9 business strategy examples (and why you need one ASAP)

  • Amanda Bellucco Chatham
  • Dec 14, 2023

business strategy examples

Most successful businesses start with a good idea. In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had the idea to make computers small enough to fit into people's homes and offices. Enter Apple, now the largest tech company in the world. 

But good ideas alone aren’t the catalyst to success—behind the scenes, a business strategy is at work. And a business strategy is something you need in order to complete the big picture and define how you plan to grow, operate and thrive.

In this post, we’ll define what we mean by business strategy, outline why it’s important and provide some tangible business strategy examples.

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What is a business strategy?

A business strategy is a plan of action that keeps you focused on several things. Different from a business plan—which dictates how your business will be run from day to day—a business strategy tends to focus more on how, exactly, you will reach certain goals, milestones or achievements in running your business. 

You need a strategy when you want to start a business , as well as when you’re planning to grow or change an existing business. Your strategy defines your business goals and provides a framework for all of the moving pieces your venture needs to operate successfully.  

A business strategy typically includes the following elements:

Core product or service : What you're selling, your business idea or your service.

Target customer : A clear profile of who your business serves, including the problem that your product or service solves for them.

Competitive assessment : A summary of the competitive landscape including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis). 

Financial plan : A financial projection that includes planned revenue, expenses and cash flow. 

Pricing approach : Your preliminary pricing for products and services offered, or your pricing approach (e.g., flat fee, hourly, fee-for-service, etc.).

Marketing and sales plan : An outline of how you plan to market your products and business, including a rough budget for paid media, details on how to make a website  and anything related to business promotion. It should also define some sales strategies focused on language meant to promote and differentiate your brand.

Staffing and hiring : An org chart that defines roles and hiring needs. Include any resources and personnel you have on hand (e.g. Is it just you? Is it a partnership?).

Growth objectives : A business growth  plan that incorporates your current goals, plus where you'd like the business to be in the next one, two or five years (e.g., markets, number of customers, revenue projections, etc.).

Pro tip : A business strategy and business plan go hand in hand in shaping the goals, objectives and achievements of your business. Looking for a business plan  instead? Check out our simple, customizable and free-to-download template.

8 key elements of a business strategy

3 types of business strategies

Any successful business starts with a roadmap that outlines how goals will be achieved. However, not all strategies are created equal. Let's take a look at three types of business strategies that can drive your business toward sustainable growth:

Corporate-level business strategy : This high-level strategy includes the company's vision, mission and key decisions. This might involve business choices, acquisitions or divestments, and resource allocation, for example.

Business-level strategy : A business-level strategy determines how a company competes in a market, considering product mix, customer segments, pricing, marketing and distribution. It aims to deliver value to customers and outperform competitors.

Function-level business strategy : A functional strategy focuses on the operational aspects of a business, like production, marketing, finance and human resources (HR). It supports corporate and business-level strategies by maximizing resource productivity.

Why a business strategy is important

Starting any type of business isn't for the faint of heart. There are many predictable and unpredictable factors to prepare for at every stage of growth. That’s why you need a business strategy to keep you on track.

As far as benefits go, a business strategy:

Helps you navigate market complexities : It provides a roadmap for staying ahead of the competition, plus external factors like supply chain issues and global events that may impact the market.

Provides insight into your customers' needs : When you know their pain points, you can align your strategy with real-world preferences and demands. 

Helps you anticipate small business challenges : Knowing about potential opportunities and issues will help you adapt to market changes—and be more resilient overall. 

Makes long-term success much more likely : A thoughtful plan takes the guesswork out of things like hiring, investing, growth and innovation.

9 business strategy examples

So, what does a business strategy look like? We’ve outlined nine examples below to inspire you as you iron out the blueprint for your business’s success.

Customer experience 

Cross-selling and upselling

Customer retention programs

Cost leadership



Social responsibility

01. Customer experience 

Companies like Zappos, Starbucks and Amazon are known for their exceptional customer experiences. They prioritize customer satisfaction, make doing business with them easy and (in the case of Starbucks) turn something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee on your way to work into an immersive and satisfying sensory experience. 

Customer experience, as a business strategy, is beneficial for any small business owner . It creates loyal repeat customers who tend to become brand advocates, recommending your business, products and brand to their network of friends and family. 

02. Cross-selling and upselling

Focusing on selling more products to existing and new customers is a strategy that, if successful, has a direct and immediate impact on your cash flow, revenue and profitability. There are many ways to do this, including cross-selling and upselling  to shoppers as they browse your website, bundling similar products and using loyalty programs to entice past customers to return. 

Old Navy is a master of motivating return sales. Their Super Cash program awards shoppers $10 for every $25 spent on their website or in stores. The coupons become active at a later date, which encourages shoppers to hang onto them and return to shop again in the future.

Your rewards program doesn’t have to be elaborate, either. Wix merchant Jule Dancewear  offers customers five reward points for every $1 spent in the shop, with bonus points awarded for following the brand on Instagram or celebrating a birthday. Customers can then redeem their points for a certain dollar amount or percentage off a future purchase. 

jule dancewear homepage

03. Customer retention programs

Creating more customer loyalty is a viable and lucrative business strategy. It’s often more cost-effective to focus on retaining customers than constantly finding new ones. In fact, most brands have a 60-70% chance  of selling to an existing customer, but only a 5-20% chance of closing a sale with a new one.

Loyalty comes in many forms—e.g., retail loyalty programs that reward shoppers with coupons and discounts, or points systems like airline miles on credit cards. You build loyalty by being trustworthy, communicating clearly and creating high-quality products. Consistency is also key to building ongoing relationships. 

Perhaps no one does this better than Amazon with their Amazon Prime program. Customers buy into the program for a monthly or annual fee and are guaranteed fast, free shipping from Amazon sellers who opt into the program. Returns are also easy and Prime members get lots of other benefits, including a huge catalog of movie and TV shows, exclusive sales events and unlimited photo storage.

04. Cost leadership

Cost leadership is a strategy where a company offers the lowest prices in a niche or market. Companies like Walmart and IKEA are famous examples. They've mastered this strategy by offering products at prices lower than their competitors, while still maintaining profitability. 

This strategy isn't for everyone. Walmart's size gives it more leverage over suppliers (and wholesale pricing) versus a local mom-and-pop store. But even if you manage a smaller business, you can make a cost leadership strategy work by keeping costs low, creating your own products and being (incredibly) vigilant about your business costs. This is a strategy that takes a lot of planning and monitoring, so it’s important to do your research before jumping in.

05. Innovation

Innovation tends to be connected to categories like technology, pharmaceutical and business services industries. It's a business strategy that focuses on creating cutting-edge products or services that are either brand new (e.g., in 2007, Apple’s iPhone was the first smartphone introduced to a huge market of people who didn’t know they needed it) or best-in-class products or services in an existing market. 

Innovation, as a business strategy, isn’t limited to products or services. It can apply to a business approach—in other words, the way you offer your product or service. A perfect example of this is the rise of meal kit delivery services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. These companies provide “meal kits'' with fresh ingredients delivered as a subscription service to their customers (e.g., three meals per week). Or, take a look at Wix merchant Napa Wild , which offers weekly subscription shipments of fresh produce to areas surrounding Napa County, California. Their produce boxes are available in three different sizes to suit different households.

Some companies, like Tovala, include technology with their delivery service. Tovala’s smart oven works by scanning a barcode on the pre-made meal so that the cooking time and temperature are automatically set in the oven. When the meal is complete, the customer is notified via the Tovala app.

Napa Wild produce subscription box

06. Differentiation

Differentiation is about making your business stand out compared with your competitors. You do this by providing something uniquely special about your product design, features or quality. You can also differentiate yourself by creating a unique and meaningful brand story. When done well, differentiation gives you a lot of flexibility around pricing and approach—including the types of products and services you offer. An effective differentiation strategy helps your customers identify with your brand. They are either Coke drinkers or Pepsi drinkers, for example.

Or, take Starbucks as an example. Lots of places sell coffee, but Starbucks has taken coffee to an entirely new level with uniquely crafted (and premium-priced) drinks that are as much about lifestyle and identity as they are about getting your daily caffeine fix. 

07. Acquisition

Acquisition is a business strategy that involves purchasing another company (or companies) to fuel growth, expand market share or be more competitive. Acquisition can be a game-changer for your business, allowing you to quickly tap into new markets, acquire valuable assets and eliminate competition. 

Companies like Meta (formerly named Facebook) have effectively used acquisition as a strategy to maintain their dominance in the social media space. By acquiring platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, Meta expanded its user base. It also diversified its offerings, ensuring it remains relevant even when other platforms like MySpace and Friendster have flamed out over time.

Acquisition as a primary strategy isn’t for the faint of heart. You need a deep understanding of each of your target company's operations, culture, financial health and customer base. Integrating two companies can also be complex and stressful. There are often issues with merging technologies, company cultures and aligning operations. Thus, conduct thorough due diligence before making an acquisition or you could end up turning a beloved global brand into a classic example of what not to do when acquiring a legacy company.

08. Social responsibility

Social responsibility is important to all consumers, but particularly Millennial and Gen Z consumers  who often evaluate companies and products based on environmental impact and sustainability. Social responsibility helps businesses differentiate themselves because it fosters community, protects the environment and ensures you’re prioritizing ethical practices throughout your operations.

In fact, according to a Deloitte survey, a quarter of consumers  are willing to pay more  for sustainable products and packaging, or for products or services from suppliers that respect human rights and ethical working conditions.

Two examples stand out here—Patagonia and TOMS Shoes. Both companies built their brands around social responsibility. Patagonia pledges 1% of its sales to environmental causes and is well-known by its loyal customers for being sustainable and supporting the lifestyle it promotes (loving the outdoors). Meanwhile, TOMS Shoes has a "One for One" model, donating a pair of shoes for every pair sold.

Patagonia screenshot

Value is subjective, but it can be a guiding light that helps new customers find you and inspires existing customers to return time after time. With a value-based strategy, the goal is to present something that is not just different but also has significant worth or meaning (or both) to your target audience. 

Apple doesn't just sell technology; they sell an entire ecosystem. Apple products resonate with customers because Apple is as much about a lifestyle as it is about a device or feature. Their products, while technologically advanced, are aesthetically pleasing, easy to use and integrate seamlessly with each other. 

Remember, offering unique value isn't about being different just for the sake of it. It's about understanding what your customers truly desire and creating something that fills that need in a way that no one else can. This could manifest as unparalleled quality. It could be a novel feature, or it can focus on exceptional customer service. Think about the companies you love that do this well—Disney, Trader Joe’s, Lululemon, Ben & Jerry’s and Ikea. A company that promises value and then delivers on it attracts new customers. It fosters loyalty and even advocacy. 

Dig deeper : Want more information on how to start or grow your business? Check out our essential guide on how to run a business , which includes 10 steps for business success.

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A successful business strategy dictates the allocation of resources and outlines how a company will achieve its strategic goals. Whether the organization is focused on developing new products or marketing an existing service to an under-served demographic, having a solid strategy will help an organization realize its long-term goals. Typically, a strategy will be informed by core business objectives and keep key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind. It’s also essential to understand an organization’s market position, as the following business strategy examples will show.

Types of business strategy

Over the last decades, researchers and business leaders have identified a handful of so-called “generic strategies” with broad application across the business landscape. These core business strategies are:

  • Broad cost leadership strategy
  • Broad differentiation strategy
  • Focused differentiation strategy
  • Focused cost leadership strategy

But there are dozens of variations on these core concepts, and an organization may choose to enact certain types of strategies at different points. Good business strategies are carefully considered, but that doesn’t mean they’re static. Successful leaders will routinely review a strategy’s key components and update their plans.

For instance, entrepreneurs looking to increase profits might pursue a cost-cutting strategy, while a business hoping to expand would consider a growth strategy. If customer churn or dissatisfaction is a particular issue, a customer retention strategy would be more appropriate.

For economically healthy companies attempting to move into new markets, a diversification strategy—involving new customers or product lines—or a partnership strategy—involving the acquisition of new companies—might be best.

Still, exploring the core generic strategies can provide insight into how some of the world’s most successful corporations have leveraged market research to create phenomenally profitable roadmaps. Some examples of business strategies that embody these foundational theories are explored below.

Broad cost leadership strategy example: Walmart

When Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, started his retail career in the 1940s, he had a simple idea: To find less expensive suppliers than those who served his competition and pass those savings on to the customers in his variety stores. Where many business leaders might attempt to profit directly from such favorable margins, Walton decided to pursue an economy of scale , profiting by attracting more customers rather than charging those customers more. In the more than seven decades since, Walmart has become one of the most famous examples of cost leadership strategy, which undercuts competition by offering goods or services at the lowest possible price.

As the company grew, it was able to take advantage of its ubiquity to demand lower prices from suppliers and sell goods for even less over time. Many of these savings have then been passed on to customers shopping in the stores, resulting in progressively cheaper goods. The retailer’s advertisements underscore this fact, encouraging customers to “Save money. Live Better.”

By the early 2000s, Walmart’s cost leadership strategy had been so successful one-third of Americans were frequent Walmart customers , illustrating how winning the price game can lead to a massively successful bottom line. This has been crucial for the big-box retailer as it increasingly competes with e-commerce giants like Amazon.

Broad differentiation business strategy example: Starbucks

When Starbucks was founded as a small business in 1971, high-end coffee was a niche market in the United States. But Howard Schultz, the company’s founder, believed there was an opportunity to import Italian coffee culture and differentiate his business from competitors like Dunkin Donuts.

To gain a competitive advantage over stores offering cheap coffee in fast food-type settings, Schultz opened a series of cozy cafes that encouraged long visits. Though the items sold at Starbucks were more expensive than those of the competitors, they were highlighted in marketing campaigns as unique and superior quality goods. Starbucks also paid careful attention to its supply chain, ensuring is products were ethically sourced and offering specialty drinks that in some geographic locations could be difficult to find. The company’s early focus on talent management for service employees was a major differentiator, as well.

Over time Starbucks also focused heavily on personalization, encouraging customers to create favorite drinks. Later in the company’s tenure, the company introduced loyalty cards and other advantages for repeat customers to encourage customer retention.

Today, Starbucks stores are ubiquitous across the globe, and the company’s success has made it one of the prime examples of differentiation strategy that undercuts competition by providing a premium product that is significantly more desirable than existing goods.

Focused differentiation strategy example: REI

A focused differentiation strategy—unlike a broad differentiation strategy, which seeks to gain massive market share by providing a premium good—tailors its business plan to a select group of consumers. The outdoor outfitter REI has had significant success in focused differentiation through a series of business decisions and marketing strategies that underscore the values of its target demographic. In REI’s case, product differentiation relies on how the business communicates its core values and provides a unique customer experience.

REI frequently positions itself as an ethical and sustainable outdoor brand: As the company says, it prefers to put “ purpose before profits. ” Since its inception, the company has underscored initiatives like its co-op membership model and sustainability commitments as a way to distinguish itself from competitors catering to more general audiences. Recently, the brand engaged in a relatively risky marketing strategy that reflects its goal of capturing a specific group of loyal customers.

Starting in 2015, REI closed its stores on Black Friday , the most popular shopping day of the year, and encouraged employees to spend the day outdoors. The initiative was accompanied by a social media campaign to bolster the brand’s reach. REI might sell products at a higher cost than its competitors, and operate fewer than 200 stores, but its business model is based on the idea that a loyal group of customers will find its messages and products relevant enough to pay a premium for goods they could easily find somewhere else.

Focused cost leadership strategy example: Dollar General

Where Walmart’s cost leadership strategy relied on becoming ubiquitous and operating at massive scales, the discount chain Dollar General has captured price-conscious consumers in more specific markets. Rather than trying to enter an entirely new market, the company focused on providing low-cost goods to rural consumers. Its strategy has been to open small stores in areas where big-box stores might not be and offer a complementary pricing strategy that attracts budget-conscious consumers.

This strategy has allowed Dollar General to grow into a smart and efficient operation with a strong target market and relatively low overhead. Typically, the chain leases its stores and keeps them small and bare bones, saving money on real estate and extensive labor costs. Stores also typically stock a smaller number of products targeted to its specific customer base, cutting costs and allowing it precise control of its supply chain process. By spending less to open stores, allocating fewer resources to advertising, and targeting regional cost-conscious customers, the chain expanded successfully into a niche market.

