlight why your team is uniquely qualified to build the business and make it successful.
  • Financials: What are the highlights of your financial forecast ? Summarize your sales goals , when you plan to be profitable, and how much money you need to get your business off the ground.

2. Opportunity

The “opportunity” section of your business plan is all about the products and services that you are creating. The goal is to explain why your business is exciting and the problems that it solves for people. You’ll want to cover:

Mission statement

A mission statement is a short summary of your overall goals. It’s a short summary of how you hope to improve customers’ lives with your products and services. It’s a summary of the aspirations of your business and the guiding north star for you and your team. 

Problem & solution

Most successful businesses solve a problem for their customers. Their products and services make people’s lives easier or fill an unmet need in the marketplace. In this section, you’ll want to explain the problem that you solve, whom you solve it for, and what your solution is. This is where you go in-depth to describe what you do and how you improve the lives of your customers.

In the previous section, you summarized your target customer. Now you’ll want to describe them in much greater detail. You’ll want to cover things like your target market’s demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) and psychographics (hobbies and other behaviors). Ideally, you can also estimate the size of your target market so you know how many potential customers you might have.

Every business has competition , so don’t leave this section out. You’ll need to explain what other companies are doing to serve your customers or if your customers have other options for solving the problem you are solving. Explain how your approach is different and better than your competitors, whether it’s better features, better pricing, or a better location. Explain why a customer would come to you instead of going to another company. 

3. Execution

This section of your business plan dives into how you’re going to accomplish your goals. While the Opportunity section discussed what you’re doing, you now need to explain the specifics of how you’re going to do it.

Marketing & sales

What marketing tactics do you plan to use to get the word out about your business? You’ll want to explain how you get customers to your door and what the sales process looks like. For businesses that have a sales force, explain how the sales team gets leads and what the process is like for closing a sale.

Depending on the type of business that you are starting, the operations section needs to be customized to meet your needs. If you are building a mail-order business you’ll want to cover how you source your products and how fulfillment will work .

If you’re building a manufacturing business, explain the manufacturing process and the facilities you need to use. This is where you’ll talk about how your business “works,” meaning, you should explain what day-to-day functions and processes are needed to make your business successful.

Milestones & metrics

Until now, your business plan has mostly discussed what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it. The milestones and metrics section is all about timing. Your plan should highlight key dates and goals that you intend to hit. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. You should also discuss key metrics: the numbers you will track to determine your success.

Use the Company section of your business plan to explain the overall structure of your business and the team behind it.

Organizational structure

Describe your location, facilities, and anything else about your physical location that is relevant to your business. You’ll also want to explain the legal structure of your business—are you an S-corp, C-corp, or an LLC? What does company ownership look like?

Arguably one of the most important parts of your plan when seeking investment is the “Team” section. This should explain who you are and who else is helping you run the business. Focus on experience and qualifications for building the type of business that you want to build. 

It’s OK if you don’t have a complete team yet. Just highlight the key roles that you need to fill and the type of person you hope to hire for each role.

5. Financial plan and projections

Your business plan has now covered the “what”, the “how”, and the “when” for your business. Now it’s time to talk about money. What revenue do you plan on bringing in and when? What kind of expenses will you have?

Financial Forecasts

Your sales forecast should cover at least the first 12 months of your business and ideally contain educated guesses at the following two years in annual totals. Some investors and lenders might want to see a five-year forecast, but three years is usually enough.

You’ll want to cover sales, expenses, personnel costs, asset purchases, and more. You’ll end up with three key financial statements: An Income Statement (also called Profit and Loss), a Cash Flow Statement , and a Balance Sheet .

If you’re raising money for your business, the Financing section is where you describe how much you need. Whether you’re getting loans or investments, you should highlight what you need, and when you need it. Ideally, you’ll also want to summarize the specific ways that you’ll use the cash once you have it in hand.

6. Appendix 

The final section of your business plan is the appendix. Include detailed financial forecasts here as well as any other key documentation for your business. If you have product schematics, patent information, or any other details that aren’t appropriate for the main body of the plan but need to be included for reference.

Download a business plan template

Are you ready to write your business plan? Get started by downloading our free business plan template . With that, you will be well on your way to a better business strategy, with all of the necessary information expected in a more detailed plan.

If you want to elevate your ability to build a healthy, growing business, you may want to consider LivePlan.

It’s a product that makes planning easy and features step-by-step guidance that ensures you cover everything necessary while reducing the time spent on formatting and presenting. You’ll also gain access to financial forecasting tools that propel you through the process. Finally, it will transform your plan into a management tool that will help you easily compare your forecasts to your actual results.

Using your plan to grow your business

Your business plan isn’t just a document to attract investors or close a bank loan. It’s a tool that helps you better manage and grow your business. And you’ll get the most value from your business plan if you use it as part of a growth planning process . 

With growth planning, you’ll easily create and execute your plan, track performance, identify opportunities and issues, and consistently revise your strategy. It’s a flexible process that encourages you to build a plan that fits your needs.  So, whether you stick with a one-page plan or expand into a more detailed business plan—you’ll be ready to start growth planning. 

Ready to try it for yourself? Learn how LivePlan can help you use this modern business planning method to write your plan and consistently grow your business.

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Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.


Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

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How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Julia Rittenberg

Updated: Apr 17, 2024, 11:59am

How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

Brainstorm an executive summary, create a company description, brainstorm your business goals, describe your services or products, conduct market research, create financial plans, bottom line, frequently asked questions.

Every business starts with a vision, which is distilled and communicated through a business plan. In addition to your high-level hopes and dreams, a strong business plan outlines short-term and long-term goals, budget and whatever else you might need to get started. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to write a business plan that you can stick to and help guide your operations as you get started.

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Drafting the Summary

An executive summary is an extremely important first step in your business. You have to be able to put the basic facts of your business in an elevator pitch-style sentence to grab investors’ attention and keep their interest. This should communicate your business’s name, what the products or services you’re selling are and what marketplace you’re entering.

Ask for Help

When drafting the executive summary, you should have a few different options. Enlist a few thought partners to review your executive summary possibilities to determine which one is best.

After you have the executive summary in place, you can work on the company description, which contains more specific information. In the description, you’ll need to include your business’s registered name , your business address and any key employees involved in the business. 

The business description should also include the structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship , limited liability company (LLC) , partnership or corporation. This is the time to specify how much of an ownership stake everyone has in the company. Finally, include a section that outlines the history of the company and how it has evolved over time.

Wherever you are on the business journey, you return to your goals and assess where you are in meeting your in-progress targets and setting new goals to work toward.

Numbers-based Goals

Goals can cover a variety of sections of your business. Financial and profit goals are a given for when you’re establishing your business, but there are other goals to take into account as well with regard to brand awareness and growth. For example, you might want to hit a certain number of followers across social channels or raise your engagement rates.

Another goal could be to attract new investors or find grants if you’re a nonprofit business. If you’re looking to grow, you’ll want to set revenue targets to make that happen as well.

Intangible Goals

Goals unrelated to traceable numbers are important as well. These can include seeing your business’s advertisement reach the general public or receiving a terrific client review. These goals are important for the direction you take your business and the direction you want it to go in the future.

The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you’re offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit in the current market or are providing something necessary or entirely new. If you have any patents or trademarks, this is where you can include those too.

If you have any visual aids, they should be included here as well. This would also be a good place to include pricing strategy and explain your materials.

This is the part of the business plan where you can explain your expertise and different approach in greater depth. Show how what you’re offering is vital to the market and fills an important gap.

You can also situate your business in your industry and compare it to other ones and how you have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Other than financial goals, you want to have a budget and set your planned weekly, monthly and annual spending. There are several different costs to consider, such as operational costs.

Business Operations Costs

Rent for your business is the first big cost to factor into your budget. If your business is remote, the cost that replaces rent will be the software that maintains your virtual operations.

Marketing and sales costs should be next on your list. Devoting money to making sure people know about your business is as important as making sure it functions.

Other Costs

Although you can’t anticipate disasters, there are likely to be unanticipated costs that come up at some point in your business’s existence. It’s important to factor these possible costs into your financial plans so you’re not caught totally unaware.

Business plans are important for businesses of all sizes so that you can define where your business is and where you want it to go. Growing your business requires a vision, and giving yourself a roadmap in the form of a business plan will set you up for success.

How do I write a simple business plan?

When you’re working on a business plan, make sure you have as much information as possible so that you can simplify it to the most relevant information. A simple business plan still needs all of the parts included in this article, but you can be very clear and direct.

What are some common mistakes in a business plan?

The most common mistakes in a business plan are common writing issues like grammar errors or misspellings. It’s important to be clear in your sentence structure and proofread your business plan before sending it to any investors or partners.

What basic items should be included in a business plan?

When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business,  an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.

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Written by Jesse Sumrak | May 14, 2023

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Business plans might seem like an old-school stiff-collared practice, but they deserve a place in the startup realm, too. It’s probably not going to be the frame-worthy document you hang in the office—yet, it may one day be deserving of the privilege.

Whether you’re looking to win the heart of an angel investor or convince a bank to lend you money, you’ll need a business plan. And not just any ol’ notes and scribble on the back of a pizza box or napkin—you’ll need a professional, standardized report.

Bah. Sounds like homework, right?

