By Beth Zollars

4 Minute Read

Business Plans Even for a Small Business Startup

Women have a long history of starting businesses and, according to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), the highest number of women-owned firms are in the healthcare, social services, professional, scientific and technical services, admin and retail industries.

Interestingly, the NWBC suggests that women start businesses because of limitations in the workforce, personal responsibilities or the challenges that come from a market that fails to meet their needs.

The study also reveals a positive picture for women-owned businesses:

● 30 years ago, there were close to 4 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Today, there are over 11 million.
● 39% of all U.S. businesses have women majority ownership, employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in revenue.
● Women are the sole source of income in 40% of all households and outpace men in educational achievement.
● The number of women-owned businesses grew 45% between 2007 – 2016, 5 times faster than the national average
● 78% of new women-owned businesses are owned by women of color.

In my experiences dealing with women wishing to start businesses, there is a gap regarding the formulation of a sound business plan .  Particularly when starting a small home-based business the need to formulate some type of business plan is essential to a successful launch. Consider the following areas for a baseline in your thought process.


Executive Summary

Your executive summary should appear first in your business plan. A good executive summary is compelling. It reveals the company’s mission statement, along with a short description of its products and services. It might also be a good idea to briefly explain why you’re starting your company and include details about your experience in the industry you’re entering.

I can’t tell you how many women I have coached over the years that can’t articulate their company in an elevator pitch. Have your 30-second elevator pitch down ladies! If you can’t describe your business succinctly how can you expect anyone to invest, support or understand your mission?

Market/Competitive Analysis

Why does the world need your amazing product/service etc?

Ideally, your market/competitive analysis will show that you know the ins and outs of the industry and the specific market you’re planning to enter. In that section, you’ll need to use data and statistics to talk about where the market has been, where it’s expected to go and how your company will fit into it. In addition, you’ll have to provide details about the consumers you’ll be marketing to, such as their income levels.

Description of your Organization

You’ll describe your organization and personnel that will be part of your executive team. Summarize their skills and primary job responsibilities. If you want to, you can create a diagram that maps out your chain of command. Or if you are a solo enterprise talk about possible partners or consultants assisting you.

Breakdown of Your Products and Services

More detail on what product/service your planning to create and sell, how long your products are supposed to last and how they’ll meet an existing need.

It’s a good idea to mention your suppliers, too. If you know how much it’ll cost to make your products and how much money you’re hoping to bring in, those are great details to add. You’ll need to list anything related to patents and copyright concerns as well.

Marketing /Sales Plan

How you intend to get your products and services in front of potential clients is huge. That’s what marketing is all about. As you pinpoint the steps you’re going to take to promote your products, you’ll need to mention the budget you’ll need to implement your strategies and also who may be your partners and go to market strategy.

Your sales plan is crucial in mapping out anticipated revenue goals – always a good idea to include your quarterly goals and cost associated with achieving these goals.


Request for Funding

If you need funding, you can devote an entire section to talking about the amount of money you need and how you plan to use the capital you are planning to raise. If you’ll need extra cash in a year or two to complete a certain project, that’s something that’s important to disclose.

Financial Projections

Detailed projections for the year. The final section of your business plan, you’ll reveal the financial goals and expectations that you’ve set based on market research. You’ll report your anticipated revenue for the first 12 months and your annual projected earnings for the second, third, fourth and fifth years of business.

You may or may not need all of these steps, but it will give you something to consider while you create a business plan. At the very least it will provide you with an obvious area that you haven’t thought about. Be smart and prepared prior to launching any business adventure and you will have conquered the first step in being an entrepreneur.

Lastly, there is no need to go it alone and asking more experienced business owners (men or women) for help is always a good move – especially in your planning phase. Additionally, several professional organizations having numerous helpful resources for women and can be found on the national or local level.

One that I highly recommend is;

Association of Women’s Business 

Good luck with your new adventure and plan to perfection!