The importance of agility in business strategy

As the previous effective business strategies illustrate, strategic planning is crucial for an organization working to achieve its business goals. A strong sense of where the company should be heading makes decision-making easier, and can guide operations across all business units, from the organization’s corporate-level strategy to its product development plans. At their most effective, business strategies can be utilized on a functional level, meaning every department from finance to human resources is guided by the business’ broader goals.

But not all successful businesses strategies will conform precisely to the four generic models outlined above. Often, a company will combine aspects of one or more strategies, or pivot as markets and technologies change . This has been particularly true for startups, which often serve a diverse set of stakeholders and may base their value proposition on new technologies. Still, as the above examples show, the optimization of a business’ operations relies on thinking critically about how its disparate parts can work together to achieve a singular goal.

Business strategy and IBM

Emerging technology and social forces are creating new customer experiences that result in changing expectations and demands and disrupt business models. IBM Consulting’s professional services for business help organizations navigate an increasingly dynamic, complex and competitive world by aligning transformation with business strategy to create competitive advantage and a clear focus on business impact.

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Business Strategy Definition, Examples, Types & 10-Step Guide

Published: 13 December, 2023

Social Share:

Stefan F.Dieffenbacher

Digital Strategy

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Table of Contents

In the ever-evolving business environment shaped by digital dynamics, business strategy stands as a guiding force. Whether for start-ups or established companies, a well-defined business strategy is indispensable for ensuring long-term success. At Digital Leadership, we deeply grasp its pivotal role in laying the groundwork for effective digital transformation strategy and innovation strategy .

We foster creativity, ensuring seamless alignment of technology adoption with business goals , and driving purposeful and impactful transformations. We go beyond conventional approaches by integrating Jobs to be Done into your business strategy , focusing on customers’ fundamental needs and motivations to establish meaningful and lasting connections.

What is Business Strategy?

Business strategy refers to a comprehensive plan or a series of actions meticulously crafted to achieve specific business goals and objectives. It entails a systematic approach aimed at gaining a competitive edge, responding to market dynamics, and attaining sustainable success within a particular industry or market. This strategic framework encompasses several crucial elements, such as defining the organization’s vision, mission, and values, assessing internal strengths and weaknesses, and Identifying external opportunities and threats.

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) plays a pivotal role in business strategy, offering a visual and comprehensive framework that outlines the key components of a business model. Its importance lies in its ability to succinctly capture and communicate the fundamental aspects of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. The BMC consists of nine building blocks, including customer segments , value propositions , distribution channels , customer relationships , revenue streams , key resources , key activities , key partnerships , and cost structure . By utilizing the BMC, businesses gain clarity on their core operations, customer interactions, and revenue generation methods. You can download it now.

Business Model Canvas Template

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The UNITE Business Model Canvas

An effective business strategy demands an in-depth understanding of the market, competition, and internal capabilities. It involves strategic decision-making regarding resource allocation, target market identification, and the development of a distinctive value proposition to differentiate the organization from its competitors. Importantly, business strategy is not a one-time endeavor but an ongoing process that adapts to changes in the business environment.

What is Strategy in Business? How Does It Differ From Tactics?

Strategy is a deliberate and well-defined plan that outlines how an organization intends to achieve its goals and objectives, considering the allocation of resources, competitive advantages, and potential challenges. It serves as a roadmap for decision-making and actions to ensure the organization’s success and effectiveness in a dynamic environment.

Strategy and tactics are distinct concepts in the realm of business and planning:

In business, a strategy is the overarching blueprint that outlines an organization’s long-term goals and the broad approaches to achieving them. It is the high-level plan conceived by top leadership to provide direction and set the trajectory for success. Strategic decisions involve critical choices about markets, products, and positioning, impacting the entire organization. A robust strategy serves as a guiding force, providing stability and a framework for decision-making, ensuring that every action aligns with the overall mission.

While strategy sets the grand vision, tactics are the nitty-gritty manoeuvres designed for the immediate implementation of the broader strategy. Tactics are the specific actions, steps, and procedures undertaken by mid-level and front-line managers to execute the strategic plan. Unlike the more enduring nature of strategy, tactics are flexible and adaptable, responding to the dynamic and ever-changing business landscape. They deal with the specifics, answering the question of “how” the strategic goals will be achieved in the short term, making them the hands-on tools for day-to-day operations.

Importance of Business Strategy

A business strategy establishes a unified vision and direction for the entire organization. Clarity in goals and alignment with the company’s mission is crucial for every individual within the company. The strategy plays a pivotal role in providing this overarching vision, ensuring that individuals stay focused and committed to their company’s objectives.

Why is Strategy Important in Business?

Strategy is essential in business for its role as a guiding roadmap. It aligns everyone with shared objectives, prevents deviations from the mission, and enhances internal performance. A well-crafted strategy is crucial for identifying market opportunities and trends, staying competitive, fostering innovation, and creating a comprehensive organizational vision. In essence, strategy is vital for ensuring alignment, efficiency, and adaptability in the dynamic business landscape.

Value Creation for Customers

A successful business strategy centres on understanding value creation . It involves the difference between customer willingness to pay (WTP) and the price of goods or services . The strategy aims to widen these gaps for customers, the firm, suppliers, and employees. By increasing customer delight, firm margin, supplier surplus, and employee satisfaction, businesses create value for all stakeholders. Engaging stakeholders and developing employees are crucial components of a sustainable strategy.

Value Creation Model

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The UNITE Value Creation framework

Enhancing customer satisfaction and boosting customer delight.

A well-crafted business strategy , deeply rooted in customer-centric principles, becomes the driving force behind tailored products and services that meet specific customer needs. This strategic approach optimizes every customer touchpoint, ensuring consistent and delightful experiences. By fostering a dynamic and adaptable response to changing customer preferences , business strategy enables organizations to stay ahead in a competitive landscape. Moreover, the continuous improvement cycle embedded in strategic planning allows businesses to identify and address pain points , creating a brand experience that goes beyond meeting expectations—it consistently exceeds them, fostering enduring relationships with satisfied and delighted customers.

Internal Business Performance Guide

Internally, a strategic business framework acts as a guiding force for optimal performance. It aligns teams, resources, and processes, fostering a collaborative environment where every individual works cohesively toward common objectives. This alignment enhances operational efficiency and overall effectiveness.

Identify Opportunities and Trends in the Future

Strategic thinking also includes proactive opportunity identification , allowing businesses to capitalize on emerging trends and innovative possibilities for sustained growth. It involves not only addressing current challenges but also anticipating future trends and opportunities. By incorporating this foresight into the business strategy, organizations position themselves as industry leaders, always staying one step ahead in a dynamic business landscape. This proactive approach extends to not just mitigating risks but also actively identifying and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

Create a Competitive Advantage

Business strategy acts as the cornerstone for businesses aiming to carve out unique positions in the market. Through strategic differentiation, organizations can identify and leverage their strengths while addressing weaknesses, positioning themselves uniquely against competitors. Integrating innovation and foresight into the strategic business framework, empowers businesses to stay at the forefront, consistently delivering value that sets them apart, thereby establishing a sustainable and resilient competitive advantage.

Create a Whole organisational vision

A successful business strategy extends its impact beyond individual initiatives; it encompasses the entire organization. It nurtures a shared vision that aligns everyone toward a common purpose. This cohesive vision not only enhances internal cohesion but also provides a roadmap for sustained growth and success.

10 Key Components of Business Strategy

Developing an effective business strategy involves considering multiple components. 

1- Vision and Business Objectives

In business strategy , the component that lays the very foundation is a compelling vision and precisely defined business objectives. They not only provide direction but also serve as the bedrock for effective decision-making and resource allocation, ensuring that every aspect of the business aligns seamlessly with the overarching strategy. In essence, a well-crafted vision and business objectives are integral components, shaping the very essence of strategic initiatives.

The SWOT analysis emerges as a pivotal component of business strategy . It goes beyond a mere examination of internal strengths and weaknesses or external opportunities and threats; it forms the bedrock for strategic planning . At Digital Leadership, we understand the significance of conducting a SWOT analysis as an indispensable element of business strategy. This comprehensive evaluation becomes the compass, guiding organizations to capitalize on their strengths while tactfully addressing weaknesses. Thus, SWOT analysis stands as an essential cornerstone, providing the strategic clarity needed to navigate the competitive business terrain effectively.

By incorporating The UNITE SWOT Framework into business strategy, organizations gain a comprehensive understanding of their internal landscape and external environment, paving the way for more informed, innovative, and adaptive strategic planning.

SWOT Analaysis Template

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The SWOT / TOWS Analysis Framework

3- core values and resource allocation.

Aligning business strategy with core values ensures ethical decision-making. Strategic resource allocation ensures that resources are deployed efficiently to achieve business objectives.

4- Tactics and Operational Delivery

Effective tactics translate business strategy into action. A well-defined operational plan ensures that day-to-day activities contribute to overarching strategic goals .

5- Measurement and Analysis

Continuous measurement and analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs) help organizations track progress and make data-driven adjustments to their strategy. In business strategy , the relentless pursuit of success demands a vigilant eye on performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Measuring progress against predefined KPIs serves as a compass, providing real-time insights into the effectiveness of strategic initiatives. This data-driven approach enables organizations to gauge the impact of their actions, identify areas of success, and pinpoint areas that may require strategic recalibration.

6- Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management involves the end-to-end oversight of the processes and activities that transform raw materials into final products or services and deliver them to customers. In the realm of business strategy , an efficiently managed supply chain contributes to the seamless execution of strategic initiatives.

7- Integrating Technologies

Strategic integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as AI, IoT, and blockchain, is vital for keeping organizations at the forefront of innovation. This involves leveraging technology to enhance various aspects of business processes. By incorporating emerging technologies into the fabric of the business strategy , organizations can respond effectively to changing market dynamics, customer expectations, and industry trends.

8- Business Process Management

Efficient business processes are integral to successful strategy execution , BPM guides organizations in optimizing their processes for maximum efficiency, ensuring seamless alignment with strategic objectives. As organizations navigate the complex landscape of business strategy , BPM serves as a foundational element, ensuring that operational activities are not only efficient but also in harmony with the broader vision and objectives set forth in the strategic plan.

9- Business Intelligence and Analytics

Informed decision-making relies on accurate data. Incorporating business intelligence and analytics into the business strategy ensures that decisions are data-driven and aligned with organizational goals, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

10- Competitive Analysis

Understanding the competitive landscape is vital for informed decision-making, it assists organizations in conducting comprehensive competitive analyses and provides valuable insights to inform strategic choices and maintain a competitive edge.

Business Strategy Development in 10 Strategic Steps

How to Develop your Business Strategy - Business Strategy Development

Creating a business strategy is a meticulous process that requires careful consideration. Develop a business strategy   through the following ten strategic steps:

Step (1): Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Embarking on the business strategy journey begins with a thorough SWOT analysis, delving into the intricacies of internal strengths and weaknesses, coupled with external opportunities and threats. This foundational step serves as a compass for businesses, providing a nuanced understanding of their current position in the market landscape. In this comprehensive analysis, internal strengths are scrutinized to leverage and optimize, weaknesses are identified for targeted improvements, opportunities are explored for strategic expansion, and threats are assessed for proactive mitigation.

Step (2): Identify your Business Purpose

Moving forward in the strategic roadmap, it is imperative to distinctly define the purpose that drives the organization’s existence. This step involves a meticulous examination of the company’s mission, vision, and values to articulate a clear and concise business intention and purpose. By aligning the business strategy with the overarching mission and business purpose , businesses can foster coherence, ensuring that every strategic move resonates with the core values that define the organizational identity. This alignment not only serves as a guiding force for decision-making but also establishes a strong foundation for sustainable growth and impact in the marketplace.

TheUNITE Business Intention Model guides organizations to distinctly define the driving force behind their existence. In a meticulous examination encompassing mission, vision, and values, the UNITE model ensures the articulation of a clear and concise business intention and purpose and it establishes a robust foundation for sustainable growth and impact in the marketplace.

Business Purpose - Business Intentions

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The UNITE Business Intentions

Step (3): setting up business goals.

In the intricate landscape of business strategy development , the third step involves the meticulous process of setting up clear and measurable business goals , the significance of well-defined goals provide a structured roadmap. By articulating specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives, businesses can ensure that their strategic efforts are purposeful and directed. Through this strategic clarity, organizations can align their resources, efforts, and initiatives with a unified vision, fostering a cohesive and results-oriented approach.

Step (4): Defining Your Competitive Advantage

Defining competitive advantage emerges as a linchpin in the framework of business strateg y, this step holds paramount importance in the strategic narrative, serving as a compass for organizations navigating the competitive terrain. By identifying and leveraging a distinctive competitive advantage, businesses create a unique value proposition that sets them apart. This strategic differentiation becomes a guiding force, steering organizations towards long-term success in a dynamic market.

Step (5): Opportunity Identification in the Market

As organizations embark on the business strategy journey, opportunity Identification emerges as a pivotal and forward-looking endeavour. In this nuanced phase of business strategy development , the focus shifts to the external landscape, where astute organizations keenly observe, analyze, and capitalize on emerging opportunities. By conducting a comprehensive scan of the market, businesses position themselves as agile players ready to navigate the currents of change. It empowers organizations to strategically align resources and capabilities to harness them effectively. In a dynamic business environment, seizing the right opportunities becomes a transformative catalyst for sustained growth and resilience.

Step (6): Build your Team

In the intricate tapestry of business strategy development , building your team stands as a critical pillar defining the success trajectory. At this juncture, the focus transcends individual capabilities to the collective strength of a cohesive and synergistic team. The significance of aligning team dynamics with strategic objectives, fostering collaboration, and harnessing diverse talents. As organizations navigate the complex strategic landscape, a well-built team becomes the driving force, propelling the strategic vision into actionable reality.

Step (7): Enhance Value Creation for Customers, Suppliers, and Employees

In business strategy enhancing value creation for customers, suppliers, and employees, takes centre stage as a transformative act beyond customer-centric approaches, business strategy framework extends its embrace to suppliers and employees, recognizing them as integral stakeholders in the strategic equation. This step signifies more than a transactional give-and-take; it embodies a commitment to fostering lasting relationships and mutual growth from customer delight to supplier partnerships and employee satisfaction, our approach ensures a harmonized symphony of value that resonates through every facet of the organization.

Step (8): Develop your Business Strategy Execution Framework

Developing your business strategy execution framework emerges as the meticulously composed score that transforms strategy into tangible action to execute your  Successful Business Strategy.  It becomes crucial to establish a clear roadmap for turning your strategy into actionable steps and determining the daily activities of the entire team.

The UNITE Strategy Execution Model holds immense importance in guiding organizations through the transformation of strategic plans into actionable steps, ensuring a seamless alignment of daily activities with the overarching business strategy .

Innovation Strategy Execution Framework

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The Strategic Planning Process guides you through the stages of creating a successful Business Strategy . Utilizing a Business Model Canvas can help you visualize the various components of your operations more effectively.

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11 Types of Business Strategy with Real-life Business Strategy Examples

When formulating your Business Strategy, it’s valuable to consider the various shapes it can take. Each strategy is viable in its own right, and the direction you choose will be influenced by your Business Purpose and Objectives, as well as the resources available to you.

1) Cost Leadership Business Strategy

Cost Leadership is a strategic approach where a company aims to be the lowest-cost producer in its industry. This strategy involves achieving a competitive advantage by offering products or services at the lowest possible cost. Key elements include economies of scale, operational efficiency, stringent cost control, and often, a pricing strategy that undercuts competitors.

Example: Walmart business strategy

It exemplifies this strategy by leveraging large-scale operations and efficient supply chain management to provide products at lower prices than competitors. While effective, maintaining cost leadership requires a continuous emphasis on efficiency, cost control, and market share growth. However, companies pursuing this strategy must be cautious of potential imitation and should balance cost-saving measures with innovation to stay competitive.

2) Focused Business Strategy

A Focused Business Strategy, also known as a niche or segmentation strategy, involves targeting a specific segment of the market rather than trying to appeal to the entire market. This strategy is effective when a company identifies a particular market segment with unique needs and preferences.

Examples: Tesla Business Strategy

It employs a focused strategy by concentrating on the electric vehicle market. Instead of catering to the broad automobile market, Tesla targets consumers seeking high-performance electric vehicles. Focused strategies allow companies to tailor their products or services to meet the distinct demands of a niche market, often resulting in higher customer loyalty and less competition. However, it requires a deep understanding of the chosen segment and the ability to provide superior value to customers within that niche.

3) Differentiation Business Strategy

A Differentiation Business Strategy involves offering unique and distinctive products or services that stand out from competitors in the market. Apple, a prominent example, excels in differentiation through its innovative product designs, user-friendly interfaces, and ecosystem integration.