Yes. Yes, it does.

However, just like bookkeeping, loan applications, and 404 redirects, business plans are an essential step in cementing your business foundation.

Don’t worry. We’ll show you how to write a business plan without boring you to tears. We’ve jam-packed this article with all the business plan examples, templates, and tips you need to take your non-existent proposal from concept to completion.

Table of Contents

What Is a Business Plan?

Tips to Make Your Small Business Plan Ironclad

How to Write a Business Plan in 6 Steps

Startup Business Plan Template

Business Plan Examples

Work on Making Your Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan FAQs

What is a business plan why do you desperately need one.

A business plan is a roadmap that outlines:

  • Who your business is, what it does, and who it serves
  • Where your business is now
  • Where you want it to go
  • How you’re going to make it happen
  • What might stop you from taking your business from Point A to Point B
  • How you’ll overcome the predicted obstacles

While it’s not required when starting a business, having a business plan is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Secure a Bank Loan: Before approving you for a business loan, banks will want to see that your business is legitimate and can repay the loan. They want to know how you’re going to use the loan and how you’ll make monthly payments on your debt. Lenders want to see a sound business strategy that doesn’t end in loan default.
  • Win Over Investors: Like lenders, investors want to know they’re going to make a return on their investment. They need to see your business plan to have the confidence to hand you money.
  • Stay Focused: It’s easy to get lost chasing the next big thing. Your business plan keeps you on track and focused on the big picture. Your business plan can prevent you from wasting time and resources on something that isn’t aligned with your business goals.

Beyond the reasoning, let’s look at what the data says:

  • Simply writing a business plan can boost your average annual growth by 30%
  • Entrepreneurs who create a formal business plan are 16% more likely to succeed than those who don’t
  • A study looking at 65 fast-growth companies found that 71% had small business plans
  • The process and output of creating a business plan have shown to improve business performance

Convinced yet? If those numbers and reasons don’t have you scrambling for pen and paper, who knows what will.

Don’t Skip: Business Startup Costs Checklist

Before we get into the nitty-gritty steps of how to write a business plan, let’s look at some high-level tips to get you started in the right direction:

Be Professional and Legit

You might be tempted to get cutesy or revolutionary with your business plan—resist the urge. While you should let your brand and creativity shine with everything you produce, business plans fall more into the realm of professional documents.

Think of your business plan the same way as your terms and conditions, employee contracts, or financial statements. You want your plan to be as uniform as possible so investors, lenders, partners, and prospective employees can find the information they need to make important decisions.

If you want to create a fun summary business plan for internal consumption, then, by all means, go right ahead. However, for the purpose of writing this external-facing document, keep it legit.

Know Your Audience

Your official business plan document is for lenders, investors, partners, and big-time prospective employees. Keep these names and faces in your mind as you draft your plan.

Think about what they might be interested in seeing, what questions they’ll ask, and what might convince (or scare) them. Cut the jargon and tailor your language so these individuals can understand.

Remember, these are busy people. They’re likely looking at hundreds of applicants and startup investments every month. Keep your business plan succinct and to the point. Include the most pertinent information and omit the sections that won’t impact their decision-making.

Invest Time Researching

You might not have answers to all the sections you should include in your business plan. Don’t skip over these!

Your audience will want:

  • Detailed information about your customers
  • Numbers and solid math to back up your financial claims and estimates
  • Deep insights about your competitors and potential threats
  • Data to support market opportunities and strategy

Your answers can’t be hypothetical or opinionated. You need research to back up your claims. If you don’t have that data yet, then invest time and money in collecting it. That information isn’t just critical for your business plan—it’s essential for owning, operating, and growing your company.

Stay Realistic

Your business may be ambitious, but reign in the enthusiasm just a teeny-tiny bit. The last thing you want to do is have an angel investor call BS and say “I’m out” before even giving you a chance.

The folks looking at your business and evaluating your plan have been around the block—they know a thing or two about fact and fiction. Your plan should be a blueprint for success. It should be the step-by-step roadmap for how you’re going from Point A to Point B.

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How to Write a Business Plan—6 Essential Elements

Not every business plan looks the same, but most share a few common elements. Here’s what they typically include:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Overview
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Financial Strategy

Below, we’ll break down each of these sections in more detail.

1. Executive Summary

While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it’s the section you’ll write last. That’s because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager.

Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what’s inside the business plan.

Your executive summary highlights key points of your plan. Consider this your elevator pitch. You want to put all your juiciest strengths and opportunities strategically in this section.

2. Business Overview

In this section, you can dive deeper into the elements of your business, including answering:

  • What’s your business structure? Sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.
  • Where is it located?
  • Who owns the business? Does it have employees?
  • What problem does it solve, and how?
  • What’s your mission statement? Your mission statement briefly describes why you are in business. To write a proper mission statement, brainstorm your business’s core values and who you serve.

Don’t overlook your mission statement. This powerful sentence or paragraph could be the inspiration that drives an investor to take an interest in your business. Here are a few examples of powerful mission statements that just might give you the goosebumps:

  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • InvisionApp : Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.
  • TED : Spread ideas.
  • Warby Parker : To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

3. Products and Services

As the owner, you know your business and the industry inside and out. However, whoever’s reading your document might not. You’re going to need to break down your products and services in minute detail.

For example, if you own a SaaS business, you’re going to need to explain how this business model works and what you’re selling.

You’ll need to include:

  • What services you sell: Describe the services you provide and how these will help your target audience.
  • What products you sell: Describe your products (and types if applicable) and how they will solve a need for your target and provide value.
  • How much you charge: If you’re selling services, will you charge hourly, per project, retainer, or a mixture of all of these? If you’re selling products, what are the price ranges?

4. Market Analysis

Your market analysis essentially explains how your products and services address customer concerns and pain points. This section will include research and data on the state and direction of your industry and target market.

This research should reveal lucrative opportunities and how your business is uniquely positioned to seize the advantage. You’ll also want to touch on your marketing strategy and how it will (or does) work for your audience.

Include a detailed analysis of your target customers. This describes the people you serve and sell your product to. Be careful not to go too broad here—you don’t want to fall into the common entrepreneurial trap of trying to sell to everyone and thereby not differentiating yourself enough to survive the competition.

The market analysis section will include your unique value proposition. Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the thing that makes you stand out from your competitors. This is your key to success.

If you don’t have a UVP, you don’t have a way to take on competitors who are already in this space. Here’s an example of an ecommerce internet business plan outlining their competitive edge:

FireStarters’ competitive advantage is offering product lines that make a statement but won’t leave you broke. The major brands are expensive and not distinctive enough to satisfy the changing taste of our target customers. FireStarters offers products that are just ahead of the curve and so affordable that our customers will return to the website often to check out what’s new.

5. Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis examines the strengths and weaknesses of competing businesses in your market or industry. This will include direct and indirect competitors. It can also include threats and opportunities, like economic concerns or legal restraints.

The best way to sum up this section is with a classic SWOT analysis. This will explain your company’s position in relation to your competitors.

6. Financial Strategy

Your financial strategy will sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. It’ll explain how you make money, where your cash flow goes, and how you’ll become profitable or stay profitable.

This is one of the most important sections for lenders and investors. Have you ever watched Shark Tank? They always ask about the company’s financial situation. How has it performed in the past? What’s the ongoing outlook moving forward? How does the business plan to make it happen?

Answer all of these questions in your financial strategy so that your audience doesn’t have to ask. Go ahead and include forecasts and graphs in your plan, too:

  • Balance sheet: This includes your assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Profit & Loss (P&L) statement: This details your income and expenses over a given period.
  • Cash flow statement: Similar to the P&L, this one will show all cash flowing into and out of the business each month.

It takes cash to change the world—lenders and investors get it. If you’re short on funding, explain how much money you’ll need and how you’ll use the capital. Where are you looking for financing? Are you looking to take out a business loan, or would you rather trade equity for capital instead?

Read More: 16 Financial Concepts Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Startup Business Plan Template (Copy/Paste Outline)

Ready to write your own business plan? Copy/paste the startup business plan template below and fill in the blanks.

Executive Summary Remember, do this last. Summarize who you are and your business plan in one page.

Business Overview Describe your business. What’s it do? Who owns it? How’s it structured? What’s the mission statement?

Products and Services Detail the products and services you offer. How do they work? What do you charge?

Market Analysis Write about the state of the market and opportunities. Use date. Describe your customers. Include your UVP.

Competitive Analysis Outline the competitors in your market and industry. Include threats and opportunities. Add a SWOT analysis of your business.

Financial Strategy Sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. If you’re applying for a loan, include how you’ll use the funding to progress the business.

What’s the Best Business Plan to Succeed as a Consultant?

5 Frame-Worthy Business Plan Examples

Want to explore other templates and examples? We got you covered. Check out these 5 business plan examples you can use as inspiration when writing your plan:

  • SBA Wooden Grain Toy Company
  • SBA We Can Do It Consulting
  • OrcaSmart Business Plan Sample
  • Plum Business Plan Template
  • PandaDoc Free Business Plan Templates

Get to Work on Making Your Business Plan

If you find you’re getting stuck on perfecting your document, opt for a simple one-page business plan —and then get to work. You can always polish up your official plan later as you learn more about your business and the industry.

