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How to Write a Business Plan Part 1

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How to write a business plan - Part 1

When faced with the question “How to write a business plan?”, the answer is simple.
Don’t write it.
Design it.
Approaching business planning as a writing exercise often leads to writer’s block and fundamental errors from trying to describe something you don’t fully understand yet. Instead, think in terms of visually designing your business plan.

Design Versus Write

If you were building a new house, you wouldn’t try to write out the plans. You or an architect would design a visual plan to see and understand the big picture before working out the details. The same principle applies to business planning. If you can’t clearly visualize your business plan, beware!

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Making decisions without full understanding is a common cause of business failure. A well-designed plan gives your ideas a reasonable chance of becoming reality. A poor or non-existent design often leads to failure.

Three Design Approaches

There are three main approaches to designing an effective business plan:

  • “What Needs Fixing?” – Address problems and improve systems.
  • “Vision-Driven” – Map out your vision and how to get there.
  • “Investor Focused” – Tailor the plan to attract funding.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of starting with the third option, especially when in desperate need of money. But investors and lenders are savvy — they can read between the lines and understand what you’re not saying. A plan that lacks credibility will be quickly dismissed.

So, What’s the Solution?

First, use either the “fixing” or “vision-driven” approach to design a strategic plan for how your business can succeed. Get clarity before trying to influence others.

Then practice communicating your vision, plans, reasonable financials, and persuasive business case to attract potential investors or lenders.

With this two-step design process, you’ll have a credible, actionable plan and the skills to share it effectively. The result is a strong foundation for business success.

In upcoming articles, I’ll delve deeper into how to execute Parts One and Two, providing you with a step-by-step guide.


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