Examples: Apple Business Strategy

Apple’s strategy focuses on creating premium, high-quality products that provide a unique user experience, setting them apart from competitors. Differentiation strategies often lead to higher product prices, but they also cultivate brand loyalty and perceived value among customers. Successful differentiation requires continuous innovation, investment in research and development, and a keen understanding of customer preferences. Companies employing this strategy strive to build a strong brand image that becomes synonymous with quality and innovation in the minds of consumers.

let’s categorize Apple’s strategy into two types of Differentiation Business Strategy: Broad Differentiation and Focused Differentiation .

  • Apple’s Approach: Apple adopts a broad differentiation strategy by offering a wide range of unique and distinctive products to a large consumer market.
  • Diverse product line, including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watch, and more.
  • Emphasis on innovative design, cutting-edge technology, and user-friendly interfaces across all product categories.
  • Premium pricing is justified by perceived quality, innovation, and the Apple brand.
  • Apple’s Approach: Within its broad product line, Apple also employs a focused differentiation strategy by tailoring certain products to specific market segments.
  • Examples include specialized products like the Mac Pro for professional users and the iPad Pro for creative professionals.
  • Customization and features geared towards the unique needs of specific user groups.
  • Premium pricing for specialized products, targeting customers willing to pay for enhanced capabilities.

4) Sustainable Business Strategy

Sustainable Business Strategies centre around environmentally conscious practices, social responsibility, and long-term viability. Companies adopting sustainable strategies aim to minimize their environmental impact while contributing positively to society.

Examples of business Strategies

  • Tesla Business Strategy: Tesla exemplifies a sustainable business strategy with its commitment to electric vehicles, renewable energy solutions, and reducing carbon footprints. By prioritizing sustainability, Tesla not only aligns with growing environmental concerns but also attracts a consumer base increasingly valuing eco-friendly practices. Sustainable strategies extend beyond environmental aspects, encompassing ethical labour practices, community engagement, and transparent governance.
  • Coca-Cola Business Strategy: Coca-Cola implements an Environmental Sustainability Strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and water usage, emphasizing responsible sourcing and recycling initiatives.
  • IKEA Business Strategy: IKEA adopts an Eco-Friendly Business Approach by promoting sustainable sourcing of materials and designing products with a focus on longevity and recyclability.

These companies demonstrate a commitment to addressing global challenges, such as climate change and resource depletion, by integrating sustainable practices into their core business strategies. Sustainable strategies not only contribute to corporate social responsibility but also resonate with environmentally conscious consumers, fostering a positive brand image.

5) E-commerce Business Strateg y

Ecommerce Business Strategies revolve around effective online retailing, leveraging digital platforms, and optimizing customer experiences. Amazon, a prime example of a successful e-commerce strategy, employs an omnichannel retailing approach. This involves seamlessly integrating online and offline channels, providing customers with a cohesive shopping experience.

Example of a business strategy: Amazon Business Strategy

Amazon’s vast product selection, efficient logistics, and customer-centric focus contribute to its dominance in the ecommerce sector. The company strategically leverages technology, such as AI algorithms for personalized recommendations, to enhance user engagement. By prioritizing convenience, diverse product offerings, and customer satisfaction, Amazon exemplifies how ecommerce strategies can lead to market leadership and sustained growth in the digital era.

6) Competitive Business Strateg y

Competitive Business Strategies are essential for organizations seeking to gain a market advantage and outperform rivals.

Example of business strategy: Nike business strategy

Nike, adopts a differentiation strategy by focusing on innovation, branding, and product design. Nike’s marketing and product development efforts create a distinct brand image and a perceived higher value, justifying premium pricing. These examples showcase how varied competitive strategies align with business goals, enabling companies to thrive in diverse market landscapes.

7) Design Thinking in Business Strategy

Design Thinking in Business Strategy involves placing a strong emphasis on user experience, innovation, and customer-centric solutions.

Design Thinking business strategy examples:

  • Zara business strategy : It adopts an Agile and Customer-Centric Approach in its fashion retail strategy, responding quickly to market trends and customer preferences.
  • Starbucks business strategy : it differentiates itself through an Experience-focused Store Design, creating inviting and personalized environments that enhance the overall customer experience.

Design Thinking goes beyond aesthetics; it shapes the entire product or service journey, ensuring that businesses resonate with their target audience and remain adaptable to evolving market needs. These real-life examples showcase the transformative power of design thinking in crafting successful business strategies.

8) Data Driven Business Strategy

Data-Driven Business Strategies harness the power of information to optimize decision-making and enhance customer experiences.

Data Driven Business Strategy Examples

  • Netflix Business Strategy: Its Personalized Content Recommendation Strategy, utilizes data analytics to suggest tailored content, engaging users and increasing satisfaction.
  • McDonald Business Strategy : It adopts a Data-Enhanced Customer Experience strategy, leveraging customer data to personalize offerings and improve service efficiency.

These business strategy examples illustrate the transformative impact of data-driven approaches, emphasizing the importance of leveraging insights for strategic decision-making and creating a more personalized and responsive customer journey. In today’s digital landscape, businesses that harness the potential of data gain a competitive edge by staying attuned to customer preferences and market trends.

9) Technology Business Strategy

Technology Business Strategies exemplified by Google and YouTube showcase innovative approaches to digital market dominance. Google business strategy includes pioneering search algorithms, cloud services, and diverse digital products. And youtube’s business strategy focuses on Digital Platform Expansion, continually evolving as a video-sharing giant and expanding its reach. These strategies highlight the importance of diversification, continuous innovation, and a commitment to technological advancement. In the fast-paced tech industry, adapting and expanding digital capabilities ensure long-term relevance and sustained growth, marking these companies as trailblazers in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

10) Business Turnaround Strategy

Business Turnaround Strategies, as exemplified by IBM and Microsoft, underscore the importance of adaptability and strategic redirection in the face of challenges. IBM business strategy is a Successful Business Transformation strategy that stands as a testament to its ability to reinvent itself, transitioning from traditional hardware and services to a focus on emerging technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Corporate Business Strategy showcases the company’s resilience in navigating market shifts and leveraging its strengths in software and cloud services. These examples highlight the significance of strategic agility, innovation, and a proactive approach in revitalizing businesses for sustained success.

11) Retail Business Strategy

Retail Business Strategies encompass a diverse range of approaches tailored to the dynamic consumer landscape. Emphasizing customer experience, streamlined operations, and omnichannel engagement, successful retail strategies strive to meet evolving market demands. These strategies often include personalized customer interactions, inventory optimization, and seamless online and offline integration. Retail giants continually refine their approaches, with a focus on adaptability, innovation, and leveraging technology to enhance the shopping experience. The retail sector’s strategies evolve to align with shifting consumer behaviors, making agility and customer-centricity key elements in sustaining competitiveness.

Digital Business Strategy

Digital business strategy is a comprehensive approach that organizations adopt to leverage digital technologies for transformative outcomes. In the digital era, businesses recognize the need to go beyond traditional models and embrace digitalization to stay competitive. This strategy involves integrating digital technologies into all aspects of a business, from operations and customer interactions to product/service delivery. Key components often include data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and innovative digital platforms.

The goal is to enhance efficiency, customer experience, and overall organizational performance. Companies implementing a digital business strategy position themselves to navigate the digital landscape, respond to market changes swiftly and unlock new opportunities for growth. It’s a proactive approach that embraces digital transformation as a fundamental driver of success in the modern business landscape.

Business Growth Strategy

Business Growth Strategy refers to the deliberate and proactive planning and actions taken by organizations to expand and increase their market share, revenue, and overall scale. This strategy is crucial for organizations aiming to progress and thrive in competitive markets. Business growth can take various forms, such as expanding product lines, entering new markets, acquiring other businesses, or diversifying operations. It involves identifying opportunities for expansion, assessing potential risks, and developing a comprehensive plan to achieve sustainable growth. Successful business growth strategies align with the organization’s overall objectives and market conditions, ensuring that expansion efforts contribute positively to the company’s long-term success. Implementation often requires a combination of innovation, strategic partnerships, and operational excellence to capitalize on opportunities and navigate challenges effectively.

Corporate Strategy vs Business Strategy: What’s the Difference?

Corporate strategy and business strategy are distinct yet interconnected concepts that guide an organization’s overall direction and decision-making. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between the two:

Corporate Strategy:

  • Scope: Corporate strategy involves decisions at the highest level of an organization, addressing its overall mission, vision, and goals.
  • Focus: It is concerned with how the organization as a whole will achieve success and sustain its position in the market.
  • Decision-Making: Corporate strategy decisions often involve choices regarding diversification, mergers and acquisitions, resource allocation, and portfolio management.
  • Time Horizon: Corporate strategy tends to have a longer time horizon and looks at the organization’s position in the industry over an extended period.

Business Strategy:

  • Scope: Business strategy is more specific, focusing on a particular business unit, product line, or market segment within the organization.
  • Focus: It is concerned with how a specific part of the organization will compete effectively in its market and achieve its objectives.
  • Decision-Making: Business strategy decisions involve choices related to product development, market positioning, pricing, and competitive advantage.
  • Time Horizon: Business strategy often operates within a shorter time frame, addressing challenges and opportunities in the near to medium term.

In essence, corporate strategy sets the overall direction of the entire organization, while business strategy zooms in on how individual business units or segments will achieve success within that broader framework. Together, they ensure alignment between the organization’s overarching goals and the specific actions taken at different levels.

What is Business Level Strategy

Business-level strategy pertains to the intentional and strategic actions undertaken by companies to attain a competitive advantage within their designated market segments. This strategy entails crucial decisions regarding resource allocation, product differentiation, and the creation of distinctive value for customers. Through the successful implementation of a clearly defined business-level strategy, companies can establish a unique market position, allure customers, and foster sustainable growth.

Strategies in organizations operate at three distinct levels: Corporate, Business, and Functional.

  • Corporate Level : This is the highest level, where top management establishes the strategic plans, including the mission and vision statements. Corporate-level strategies profoundly influence the long-term performance of the organization, guiding decisions related to growth, acquisitions, diversification, and investments.
  • Business Level : Business level strategies align with the corporate vision but focus on a specific business or market segment. At this level, the broader vision and objectives are translated into tangible strategies that outline how a business will compete in its specific market.
  • Functional Level : Functional level strategies address how various departments such as Marketing, HR, or R&D can support the defined business and corporate strategies. These strategies ensure alignment and coordination across different functions within the organization.

It’s common for a company to have multiple strategies at each level, reflecting the diverse needs of each layer. While managing multiple strategies introduces the risk of conflicting priorities, effective management can mitigate these risks.

Integrating Digital Transformation Strategy with Innovation Strategy in Your Business Strategy

Integrating Digital Transformation Strategy with Innovation Strategy is a dynamic approach that propels organizations to the forefront of the rapidly evolving business landscape. This synergy harnesses the power of technological advancements and creative ideation to drive comprehensive organizational change .

  • Digital transformation acts as the enabler, ensuring that technological innovations are seamlessly integrated into various facets of the business.
  • Innovation strategy fosters a culture of creativity, encouraging novel ideas and solutions to meet evolving market demands.

By strategically aligning these two pillars within the broader context of business strategy, organizations not only adapt to the digital era but also position themselves as pioneers, capable of continuous innovation to stay ahead of the competition. This interconnected strategy promotes agility, resilience, and a forward-looking mindset, essential elements for sustainable success in today’s dynamic business environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1- what is a strategy.

A strategy is a meticulously devised plan that outlines the approach an organization takes to achieve its long-term goals. It involves a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to decision-making.

2- What does strategic mean in business?

In business, being strategic encompasses making decisions that contribute not only to immediate success but also to the long-term sustainability and competitive advantage of the organization. It involves foresight and a proactive mindset.

3- Who is responsible for business strategy?

Business strategy is a collaborative effort led by senior leadership. However, the responsibility extends to experts specializing in strategic planning , such as the professionals at Digital Leadership. These experts play a pivotal role in crafting effective and innovative strategies tailored to the unique needs of organizations, ensuring a holistic and forward-looking approach.

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24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

Clifford Chi

Published: February 06, 2024

I believe that reading sample business plans is essential when writing your own.

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As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, it’s easier for you to learn how to write a good one.

But what does a good business plan look like? And how do you write one that’s both viable and convincing. I’ll walk you through the ideal business plan format along with some examples to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Format

Business plan types, sample business plan templates, top business plan examples.

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. To me, the same logic applies to business.

If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

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Free Business Plan Template

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  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out the form to get your free template.

First, you’ll want to nail down your formatting. Most business plans include the following sections.

1. Executive Summary

I’d say the executive summary is the most important section of the entire business plan. 

Why? Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

There are two main elements I’d recommend including in your executive summary:

Company Description

This is the perfect space to highlight your company’s mission statement and goals, a brief overview of your history and leadership, and your top accomplishments as a business.

Tell potential investors who you are and why what you do matters. Naturally, they’re going to want to know who they’re getting into business with up front, and this is a great opportunity to showcase your impact.

Need some extra help firming up those business goals? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free course to help you set goals that matter — I’d highly recommend it

Products and Services

To piggyback off of the company description, be sure to incorporate an overview of your offerings. This doesn’t have to be extensive — just another chance to introduce your industry and overall purpose as a business.

In addition to the items above, I recommend including some information about your financial projections and competitive advantage here too.:

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, and only include the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

This executive summary is so good to me because it tells potential investors a short story while still covering all of the most important details.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

Image Source

Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Start with a strong introduction of your company, showcase your mission and impact, and outline the products and services you provide.
  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market.

The main question I’d ask myself here is this: Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will my product fill that gap?

More specifically, here’s what I’d include in this section:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry.

You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

I like this example because it uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Since we’re already speaking of market share, you'll also need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are.

After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another.

My favorite part of performing a competitive analysis is that it can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

I like how the competitive landscape section of this business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. 

This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

Use this section to describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Here are some questions I’d ask myself here:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

I’d also recommend building a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

I like the example below because it uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. I’d suggest including information:

  • Your brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

I think it’s helpful to have a marketing plan built out in advance to make this part of your business plan easier.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler.

In my opinion, it really works because it offers a comprehensive picture of how they plan to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll need to review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services.

Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use. It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

In my opinion, the example below does a great job outlining products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. 

For this reason, here’s what I’d might outline in this section:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

I like how this business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

To me, this section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more.

 According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details I’d include in this section.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet is a great example of level of detail you’ll need to include in the financials section of your business plan.

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. 

So, I’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business.

You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. In my opinion, internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some of my favorite templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow.

Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why I Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it.

There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders.

It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis.

The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made.

Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly.

It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (I always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

I absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service.

You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business.

Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you.

It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things I love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, I especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan.

Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

I’ve compiled some completed business plan samples to help you get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business.

I chose different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Let’s take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue.

I included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives.

This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact. Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best.

For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement  should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Patagonia has one of the most compelling mission statements I’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University .

While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more.

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. 

This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. 

Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission.

The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" and this example does just that. In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. 

You can use this template as a guide while you're gathering important information for your own business plan. You'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do since Culina’s plan outlines these details so flawlessly for inspiration.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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The 7 Best Business Strategy Examples I've Ever Seen

Download our free 56 Strategies Ebook Download this ebook

Most entrepreneurs dream of an innovative product or service that surprises their rivals and takes new markets by storm. What they tend to forget is that there needs to be an excellent business strategy accompanying the product. 

I get it - it’s not nearly as interesting to fantasize about a competitive strategy. Yet without it, even genius products can quickly drown in the harsh business sea. Most strategies fail. A sobering 9 out of 10 organizations fail to execute their strategy.

Free Download Download our 56 Strategies Ebook Download this ebook

I’ve already written about the 5 worst business strategy examples of all time and why many strategies fail . But today, we’ll flip the script and take a look at products and strategies that delighted their target customers and wildly exceeded initial business goals.

From Tesla, Airbnb, and Toyota to Hubspot, Apple, and Paypal - let’s dive into their business strategies and see why these 7 are the best ones I’ve ever seen:

  • Tesla - Playing the long game
  • Airbnb - Forgetting all about scalability
  • Toyota - Humility can be the best business strategy
  • HubSpot - Creating an industry then dominating it
  • Apple - iPhone launch shows tremendous restraint
  • PayPal - Daring to challenge the status quo
  • Spotify - Changing the rules of the music industry

But before we get into these business strategy examples, let's briefly go over some of the basics...