Remember, business plans are not a requirement for starting a business—they’re only truly essential if a bank or investor is asking for it.

Ask others to review your business plan. Get feedback from other startups and successful business owners. They’ll likely be able to see holes in your planning or undetected opportunities—just make sure these individuals aren’t your competitors (or potential competitors).

Your business plan isn’t a one-and-done report—it’s a living, breathing document. You’ll make changes to it as you grow and evolve. When the market or your customers change, your plan will need to change to adapt.

That means when you’re finished with this exercise, it’s not time to print your plan out and stuff it in a file cabinet somewhere. No, it should sit on your desk as a day-to-day reference. Use it (and update it) as you make decisions about your product, customers, and financial plan.

Review your business plan frequently, update it routinely, and follow the path you’ve developed to the future you’re building.

Keep Learning: New Product Development Process in 8 Easy Steps

What financial information should be included in a business plan?

Be as detailed as you can without assuming too much. For example, include your expected revenue, expenses, profit, and growth for the future.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a business plan?

The most common mistake is turning your business plan into a textbook. A business plan is an internal guide and an external pitching tool. Cut the fat and only include the most relevant information to start and run your business.

Who should review my business plan before I submit it?

Co-founders, investors, or a board of advisors. Otherwise, reach out to a trusted mentor, your local chamber of commerce, or someone you know that runs a business.

Ready to Write Your Business Plan?

Don’t let creating a business plan hold you back from starting your business. Writing documents might not be your thing—that doesn’t mean your business is a bad idea.

Let us help you get started.

Join our free training to learn how to start an online side hustle in 30 days or less. We’ll provide you with a proven roadmap for how to find, validate, and pursue a profitable business idea (even if you have zero entrepreneurial experience).

Stuck on the ideas part? No problem. When you attend the masterclass, we’ll send you a free ebook with 100 of the hottest side hustle trends right now. It’s chock full of brilliant business ideas to get you up and running in the right direction.

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About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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how to write a blogging business plan

How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

how to write a blogging business plan

Have you ever wondered how to write a business plan step by step? Mike Andes, told us: 

This guide will help you write a business plan to impress investors.

Throughout this process, we’ll get information from Mike Andes, who started Augusta Lawn Care Services when he was 12 and turned it into a franchise with over 90 locations. He has gone on to help others learn how to write business plans and start businesses.  He knows a thing or two about writing  business plans!

We’ll start by discussing the definition of a business plan. Then we’ll discuss how to come up with the idea, how to do the market research, and then the important elements in the business plan format. Keep reading to start your journey!

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is simply a road map of what you are trying to achieve with your business and how you will go about achieving it. It should cover all elements of your business including: 

  • Finding customers
  • Plans for developing a team
  •  Competition
  • Legal structures
  • Key milestones you are pursuing

If you aren’t quite ready to create a business plan, consider starting by reading our business startup guide .

Get a Business Idea

Before you can write a business plan, you have to have a business idea. You may see a problem that needs to be solved and have an idea how to solve it, or you might start by evaluating your interests and skills. 

Mike told us, “The three things I suggest asking yourself when thinking about starting a business are:

  • What am I good at?
  • What would I enjoy doing?
  • What can I get paid for?”

Three adjoining circles about business opportunity

If all three of these questions don’t lead to at least one common answer, it will probably be a much harder road to success. Either there is not much market for it, you won’t be good at it, or you won’t enjoy doing it. 

As Mike told us, “There’s enough stress starting and running a business that if you don’t like it or aren’t good at it, it’s hard to succeed.”

If you’d like to hear more about Mike’s approach to starting a business, check out our YouTube video

Conduct Market Analysis

Market analysis is focused on establishing if there is a target market for your products and services, how large the target market is, and identifying the demographics of people or businesses that would be interested in the product or service. The goal here is to establish how much money your business concept can make.

Product and Service Demand

An image showing product service and demand

A search engine is your best friend when trying to figure out if there is demand for your products and services. Personally, I love using because it lets you directly search on a ton of different platforms including Google, Youtube, Twitter, and more. Check out the screenshot for the full list of search options.

With quick web searches, you can find out how many competitors you have, look through their reviews, and see if there are common complaints about the competitors. Bad reviews are a great place to find opportunities to offer better products or services. 

If there are no similar products or services, you may have stumbled upon something new, or there may just be no demand for it. To find out, go talk to your most honest friend about the idea and see what they think. If they tell you it’s dumb or stare at you vacantly, there’s probably no market for it.

You can also conduct a survey through social media to get public opinion on your idea. Using Facebook Business Manager , you could get a feel for who would be interested in your product or service.

 I ran a quick test of how many people between 18-65  you could reach in the U.S. during a week. It returned an estimated 700-2,000 for the total number of leads, which is enough to do a fairly accurate statistical analysis.

Identify Demographics of Target Market

Depending on what type of business you want to run, your target market will be different. The narrower the demographic, the fewer potential customers you’ll have. If you did a survey, you’ll be able to use that data to help define your target audience. Some considerations you’ll want to consider are:

  • Other Interests
  • Marital Status
  • Do they have kids?

Once you have this information, it can help you narrow down your options for location and help define your marketing further. One resource that Mike recommended using is the Census Bureau’s Quick Facts Map . He told us,  

“It helps you quickly evaluate what the best areas are for your business to be located.”

How to Write a Business Plan

Business plan development

Now that you’ve developed your idea a little and established there is a market for it, you can begin writing a business plan. Getting started is easier with the business plan template we created for you to download. I strongly recommend using it as it is updated to make it easier to create an action plan. 

Each of the following should be a section of your business plan:

  • Business Plan Cover Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Description of Products and Services

SWOT Analysis

  • Competitor Data
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Expenses Strategy 

Pricing Strategy

  • Distribution Channel Assessment
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organizational Strategy
  • Financial Statements and/or Financial Projections

We’ll look into each of these. Don’t forget to download our free business plan template (mentioned just above) so you can follow along as we go. 

How to Write a Business Plan Step 1. Create a Cover Page

The first thing investors will see is the cover page for your business plan. Make sure it looks professional. A great cover page shows that you think about first impressions.

A good business plan should have the following elements on a cover page:

  • Professionally designed logo
  • Company name
  • Mission or Vision Statement
  • Contact Info

Basically, think of a cover page for your business plan like a giant business card. It is meant to capture people’s attention but be quickly processed.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 2. Create a Table of Contents

Most people are busy enough that they don’t have a lot of time. Providing a table of contents makes it easy for them to find the pages of your plan that are meaningful to them.

A table of contents will be immediately after the cover page, but you can include it after the executive summary. Including the table of contents immediately after the executive summary will help investors know what section of your business plan they want to review more thoroughly.

Check out Canva’s article about creating a  table of contents . It has a ton of great information about creating easy access to each section of your business plan. Just remember that you’ll want to use different strategies for digital and hard copy business plans.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 3. Write an Executive Summary

A notepad with a written executive summary for business plan writing

An executive summary is where your business plan should catch the readers interest.  It doesn’t need to be long, but should be quick and easy to read.

Mike told us,

How long should an executive summary bein an informal business plan?

For casual use, an executive summary should be similar to an elevator pitch, no more than 150-160 words, just enough to get them interested and wanting more. Indeed has a great article on elevator pitches .  This can also be used for the content of emails to get readers’ attention.

It consists of three basic parts:

  • An introduction to you and your business.
  • What your business is about.
  • A call to action

Example of an informal executive summary 

One of the best elevator pitches I’ve used is:

So far that pitch has achieved a 100% success rate in getting partnerships for the business.

What should I include in an executive summary for investors?

Investors are going to need a more detailed executive summary if you want to secure financing or sell equity. The executive summary should be a brief overview of your entire business plan and include:

  • Introduction of yourself and company.
  • An origin story (Recognition of a problem and how you came to solution)
  • An introduction to your products or services.
  • Your unique value proposition. Make sure to include intellectual property.
  • Where you are in the business life cycle
  • Request and why you need it.

Successful business plan examples

The owner of Urbanity told us he spent 2 months writing a 75-page business plan and received a $250,000 loan from the bank when he was 23. Make your business plan as detailed as possible when looking for financing. We’ve provided a template to help you prepare the portions of a business plan that banks expect.

Here’s the interview with the owner of Urbanity:

When to write an executive summary?

Even though the summary is near the beginning of a business plan, you should write it after you complete the rest of a business plan. You can’t talk about revenue, profits, and expected expenditures if you haven’t done the market research and created a financial plan.

What mistakes do people make when writing an executive summary?

Business owners commonly go into too much detail about the following items in an executive summary:

  • Marketing and sales processes
  • Financial statements
  • Organizational structure
  • Market analysis

These are things that people will want to know later, but they don’t hook the reader. They won’t spark interest in your small business, but they’ll close the deal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 4. Company Description

Every business plan should include a company description. A great business plan will include the following elements while describing the company:

  • Mission statement
  • Philosophy and vision
  • Company goals

Target market

  • Legal structure

Let’s take a look at what each section includes in a good business plan.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is a brief explanation of why you started the company and what the company’s main focus is. It should be no more than one or two sentences. Check out HubSpot’s article 27 Inspiring Mission Statement for a great read on informative and inspiring mission and vision statements. 

