Ashley Batz/Romper

How Do I Make A Business Plan? These Tips From Entrepreneurs Break It Down

Ad failed to load

I dreaded group projects when I was in school. To absolutely none of my friends' or family's surprise, I was one of those kids who always wound up taking on the entire group assignment myself because I cared so much about getting a good grade. (Plus, let’s face it, it meant I wouldn't have to work with any partners, who sometimes were just as happy to let me do the work.) While that habit didn’t earn me the popular vote at the time, as an adult who was figuring out how to write a business plan, some of those same strategies of diligent, independent work wound up helping me out in the long haul.

Just as there were in middle school when I was telling myself that taking on all of the work was the most logical option, I've discovered that when it comes to drawing up a business plan, there are always going to be things I'll need to let go of. Starting a business from home is an ever-evolving process, and it's important to know that it's OK for your business plan to grow along with your business. That's a lesson I had to learn that hard way after a bit of frustration and resilience, so I went to the experts to find out everything you need to know to make your new self-employment venture a success right out of the gate.

Ad failed to load

First Off, What Even Is A Business Plan?


“A business plan is crucial to setting goals and measuring your success at reaching those goals for your business," explains Chelsea Lahmers, CEO of Moto Richmond. "Basically, you need to know how much you can afford in terms of finding a space, getting inventory, buying equipment, and all of that stuff, and a business plan can help you sort out answers to those questions and loads more.”

Yes, that’s a lot of information, but don’t be put off by the thought of needing to organize your thoughts before launching a business.

“Anyone can do it,” assures Lauren Davis, co-owner and COO at The Yoga Dojo. “Start with a rough outline of things you'd like [your business] to include. Make friends with Google — the internet is a helpful resource.”

Why Are Business Plans Important?

In short, they're a great way to figure out how to run your company. They're also necessary if you're seeking outside financing, says Lahmers. “If a family member came to me to borrow money to start a company, I'd even make that person have a solid business plan. It's just a great way of looking at your project with accounting eyes!”

If you're looking for resources to help you get your plan off the ground, Lahmers recommends tinkering with LivePlan, which guided her through the process and helped her sort through the numbers. Now, years later, she credits the success she's found in her own ventures to her diligence in building a thorough plan.

"Being forced to think about those numbers and gave me something to gauge my success and predictions as I moved forward into this big project. I went from a being person that ran a business as a bit of a hobby to being a serious entrepreneur. I went from ‘getting by’ to ‘being profitable.' It wasn't overnight, but putting the time into a serious business plan forces you to look at the numbers and react to them in a measurable way.”

What Info Do I Need To Write A Business Plan?


There are a few different ways to compile your information into a business plan. The first way is to take the long view by starting backwards. “I thought about what I wanted our business to look like on day one, in one year, in three years, five, and ten years,” says Davis. “What would it take to make that happen? Then, I put that on paper. I brainstormed ways to get there and what we'd need.”

Lahmers' approach focuses on the present-day state of your business, with flexibility to grow into the future. Here's what she recommends you know to get started:

1. Know your fixed costs like rent, insurance, payroll, supplies, etc. LivePlan allows you to do these things on an annual basis if your business should be about the same every month, or allows you to adjust by month if your business is seasonal like mine is.
2. List your gross sales numbers. You can break this down however you would like.
3. Know your costing number. This will include supplies and potentially labor, depending on how you have that stuff set up.
4. Include your raison d'etre. You really need to know the identity of your business, the demographics of your clientele, your competition, your opportunities, your marketing plan, all the good stuff that you already know — or else you wouldn't be starting the business in the first place.
Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills