Traditional business plans use some combination of these 9 sections:
1. Executive Summary.
- Brief description of what a company is, the plan & why will it be successful?
2. More Detailed Company Description.
3. Market Analysis.
4. Organization & Management Plan.
5. Service/Product Line.
6. Marketing & Sales Plan.
7. Funding Request.
8. Financial Projections.
9. Appendix/Conclusion.

On top of that, make sure you cover the:
Situation analysis.
The market positioning, marketing objectives & your strategy.

I've spent over $50,000 dollars to have the body of research reviewed.
To find what makes the difference for small & medium-sized businesses.
We found there are 8 Critical Success Factors for small & medium-sized businesses.

1. Self-Efficacy.
2. Strategic Planning.
3. Market Intelligence.
4. Marketing Strategy.
5. Sales Strategy & Skills.
6. Money Management.
7. Business Operations.
8. Business Intelligence.

These are 8 things I think belong in your plan because each is critical.
I'll give you have a brief overview of them now.
But go to for more info on them.

1. Self Efficacy.
Is about personal effectiveness.
It's the ability to wake up, plan your time & manage yourself to get things done.
It's the ability to articulate your vision & goals.
To work well with others.
This factor is important as it matters to you.
Plus everyone in your company.
When the people in your company are not being effective.
They will not be as productive as they could be.
This results in less than optimal performance.
Self-efficacy is the pillar everything stands on.
Because if the people in your company aren't getting anything done...
You're not going anywhere.

2. Strategic Planning.
This is important.
For example, No one is selling pet rocks anymore.
But once upon a time, they were a trend.
It was an easy thing to sell.
There were a lot of knock-offs.
But it was a trend and then disappeared.
A strategic plan makes sure there's longevity in what you're doing.
It makes sure what you're going to offer is not redundant.
Or not about to be redundant.
A strategic plan ensures you are jumping in a swimming pool with water.
It'd surprise you how many people start businesses doomed to fail.
Like jumping into a pool with no water.
They did not check first.

3. Market Intelligence.
This knowing who the competitors are.
What other options are available for consumers.
What do consumers like/dislike?
What do consumers want?
What are the problems the existing products solve?
What problems are not getting solved?
All this know-how comes into market intelligence.

4. Marketing Strategy.
A way to communicate with people.
Where are they?
How will you approach them?
How will you get their attention?
Indicate who's interested or not?
How are going to find them?
What does someone interested do?
Where do you hand off to the sales team?
What's the marketing strategy?
Is there a process?
How are going to share your message with the world?

5. Sales Strategy & Skills.
These are similar. Sales Skills + Sales Strategy.
If you have the wrong strategy, the best salesperson might fail regardless.
But, even if you have a great strategy.
If the person has no sales skills, they may not be able to execute it.
Those 2 things are similar.
It's a gray area where the sales strategy ends & the sales skills begin.
Vice versa.
The good news is, marketing hands off to sales.
It can guide your strategy.
How those 2 have to play.

6. Money Management.
Poor management of funds can kill a business.
Even if you have great funding behind you.
If it's mismanaged, it will not work out.
Money to a business is like gasoline to a car.
It helps fuel where you want to go.
For example:
Money will fix repairs.
It will pay to bring in new people.
Pay for equipment.
Pay for access to an event/person, or intellectual property.
Money management is critically important.

7. Business Operations.
Training schedules. Meeting rhythms.
Planning sessions.
Where is all your documentation on how you do what you do?
Is there documentation?
Human resources.
All the glue holding things together.
Consider business operations as the glue between things.
For example:
If you have to abide by certain laws. Like government regulation.
That's part of the operations for your business.
That's a function you need to do to operate.
It's like manners.
Manners are the grease between human interactions.
They eliminate friction.
Manners help reduce friction in human interactions.
This is what business operations are for.
It's the grease in the wheels.
Does management meet once a year?
Is it productive?

How far behind will you fall if you're only meeting once a year?
Versus every week.
When you hire people, how do you hire them?
Is there an onboarding process?
Those are all under operations.
Are you legally compliant?

8. Business Intelligence.
These are the feedback loops to update you on how you're doing.
They track leading & lagging factors.
For example, everyone wants to track sales.
Sales are important, but customer satisfaction is also important.
Customer satisfaction can lead to repeat sales & referrals.
Meaning, customer satisfaction would come before repeat sales & referrals.
Therefore, customer satisfaction would be a leading factor.
Sales the lagging factor.
How many repeat sales do you get?
How many referrals do you get?
Business intelligence is about the feedback you're getting.
Do people like your content?
Are they engaging?
Are customers happy?
How are your staff?
Business intelligence is all those things.
It's about being able to hold up a mirror.
See yourself how the world sees you.

Those are the 8 factors. It's a brief overview.
If you would like to know more about the 8 Critical Success Factors go to

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