Company Philosophy and Vision

Writing the company philosophy and vision

The company philosophy is what drives your company. You’ll normally hear them called core values.  These are the building blocks that make your company different. You want to communicate your values to customers, business owners, and investors as often as possible to build a company culture, but make sure to back them up.

What makes your company different?

Each company is different. Your new business should rise above the standard company lines of honesty, integrity, fun, innovation, and community when communicating your business values. The standard answers are corporate jargon and lack authenticity. 

Examples of core values

One of my clients decided to add a core values page to their website. As a tech company they emphasized the values:

  •  Prioritize communication.
  •  Never stop learning.
  •  Be transparent.
  •  Start small and grow incrementally.

These values communicate how the owner and the rest of the company operate. They also show a value proposition and competitive advantage because they specifically focus on delivering business value from the start. These values also genuinely show what the company is about and customers recognize the sincerity. Indeed has a great blog about how to identify your core values .

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement communicate the long lasting change a business pursues. The vision helps investors and customers understand what your company is trying to accomplish. The vision statement goes beyond a mission statement to provide something meaningful to the community, customer’s lives, or even the world.

Example vision statements

The Alzheimer’s Association is a great example of a vision statement:

A world without Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia.

It clearly tells how they want to change the world. A world without Alzheimers might be unachievable, but that means they always have room for improvement.

Business Goals

You have to measure success against goals for a business plan to be meaningful. A business plan helps guide a company similar to how your GPS provides a road map to your favorite travel destination. A goal to make as much money as possible is not inspirational and sounds greedy.

Sure, business owners want to increase their profits and improve customer service, but they need to present an overview of what they consider success. The goals should help everyone prioritize their work.

How far in advance should a business plan?

Business planning should be done at least one year in advance, but many banks and investors prefer three to five year business plans. Longer plans show investors that the management team  understands the market and knows the business is operating in a constantly shifting market. In addition, a plan helps businesses to adjust to changes because they have already considered how to handle them.

Example of great business goals

My all time-favorite long-term company goals are included in Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux . These goals were written in 2016 and drive the company’s decisions through 2026. They are the reason that investors are so forgiving when Elon Musk continually fails to meet his quarterly and annual goals.

If the progress aligns with the business plan investors are likely to continue to believe in the company. Just make sure the goals are reasonable or you’ll be discredited (unless you’re Elon Musk).

A man holding an iPad with a cup of coffee on his desk

You did target market research before creating a business plan. Now it’s time to add it to the plan so others understand what your ideal customer looks like. As a new business owner, you may not be considered an expert in your field yet, so document everything. Make sure the references you use are from respectable sources. 

Use information from the specific lender when you are applying for lending. Most lenders provide industry research reports and using their data can strengthen the position of your business plan.

A small business plan should include a section on the external environment. Understanding the industry is crucial because we don’t plan a business in a vacuum. Make sure to research the industry trends, competitors, and forecasts. I personally prefer IBIS World for my business research. Make sure to answer questions like:

  • What is the industry outlook long-term and short-term?
  • How will your business take advantage of projected industry changes and trends?
  • What might happen to your competitors and how will your business successfully compete?

Industry resources

Some helpful resources to help you establish more about your industry are:

  • Trade Associations
  • Federal Reserve
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics

Legal Structure

There are five basic types of legal structures that most people will utilize:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC)



  • Franchises.

Each business structure has their pros and cons. An LLC is the most common legal structure due to its protection of personal assets and ease of setting up. Make sure to specify how ownership is divided and what roles each owner plays when you have more than one business owner.

You’ll have to decide which structure is best for you, but we’ve gathered information on each to make it easier.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the easiest legal structure to set up but doesn’t protect the owner’s personal assets from legal issues. That means if something goes wrong, you could lose both your company and your home.

To start a sole proprietorship, fill out a special tax form called a  Schedule C . Sole proprietors can also join the American Independent Business Alliance .

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is the most common business structure used in the United States because an LLC protects the owner’s personal assets. It’s similar to partnerships and corporations, but can be a single-member LLC in most states. An LLC requires a document called an operating agreement.

Each state has different requirements. Here’s a link to find your state’s requirements . Delaware and Nevada are common states to file an LLC because they are really business-friendly. Here’s a blog on the top 10 states to get an LLC.

Partnerships are typically for legal firms. If you choose to use a partnership choose a Limited Liability Partnership. Alternatively, you can just use an LLC.

Corporations are typically for massive organizations. Corporations have taxes on both corporate and income tax so unless you plan on selling stock, you are better off considering an LLC with S-Corp status . Investopedia has good information corporations here .

An iPad with colored pens on a desk

There are several opportunities to purchase successful franchises. has a list of companies in a variety of industries that offer franchise opportunities. This makes it where an entrepreneur can benefit from the reputation of an established business that has already worked out many of the kinks of starting from scratch.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 5. Products and Services

This section of the business plan should focus on what you sell, how you source it, and how you sell it. You should include:

  • Unique features that differentiate your business products from competitors
  • Intellectual property
  • Your supply chain
  • Cost and pricing structure 

Questions to answer about your products and services

Mike gave us a list  of the most important questions to answer about your product and services:

  • How will you be selling the product? (in person, ecommerce, wholesale, direct to consumer)?
  • How do you let them know they need a product?
  • How do you communicate the message?
  • How will you do transactions?
  • How much will you be selling it for?
  • How many do you think you’ll sell and why?

Make sure to use the worksheet on our business plan template .

How to Write a Business Plan Step 6. Sales and Marketing Plan

The marketing and sales plan is focused on the strategy to bring awareness to your company and guides how you will get the product to the consumer.  It should contain the following sections:

SWOT Analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Not only do you want to identify them, but you also want to document how the business plans to deal with them.

Business owners need to do a thorough job documenting how their service or product stacks up against the competition.

If proper research isn’t done, investors will be able to tell that the owner hasn’t researched the competition and is less likely to believe that the team can protect its service from threats by the more well-established competition. This is one of the most common parts of a presentation that trips up business owners presenting on Shark Tank .

SWOT Examples

Business plan SWOT analysis

Examples of strengths and weaknesses could be things like the lack of cash flow, intellectual property ownership, high costs of suppliers, and customers’ expectations on shipping times.

Opportunities could be ways to capitalize on your strengths or improve your weaknesses, but may also be gaps in the industry. This includes:

  • Adding offerings that fit with your current small business
  • Increase sales to current customers
  • Reducing costs through bulk ordering
  • Finding ways to reduce inventory
  •  And other areas you can improve

Threats will normally come from outside of the company but could also be things like losing a key member of the team. Threats normally come from competition, regulations, taxes, and unforeseen events.

The management team should use the SWOT analysis to guide other areas of business planning, but it absolutely has to be done before a business owner starts marketing. 

Include Competitor Data in Your Business Plan

When you plan a business, taking into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of the competition is key to navigating the field. Providing an overview of your competition and where they are headed shows that you are invested in understanding the industry.

For smaller businesses, you’ll want to search both the company and the owners names to see what they are working on. For publicly held corporations, you can find their quarterly and annual reports on the SEC website .

What another business plans to do can impact your business. Make sure to include things that might make it attractive for bigger companies to outsource to a small business.

Marketing Strategy

The marketing and sales part of business plans should be focused on how you are going to make potential customers aware of your business and then sell to them.

If you haven’t already included it, Mike recommends:

“They’ll want to know about Demographics, ages, and wealth of your target market.”

Make sure to include the Total addressable market .  The term refers to the value if you captured 100% of the market.

Advertising Strategy

You’ll explain what formats of advertising you’ll be using. Some possibilities are:

  • Online: Facebook and Google are the big names to work with here.
  • Print : Print can be used to reach broad groups or targeted markets. Check out this for tips .
  • Radio : iHeartMedia is one of the best ways to advertise on the radio
  • Cable television : High priced, hard to measure ROI, but here’s an explanation of the process
  • Billboards: Attracting customers with billboards can be beneficial in high traffic areas.

You’ll want to define how you’ll be using each including frequency, duration, and cost. If you have the materials already created, including pictures or links to the marketing to show creative assets.

Mike told us “Most businesses are marketing digitally now due to Covid, but that’s not always the right answer.”

Make sure the marketing strategy will help team members or external marketing agencies stay within the brand guidelines .

An iPad with graph about pricing strategy

This section of a business plan should be focused on pricing. There are a ton of pricing strategies that may work for different business plans. Which one will work for you depends on what kind of a business you run.

Some common pricing strategies are:

  • Value-based pricing – Commonly used with home buying and selling or other products that are status symbols.
  • Skimming pricing – Commonly seen in video game consoles, price starts off high to recoup expenses quickly, then reduces over time.
  • Competition-based pricing – Pricing based on competitors’ pricing is commonly seen at gas stations.
  • Freemium services –  Commonly used for software, where there is a free plan, then purchase options for more functionality.

HubSpot has a great calculator and blog on pricing strategies.

Beyond explaining what strategy your business plans to use, you should include references for how you came to this pricing strategy and how it will impact your cash flow.

Distribution Plan

This part of a business plan is focused on how the product or service is going to go through the supply chain. These may include multiple divisions or multiple companies. Make sure to include any parts of the workflow that are automated so investors can see where cost savings are expected and when.