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy , also known as a company strategy, is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. It is a defined plan of action that outlines the direction a business wants to take and defines how the plan will cascade through the organization by the allocation of resources. The importance of a business strategy cannot be overstated as it sets the direction for the entire organization and helps to align all employees towards a common goal . Overall, a business strategy serves as a roadmap for a company, guiding its actions and decisions to achieve its goals and stay competitive in the marketplace. 

👉 If you have any unanswered questions about business strategies, check our FAQs at the end of this article! 

🎁 Struggling to build your Business Strategy? Use our free customizable  Business Strategy Template to easily develop and execute it!

Best business strategies #1: Tesla Playing the long game

Conventional business logic is that when you're starting something new, you create a 'Minimal Viable Product' or MVP.

Essentially that means that you make a version of your product that is very light in terms of functionality and focuses mostly on showcasing your main competitive advantage.

It also means that the first version of your product usually has to be sold at a reasonably low starting price to compensate for its lack of features and generate interest.

Some organizations (including many tech startups) take this concept even further and base their growth strategy around a freemium pricing model . In this business model, the most basic version of the product or service is free, but any new or upgraded features cost money. 

Tesla, on the other hand, did things the other way around. It's been known for a long time that Tesla's long-term goal is to be the biggest car company in the world. They know that in order to become the biggest by volume, they're going to have to succeed in the lower-end consumer car space (price tag US$30,000 or less).

But Tesla did not focus on this market first. It did not create a cheap low-featured version of their electric car (and therefore benefit from economies of scale ).

Instead, Tesla created the most luxurious, expensive, fully-featured sports car they could afford. That car was the Tesla Roadster, and for context, the newest generation of the Roadster will retail from upwards of US$200,000 for the base model. 

This was the first car they ever produced - knowing that they couldn't achieve the necessary scale or efficiency to turn a profit (even at such a high price). However, such a car was in-line with Tesla’s vision statement where they aim “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”

Fast-forward to today, and Tesla dwarfs the competition as the most valuable car company in the world. So their differentiation strategy certainly seems to be working, but why?

most valuable brands within the automotive sector worldwide as of 2022, by brand value(in billion U.S. dollars) source statista

What can we learn from Tesla?

The first thing to note is that Tesla has made incredible progress towards its business objective of mass-produced, affordable electric cars. They've even made a genuine annual profit for the first time in their history. 

Secondly, much of Tesla's business strategy was actually forced upon it. There was no way they could have created a cost-effective mass-market electric car.

As a startup, they didn’t have the resources or capabilities to reap the benefits of economies of scale. Because they were creating such a unique car, they couldn't rely on outsourcing or suppliers to gain mass-production benefits.

Fortunately, Tesla's supply chain strategy is one of the most brilliant moves they've made. They knew early on that batteries would present the biggest technological hurdle to their cars and the biggest bottleneck to production.

Rather than let this derail them, they took complete control of their supply chain by investing in battery manufacturers. This has the additional benefit of simplifying diversification as Tesla can use those same batteries in parallel business ventures such as their Powerwall.

Of course, Tesla’s business strategy required vast capital and fundraising (Elon is rich but not quite rich enough to fund it all himself). That's where the marketing genius of Tesla kicks in. 

For the most part, their marketing efforts are only partially about their cars. Tesla is seen as Elon Musk's personal brand, and that had an enormous impact on whether or not they got the investment they needed.

He's smart, divisive, wild, and ambitious. But whatever you think about Elon Musk, you'd be hard-pressed to traverse more than a couple of consecutive news cycles without seeing him on the front page. And that's a fantastic recipe for getting the attention of investors.

Tesla studied and adapted to the industry and business environment they would operate in. They knew their strengths, understood their market position, and built their strategy around their own findings instead of following conventional wisdom.

👉 Use the Tesla Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Tesla's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Tesla in our Strategy Study: How Tesla Became The World’s Most Valuable Automotive Company.

Best business strategies #2: Airbnb Forgetting all about scalability

Airbnb is one of the fastest-growing tech companies. Shortly after their IPO in December 2020, they reached a US$100B+ valuation, and the company has quite possibly changed the way we travel forever. But did you know they started out about as low-tech as you can get?

It all began with co-founders Brian and Joe renting out 3 air mattresses on their apartment’s floor. They made $80 per guest. It seemed like a great idea for a startup, so they launched a website and invited other people to list their own mattresses for hire.

They got a few bookings here and there, but things didn't go well for the most part. So much so that in 2008, they resorted to selling cereal to make ends meet.

They had plenty of listings on the site and plenty of site traffic. Potential customers were out there, but they weren’t making enough bookings.

They identified the most likely problem - the low quality of listings that were simply not enticing. So Brian and Joe decided to take matters into their own hands.

The co-founders grabbed their cameras and visited every one of their NYC listings. They persuaded the owners to let them take a ton of photographs of their places.

They touched them up a bit and uploaded them to the website, replacing the old, usually bad photos. Within a month of starting this strategy, sales doubled. Then tripled. The rest is history.

best business strategies airbnb

What can we learn from Airbnb?

The thing I love the most about this story is that it opposes one of the most commonly stated principles of building a tech startup - “everything must be scalable” .

What Brian and Joe did was anything but scalable. But it got them enough traction to prove that their concept could work. 

Later, they did scale their initial solution by hiring young photographers in major locations and paying them to take professional photos of owners’ listings (at no charge to the owner).

They also added a bunch of guidelines and articles on the site to educate owners on how they can make more money by taking better photos.

Airbnb's story shows that business strategies don’t have to be grand and super long-term affairs.

They can revolve around a specific challenge preventing the business from taking off. Once the challenge is solved, the company progresses on its roadmap and integrates the solution into the revamped business strategy.

airbnb quarterly revenue 2019 to 2022 ($mm)

Source: Airbnb third quarter 2022 financial results

👉 Use the Airbnb Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Airbnb's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #3: Toyota Humility can be the best business strategy

In 1973, the 'Big Three' car makers in the USA had over 82% of the market share. Today they have less than 50%. Why? Because of the aggressive (and unexpected) entry of Japanese carmakers into the US market in the 1970s - led by Toyota.

Cars are big, heavy, and expensive to ship around in large numbers. That's one of the reasons the US market was caught off guard when Toyota started selling Japanese-made cars in the US at lower prices than they could match.

The car industry was a huge contributor to the US economy, so one of the first reactions from the government was the implementation of protectionist taxes on all imported cars - thus making Japanese cars as expensive as locally made cars.

But the tactic failed. Within a few years, Toyota had managed to establish production on US soil, thus eliminating the need to pay any of the hefty new import taxes. At first, US carmakers weren't all that worried.

Surely by having to move production to the US, the costs for the Japanese carmakers would be roughly the same as those of the local car companies. 

Well, that didn't happen. Toyota continued its cost leadership strategy. It still manufactured cars for significantly less money than US companies could.

Their finely honed production processes were so efficient and lean that they could beat US carmakers at their own game. You've probably heard of the notion of ' continuous improvement '. In manufacturing, Toyota is pretty much synonymous with the term.

US Car Sales Graph- January through May 2021 vs 2020

us car sales graph 2020 to 2021


What can we learn from Toyota?

Most business success stories involve bold moves and daring ideas. But not this one. 

Toyota spent years studying the production lines of American carmakers such as Ford. They knew that the US car industry was more advanced and efficient than the Japanese industry. So they decided to be patient.

They studied their competitors and tried to copy what the Americans did so well. They blended these processes with their strengths and came up with something even better.

Toyota proved that knowing one's weaknesses can be the key to success - and be one of the best business strategies you can ever deploy.

Not just that. Can you name a single famous executive at Toyota? I can't. And one of the reasons is that Toyota's number one corporate value is humility. It helped them crack the US market, and it runs deep in the organization - from top management to assembly workers.

Toyota’s success is based on continuously improving its functional level strategy , which focuses on day-to-day operations , decisions, and goals. They understood that the bigger picture consists of thousands of small tasks and employees.

They took a big goal, such as “becoming a cost leader in our category without compromising quality”, and ensured that their mission impacted every level of the organization while staying true to their core values.

👉 Use the Toyota Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Toyota's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Toyota in our Strategy Study: How Toyota Went From Humble Beginnings To Automotive Giant .

Best business strategies #4: HubSpot Creating an industry then dominating it

HubSpot might not be as famous as Airbnb or Toyota. However, being valued at $22.72 billion in 2022 means, they’re certainly no slouch.

And most impressively, they’ve become such a successful company in an industry that didn’t even exist before they invented it.

Most of the marketing we experience is known as 'interruption' marketing. This is where adverts are pushed out to you whether you like it or not. Think tv adverts, billboards, Google Adwords, etc. 

In 2004, HubSpot created a software platform that aimed to turn this marketing concept on its head. The HubSpot marketing platform helped companies write blog posts, create eBooks, and share their content on social media.

The theory was that if you could produce enough good quality content to pull people to your website, then enough of them might stick around to take a look at the product you're actually selling. Useful content created specifically for your target market should also increase customer retention.

This approach was a big deal. I can tell you from personal experience that 'interruption marketing' is really expensive. We pay Google around $10 each time someone clicks on one of our AdWords adverts. Remember, that's $10 per click, not per sale. It adds up pretty fast.

On the other hand, this blog receives more than one million clicks per year. Each article keeps generating clicks at no additional costs once it’s written and published. 

Inbound marketing basically saved our business - so it's fair to say that this example is pretty close to my heart!

Hubspot coined the term 'inbound marketing' - and long story short, they're now one of the biggest SaaS companies in the world. But that's not the interesting part of the story.

What can we learn from HubSpot?

Hubspot’s successful business strategy is based on a new type of marketing. Now here’s the twist that separates it from generic strategies: Hubspot used their new marketing approach to market their own company, whose sole purpose was to sell a platform that created that new type of marketing. Head hurting yet? Mine too.

Most companies would have taken that new approach and applied it to something they were already selling. But instead, the HubSpot guys decided to monetize the marketing strategy itself. 

They took a whole bunch of concepts that already existed (blogging, eBooks, etc.) and packaged them into an innovative product - ‘a new way of doing things'. 

They created an awesome narrative and proved how powerful their new way of marketing could be by building a business worth billions around it. 

Their best and biggest case study was their own product, and they had all the numbers and little details to showcase to the world it really works.

hubspot quarterly revenue q3 2022 ($m)

Source: Hubspot overview

👉 Use the Hubspot Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Hubspot's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #5: Apple iPhone launch shows tremendous restraint

Ok, I hear you - this is such an obvious inclusion for the 'best business strategies'. But as one of the first people to adopt smartphones when they came out in the 1990s, this is something else that's close to my heart. 

I remember using Windows Mobile (the original version ) on a touchscreen phone with a stylus - and it was horrible. I loved the fact that I had access to my email and my calendar on my phone.

But I hated that my phone was the size of a house and required you to press the screen with ox-like strength before any kind of input would register.

Thankfully, a few years later, BlackBerry came along and started to release phones that were not only smart but much more usable. Sony Ericsson, Nokia, HTC, and a whole host of other manufacturers came out with reasonably solid smartphones well before 2007 when Apple finally released the iPhone.

I remember arriving at the office one day, and my boss had somehow gotten his hands on one of the first iPhones to be sold in the UK. I was shocked. Normally I was the early adopter. I was the one showing people what the future looked like.

And yet, here was this guy in his mid 50's, with his thick glasses, showing off a bit of technology that I'd never even seen before.

Apple could easily have created a phone much earlier than it did and sold it to me and a few other early adopters.

But it didn't. Instead, it waited until the technology was mature enough to sell it to my boss - someone who is far less tech-savvy than me. But also far more financially equipped to spend plenty of money on new tech products.


What can we learn from Apple?

The big learning here is that first-mover advantage is often not an advantage. A well-executed 'follower' strategy will outperform a less well-executed 'first mover' strategy every single time. 

One of the most common misconceptions in the startup world is that it's the 'idea' that matters the most. The truth is, the world's most successful companies were rarely the original innovators. I'm looking at you, Nokia. At you, Kodak. And at you as well, Yahoo.

In fact, being first is probably a disadvantage more often than it's an advantage. Why?

  • Your market isn't well defined and doesn't even know your product type exists.
  • If you have a market, it's probably just the early adopters - by definition, that's a niche market.
  • Technology will often hold you back rather than power you to success.
  • Every business that comes after you will have the advantage of learning from your mistakes.

People, and especially tech companies, get carried away with being first and forget that it’s a competitive position with pros and cons. Deciding to be a 'first mover' or 'smart follower' is crucial for strategic planning .

It’s a decision that should be based on research such as swot analysis and not on pride or blind optimism as it can make all the difference between success and failure.

Bonus reading : 18 Free Strategic Plan Templates (Excel & Cascade)

👉 Use the Apple Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Apple's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Apple in our Strategy Study: How Apple Became the Top Non-Corporate Tech Brand .

Best business strategies #6: PayPal Daring to challenge the status quo

There are certain industries that you just don't mess with. Industries like aerospace, big supermarkets, semiconductors, and banking. Actually, banking is probably the toughest industry to try to disrupt because the barrier to entry is huge.

You need mountains of capital, a ton of regulatory approval, and years of building trust with your customers around their most important asset - cash.

Banks are old. Their business models have been essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. They're insanely powerful and almost impossible to displace. But for some crazy reason - PayPal didn't seem to care.

I can tell you from personal experience (I worked for a bank) that the name which strikes the most fear into the executives of the banks is PayPal.

Here's why:

  • PayPal spends less money on technology than even a medium-sized bank does. Yet its technology platform is far superior.
  • Consumers trust PayPal as much if not more than they trust their bank. Even though PayPal has been around for a fraction of the time.
  • When a customer uses their PayPal account, the bank has no clue what the customer bought. The transaction appears on the bank statement as merely 'PayPal'. That gives PayPal all the power when it comes to data mining.
  • PayPal is quicker to market with just about any kind of payment innovation.
  • PayPal refuses to partner with banks - instead opting to partner with retailers directly.

In a very short time, PayPal has emerged as a new payment method - giving a very real alternative to your trusty debit or credit card. PayPal has also become one of the best payment platforms for digital nomads , tapping into one of the fastest-growing business trends in the world.

But how the heck did it manage to do it? Let's take a look at why PayPal had one of the best business strategies ever.

What can we learn from PayPal?

There are two main reasons behind PayPal's success story. 

The first is simple - stone-cold balls. They got a fairly lucky break when they accidentally became the favored payment provider for eBay transactions. A few years later, Paypal was even acquired by eBay for US$1.5bn.

eBay was smart enough to mostly leave Paypal alone, and their newfound sense of boldness saw them strike a series of deals with other online retailers to try and replicate the success they'd had with eBay.

This is where the second reason comes in. Partnerships. Banks had always been wary about forming partnerships with retailers directly. Instead, they relied on their scheme partners (Visa / MasterCard) to do it for them.

They didn't want the hassle of managing so many different relationships and were extremely confident that credit and debit cards would always be at the heart of the payment system. But the problem was that MasterCard was already working on a partnership with PayPal. 

Today, PayPal commends an amazing 54% share of the payment processing market. Almost all of that growth has come from their direct relationships with large and small merchants.

It shows that even in the toughest and most competitive markets, you can still find opportunities worth exploring and uncover a key to a very good business strategy.

paypal market share 2022 statista

Market share of online payment processing software technologies worldwide Sep 2022. Source: Statista

👉 Use the PayPal Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Paypal's Strategy to build your own!

Best business strategies #7: Spotify Changing the rules of the music industry

Before Spotify came along, the world of online music streaming was pretty lackluster. Sure, you had platforms like Napster and The Pirate Bay, but they were illegal and you never knew when they would get shut down. And even if you did use them, you were still pretty limited in terms of what you could listen to. On the other hand, you had platforms like iTunes and Pandora, but they had their own set of problems. With iTunes, you had to pay for each and every song, which was a total bummer. And Pandora, you couldn't listen to whatever song you wanted, it was more like a radio station. Basically, people were craving for a better way to listen to music, one that was legal and gave them the freedom to choose what they wanted to listen to. And that's where Spotify comes in. When Spotify launched in 2008, it was a game-changer. They took the best parts of platforms like Napster and The Pirate Bay (the ability to share music), but made it legal. And they also took the best parts of platforms like iTunes and Pandora (the ability to choose what you want to listen to), and made it better. As we all know, it turned out to be quite an effective business strategy.

What can we learn from Spotify?

Spotify nailed it by putting their customers at the forefront of their business strategy. They saw that people were fed up with the limitations of other music streaming platforms and decided to create a service that put the customer's needs and wants first. They invested in technology and engineers to ensure the experience was seamless and easy for listeners, and it worked like a charm. People flocked to Spotify like bees to honey because it gave them the freedom and control over their music choices that they craved. Another big part of Spotify's success was (and still is) their freemium business model. They offered a free version of the service, but also had premium options for those who wanted more features and services. This allowed them to attract a huge user base and generate revenue from both the free and paying users. This model helped Spotify grow its user base and revenue quickly, more than exceeding their business goals.

spotify launch free and premium monthly active users

And let's not forget about their data-driven approach. They invested heavily in data analysis and machine learning, which allowed them to create algorithms to predict which songs and artists users will like and recommend them accordingly - going one step further into user personalization. This helped to drive engagement and loyalty, making Spotify the go-to platform for discovering new music and creating playlists.

👉 Use the Spotify Strategy Plan Template to get inspired by Spotify's Strategy to build your own!

📚Learn more about Spotify in our Strategy Study: How Spotify Became The Standard In Convenience And Accessibility .

More excellent business strategy examples

You just got familiar with my personal selection of top business strategies. But these 7 are just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re looking for more examples and lessons from the very best businesses in the world, download the free 56 strategies report . It’s a selection of cases that covers plenty of really interesting situations. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

What's the difference between a business strategy and a corporate strategy?

A business strategy refers to the business plan for a specific business unit level within a company, while a corporate strategy deals with the overall direction and scope of the entire organization at the functional level.

A successful business strategy focuses on achieving specific business objectives within a certain market or industry, and is often developed as part of a larger business plan. While a corporate-level strategy focuses on achieving corporate objectives and aligning the entire organization's key components to achieve competitive advantage and meet organizational goals.

What are the key components of a successful business strategy?

A successful business strategy includes the following key components:

  • Identifying and targeting a specific market or industry
  • Developing a unique value proposition
  • Creating a business plan with relevant focus areas to achieve the business objectives
  • Define the specific actions that will ensure those objectives are met
  • Determine the measures or KPIs that will drive success and ensure execution
  • Continuously monitoring and adjusting the strategy to meet the organizational goals

How does a business strategy contribute to achieving corporate objectives?

A business strategy is designed to achieve specific business objectives within a certain market or industry, which in turn contributes to achieving the overall corporate objectives of the organization .

By aligning the efforts of the individual business units with the overall direction and scope of the company, a business strategy helps to create a unified approach towards achieving competitive advantage and meeting organizational goals.

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Table of Contents

How to make a good business plan: step-by-step guide.

A business plan is a strategic roadmap used to navigate the challenging journey of entrepreneurship. It's the foundation upon which you build a successful business.

A well-crafted business plan can help you define your vision, clarify your goals, and identify potential problems before they arise.

But where do you start? How do you create a business plan that sets you up for success?

This article will explore the step-by-step process of creating a comprehensive business plan.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a formal document that outlines a business's objectives, strategies, and operational procedures. It typically includes the following information about a company:

Products or services

Target market


Marketing and sales strategies

Financial plan

Management team

A business plan serves as a roadmap for a company's success and provides a blueprint for its growth and development. It helps entrepreneurs and business owners organize their ideas, evaluate the feasibility, and identify potential challenges and opportunities.

As well as serving as a guide for business owners, a business plan can attract investors and secure funding. It demonstrates the company's understanding of the market, its ability to generate revenue and profits, and its strategy for managing risks and achieving success.

Business plan vs. business model canvas

A business plan may seem similar to a business model canvas, but each document serves a different purpose.

A business model canvas is a high-level overview that helps entrepreneurs and business owners quickly test and iterate their ideas. It is often a one-page document that briefly outlines the following:

Key partnerships

Key activities

Key propositions

Customer relationships

Customer segments

Key resources

Cost structure

Revenue streams

On the other hand, a Business Plan Template provides a more in-depth analysis of a company's strategy and operations. It is typically a lengthy document and requires significant time and effort to develop.

A business model shouldn’t replace a business plan, and vice versa. Business owners should lay the foundations and visually capture the most important information with a Business Model Canvas Template . Because this is a fast and efficient way to communicate a business idea, a business model canvas is a good starting point before developing a more comprehensive business plan.

A business plan can aim to secure funding from investors or lenders, while a business model canvas communicates a business idea to potential customers or partners.

Why is a business plan important?

A business plan is crucial for any entrepreneur or business owner wanting to increase their chances of success.

Here are some of the many benefits of having a thorough business plan.

Helps to define the business goals and objectives

A business plan encourages you to think critically about your goals and objectives. Doing so lets you clearly understand what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.

A well-defined set of goals, objectives, and key results also provides a sense of direction and purpose, which helps keep business owners focused and motivated.

Guides decision-making

A business plan requires you to consider different scenarios and potential problems that may arise in your business. This awareness allows you to devise strategies to deal with these issues and avoid pitfalls.

With a clear plan, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions aligning with their overall business goals and objectives. This helps reduce the risk of making costly mistakes and ensures they make decisions with long-term success in mind.

Attracts investors and secures funding

Investors and lenders often require a business plan before considering investing in your business. A document that outlines the company's goals, objectives, and financial forecasts can help instill confidence in potential investors and lenders.

A well-written business plan demonstrates that you have thoroughly thought through your business idea and have a solid plan for success.

Identifies potential challenges and risks

A business plan requires entrepreneurs to consider potential challenges and risks that could impact their business. For example:

Is there enough demand for my product or service?

Will I have enough capital to start my business?

Is the market oversaturated with too many competitors?

What will happen if my marketing strategy is ineffective?

By identifying these potential challenges, entrepreneurs can develop strategies to mitigate risks and overcome challenges. This can reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes and ensure the business is well-positioned to take on any challenges.

Provides a basis for measuring success

A business plan serves as a framework for measuring success by providing clear goals and financial projections . Entrepreneurs can regularly refer to the original business plan as a benchmark to measure progress. By comparing the current business position to initial forecasts, business owners can answer questions such as:

Are we where we want to be at this point?

Did we achieve our goals?

If not, why not, and what do we need to do?

After assessing whether the business is meeting its objectives or falling short, business owners can adjust their strategies as needed.

How to make a business plan step by step

The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include.

1. Create an executive summary

Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

Keep your executive summary concise and clear with the Executive Summary Template . The simple design helps readers understand the crux of your business plan without reading the entire document.

2. Write your company description

Provide a detailed explanation of your company. Include information on what your company does, the mission statement, and your vision for the future.

Provide additional background information on the history of your company, the founders, and any notable achievements or milestones.

3. Conduct a market analysis

Conduct an in-depth analysis of your industry, competitors, and target market. This is best done with a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Next, identify your target market's needs, demographics, and behaviors.

Use the Competitive Analysis Template to brainstorm answers to simple questions like:

What does the current market look like?

Who are your competitors?

What are they offering?

What will give you a competitive advantage?

Who is your target market?

What are they looking for and why?

How will your product or service satisfy a need?

These questions should give you valuable insights into the current market and where your business stands.

4. Describe your products and services

Provide detailed information about your products and services. This includes pricing information, product features, and any unique selling points.

Use the Product/Market Fit Template to explain how your products meet the needs of your target market. Describe what sets them apart from the competition.

5. Design a marketing and sales strategy

Outline how you plan to promote and sell your products. Your marketing strategy and sales strategy should include information about your:

Pricing strategy

Advertising and promotional tactics

Sales channels

The Go to Market Strategy Template is a great way to visually map how you plan to launch your product or service in a new or existing market.

6. Determine budget and financial projections

Document detailed information on your business’ finances. Describe the current financial position of the company and how you expect the finances to play out.

Some details to include in this section are:

Startup costs

Revenue projections

Profit and loss statement

Funding you have received or plan to receive

Strategy for raising funds

7. Set the organization and management structure

Define how your company is structured and who will be responsible for each aspect of the business. Use the Business Organizational Chart Template to visually map the company’s teams, roles, and hierarchy.

As well as the organization and management structure, discuss the legal structure of your business. Clarify whether your business is a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or LLC.

8. Make an action plan

At this point in your business plan, you’ve described what you’re aiming for. But how are you going to get there? The Action Plan Template describes the following steps to move your business plan forward. Outline the next steps you plan to take to bring your business plan to fruition.

Types of business plans

Several types of business plans cater to different purposes and stages of a company's lifecycle. Here are some of the most common types of business plans.

Startup business plan

A startup business plan is typically an entrepreneur's first business plan. This document helps entrepreneurs articulate their business idea when starting a new business.

Not sure how to make a business plan for a startup? It’s pretty similar to a regular business plan, except the primary purpose of a startup business plan is to convince investors to provide funding for the business. A startup business plan also outlines the potential target market, product/service offering, marketing plan, and financial projections.

Strategic business plan

A strategic business plan is a long-term plan that outlines a company's overall strategy, objectives, and tactics. This type of strategic plan focuses on the big picture and helps business owners set goals and priorities and measure progress.

The primary purpose of a strategic business plan is to provide direction and guidance to the company's management team and stakeholders. The plan typically covers a period of three to five years.

Operational business plan

An operational business plan is a detailed document that outlines the day-to-day operations of a business. It focuses on the specific activities and processes required to run the business, such as:

Organizational structure

Staffing plan

Production plan

Quality control

Inventory management

Supply chain

The primary purpose of an operational business plan is to ensure that the business runs efficiently and effectively. It helps business owners manage their resources, track their performance, and identify areas for improvement.

Growth-business plan

A growth-business plan is a strategic plan that outlines how a company plans to expand its business. It helps business owners identify new market opportunities and increase revenue and profitability. The primary purpose of a growth-business plan is to provide a roadmap for the company's expansion and growth.

The 3 Horizons of Growth Template is a great tool to identify new areas of growth. This framework categorizes growth opportunities into three categories: Horizon 1 (core business), Horizon 2 (emerging business), and Horizon 3 (potential business).

One-page business plan

A one-page business plan is a condensed version of a full business plan that focuses on the most critical aspects of a business. It’s a great tool for entrepreneurs who want to quickly communicate their business idea to potential investors, partners, or employees.

A one-page business plan typically includes sections such as business concept, value proposition, revenue streams, and cost structure.

Best practices for how to make a good business plan

Here are some additional tips for creating a business plan:

Use a template

A template can help you organize your thoughts and effectively communicate your business ideas and strategies. Starting with a template can also save you time and effort when formatting your plan.

Miro’s extensive library of customizable templates includes all the necessary sections for a comprehensive business plan. With our templates, you can confidently present your business plans to stakeholders and investors.

Be practical

Avoid overestimating revenue projections or underestimating expenses. Your business plan should be grounded in practical realities like your budget, resources, and capabilities.

Be specific

Provide as much detail as possible in your business plan. A specific plan is easier to execute because it provides clear guidance on what needs to be done and how. Without specific details, your plan may be too broad or vague, making it difficult to know where to start or how to measure success.

Be thorough with your research

Conduct thorough research to fully understand the market, your competitors, and your target audience . By conducting thorough research, you can identify potential risks and challenges your business may face and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Get input from others

It can be easy to become overly focused on your vision and ideas, leading to tunnel vision and a lack of objectivity. By seeking input from others, you can identify potential opportunities you may have overlooked.

Review and revise regularly

A business plan is a living document. You should update it regularly to reflect market, industry, and business changes. Set aside time for regular reviews and revisions to ensure your plan remains relevant and effective.

Create a winning business plan to chart your path to success

Starting or growing a business can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, a well-written business plan can make or break your business’ success.

The purpose of a business plan is more than just to secure funding and attract investors. It also serves as a roadmap for achieving your business goals and realizing your vision. With the right mindset, tools, and strategies, you can develop a visually appealing, persuasive business plan.

Ready to make an effective business plan that works for you? Check out our library of ready-made strategy and planning templates and chart your path to success.

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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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What is Business Strategy? Definition, Importance, Levels, and Examples

What is Business Strategy? Definition, Importance, Levels, and Examples

Business strategy is the battle plan for a better future. - Patrick Dixon

Scaling up a business without a clear strategy is like captaining a ship without a rudder. The success of any business depends on the strategy that one follows. The business strategy establishes the needs of the business. Business strategy plays an important role for businesses of all sizes and entrepreneurs. It sets the direction of the organization and helps to create goals to aim towards.

What is Business Strategy?

Business strategy is defined as the course of action or set of decisions that support entrepreneurs in achieving certain business goals. It is a master plan that outlines the direction the organization intends to make, the actions it will undertake, and the resources it will give to attain certain competitive benefits and drive sustainable growth. It involves a combination of decisions, actions, and resource allocation that positions an organization in its industry or market.

Why is a Business Strategy important?

Business Strategy plays a crucial role in guiding a firm’s growth, competitiveness, and success. It offers a roadmap for decision-making, resource providing, and adaptation to transforming circumstances, ensuring that the firm stays agile, focused, and well-prepared to achieve its goals successfully. It is carefully planned and flexibly designed with the purpose of:

  • Achieving effectiveness
  • Perceiving and utilizing opportunities
  • Mobilizing resources
  • Securing an advantageous position
  • Meeting the challenges and threats
  • Directing efforts, behavior and
  • Gaining command over the situation

What is the Difference between Business Strategy & Business Plan & Business Model

Business Strategy, Business Plan, and Business Model are three distinct elements that offer various purposes in the world of business. They are vital for the success and sustainability of a business, and they are interconnected, with slight changes which are often confused by several aspiring business strategists , especially during their interviews. Here's a breakdown of the important differences between these:

What is the Difference between Business Strategy & Business Plan & Business Model

Levels of Business Strategy

Effective strategic management consists of coordination and alignment across various levels of strategy to achieve the organization's long-term goals and competitive advantage. Business strategy can be categorized into different levels depending on its scope, focus, and the organizational hierarchy at which it functions.

Levels of Business Strategy

The three primary levels of business strategy are:

  • Corporate level strategy Corporate level strategy is a long-range, action-oriented, integrated, and comprehensive plan, which is formulated by the top management of a company. It is very helpful to ascertain business lines, expansion, growth, takeovers and mergers, diversification , integration, and the latest fields for investment.
  • Business level strategy The strategies that relate to a specific business are known as business-level strategies. It is developed by the general managers, who convert mission and vision into concrete, clear, and result-driven strategies. It acts like a blueprint for the total business.
  • Functional level strategy Developed by the first-line managers or supervisors, the functional level strategy involves decision-making at the operational level concerning functional areas such as marketing, production, human resources, research and development, finance, and so on.

How to Implement a Successful Business Strategy?

A business strategist feels that it is tough to ideate any plan in a few hours. It requires a step-by-step procedure to be associated with completing a SWOT analysis . Here are the top steps that can be considered to build the best business strategies and execute them with precision:

  • Understand the targets One of the clearest challenges for growth is poor targeting. Clear target markets offer an organization the ability to create an integrated sales and marketing approach, where marketing enables sales productivity. Sales and marketing business plan gets executed more efficiently if the targets are fixed in a proper way.
  • Outline the tactics A successful business strategy is made up of several various tactics, including both online and offline options. The goals, target audience, and industry factor into this decision. For instance, if the target audience is young, focusing on social media is more beneficial as this is primarily where this group consumes content. If the industry is product-based (for instance, jewelry designing), then using a more visual platform would better showcase the products. To be most effective, one must choose which methods are right for the business. Once the selection of tactics is done, list them in the plan and determine how they’ll help to reach the goals.
  • Think long term In the scope of constant change, planning the horizons is usually shorter than it can be. However, only thinking quarter to quarter is a trap that may rob organizations of their ability to see around the bend. Best-in-class organizations create processes designed for a series of financial and non-financial metrics to treat strategy as an annual cycle rather than a one-time, static event.
  • Create a timeline Time is precious mainly when it is about the business. Based on the goals and objectives one can set for the business. Creating a timeline that will define what tasks can be completed and when they can be completed. It is highly advisable to allocate extra time for unexpected events that may delay some of the goals.
  • Focus on growth A thriving organization is a growing organization. It is only through growth that the firms can afford to invest in aspects such as technology, the best staff, and the latest tools. The business strategy should identify the segments where an organization will grow and in what proportion.
  • Have a budget plan Creating a budget for the business strategy can inform the efforts by determining what can be done and cannot be. Choosing the most cost-effective options for the business ensures the success of the overall business strategy. This doesn’t have to limit the options. Paid advertising on social media and search engines gives access to manage budgets well.
  • Make fact-based decisions Several executives often complain about a lack of fruitful data, but they consistently find information that is useful in the formation of business strategy. The business has a set of values that guides it. Making fact-based decisions will outline the values and ensure that the people who interact with the business are aware of them. It will also ease the message that reflects on the brand honestly so it can actively demonstrate the values outlined in the mission statement through the interactions with clients.
  • Invest in pre-work Always allocate time to do proper pre-work so that one can be up to date. It is better to conduct proper end-to-end research and prepare relevant information in advance of the business strategy meetings. The goals and needs will change over time. Ideally, it is important to revisit the business plan every annum to make adjustments as needed. Follow industry news and trends that can add to the existing strategy.
  • Execute well and measure results Measuring the effectiveness of the business strategy will inform the current plan and future efforts. Always be sure to track and measure the business so these measurements are effective. Set up a corporate calendar to enhance the productive meetings, and also to form a performance management cycle. One should write the marketing plan with this growth in mind so they can measure it. The execution of strategic planning needs discipline, and it must be taken care of by the senior executives to promote processes that keep the team focused.