Supply Chain Examples

For instance, lawn care companies  would need to cover aspects such as:

  • Suppliers for lawn care equipment and tools
  • Any chemicals or treatments needed
  • Repair parts for sprinkler systems
  • Vehicles to transport equipment and employees
  • Insurance to protect the company vehicles and people.

Examples of Supply Chains

These are fairly flat supply chains compared to something like a clothing designer where the clothes would go through multiple vendors. A clothing company might have the following supply chain:

  • Raw materials
  • Shipping of raw materials
  • Converting of raw materials to thread
  • Shipping thread to produce garments
  • Garment producer
  • Shipping to company
  • Company storage
  • Shipping to retail stores

There have been advances such as print on demand that eliminate many of these steps. If you are designing completely custom clothing, all of this would need to be planned to keep from having business disruptions.

The main thing to include in the business plan is the list of suppliers, the path the supply chain follows, the time from order to the customer’s home, and the costs associated with each step of the process.

According to BizPlanReview , a business plan without this information is likely to get rejected because they have failed to research the key elements necessary to make sales to the customer.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 7. Company Organization and Operational Plan

This part of the business plan is focused on how the business model will function while serving customers.  The business plan should provide an overview of  how the team will manage the following aspects:

Quality Control

  • Legal environment

Let’s look at each for some insight.

Production has already been discussed in previous sections so I won’t go into it much. When writing a business plan for investors, try to avoid repetition as it creates a more simple business plan.

If the organizational plan will be used by the team as an overview of how to perform the best services for the customer, then redundancy makes more sense as it communicates what is important to the business.

A wooden stamp with the words "quality control"

Quality control policies help to keep the team focused on how to verify that the company adheres to the business plan and meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Quality control can be anything from a standard that says “all labels on shirts can be no more than 1/16″ off center” to a defined checklist of steps that should be performed and filled out for every customer.

There are a variety of organizations that help define quality control including:

  • International Organization for Standardization – Quality standards for energy, technology, food, production environments, and cybersecurity
  • AICPA – Standard defined for accounting.
  • The Joint Commission – Healthcare
  • ASHRAE – HVAC best practices

You can find lists of the organizations that contribute most to the government regulation of industries on Open Secrets . Research what the leaders in your field are doing. Follow their example and implement it in your quality control plan.

For location, you should use information from the market research to establish where the location will be. Make sure to include the following in the location documentation.

  • The size of your location
  • The type of building (retail, industrial, commercial, etc.)
  • Zoning restrictions – Urban Wire has a good map on how zoning works in each state
  • Accessibility – Does it meet ADA requirements?
  • Costs including rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance and any buildout or remodeling costs
  • Utilities – b.e.f. has a good energy calculator .

Legal Environment

The legal requirement section is focused on defining how to meet the legal requirements for your industry. A good business plan should include all of the following:

  • Any licenses and/or permits that are needed and whether you’ve obtained them
  • Any trademarks, copyrights, or patents that you have or are in the process of applying for
  • The insurance coverage your business requires and how much it costs
  • Any environmental, health, or workplace regulations affecting your business
  • Any special regulations affecting your industry
  • Bonding requirements, if applicable

Your local SBA office can help you establish requirements in your area. I strongly recommend using them. They are a great resource.

Your business plan should include a plan for company organization and hiring. While you may be the only person with the company right now, down the road you’ll need more people. Make sure to consider and document the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the current leadership structure and what will it look like in the future?
  • What types of employees will you have? Are there any licensing or educational requirements?
  • How many employees will you need?
  • Will you ever hire freelancers or independent contractors?
  • What is each position’s job description?
  • What is the pay structure (hourly, salaried, base plus commission, etc.)?
  • How do you plan to find qualified employees and contractors?

One of the most crucial parts of a business plan is the organizational chart. This simply shows the positions the company will need, who is in charge of them and the relationship of each of them. It will look similar to this:

Organization chart

Our small business plan template has a much more in-depth organizational chart you can edit to include when you include the organizational chart in your business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 8. Financial Statements 

No business plan is complete without financial statements or financial projections. The business plan format will be different based on whether you are writing a business plan to expand a business or a startup business plan. Let’s dig deeper into each.

Provide All Financial Income from an Existing Business

An existing business should use their past financial documents including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement to find trends to estimate the next 3-5 years.

You can create easy trendlines in excel to predict future revenue, profit and loss, cash flow, and other changes in year-over-year performance. This will show your expected performance assuming business continues as normal.

If you are seeking an investment, then the business is probably not going to continue as normal. Depending on the financial plan and the purpose of getting financing, adjustments may be needed to the following:

  • Higher Revenue if expanding business
  • Lower Cost of Goods Sold if purchasing inventory with bulk discounts
  • Adding interest if utilizing financing (not equity deal)
  • Changes in expenses
  • Addition of financing information to the cash flow statement
  • Changes in Earnings per Share on the balance sheet

Financial modeling is a challenging subject, but there are plenty of low-cost courses on the subject. If you need help planning your business financial documentation take some time to watch some of them.

Make it a point to document how you calculated all the changes to the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in your business plan so that key team members or investors can verify your research.

Financial Projections For A Startup Business Plan

Unlike an existing business, a startup doesn’t have previous success to model its future performance. In this scenario, you need to focus on how to make a business plan realistic through the use of industry research and averages.

Mike gave the following advice in his interview:

Financial Forecasting Mistakes

One of the things a lot of inexperienced people use is the argument, “If I get one percent of the market, it is worth $100 million.” If you use this, investors are likely to file the document under bad business plan examples.

Let’s use custom t-shirts as an example.

Credence Research estimated in 2018 there were 11,334,800,000 custom t-shirts sold for a total of $206.12 Billion, with a 6% compound annual growth rate.

With that data,  you can calculate that the industry will grow to $270 Billion in 2023 and that the average shirt sold creates $18.18 in revenue.

Combine that with an IBIS World estimate of 11,094 custom screen printers and that means even if you become an average seller, you’ll get .009% of the market.

Here’s a table for easier viewing of that information.

A table showing yearly revenue of a business

The point here is to make sure your business proposal examples make sense.

You’ll need to know industry averages such as cost of customer acquisition, revenue per customer, the average cost of goods sold, and admin costs to be able to create accurate estimates.

Our simple business plan templates walk you through most of these processes. If you follow them you’ll have a good idea of how to write a business proposal.

How to Write a Business Plan Step 9. Business Plan Example of Funding Requests

What is a business plan without a plan on how to obtain funding?

The Small Business Administration has an example for a pizza restaurant that theoretically needed nearly $20k to make it through their first month.

In our video, How to Start a $500K/Year T-Shirt Business (Pt. 1 ), Sanford Booth told us he needed about $200,000 to start his franchise and broke even after 4 months.

Freshbooks estimates it takes on average 2-3 years for a business to be profitable, which means the fictitious pizza company from the SBA could need up to $330k to make it through that time and still pay their bills for their home and pizza shop.

Not every business needs that much to start, but realistically it’s a good idea to assume that you need a fairly large cushion.

Ways to get funding for a small business

There are a variety of ways to cover this. the most common are:

  • Bootstrapping – Using your savings without external funding.
  • Taking out debt – loans, credit cards
  • Equity, Seed Funding – Ownership of a percentage of the company in exchange for current funds
  • Crowdsourcing – Promising a good for funding to create the product

Keep reading for more tips on how to write a business plan.

How funding will be used

When asking for business financing make sure to include:

  • How much to get started?
  • What is the minimum viable product and how soon can you make money?
  • How will the money be spent?

Mike emphasized two aspects that should be included in every plan, 

How to Write a Business Plan Resources

Here are some links to a business plan sample and business plan outline. 

  • Sample plan

It’s also helpful to follow some of the leading influencers in the business plan writing community. Here’s a list:

  • Wise Plans –  Shares a lot of information on starting businesses and is a business plan writing company.
  • Optimus Business Plans –  Another business plan writing company.
  • Venture Capital – A venture capital thread that can help give you ideas.

How to Write a Business Plan: What’s Next?

We hope this guide about how to write a simple business plan step by step has been helpful. We’ve covered:

  • The definition of a business plan
  • Coming up with a business idea
  • Performing market research
  • The critical components of a business plan
  • An example business plan

In addition, we provided you with a simple business plan template to assist you in the process of writing your startup business plan. The startup business plan template also includes a business model template that will be the key to your success.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our business hub .

Have you written a business plan before? How did it impact your ability to achieve your goals?

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How To Write a Business Plan

Stephanie Coleman

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Starting a business is a wild ride, and a solid business plan can be the key to keeping you on track. A business plan is essentially a roadmap for your business — outlining your goals, strategies, market analysis and financial projections. Not only will it guide your decision-making, a business plan can help you secure funding with a loan or from investors .

Writing a business plan can seem like a huge task, but taking it one step at a time can break the plan down into manageable milestones. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to write a business plan.

Table of contents

  • Write your executive summary
  • Do your market research homework
  • Set your business goals and objectives
  • Plan your business strategy
  • Describe your product or service
  • Crunch the numbers
  • Finalize your business plan

how to write a blogging business plan

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Step 1: Write your executive summary

Though this will be the first page of your business plan , we recommend you actually write the executive summary last. That’s because an executive summary highlights what’s to come in the business plan but in a more condensed fashion.

An executive summary gives stakeholders who are reading your business plan the key points quickly without having to comb through pages and pages. Be sure to cover each successive point in a concise manner, and include as much data as necessary to support your claims.

You’ll cover other things too, but answer these basic questions in your executive summary:

  • Idea: What’s your business concept? What problem does your business solve? What are your business goals?
  • Product: What’s your product/service and how is it different?
  • Market: Who’s your audience? How will you reach customers?
  • Finance: How much will your idea cost? And if you’re seeking funding, how much money do you need? How much do you expect to earn? If you’ve already started, where is your revenue at now?

how to write a blogging business plan

Step 2: Do your market research homework

The next step in writing a business plan is to conduct market research . This involves gathering information about your target market (or customer persona), your competition, and the industry as a whole. You can use a variety of research methods such as surveys, focus groups, and online research to gather this information. Your method may be formal or more casual, just make sure that you’re getting good data back.

This research will help you to understand the needs of your target market and the potential demand for your product or service—essential aspects of starting and growing a successful business.

Step 3: Set your business goals and objectives

Once you’ve completed your market research, you can begin to define your business goals and objectives. What is the problem you want to solve? What’s your vision for the future? Where do you want to be in a year from now?

Use this step to decide what you want to achieve with your business, both in the short and long term. Try to set SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound benchmarks—that will help you to stay focused and motivated as you build your business.

Step 4: Plan your business strategy

Your business strategy is how you plan to reach your goals and objectives. This includes details on positioning your product or service, marketing and sales strategies, operational plans, and the organizational structure of your small business.

Make sure to include key roles and responsibilities for each team member if you’re in a business entity with multiple people.

Step 5: Describe your product or service

In this section, get into the nitty-gritty of your product or service. Go into depth regarding the features, benefits, target market, and any patents or proprietary tech you have. Make sure to paint a clear picture of what sets your product apart from the competition—and don’t forget to highlight any customer benefits.

Step 6: Crunch the numbers

Financial analysis is an essential part of your business plan. If you’re already in business that includes your profit and loss statement , cash flow statement and balance sheet .

These financial projections will give investors and lenders an understanding of the financial health of your business and the potential return on investment.

You may want to work with a financial professional to ensure your financial projections are realistic and accurate.

Step 7: Finalize your business plan

Once you’ve completed everything, it's time to finalize your business plan. This involves reviewing and editing your plan to ensure that it is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

You should also have someone else review your plan to get a fresh perspective and identify any areas that may need improvement. You could even work with a free SCORE mentor on your business plan or use a SCORE business plan template for more detailed guidance.

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The takeaway

Writing a business plan is an essential process for any forward-thinking entrepreneur or business owner. A business plan requires a lot of up-front research, planning, and attention to detail, but it’s worthwhile. Creating a comprehensive business plan can help you achieve your business goals and secure the funding you need.

Related content

  • 5 Best Business Plan Software and Tools in 2023 for Your Small Business
  • How to Get a Business License: What You Need to Know
  • What Is a Cash Flow Statement?

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How to Write a Business Plan Outline in 9 Steps (Example Included!)

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Starting a business often begins with writing a business plan , especially if you need funding . It acts as a roadmap, guiding you through each stage of launching and managing your company, and it presents a clear, compelling case to potential investors and partners. But here's the thing: not everyone finds this step intuitive. That's where a business plan outline can be incredibly helpful.

Creating a detailed business plan outline helps you organize your thoughts and ensure you cover all the key aspects of your business strategy. Plus, it might be just what you need to overcome that blank page and start typing.

Below, you'll find an easy-to-follow guide on how to craft your business plan outline, and an example to show you what it should look like.

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What is an outline of a business plan?

Think of a business plan outline as the skeleton of your entire business plan. It gives a high-level overview of the main sections you'll need to flesh out later. It's not the final document but a crucial step in getting you there.

Simply put, it's like creating a detailed table of contents for your business plan, showing you exactly what information to include and how everything fits together. A well-structured business plan outline also helps you plan things ahead, saving time and effort.

Writing a business plan outline in 9 steps

Follow these steps to build your business plan outline and learn exactly what each section should include.

(Bear in mind that every business plan is unique, tailored to the specific needs and goals of the business. While the structure below is common, the order of sections may vary—only the executive summary will always come first.)

1. Executive summary

Imagine you have just 60 seconds to convince someone to invest in your business. That's the essence of a strong executive summary. Although it appears first on your business plan, this section is often written last because it sums up the entire plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch . This section gives a quick overview of your entire business plan, highlighting key points that grab the reader's attention.

Keep it clear and concise. Start with a brief overview of your business, including its name and what it offers. Summarize your mission statement and objectives, and don’t forget to mention crucial aspects like financial projections and competitive advantages.

2. Company description

Here's where you provide detailed information about your company. Begin with the business name and location. Describe the legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) and ownership. If your business already exists, share a brief history.

For new ventures, explain the business's nature and the problems you aim to solve. Go into more detail about your vision and mission statements, outlining your goals and the principles guiding your business. This section helps potential investors and stakeholders grasp your company’s identity and purpose.

3. Market research and analysis

This section shares insights into your company’s industry. Start with a landscape analysis to give an overview of the market, including its size, growth rate, and key players.

Next, define your target market and customer demographics—age, location, income, and interests—detailing who your ideal customers are. Identify market needs and trends your business will address, and highlight customer pain points your product or service aims to solve.

Consider conducting a SWOT analysis to evaluate your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and gain a strategic view of where your business stands in the competitive landscape.

4. Organization and management

Describe how your business is structured and who runs it. Outline the organizational structure, and if helps, include a chart. Introduce the leadership team and key personnel, highlighting their qualifications and roles. If you have a board of directors, mention them and briefly explain their involvement.

Then, outline your production processes, detailing how your product or service is (or will be) created—from sourcing materials to delivery—to give a comprehensive view of your operational capabilities.

5. Products and services

This section of your business plan outline is crucial for showing potential investors what makes your products and services unique and valuable.

Clearly describe what your business offers, emphasizing your unique selling propositions (USPs) and the benefits and features that set you apart from the competition. Talk about the product life cycle, including any plans for future updates.

If your business holds any intellectual property or proprietary technologies, detail them here to underscore your competitive advantages.

6. Marketing strategy

Having a fantastic product or service is just half the battle. The marketing plan section should outline how you'll reach your target market and convert them into customers.

Begin with market positioning and branding, explaining how you want your brand perceived. Detail your marketing and promotional strategies, including specific tactics to reach your target audience.

Discuss your sales strategy, focusing on how you'll convert leads into customers. Lastly, include your pricing strategy and provide a sales forecast, projecting your expected revenue over a certain period.

7. Operations plan

Here, the goal is to give a detailed overview of the physical and logistical aspects of your company. Start with the business location and facilities, describing where it operates and any significant physical assets. Detail the technology and equipment needed for daily operations.

Briefly describe your supply chain and logistics processes to illustrate how you manage inventory, procurement, and distribution. Finish it by outlining your production process and quality control measures to ensure your products or services consistently meet high standards.

8. Financial plan

Use this section of the business plan to show how your company will succeed financially. Include financial projections like income statements and cash flow statements. Specify how much capital you need and how you plan to use it, discussing funding sources.

Conduct a break-even analysis to estimate when your business will become profitable. Be transparent and address any financial risks and assumptions, outlining how you plan to mitigate them.

9. Appendices and exhibits

In this section, include any additional information that supports your business plan. This might be resumes of key personnel to highlight your team's expertise and experience, or even legal documents and agreements.

Include market research data and surveys to back up your market analysis. Add financial statements for a detailed look at your financial plan. Also, provide detailed product specifications to give a clear understanding of your products and services.

Here's a business plan outline example

Not quite there yet? Take a look at this business plan outline example—it will make everything clear for you.

3.1 Executive Summary

  • Overview of the business
  • Key points of the business plan

3.2 Company Description

  • Business name and location
  • History and nature of the business
  • Legal structure and ownership
  • Vision and mission statement

3.3 Market Research and Analysis

  • Industry analysis
  • Target market and customer demographics
  • Market needs, trends
  • Customer pain points
  • SWOT analysis

3.4 Organization and Management

  • Organizational structure
  • Leadership team and key personnel
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Board of directors (if applicable)
  • Production processes

3.5 Products and Services

  • Description of products or services offered
  • Unique selling propositions, benefits, features
  • Product lifecycle and development plans
  • Intellectual property and proprietary technologies

3.6 Marketing Strategy

  • Market positioning and branding
  • Marketing and promotional strategies
  • Sales strategy and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and sales forecast

3.7 Operations Plan

  • Business location and facilities
  • Technology and equipment
  • Supply chain and logistics
  • Production process and quality control

3.8 Financial Plan

  • Financial projections (income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements)
  • Funding requirements and sources
  • Break-even analysis
  • Financial risks and assumptions

3.9 Appendices and Exhibits (if applicable)

  • Supporting documents and additional information
  • Resumes of key personnel
  • Legal documents and agreements
  • Market research data and surveys
  • Financial Statements
  • Detailed Product Specifications

Bonus tips on how to write a winning business plan

Once you've done your business plan outline, it's time to fill in the gaps and craft a winning business plan. Here are some bonus tips to keep in mind:

  • Tailor it to fit your business : Customize sections to meet industry-specific needs and highlight what makes your business unique.
  • Keep it clear and concise : Use straightforward language and support your points with data to ensure easy understanding and avoid any confusion.
  • Set actionable and realistic goals : Define measurable objectives with clear timelines and milestones to track your progress.
  • Update regularly : Keep your plan dynamic by making regular updates to reflect changes in goals, market conditions, and strategies.
  • Seek feedback : Gain insights from mentors and advisors to refine your plan.