Examples of Business Strategy

Hubspot developed and executed a perfect business strategy where it created a market that didn’t even exist – inbound marketing. It created an online resource guide explaining the limitations of interruption marketing and informing about the advantages of inbound marketing. The organizations even offered free courses to help the target audience understand its offering better.

Apple Inc. differentiated its Smartphone operating system iOS by making it simple as compared to Android. This differentiated it and built its followership. The organization has been following a similar business strategy for its other products as well.

Wrapping up

Establishing the business strategy keeps the business goals organized and focused, saving valuable time and money. With the increase in the competition, the demand for business strategy is becoming apparent and there is a tremendous increase in the types of business strategies used by the businesses.

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What Is Business Strategy & Why Is It Important?

overhead view of business strategy meeting

  • 20 Oct 2022

Every business leader wants their organization to succeed. Turning a profit and satisfying stakeholders are worthy objectives but aren’t feasible without an effective business strategy.

To attain success, leaders must hone their skills and set clear business goals by crafting a strategy that creates value for the firm, customers, suppliers, and employees. Here's an overview of business strategy and why it's essential to your company’s success.

Access your free e-book today.

What’s a Business Strategy?

Business strategy is the strategic initiatives a company pursues to create value for the organization and its stakeholders and gain a competitive advantage in the market. This strategy is crucial to a company's success and is needed before any goods or services are produced or delivered.

According to Harvard Business School Online's Business Strategy course, an effective strategy is built around three key questions:

  • How can my business create value for customers?
  • How can my business create value for employees?
  • How can my business create value by collaborating with suppliers?

Many promising business initiatives don’t come to fruition because the company failed to build its strategy around value creation. Creativity is important in business , but a company won't last without prioritizing value.

The Importance of Business Strategy

A business strategy is foundational to a company's success. It helps leaders set organizational goals and gives companies a competitive edge. It determines various business factors, including:

  • Price: How to price goods and services based on customer satisfaction and cost of raw materials
  • Suppliers: Whether to source materials sustainably and from which suppliers
  • Employee recruitment: How to attract and maintain talent
  • Resource allocation: How to allocate resources effectively

Without a clear business strategy, a company can't create value and is unlikely to succeed.

Creating Value

To craft a successful business strategy, it's necessary to obtain a thorough understanding of value creation. In the online course Business Strategy , Harvard Business School Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee explains that, at its core, value represents a difference. For example, the difference between a customer's willingness to pay for a good or service and its price represents the value the business has created for the customer. This difference can be visualized with a tool known as the value stick.

The value stick has four components, representing the value a strategy can bring different stakeholders.

The value stick framework

  • Willingness to pay (WTP) : The maximum amount a customer is willing to pay for a company's goods or services
  • Price : The actual price of the goods or services
  • Cost : The cost of the raw materials required to produce the goods or services
  • Willingness to sell (WTS) : The lowest amount suppliers are willing to receive for raw materials, or the minimum employees are willing to earn for their work

The difference between each component represents the value created for each stakeholder. A business strategy seeks to widen these gaps, increasing the value created by the firm’s endeavors.

Increasing Customer Delight

The difference between a customer's WTP and the price is known as customer delight . An effective business strategy creates value for customers by raising their WTP or decreasing the price of the company’s goods or services. The larger the difference between the two, the more value is created for customers.

A company might focus on increasing WTP with its marketing strategy. Effective market research can help a company set its pricing strategy by determining target customers' WTP and finding ways to increase it. For example, a business might differentiate itself and increase customer loyalty by incorporating sustainability into its business strategy. By aligning its values with its target audiences', an organization can effectively raise consumers' WTP.

Increasing Firm Margin

The value created for the firm is the difference between the price of an item and its cost to produce. This difference is known as the firm’s margin and represents the strategy's financial success. One metric used to quantify this margin is return on invested capital (ROIC) . This metric compares a business's operating income with the capital necessary to generate it. The formula for ROIC is:

Return on Invested Capital = Net Operating Cost After Tax (NOCAT) / Invested Capital (IC)

ROIC tells investors how successful a company is at turning its investments into profit. By raising WTP, a company can risk increasing prices, thereby increasing firm margin. Business leaders can also increase this metric by decreasing their costs. For example, sustainability initiatives—in addition to raising WTP—can lower production costs by using fewer or more sustainable resources. By focusing on the triple bottom line , a firm can simultaneously increase customer delight and margin.

Increasing Supplier Surplus & Employee Satisfaction

By decreasing suppliers' WTS, or increasing costs, a company can create value for suppliers—or supplier surplus . Since increasing costs isn't sustainable, an effective business strategy seeks to create value for suppliers by decreasing WTS. How a company accomplishes this varies. For example, a brick-and-mortar company might partner with vendors to showcase its products in exchange for a discount. Suppliers may also be willing to offer a discount in exchange for a long-term contract.

In addition to supplier WTS, companies are also responsible for creating value for another key stakeholder: its employees. The difference between employee compensation and the minimum they're willing to receive is employee satisfaction . There are several ways companies can increase this difference, including:

  • Increasing compensation: While most companies hesitate to raise salaries, some have found success in doing so. For example, Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, increased his company's minimum wage to $80,000 per year and enjoyed substantial growth and publicity as a result.
  • Increasing benefits: Companies can also decrease WTS by making working conditions more desirable to prospective employees. Some offer remote or hybrid working opportunities to give employees more flexibility. Several have also started offering four-day work weeks , often experiencing increased productivity as a result.

There are several ways to increase supplier surplus and employee satisfaction without hurting the company's bottom line. Unfortunately, most managers only devote seven percent of their time to developing employees and engaging stakeholders. Yet, a successful strategy creates value for every stakeholder—both internal and external.

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Strategy Implementation

Crafting a business strategy is just the first step in the process. Implementation takes a strategy from formulation to execution . Successful implementation includes the following steps :

  • Establish clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Set expectations and ensure employees are aware of their roles and responsibilities
  • Delegate work and allocate resources effectively
  • Put the plan into action and continuously monitor its progress
  • Adjust your plan as necessary
  • Ensure your team has what they need to succeed and agrees on the desired outcome
  • Evaluate the results of the plan

Throughout the process, it's important to remember to adjust your plan throughout its execution but to avoid second-guessing your decisions. Striking this balance is challenging, but crucial to a business strategy's success.

How to Formulate a Successful Business Strategy | Access Your Free E-Book | Download Now

Learn More About Creating a Successful Business Strategy

Business strategy constantly evolves with changing consumer expectations and market conditions. For this reason, business leaders should continuously educate themselves on creating and executing an effective strategy.

One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on best practices is to take an online course, such as HBS Online's Business Strategy program. The course will provide guidance on creating a value-driven strategy for your business.

Do you want to learn how to craft an effective business strategy and create value for your company's stakeholders? Explore our online course Business Strategy , or other strategy courses , to develop your strategic planning skills. To determine which strategy course is right for you, download our free flowchart .

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About the Author


The Leading Source of Insights On Business Model Strategy & Tech Business Models


Business Strategy Examples In 2024: Examples, Case Studies, And Tools

A business strategy is a deliberate plan that helps a business to achieve a long-term vision and mission by drafting a business model to execute that business strategy. A business strategy, in most cases, doesn’t follow a linear path, and execution will help shape it along the way.

Table of Contents

What is a business strategy?

At this stage, it is important to clarify a few critical aspects.

As an HBR working paper entitled “From Strategy to Business Models and to Tactics” pointed out:

Put succinctly, business model refers to the logic of the firm, the way it operates and how it creates value for its stakeholders. Strategy refers to the choice of business model through which the firm will compete in the marketplace. Tactics refers to the residual choices open to a firm by virtue of the business model that it employs.

Personally, I have a controversial relationship with the concept of “strategy.” I feel it’s too easy to make it foggy and empty of practical meaning.

Yet strategy and vision matter in business.

A strategy isn’t just a calculated path, but often a philosophical choice about how the world works.

Usually, it takes years and, at times, also decades for a strategy to become viable. And once it does become viable, it seems obvious only in hindsight.

In this guide, we see what that means.  

In the real world, the difficult part is understanding the problem


In the real world, a lot of time and resources are spent on defining the problem.

Classic case studies at business school assume in most scenarios that the problem is known and the solution needs to be found.

In the real world, the problem is unknown, the situation is highly ambiguous, and the most difficult part is making the decision that might solve that same problem you’re trying to figure out. 

How do you execute a strategy in that context? Business modeling can help!

Is a business strategy the same thing as a business model?


As the business world started to change dramatically, again, by the early 2000s, also the concept of strategy changed with it. 

In the previous era, the strategy was primarily made of locking in the supply chain to guarantee a strong distribution toward the marketplace. 

And yet, the web enabled new companies to form with a bottom-up approach.

In short, product development cycles shortened, and frameworks like lean , agile , and continuous innovation became integrated into a world where software took over. 

Where most of the processes before the digital age, were physical in nature. As the web took off, most of the processes became digital.

In short, the software would become the core enhancer of hardware. 

We’ve seen how in cases like Apple’s iPhone , it wasn’t just the hardware that made the difference.

But it was the development ecosystem and the applications that enhanced the capabilities of the device. 

Thus, from a product standpoint, hardware has been enhanced more and more with the software side.

At the same time, the way companies developed products in the first place changed. 

Software and digits-based companies could gather feedback early on, thus enabling the customers’ feedback as a key element of the whole product development cycle. 

Therefore, wherein the previous era, companies spent billions of budgets to release markets, and products, with little customer feedback.

In the digital era, customer feedback became built into the product development loop. 

That led to frameworks with faster and faster product releases, which also changed the way we do marketing . 


In a classic MVP approach, the loop (build, measure, learn) has to be very quick, and it has to lead to the so-called product/market fit .

As the web made the ability to gather customers’ feedback early on, and as the whole process becomes less and less expensive, also lean approaches evolved, to gain feedback from customers as early as possible. 


From build > demo > sell, to demo > sell > build , lean approaches got leaner. 

And the era of customer-centrism and customer obsession developed:


This whole change flipped the strategy world upside down.

And from elaborate business plans , we moved to business modeling , as an experimental tool, that enabled entrepreneurs to gather feedback continuously.

In a customer-centered business world, business models have become effective thinking tools, to represent a business and a business strategy on a single page, which helped the whole execution process. 

The key building blocks of a classic business model approach, like a business model canvas or lean startup canvas  move around the concept of value proposition , that glue them together. 

And from the supply chain , we moved to customer value chains .

Where most digital business models  learned to gather customers’ feedback in multiple ways. 

The business strategy formed in the digital era, therefore, developed its own customer-centered view of the world, and the business theory world followed.

Academics, following practitioners, moved away from traditional models (like Porter’s Five Forces ) to more customer-centered approaches ( business model canvas , lean canvas).  

The mindset shift flipped from distribution and optimization on the supply side.

To optimize on the demand side, or how to build products that people want, in the first place. This is the new mantra.

No more grandiose business plans, just substantial testing, iteration, and experimentation. 

In this new context, we can understand the strategy developed by several players and how business modeling has become the most important strategy tool. 

And the interesting part is, whether you want to scale to become a tech giant, or you just want to build a small, viable business, it all starts from the same place!


Is business strategy a science?

Business strategy is more of an art than a science.

In short, a business strategy starts with a series of assumptions about how the business world looks in a certain period of time and for a certain target of people.

Whether those assumptions will turn out to be successful will highly depend on several factors.

For instance, back in the late 1990s when the web took over, new startups came up with the idea of revolutionizing many services.

While those ideas seemed to make sense, they turned out to be completely off, and many of those startups failed in what would be recognized as a dot-com bubble.

While in hindsight certain aspects of that bubble came up (like frauds, or schemes).

In general, some of the ideas for which startups got financed seemed to be visionary and turned out to work a decade later (see DoorDash , or Instacart , in relation to Webvan’s bankruptcy). 

For instance, some startups tried to bring on-demand streaming to the web (which today we call Netflix ). Those ideas proved to be too early.

They made sense but from the commercial standpoint, they didn’t.

Thus, if we were to use the scientific method, once those assumptions would have proved wrong in the real world, we would have discarded them.

However, those assumptions proved to be wrong, in that time period, given the current circumstances.

While we can use the scientific inquiry process in business strategy, it’s hard to say that it is a scientific discipline.

So what’s the use of business strategy?

In my opinion, business strategy is useful for three main reasons:

  • Focus : chose one path over another.
  • Vision : have a long-term strategic goal.
  • Commercial viability : create a self-sustainable business.

As a practitioner, someone who tries to build successful businesses, I don’t need to be “scientific.”

I need to make sure not to be completely off track. For that matter, I aim at creating businesses.

Thus, I need to understand where to focus my attention in a relatively long period of time (3-5 years at least) and make sure that those ideas I pursue are able to generate profits, which – in my opinion – might be a valid indicator that those ideas are correct for the time being.

If those conditions are met, I’ll call it a “successful business.”

Those ideas will become a business model , that executes a business strategy.

This doesn’t mean those ideas, turned into a business model , pushed into the world will always be successful (profitable).

As the marketplace evolves I will need to adjust, and tweak a business model to fit with the new evolving scenarios, and I’ll need to be able to “bet” on new possible business models .

Survivorship bias

Survivorship bias is a phenomenon where what’s not visible (because extinct) isn’t taken into account when analyzing the past.

In short, we analyze the past based on what’s visible.

This error happens in any field, and in business, we might get fooled by that as well.

In short, when we analyze the past we do that in hindsight.

That makes us cherry-pick the things that survived and assume that those carry the successful characteristics we’re looking for.

For instance, for each Amazon or Google that survived there were hundreds if not thousands of companies that failed, with the same kind of “successful features” as Amazon or Google.  

So why do we analyze successful companies in the first place? In my opinion, there are several reasons: 

  • Those successful companies have turned into Super Gatekeepers to billions of people : as I showed in the gatekeeping hypothesis , and in the surfer’s model , a go-to-market strategy for startups will need to be able to leverage existing digital pipelines to reach key customers.


  • Modeling and experimentation : another key point is about modeling what’s working for other businesses and borrowing parts of those models, to see what works for our business. By borrowing parts you can build your own business model, yet that requires a lot of testing. 


  • Skin in the game testing : therefore business models become key tools for experimentation, where we can use real customers’ feedback (not a survey, or opinions but actions) and test our hypotheses and assumptions. When we’re able to sell our products, when people keep getting back to our platform, or service, there is no best way to test our assumptions that measure those actions. 

Lindy effect and aging in reverse


Nicholas Nassim Taleb , in his book Antifragile , popularized a concept called Lindy Effect .

In very simple terms the Lindy Effect states that in technology (like any other field where the object of discussion is  non-perishable)  things age in reverse.

Thus, life expectancy, rather than diminishing with age, has a longer life expectancy.

Therefore, a technology that has lived for two thousand years, has a life expectancy of another thousand years.

That is a probabilistic rule of thumb that works on averages.

Thus, if a technology (say the Internet) has stayed with us for twenty years, it doesn’t mean we can expect only to live for another twenty years at least.

But as the Internet has proved successful already, the Lindy Effect might not apply.

In short, as we have additional information about a phenomenon the Lindy Effect might lose relevance.

For instance, if I know a person is twenty, yet sick of a terminal disease, I can’t expect to use normal life expectancy tables.

So I’ll have to apply that information to understand the future.

Strategies take years to fully roll out

It was 2006, when Tesla, with his co-founder   Martin Eberhard , launched a sports car that broke down the trade-off between high performance and fuel efficiency.

Tesla, which for a few years had been building up an electric sports car ready to be marketed, finally pulled it off.