Read this next: How to Start a Business in 8 Steps: A Comprehensive Guide from Concept to Launch

how to write a blogging business plan

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog in 2024? (A No-Fluff Breakdown From a Serial Blogger)

Ramona Sukhraj

Published: July 08, 2024

Confession: I’m squatting on probably 10 different blogs and even more URLs. What can I say? This marketer gets a bit idea-happy — but how much does it cost to start a blog that I can afford this quirky habit?

how much it costs to start a blog represented by a laptop and hand holding money

Blogs are still one of the most effective ways to share thought leadership, drive traffic to a website, build a brand, and market a business today. And in my day, I have started and successfully managed many with little to no budget.

I know what it takes to get one off the ground and fly it to the top of Google without breaking the bank. So, let’s talk. I’ll break down how much it costs to start a blog and unpack some tips on keeping the price low.

how to write a blogging business plan

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The (Brief) State of Blogging in 2024

Blogs (a shortened form of the phrase “web logs” ) first appeared in the late 1990s. At the time, they were limited to hosts like LiveJournal and topics like entertainment fandoms. But today, the landscape looks a little different.

Animated GIF of a scene from the film, “The Wizard of Oz” where the main character Dorothy arrives in OZ and says “I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.”

But this is an extreme. Considering variations, it’s safe to estimate that domain registration will cost about $10-$20 per year.

Website Theme/Design

Estimated Cost: ~$0-500

If your platform allows for customization or you’re building your own website, a theme or template can help give you a running start.

Like a domain, a unique theme is a highly effective way to affirm your brand and have more control over user experience.

Many of the hosts I mentioned offer free templates/themes (including HubSpot ), but you can also purchase premium themes with advanced functionality on ThemeForest .

Screenshot showing some free templates available in the HubSpot marketplace.

Don't forget to share this post!

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Guide to Business Plan Introduction

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

  • July 8, 2024

how to write a compelling business plan introduction with example

Be it a blog post, your business plan, or even a grocery list—catchy introductions can turn casual skimmers into avid readers.

Now imagine turning these casual readers into people who hang on to every word, eager to dive deeper into what your business has to offer. That’s the magic of a stellar business plan introduction!

But the main question is: How do you write such an irresistible introduction?

Well, we’ll help you with that in this blog post. We’ve also added a template and an example to enhance your overall understanding.

So let’s get started.

What is a business plan introduction?

An introduction sets the stage for your business plan by offering context and a high-level overview of what the subsequent sections will cover.

It’s different from your executive summary and is placed right after it. Rather than summarizing the entire plan, this section of your business plan focuses on providing essential background information.

Introductions are crisp and can be anywhere between 2 paragraphs to 1 page long.

Why do you need a business plan introduction?

You must be wondering: Why do I need an introduction when there’s an executive summary summarizing my entire plan?

Well, primarily to set the readers’ expectations straight. With its contextual overview, an introduction helps the readers understand what details they will uncover in the plan.

Besides, business plans are quite extensive. If a reader just wants a basic business overview and understanding of your objectives, they shouldn’t have to read your entire plan. An introduction should offer that by providing a quick insight into your business.

Additionally, introductions give your business plan a professional and organized head start. It sets the tone of your plan and generates excitement amongst readers to read further.

Whether you need a business plan to establish credibility for your business or generate funds—an introduction plays a huge role in setting up your business plan for success.

Let’s now understand the process of writing an introduction for your business plan.

How to write a compelling introduction for business plans?

how to write a introduction for business plan

Wondering what you should include in your introduction and how to place it together? Check this step-by-step process and learn:

1. Determine the details

Writing an introduction gets much easier when you have a thorough understanding of what to include in it.

While there’s no fixed rule, here are a few points you can quickly touch in your introduction:

  • Business background
  • Business objectives
  • Management overview
  • Mission statement
  • Core values

However, depending on the specialty or core focus of your plan, you can also include a general overview of a financial plan, marketing plan, target market, competitive analysis, and customer segments in your introduction.

Determine which of these will add value and context to your business plan before creating an outline of your introduction.

2. Create an outline

Before you start writing, take some time to create an outline. It will help you fill in the details more quickly and efficiently.

A general outline or structure of an introduction can be as follows:

  • Opening statement
  • Business overview
  • Purpose of a business plan
  • Preview of each section (optional)
  • Closing statement

You don’t need to cover these sections in detail (specific sections of a business plan will do that). Just a line or two offering a macro overview of these aspects is enough.

3. Write your introduction

It’s now time to write an introduction by filling in the outline.

However, before that, finish writing your business plan . This will help translate the essence of your business plan more efficiently.

Now, place all the information you want to add to your introduction and weave them together in a cohesive narrative. Keep the tone persuasive and the content short.

4. Revise and review

Ask people from your team or someone professional to read your introduction.

Could they gather the context of your plan? Can they merely understand what the business does and aims to achieve from an introduction? Are they compelled to read your entire plan after reading an introduction?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, your introduction needs a revision and rework. Get it right before adding it to your business plan.

That’s how you write an introduction. Not a ninja task after all!

Business plan introduction template

Introductions don’t follow a strict structure. It simply answers a few core fundamental questions and sets the tone for your business plan.

Refer to this business plan introduction template and answer its questions to structure your section.

  • Why are you starting this business?
  • What are the problems you’re trying to solve?
  • Who will buy from you?
  • What makes your business different from competitors?
  • How will you become profitable?
  • When will you become profitable?
  • What can the reader expect from your business plan?

It’s just a template. You can refine and remove these questions to suit your needs.

Business plan introduction example

Refer to this introduction example for a new-age gourmet restaurant, TasteBites, in the city.

TasteBites aims to create a unique dining experience combining gourmet flavors with a cozy, family-friendly atmosphere. Positioned in the heart of downtown, our location is ideal, surrounded by offices and residential areas, ensuring a steady stream of customers seeking high-quality dining options.

Managed by culinary experts and seasoned restaurateurs, TasteBites will feature a diverse menu highlighting local ingredients, catering to various tastes while maintaining high-profit margins. Our strategic location and commitment to quality will establish TasteBites as a beloved dining destination in the community.

The bottom line

Introductions are supposed to be exciting and persuasive. It should offer a true overview of your business opportunity and must reflect your preparedness to start this new venture.

Don’t focus too hard on proving your business’s capabilities in this section. You have an entire plan to do so. The idea here is to excite your readers and nudge them to read your business plan further.

Now, before you work on the introduction, ensure that you have your entire plan ready. If not, use Upmetrics’s AI business plan generator to whip up a fresh business plan in less than 10 minutes.

Build your Business Plan Faster

with step-by-step Guidance & AI Assistance.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can i modify the introduction after writing the rest of the business plan.

Yes, you can. In fact , it’s r ecommended to review and edit your introduction in the end. By doing so, you can ensure that the introduction covers all the high-value points and that it offers an appropriate contextual overview of your plan.

What tone should I use in the business plan introduction?

You should use a professional confident tone while writing your business plan introduction. The introduction should portray your business in the best light and should confide in the reader’s interest. It should be sincere and subtle; persuading the readers to read your plan till the end.

How can I make my business plan introduction engaging?

To make your introduction engaging, start with a compelling question or statement to highlight the unique aspect of your business. Include details about profitability, new technology, or a strategic location to generate excitement in your readers. And most importantly, adapt a storytelling narrative to keep your readers hooked.

How long should the business plan introduction be?

A business plan introduction is ideally 2-3 paragraphs long. However, if there’s a lot to cover you can extend your introduction to 1 page. Anything longer than that needs to be redone.

About the Author

how to write a blogging business plan

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Home >> #realtalk Blog >> Manage a business >> How to start a busin…

How to start a business in Florida: Everything you need to know

By Christine Umayam

how to write a blogging business plan

With a booming population and many popular tourist destinations, Florida can be a great location for starting a small business . After all, it’s the fourth largest economy in the country and it leads the nation in number of new businesses started , according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce. 

Florida is also an incredibly business-friendly state, with the nation’s 3rd highest workforce and tax policies that favor business growth . But as with any business, you need to obtain the necessary business licenses and permits from state agencies, navigate regulations and tax requirements, and follow laws around worker compensation and business structure.

Learning how to start a business in Florida comes with its fair share of unique considerations, so here’s our guide on how to start a business in the sunshine state!

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6 steps for starting a business in Florida:

Every business starts with a dream, but how do you transform your bright idea into a working, thriving business? To set your small business in Florida up for success, consider these important steps:

Step 1: Clarify your business idea.

Before you get the ball rolling, it’s important to have direction. Know what your business will be and who your business will serve so that you’ll have answers prepared at every turn when starting a small business. The ideal business concept should align with your passions, address a market need, and have the potential to be profitable. 

For instance, if you have a passion for books but lack writing skills, a writing business may not be for you. Instead, you might consider opening a bookstore in a location where there is a demand. If you’re uncertain about the type of small business to start, think about your interests, skills, and passions. Reflect on what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you’re passionate about. 

The responses to these questions can guide your business focus and help refine an existing business idea.

Step 2: Conduct market research.

Market research is a critical step for starting any business. You need insights into the viability and potential profitability of your business idea, and research can help you succeed when you launch and beyond. 

Market research comprises two types of data: primary and secondary. Primary data is gathered directly from consumers through methods such as focus groups, surveys, and interviews. Secondary data, on the other hand, is collected from external sources like government census data, research reports, and studies conducted by other businesses in your industry.

Market research may seem time-consuming and potentially expensive, but your effort will pay off. Research can validate your business idea in terms of market demand and profitability. It can also help you understand your potential customers better, making it easier to market and sell to them. 

Lastly, it should guide your marketing strategies by understanding your customers’ preferences and whether they are more inclined to be influenced by social media, traditional media, billboards, email, or other marketing channels. 

When you’re considering starting a business in Florida, you want to make sure your market research applies to your audience. If you have an eye on a specific city, narrow your focus on that location. If you’re looking at the state, compare and contrast research results across the state. 

With a strong research base, your future decisions will be that much easier to make.

Step 3: Write a business plan.

After validating your business idea through market research, the next step is to consolidate your findings into a business plan. 

A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines your business strategy, future objectives, and the roadmap to achieve these goals. Contrary to popular belief, a business plan is not just for those looking for funding; it can benefit all businesses by helping to refine the business idea, identify potential challenges, and offer a clear understanding of how you will acquire customers and become profitable.

A robust business plan includes several key sections: 

  • An executive summary that encapsulates the entire plan. 
  • A company description that answers key questions about your business. 
  • A market analysis section that leverages your market research.
  • A section on mission, goals, and objectives. 
  • A description of your products or services.
  • A marketing plan detailing your unique value proposition and promotional strategies. 
  • A financial plan that includes a proposed budget, projected financial statements for five years, and outlines any funding requests. 

When you create a business plan to start a business in Florida, be sure to note how your market research has reflected your chosen location and audience. 

Step 4: Finance your business.

With a plan in hand, it’s time to think about execution. And making your small business a reality means finding a way to  finance it. 

The initial investment can range from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars, with the average cost for a small business to start and operate for the first year being around $40,000.

But don’t let the projected start-up costs deter you! There are many funding options available to small businesses. Self-funding or bootstrapping, which involves using personal funds, is one route. However, this method can carry significant financial risk if your needs are high.

Consider applying for small business loans or lines of credit, but remember you’ll often need your business plan and personal financial statements when applying. Although competitive, small business grants  provide funding that doesn’t need to be repaid, so you can get farther with less. 

And be sure to look into Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs, which offer lower interest rates and longer terms compared to conventional loans.

Step 5: Conduct a Florida business entity search.

 Your business name is often the first impression you share with the world. But before you pick the one that draws the most crowds, you’ll need to conduct a business entity search. That’s how you’ll learn if a business with the same name already exists. Make sure you choose a business name that complies with state regulations to ensure legal protection and public transparency.

Next, consider using a trade name, which is like a short pseudonym for your business. For example, you might incorporate your business under the name XYZ Designs, Inc., but your trade name is just XYZ Designs. To put your best foot forward, you want your business to be named something short and memorable—and a trade name lets you do that.

Step 6: Register your business.

You’ve got a name—now your business is taking shape. Choose a business structure that accurately captures your preferred tax obligations, daily operations, personal risk, and legal obligations. Here’s a list of common business structures to jumpstart your search:

  • Sole Proprietorship : A sole proprietorship merges the identity of the owner and the business. This makes the owner personally liable for business debts, so be cautious.
  • Partnerships : Suitable for businesses with multiple owners, these require a partnership agreement and offer limited liability for the debts of the LLP. 
  • LLCs : Owned by one or more entities, these limit personal liability for business debts and are relatively easy to establish.
  • Cooperatives : Cooperatives operate to benefit their users and span various industries such as healthcare, retail, restaurants, and agriculture. 
  • Corporations : Common in larger companies due to their legal and tax complexities, but these can also be utilized by small businesses. 
  • S Corporations : These function like a corporation, but the flow-through of income and losses is sent through to shareholders to help you avoid double taxation on corporate income.

Learning how to start a LLC business in Florida can be useful, since many small business owners in Florida favor S corporations and LLCs. That’s because they are exempt from state income taxes !  

Do your research into each type of business so that you register the best fit for your small business. Consider in particular the taxes you may pay and the legal risks you wish to avoid. 

Regardless of structure, businesses in Florida are required to collect sales tax if applicable, with the sales tax rate and oversight of sales and use taxes managed by the Florida Department of Revenue .

Just remember to talk with a lawyer or accountant to ensure the chosen business structure is the best fit for your business.

Homebase vs. Time Clock Wizard: Which is best for your business?

How to incorporate in Florida.

Business registration and licensing requirements can vary across states, and Florida involves several unique steps. You might need to apply for a trade name and file Articles of Incorporation with the state, depending on your business structure.

Here are the main steps for incorporating a business in Florida:

  • Check business license requirements. Knowing how to get a business license in Florida comes down to verifying all registration and licensing requirements with the Florida Division of Corporations . Connect with relevant local government bodies and industry associations for more specific information and guidance. Businesses, including corporations, must also file and pay Florida’s corporate income tax.
  • Register your business with the Florida Division of Corporations by completing the required paperwork and settling any fees associated with your business category.
  • Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS . This number is essential for federal tax purposes and is typically required to open a business bank account. You’ll also need to register your business with the Florida Department of Revenue to obtain any necessary tax IDs.
  • Obtain relevant licenses and permits . Depending on your business sector, you may need to get specific licenses and permits from both state and local governments. For instance, businesses involved in the sale of food, alcohol, or tobacco must acquire particular licenses from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation . Businesses, including sole proprietorships, must also register for sales tax in Florida.
  • Secure the appropriate insurance . Florida law mandates the purchase of workers’ compensation insurance if you intend to hire employees. You should also consider other types of insurance, such as general liability insurance. If you’re uncertain about your insurance needs, we advise you to consult with a legal expert.

How Homebase can help you start a small business in Florida.

Every business needs the right tools at its disposal to be successful. When starting a new business, it’s a smart investment to find software that can accommodate your business growth both today and in the future. 

That’s why Homebase offers a comprehensive set of tools designed to support your business at every stage. As your team expands, enjoy the convenience of effortless scheduling and time tracking . When it’s time to pay your team, Homebase handles payroll seamlessly. And you can always stay connected with your remote workforce through efficient team communication . 

Homebase provides everything a new small business needs, eliminating the need to switch platforms as your business scales up.

Give Homebase a try for free!  

Remember:  This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

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  1. How to Create a Blogging Business Plan in 2020 (With images)

    how to write a blogging business plan

  2. 5 Simple Steps for An Effective Business Plan For Your Blog

    how to write a blogging business plan

  3. 1 7 Steps To Writing A Basic Business Plan

    how to write a blogging business plan

  4. How to Write a Blog Business Plan (the guide for champions)-byRegina

    how to write a blogging business plan

  5. How to Write a Successful Blogging Business Plan

    how to write a blogging business plan

  6. Writing a blog business plan doesn't have to be hard! Learn how to take

    how to write a blogging business plan


  1. How Blogging Business Works #shortvideo

  2. Business Blogging Presentation At Reseller Club Hosting Summit

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  4. Earn $1000 Daily by Generating Traffic

  5. How To Write A Business Plan In 10 Simple Steps!

  6. How to write a blog post with AI


  1. How to Create a Blog Business Plan (Includes Step-by-Step Template)

    Incorporate the blog audience in your blog name. Find naming inspiration from characters in books or mythology. Incorporate a location name into your blog's name, if appropriate. Consider using a portmanteau, which is just two names modified and smushed to become one name (e.g., breakfast + lunch = brunch).

  2. How to Create a Blog Business Plan (Free Template) in 2024

    Grab my free blog business plan template in both Google Doc and PDF format (that's helped me build a six-figure blog) and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today. Enter your first name *. Enter your email address*. Last year alone, my blog generated $449,107 in revenue (see more in my blog income reports ), and it's been earning in the six ...

  3. How to Create a Bangin' Blog Business Plan (Workbook Included

    3. Know your competitors' price points and ranges for their products. If your competition has any products for sale, then write down what the price ranges are for those products. This will give you an overview of how much is typical for a product you may create one day and what your target audience is used to paying.

  4. The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Blog Business Plan (Updated)

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  5. How to Create a Blog Business Plan

    Be clear about what you're trying to achieve with your blog. Hold yourself accountable to your goals. Be clear about your priorities in order to achieve your goals. Be prepared for whatever comes your way. Yes, putting together a business plan is a bit of an undertaking, but you'll be relieved when you have it in place.

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  14. How to Create a Blog Plan (That You'll Crush)

    1 - Your tactics should start with a verb and be a complete sentence. "Email 3 people this week with a guest post pitch.". "Write 1 blog post and publish, and write 1 blog post draft to get ahead.". "Create automation workflow "shell" in Drip, start-to-finish.".

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