As Elon Musk would   explain   Back in 2012:  

In 2006 our plan was to build an electric sports car followed by an affordable electric sedan, and reduce our dependence on oil…delivering Model S is a key part of that plan and represents Tesla’s transition to a mass-production automaker and the most compelling car company of the 21st century.


The beauty of a strategy that turns into a successful company, is that it might take years to roll out and seem obvious only in hindsight. 

This connects to what I like to call the transitional business model.

Or the idea, that many companies, before getting into a fully rolled out business strategy, transition through a period of low scalability and low market size, which will help them gain initial traction. 


As a transitional business model proves viable, it helps the company shape its long-term vision, while its built-in strategy is different from the long-term strategy.

The transitional business model will guarantee survival. It will help further refine the long-term strategy and it will also work as a reality check. 

As the transitional business model proves viable, the company moves to its long-term strategy execution. 

As the business strategy gets rolled out, over the years, it becomes evident and obvious, and yet none managed to pull it off.


When Netflix moved from DVD rental to streaming. DVD rental was the transitional business model that helped Netflix stay in business in the first place.

And yet, when Netflix moved from DVD to streaming it had to apparently change its strategy.

When, in reality, it was rolling out its long-term strategy, shaped by the transitional business model. 

Caveat: Frameworks work until suddenly they don’t

When you stumbled upon a “business formula,” you can’t stop there.

That business formula, if you’re lucky, will allow you to succeed in the long term. Yet as more and more people will find that out, that will lose relevance.

And the matter is, the reality is a villain. Things work for years until they suddenly don’t work anymore.

We’ll see some frameworks, but the real deal is not a framework but the inquiry process that makes us discover those frameworks.

In short, the value is in the repeatable process of discovery and not in the discovery itself. A discovery, once spread, loses value.

Master a business strategy process

There isn’t a size-fits-all business playbook that you can apply to all the scenarios.

Some of the business case studies we’ll see throughout this article will show companies that have dominated the tech space in the last decade and more.

While the playbook executed by those companies worked for the time being.

That doesn’t mean you should play according to their playbook. If at all you’ll need to figure out your own.

Thus, what matters is the process behind finding your business playbook and my hope is that this guide will inspire you and give you some good ideas on how to develop your own business strategy process!

Business strategy case studies


We’ll look now at a few case studies of companies that, at the time of this writing, are playing an important role in the business world.

  • Alibaba Business Strategy.
  • Amazon Business Strategy.
  • Apple Business Strategy.
  • Airbnb Business Strategy.
  • Baidu Business Strategy.
  • Booking Business Strategy.
  • DuckDuckGo Business Strategy.
  • Google (Alphabet) Business Strategy.

What is a business model’s essence?

Keeping in mind the distinction between business strategy and business models is critical.

The other element used in this guide is a business model essence.

Shortly, I’ve been looking for a way to summarize the key elements of any business in a couple of lines of text:


Therefore, for the sake of this discussion, you’ll find each company’s business strategy, a business model essence that will help us navigate through the noisy business world.

From there, we’ll see the business strategy of a company.

Alibaba Business Strategy

Business Model Essence : Online Stores Leveraging On An E-Commerce/Marketplace Distribution And Monetization Strategy  

As pointed out in Alibaba’s annual report for 2017:

We derive revenue from our four business segments: core commerce, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, and innovation initiatives and others. We derive most of our revenue from our core commerce segment, which accounted for 85% of our total revenue in fiscal year 2017, while cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, and innovation initiatives and others contributed 4%, 9% and 2%, respectively. We derive a substantial majority of our core commerce revenue from online marketing services. 

Alibaba, like Amazon , became an “everything store” in China.

It leveraged its success to build also other media platforms ( Youku Todou and UCWeb). The e-commerce, marketplace business model has become quite common since the dawn of the web.

From that business model tech giants like Amazon , eBay and Alibaba have raised.


Alibaba’s vision, mission, and core principles

Alibaba’s Business Strategy starts from its core values defined in its annual report:

  • Customer First : “The interests of our community of consumers, merchants, and enterprises must be our first”
  • Teamwork: “ We believe teamwork enables ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.”
  • Embrace Change   I”n this fast-changing world, we must be flexible, innovative, and ready to adapt to new business conditions in order to maintain sustainability and vitality in our business.”
  • Integrity “We expect our people to uphold the highest standards of honesty and to deliver on their commitments.”
  • Passion “We expect our people to approach everything with fire in their belly and never give up on doing what they believe is right.”
  • Commitment  “Employees who demonstrate perseverance and excellence are richly rewarded. Nothing should be taken for granted as we encourage our people to “work happily and live seriously.”

Alibaba’s mission is “ to make it easy to do business anywhere, ” and its vision is “to build the future infrastructure of commerce… a company that would last at least 102 years.”

For that vision to be executed it has three major stakeholders: users, consumers, and merchants.

The focus on the “at least 102 years” might seem fluffy words, yet those are important as this kind of goal helps you keep a long-term vision while executing short-term plans.

It isn’t unusual for founders to set such visions, as they help keep the company on track in the long run.

And this is where a business strategy starts.

All the business models designed by Alibaba will follow its vision, mission, and values they aim to create in the long run.

Read : Alibaba Business Model

Alibaba ecosystem and value proposition

These elements gave rise to an ecosystem made of “consumers, merchants, brands, retailers, other businesses, third-party service providers and strategic alliance partners.”

As Alibaba points out in its annual report “our ecosystem has strong self-reinforcing network effects benefitting its various participants, who are in turn invested in our ecosystem’s growth and success.”

Network effects are a critical ingredient for marketplaces’ success.

To give you an idea, the more buyers join the platform, the more Alibaba’s recommendation engine will be able to suggest relevant items to buy for other customers, and at the same time the more merchants will join in, given the larger and larger business opportunities.

Keeping these network effects going is a vital element of long-term success but also among the greatest challenge of any marketplace that wants to be relevant.

Even though Alibaba’s essence is in online commerce, the company has several business model s running and a business strategy that at its core is evolving quickly.


Thus, the core commerce has made it possible for Alibaba to build a whole new set of “companies within a company.”

From digital entertainment and media, logistics services, payment, financial services, and cloud services with Alibaba Cloud.

Thus, from a successful existing online business model , Alibaba has expanded in many other areas.

And its future business strategy focuses on developing, nurturing, and growing its ecosystem.

More precisely, its strategic long-term goal is to “serve two billion consumers around the world and support ten million businesses to operate profitably on its platforms”

To achieve that Alibaba is focusing on three key activities:

  • Globalization.
  • Rural expansion.
  • And big data and cloud computing.

For its core commerce activities, Alibaba has designed a value proposition that moves around a few pillars:

  • Broad selection: over 1.5 billion listings as of March 31, 2018.
  • Convenience:  seamless experience anytime, anywhere from online and offline.
  • Engaging, personalized experience: personalized shopping recommendations and opportunities for social engagement.
  • Value for money: competitive prices offered via a marketplace business model.
  • Merchant quality: review and rating system to keep merchants’ quality high.
  • Authentic products: merchant quality ratings, clear refund, and return policies, and the Alipay escrow system.

From that value proposition , Alibaba has been able to grow its customer base and offer wider and broader products, until it expanded in the service and cloud business.

Amazon Business Strategy


Business Model Essence : E-Commerce/Marketplace Distribution And Monetization Model Leveraging On Proprietary Infrastructure To Offer Third-Party Services

Starting in 1994 as a bookstore, Amazon soon expanded and became the everything store.

While the company’s core business model is based on its online store.

Amazon launched its physical stores, which generated already over five billion dollars in revenues in 2017.

Amazon Prime (a subscription service) also plays a crucial role in Amazon’s overall business model , as it makes customers spend more and be more loyal to the platform. 

Besides, the company also has its cloud infrastructure called AWS, which is a world leader and a business with high margins. Amazon also has an advertising business worth a few billion dollars.

Thus, the Amazon business model mix looks like many companies in one. Amazon measures its success via a customer experience obsession, lowering prices, stable tech infrastructure, and free cash flow generation.


Therefore, even though in the minds of most people Amazon is the “everything store.”

In reality, its revenue generation shows us that it has become a way more complex organization, that also has a good chunk of advertising revenue and third-party services.

For instance, Amazon is also a key player with its AWS in the cloud space.


And is well a key player in the digital advertising space, together with Google and Facebook :


Amazon has been widely investing in its technological infrastructure since the 2000s, which eventually turned into a key component of its business model .

Read : Amazon Business Model

Amazon’s vision, mission, and core values

amazon-vision-statement-mission-statement (1)

Jeff Bezos is obsessed with being in “day one,” which as he puts it , “ day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always  Day 1. “

It all starts from there, and to achieve that Jeff Bezos has highlighted a few core values that makeup Amazon ‘s culture and vision :

  • Customer obsession.
  • Resist proxies.
  • Embrace external trends.
  • High-velocity decision-making.

As pointed out by Amazon , “w hen launched in 1995, it was with the mission “ to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. ” 

This goal continues today, but Amazon ’s customers are worldwide now and have grown to include millions of Consumers, Sellers, Content Creators, and Developers & Enterprises.

Each of these groups has different needs, and we always work to meet those needs, innovating new solutions to make things easier, faster, better, and more cost-effective.”

In this case, Amazon ‘s mission also sounds like a vision statement.

Whatever you want to call it, this input is what makes a company look for long-term goals that keep them on track.

Of course, that doesn’t mean a well-crafted vision and mission statement is all that matters for business success.

Yet, it is what keeps you going when things seem to go awry.

Amazon moved from an online book store to the A-to-Z store it kept its mission almost intact while scaling up.

Start from a proof of concept, then scale up

It is interesting to notice how businesses evolve based on their commercial ability to scale up.

When Amazon started up as a bookstore, it made sense for several reasons, that spanned from logistics to pricing modes and industry specifics.

Yet, when Amazon finally proved that the whole web thing could be commercially viable, it didn’t wait, it grew rapidly.

From music to anything else it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen quickly.

Thus, this is how Amazon’s mission shifted from “any book in the world” to “anything from A-Z.”

This isn’t a size-fits-all strategy. Amazon chose rapid growth, similar to a blitzscaling process as aggressive growth was a way to preserve itself.

Hadn’t Amazon grown so quickly, it could have been killed.

The opposite approach to this kind of strategy is a bootstrapped business, which is profitable right away and self-sustainable.

Decentralized and distributed value creation: the era of platforms and ecosystems

Before we move forward, I want to highlight a few key elements to have a deeper understanding of both Amazon and Alibaba’s business models and their strategies.

Before digitalization would show its use and commercial viability, most of the value creation processes were internalized.

That meant companies had to employ massive resources to generate value along that chain.

That changed when digitalization allowed the value creation process to be distributed, and we moved from centralized to grassroots content creation.

This is even clearer in the case of platforms, and marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba.

For instance, where in the past the review process and quality insurance would be done centrally by making sure that the supply complied with the company’s quality guidelines.

Introducing distributed review systems, where the end-users checked against the quality compliance, allowed companies like Alibaba and Amazon to generate network effects, where the more users enriched the platforms with those reviews the more the platform could become valuable.

For that matter though, the main platform’s role will be to fight spam and attempt to trick the system.

Other than that (fighting spam is a challenging task) all the rest is managed at the decentralized level, and the value creation happens when more and more users review products and services on those platforms.

We’re referring here to the review system, but it applies almost to any aspect of a platform.

Amazon for years allowed third-party to feature their stores on Amazon ‘s platform, while they kept the inventory.

This meant an outsourced and distributed inventory system, spread across the supply side.

Therefore, the supply side not only made the platform more valuable by creating compelling offerings.

But it also made it more valuable from the operational standpoint, by allowing a better inventory system, which could be turned quickly.

Therefore, the critical aspect to understand in the digital era is decentralized value creation, which makes the value creation process less expensive for an organization, more valuable to its end users, and more scalable as it benefits from network effects.

How do decentralize value creation?

Many platform-like business models have leveraged a few aspects:

  • User-generated content (Quora, Facebook , Instagram).
  • Distributed inventory systems ( Amazon , Alibaba).
  • Peer-to-peer networks ( Airbnb , Uber).

This implies a paradigm shift.

When you start thinking in terms of platforms, no longer you’ll need a plethora of people taking care of each aspect of it.

Rather you’ll need to understand how the value creation can be outsourced to a community of people and make sure the platform is on top of its game in a few aspects.

For instance, Amazon and Alibaba have to make sure their review system isn’t gamed. Airbnb has to make sure to be able to guarantee safety in the interactions from host to guests and vice-versa.

Quora has to make sure to keep its question machine to keep generating relevant questions for users to answer (the supply-side).

If you grasp this element of a platform, you’re on a good track to understanding how to build a successful platform or marketplace.

Apple Business Strategy

Business Model Label : Product-Based Company Leveraging On Locked-In Ecosystems With A Reversed Razor And Blade Business Strategy

Apple sells its products and resells third-party products in most of its major markets directly to consumers and small and mid-sized businesses through its retail and online stores and its direct sales force.

The Company also employs a variety of indirect distribution channels , such as third-party cellular network carriers, wholesalers, retailers, and value-added resellers.

During 2017, the Company’s net sales through its direct and indirect distribution channels accounted for 28% and 72%, respectively, of total net sales.

Many people look at the iPhone, or the previous products Apple has launched successfully in the last decade and assume that their success is due to those products.

In reality, Apple has followed throughout the years a strategy that focused on five key elements:

  • Strong branding.
  • Beautifully crafted products.
  • Technological innovation.
  • Strong distribution.
  • Locked-in ecosystems.

In short, Apple can sell an iPhone at a premium price because it employs a reversed razor and blade strategy.

This strategy implies free access to Apple’s Ecosystem (ex. iTunes, and Apple Store).

That makes the whole experience through Apple’s devices extremely valuable.

Thanks to that experience, the perception of high-end (luxury-like) products, together with a reliable distribution, justifies Apple’s premium prices.


Apple’s managed to build a business platform on top of the iPhone, thus creating a strong competitive moat, which lasts to these days:


Therefore, Apple’s future success can’t be measured with the same lenses as the last decade.

The real question is: what product will Apple  be able to launch successfully?

And keep in mind it’s not just about the product. Apple’s formula summarized above can be replicated over and over again.

But it isn’t a simple formula. And as locked-in ecosystems, in which Apple controls as much as possible, the experience of its users has proved quite successful in the last decade.

That might not be so in the next, given the rise of more decentralized infrastructure.

For that matter, Amazon might be well moving from a reversed razor and blade model:


To a service-based model:


This isn’t surprising, as a service business has a few compelling advantages:

  • High margins.
  • A relatively stable revenue stream.
  • Scalability.

As Apple has relied on home runs with its products, from the new Mac to the iPod, iPhone, and iPhones, that kind of success isn’t easy to replicate, and it makes the company relies on a continuous stream of fresh sales to keep the business growing.

A service business would balance things out.

It is important to remark this isn’t something new to Apple :


When Apple introduced the iPhone, it isn’t like it was an overnight success. It was successful, but it had to create a whole ecosystem to make the iPhone a continuous source of growth for the company!

When it comes to business strategy, as pointed out in Apple’s annual reports:

The Company is committed to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software and services. The Company’s business strategy leverages its unique ability to design and develop its own operating systems, hardware, application software and services to provide its customers products and solutions with innovative design, superior ease-of-use and seamless integration.

Understanding this part is critical. As I explained above, at the time of this writing many think of Apple as the “iPhone company.”

Yet Apple is way more than that, and its business strategy is a mixture of creating ecosystems by leveraging on these pillars:

  • Operating systems.
  • Applications software.
  • Innovative design.
  • Ease-of-use.
  • Seamless Integration.

Those elements together make Apple ‘s products successful. As Apple further explained:

As part of its strategy, the Company continues to expand its platform for the discovery and delivery of digital content and applications through its Digital Content and Services, which allows customers to discover and download or stream digital content, iOS, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV applications, and books through either a Mac or Windows personal computer or through iPhone, iPad and iPod touch® devices (“iOS devices”), Apple TV, Apple Watch and HomePod.

Once again, it isn’t anymore about creating a product, but about generating self-serve ecosystems.

How do you support those ecosystems?

It depends on what’s your target. A media company will primarily need an ecosystem made of content creators (take Quora or Facebook or YouTube ).

In many cases, a digital media company over time has to be able to nurture several communities to create a thriving ecosystem.

For instance, large tech companies or startups, often rely on several communities:

  • Programmers and developers ( Google , Apple ).
  • Content creators and publishers ( Google , Quora, YouTube ).
  • Artists and creative talents ( Apple , YouTube ).

In Apple ‘s case though, the first ecosystem is the community of developers building third-party software products that complement the company’s offering:

The Company also supports a community for the development of third-party software and hardware products and digital content that complement the Company’s offerings.

When you combine that with a high-touch strategy (where skilled and knowledgeable salespeople interact with customers) you create a flywheel, where customers are retained for longer, the brand grows as a result of this high-touch activity which creates a better post-sale experience and triggers word of mouth and referral from existing customers:

The Company believes a high-quality buying experience with knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of the Company’s products and services greatly enhances its ability to attract and retain customers.Therefore, the Company’s strategy also includes building and expanding its own retail and online stores and its third-party distribution network to effectively reach more customers and provide them with a high-quality sales and post-sales support experience.The Company believes ongoing investment in research and development (“R&D”), marketing and advertising is critical to the development and sale of innovative products, services and technologies.

Read : Apple Business Model

Airbnb Business Strategy

Business Model Essence : Peer-To-Peer House-Sharing Network With Fee-Based Monetization Strategy

As a peer-to-peer network, Airbnb allows individuals to rent from private owners for a fee.

Airbnb charges guests a service fee between 5% and 15% of the reservation subtotal; While the commission from hosts is generally 3%.

Airbnb also charges hosts who offer experiences a 20% service fee on the total price.

The digitalization that happened in the last two decades has facilitated the creation of peer-to-peer platforms in which business models disrupted the hospitality model created in the previous century by hotel chains like Marriott, Holiday Inn, and Hilton.


Airbnb is quickly branching out toward offering more experiences. We can call Airbnb the “marketplace of experiences.”

In short, just like Amazon started from books, Airbnb has started from house-sharing.

But that is the starting point, which gives the innovative company enough traction to validate its whole business model and expand to other areas.

The principal aim of Airbnb is to control the whole experience for its users. This means creating an end-to-end travel experience that embraces the entire process .

Thus, it’s not surprising that we’ll see Airbnb expanding its marketplace to more and more areas. This is also shown by the fact that Airbnb might soon offer bundled travel packages .

Just as we’ve seen in the case of Alibaba and Amazon , Airbnb follows a marketplace logic, where it needs to make the interactions between its key users (hosts and guests) as smooth as possible, with an emphasis on safety.

As a platform, Airbnb initially used a strategy of improving the quality of its supply by employing freelance photographers that could take pictures of host homes.

This, in turn, made those homes more interesting for guests, as they could appreciate those homes more.

As many people in real estate might know, the quality of the pictures is critical.

Although this might sound trivial, this is what improved the Airbnb supply side.

Indeed with better and professionally taken images, Airbnb improved its reach via search engines (yes, search engines are thirsty for fresh and original content, images comprised).

And it enhanced the experience of its potential customers.

Now Airbnb is converting its business model to digital experiences. In addition to changing the whole strategy.

Whereas Airbnb focused in the past on covering major cities across the world.

Changing travel habits made Airbnb focus on digital experiences and local, extra-metropolitan areas throughout the pandemic.

While, post-pandemic, as people travel for longer stays, the whole platform has been structured around these. 


Read : Airbnb Business Model

Baidu Business Strategy

Business Model Essence :  Online Marketing Free Services Advertising-Supported Revenue Model

Baidu makes money primarily via online marketing services (advertising). In fact, in 2017, Baidu made about $11.24 in online marketing services and a remaining almost $1.8 billion through other sources. According to Statista,

Baidu has an overall search market share of 73.8% of the Chinese market. Other sources of revenues comprise membership services of iQIYI (an innovative market-leading online entertainment service provider in China) and financial services.


At first sight, Baidu might seem the mirror image of Google , but in China.

However, this is a superficial view. While Baidu has followed in China a similar path to Google , it did take advantage of the fact that Google wasn’t available there, to build its dominant position.

Baidu also has a more efficient cost structure than Google. It had also introduced innovations in its search products (like voice search devices for kids) at a time when Google wasn’t there yet.

Read : Baidu Business Model

Baidu mission: two-pillar business strategy and value propositions acting as a glue for its key users/customers

In the past years, Baidu has followed an expansion business strategy focused on acquiring assets and companies that complemented its core business model .

As the leading Chinese search provider, in 2017, Baidu updated its mission to “ Baidu aims to make a complex world simpler through technology.”

This mission is achieved via a two-pillar strategy:

  • Strengthening the mobile foundation (similar to Google’s mobile-first).
  • And leading in artificial intelligence.

Baidu’s key partners comprise users, customers, Baidu union members, and content providers.

For each of those critical segments, Baidu has drafted a fundamental value proposition .

Thus, to generate a value chain that works for these stakeholders, Baidu has to balance it with a diversified value proposition :

  • Users:  enjoying Baidu search experience want a search engine that gives them relevant results.
  • Customers: with 775,000 active online marketing customers in 2017, consisting of SMEs, large domestic businesses, and multinational companies, distributed across retail and e-commerce, network service, medical and healthcare, franchise investment, financial services, education, online games, transportation, construction and decoration, and business services. Those businesses look for a trackable, and sustainable ROI for their paid advertising campaigns. By bidding on keywords, they can target specific audiences.
  • Baidu Union Member: share revenues with Baidy by displaying banner ads on their sites in relevant spaces filled by the  Baidu search algorithm (think of it as Google’s AdSense Network ). Those publishers and sites can generate additional revenues and monetize their content without relying on complex infrastructure, that instead is employed by Baidu.
  • Content Providers:  video copyright holders, app owners who list their apps on the Baidu app store, users who contribute their valuable and copyrighted content to Baidu products, and publishers. Those users get visibility or money in exchange for this content. Baidu has to make sure to allow those content providers to get in exchange for their work and creativity visibility and revenues.

Understanding how the value proposition for each player comes together is critical to understanding the business decisions a company like Baidu makes over time.

For instance, as Baidu (like Google ) moves more and more toward AI, the need to balance the value proposition for Baidu Union Members might fickle.

Booking Business Strategy

Business Model Essence :  House-Sharing Platform Leveraging On A Two-Sided Marketplace With A Commission-Based Revenue Model

Booking Holdings is the company that controls six main brands that comprise,, KAYAK,,, and OpenTable. 

Over 76% of the company’s revenues in 2017 came primarily via travel reservations commissions and travel insurance fees.

Almost 17% came from merchant fees, and the remaining revenues came from advertising earned via KAYAK.

As a distribution strategy, the company spent over $4.5 billion on performance-based and brand advertising.


Read : Booking Business Model

Booking mission, value proposition, and key players

Booking’s mission is to “help people experience the world.” Booking does that via a few primary brands:


The mission of helping people experience the world is executed via three primary value propositions delivered to consumers, travelers, and business partners:

  • Consumers are provided what Booking calls “the best choices and prices at any time, in any place, on any device.”
  • People and travelers can easily find, book, and experience their travel desires.
  • Business partners (like Hotels featured on are provided with platforms, tools, and insights in exchange.

Boomedium-term term strategy is focused on:

  • Leveraging technology to provide the best experience.
  • Growing partnerships with travel service providers and restaurants.
  • Investing in profitable and sustainable growth.

DuckDuckGo Business Strategy

Business Model Essence : Privacy-based Search Engine Built On Google’s Weakness With An affiliate-based Revenue Model

DuckDuckGo makes money in two simple ways: Advertising and Affiliate Marketing.

Advertising is shown based on the keywords typed into the search box. Affiliate revenues come from Amazon and eBay affiliate programs.

When users buy after getting on those sites through DuckDuckGo the company collects a small commission.


While this model might not sound that exciting. DuckDuckGo managed to grow quickly by leveraging Google’s primary weakness: users’ privacy. Where Google’s primary asset is made of users’ data. DuckDuckGo throws that data away on the fly:

It is important to remark that DuckDuckGo is still figuring out a business model that can make it sustainable in the long term.

Indeed, the company got a venture round of $10 million back in August 2018.

DuckDuckGo will be tweaking its business model in the coming years, to reach a “ business model /market fit.”

Read : DuckDuckGo Business Model

Read : DuckDuckGo Story

Google (Alphabet) Business Strategy

Business Model Essence :  Free Search Engine Distributed Across Hardware, Browsers, And Members’ Websites With An Hidden Revenue Generation Model

As of 2017, over ninety billion dollars, which consisted of 86% of Google ’s revenues came from advertising networks.

The remaining fraction (about 13%) came from Apps, Google Cloud, and Hardware. While a bit more than 1% came from bets like Access, Calico, CapitalG, GV, Nest, Verily, Waymo, and X.

Google business model is changing over the years.

Even though advertising is still its cash cow, Google has been diversifying its revenues in other areas. 

While in 2015 90% of Google’s revenues came from advertising, in 2017, advertising revenues represented 86%.

Other revenues grew from about 10% in 2015 to almost 13% in 2017.


Why did Google get there? And where is Google going next? To understand that you need to understand the “moonshot thinking.”

Read : Google Business Model

Read : Google Cost Structure

Read : Baidu vs. Google

Understanding Google’s moonshot thinking and a breakthrough approach to business

As highlighted in the Alphabet annual report for 2018:

Many companies get comfortable doing what they have always done, making only incremental changes. This incrementalism leads to irrelevance over time, especially in technology, where change tends to be revolutionary, not evolutionary. People thought we were crazy when we acquired YouTube and Android and when we launched Chrome, but those efforts have matured into major platforms for digital video and mobile devices and a safer, popular browser. We continue to look toward the future and continue to invest for the long-term. As we said in the original founders’ letter, we will not shy away from high-risk, high-reward projects that we believe in because they are the key to our long-term success.

Understanding the moonshot approach to business is critical to understanding where Google (now Alphabet) got where it is today, and where it’s headed next.

Since the first shareholders’ letter from Google’s founders, Brin and Page they highlighted that “ Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.”

Google has successfully built ecosystems that today drive

To understand where Google is going next, you need to look at the AI Economy , in which the tech giant is trying to lead the pack.

Whether or not it will be successful will highly depend on its ability to keep creating successful ecosystems, just as Google has done with Google Maps (you might not realize but Google Maps powers up quite a large number of applications) and Android.

At the time of this writing, Google is widely investing in other areas, such as:

  • Voice search.
  • AI and machine learning applications.
  • Self-driving cars.
  • And other bets.

If that is not sufficient Google has made several moves in different spaces, to keep its dominance on mobile, while moving toward voice search, like the investment in KaiOS, which business model is interesting as it finally allows an ecosystem to be built on top of cheap mobile devices in developing countries:


That is why Google keeps making “smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to its current businesses.”

Those other bets made “just” $595 million to Google in 2018.

This represented 0.4% of Google ‘s overall revenues , compared to the over $136 billion coming from the other segments.

Google ‘s North Star is its mission of “ organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.” 

Read : KaiOS Business Model

Let’s go through a few other tips for a successful business strategy. 

Problem-first approach

customer-problem quadrant

The customer-problem quadrant by LEANSTACK’s Ash Maurya is a great starting point to define and understand the problem, that as an entrepreneur you will going to solve. 

Indeed, a successful business is such, based on the market’s rewards for the entrepreneur’s ability to solve a problem.

Keep in mind that defining and understanding problems in the real world is one of the most difficult things (that is why entrepreneurship is so hard).

To properly stumble on the right definition of the problem you’re solving, there might be some fine-tuning going on, which in the business world we like to call product-market fit . 

Business engineering skills


Another key element is not to lose sight of the context you’re operating.

As such, analyzing that properly might require some business engineering skills . 

To simplify your life you can use the FourWeekMBA business analysis framework.

Don’t strategize on a piece of paper

Strategies always work well on a piece of paper.

Yet when execution comes suddenly we can realize all the drawbacks of that.

In very few, rare cases, a designed strategy will work as expected.

However, the reason we plan and strategize isn’t just to make things work as we’d like them to.

But to communicate a vision we have to those people (employees, customers, stakeholders) who will help us get there. 

That is why when we strategize it’s important not to lose sight of the essence of our strategy, which is the long-term vision we have for our business.

The rest is execution, practice, and a lot of experimentation!

The innovation loop


Innovation starts by tweaking, testing, and experimenting also in unexpected ways.

Often though, as a business strategy is documented after the fact, it seems as if it was all part of a plan. 

In most cases, the innovation loop starts by stumbling upon that thing that will have a great impact on your business.

Therefore, as an entrepreneur, you need to keep pushing on those models that worked out.

But also to be on the lookout for new ways of doing things. 

Barbell approach 


In a barbel approach we want to have a clear distinction between two domains: 

  • Core business : on the core business side, where you have a consolidated strategy, and a business model that has proved to work, it’s important to be structured. This means having a clear culture, following given processes, and slowly evolving your business model. 
  • New bets : as your business model will become outdated over time, and that might happen also very quickly, you need to be on the lookout for new opportunities emerging, also in new, completely unrelated business fields. 

For instance, a tech giant like Google, has a part of its business skewed toward a few bets it placed on industries that are completely unrelated to its core business (search).

Those bets are not contributing at all to its bottom line (only some of those bets are generating revenues but those are extremely marginal compared to the overall turnover of the company). 

However, those might turn out widely successful (or huge failures) in the years to come. 


Thus, with a barbell approach, we want to consolidate what we have. But also be open to what might be coming next!

Business Explorers

Strategic analysis thinking tools.


Strategic analysis is a process to understand the organization’s environment and competitive landscape to formulate informed business decisions , to plan for the organizational structure and long-term direction. Strategic planning is also useful to experiment with business model design and assess the fit with the long-term vision of the business.

Business model canvas

The business model canvas aims to provide a keen understanding of your business model to provide strategic insights about your customers, product/service, and financial structure;

so that you can make better business decisions.

Blitzscaling canvas

In this article, I’ll focus on the Blitzscaling business model canvas. This is a model based on the concept of Blitzscaling.

That is a particular process of massive growth under uncertainty, and that prioritizes speed over efficiency. It focuses on market domination to create a first-scaler advantage in a scenario of uncertainty.



Pretotyping is a mixture of the words “pretend” and “prototype,” and it is a methodology used to validate business ideas to improve the chances of building a product or service that people want.

The pretotyping methodology comes from Alberto Savoia’s work summarized in the book “The Right It: Why So Many Ideas Fail and How to Make Sure Yours Succeed.”

This framework is a mixture of the words “pretend” and “prototype,” and it helps to answer such questions (about the product or service to build) as: Would I use it? How, how often, and when would I use it?

Would other people buy it? How much would they be willing to pay for it? How, how often, and when would they use it?

Value innovation and blue ocean strategy


A blue ocean is a strategy where the boundaries of existing markets are redefined, and new uncontested markets are created.

At its core, there is value innovation, for which uncontested markets are created, where competition is made irrelevant. And the cost-value trade-off is broken.

Thus, companies following a blue ocean strategy offer much more value at a lower cost for the end customers.

Growth hacking process


Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation, coupled with the understanding of the whole funnel, where marketing , product, data analysis, and engineering work together to achieve rapid growth.

The growth hacking process goes through four key stages analyzing, ideating, prioritizing, and testing.

Pirate metrics


Venture capitalist , Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables us to understand what metrics and channels to look at. At each stage of the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Engines of growth


In the Lean Startup, Eric Ries defined the engine of growth as “the mechanism that startups use to achieve sustainable growth.”

He described sustainable growth as following a simple rule, “new customers come from the actions of past customers.”

The three engines of growth are the sticky engine, the viral engine, and the paid engine. Each of those can be measured and tracked by a few key metrics, and it helps plan your strategic moves.


The RTVN model is a straightforward framework that can help you design a business model when you’re at the very early stage of figuring out what you need to make it succeed.

Sales cycle

business strategy examples for a business plan

A sales cycle is the process that your company takes to sell your services and products.

In simple words, it’s a series of steps that your sales reps need to go through with prospects that lead up to a closed sale.

Planning ahead of time the steps your sales team needs to take to close a big contract can help you grow the revenues for your business.

Comparable analysis


A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company.

To find comparables, you can look at two key profiles: the business and economic profiles.

From the comparable company analysis, it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

Porter’s five forces


Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition.

It was published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s.

The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces which you can use to have a first assessment of the market you’re in.

Porter’s Generic Strategies


Porter’s Value Chain


Porter’s Diamond Model


Bowman’s Strategy Clock


VMOST Analysis


Fishbone Diagram


GE McKinsey Matrix


VRIO Framework


3C Analysis


AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. This is a model that is used in marketing to describe the potential journey a customer might go through, before purchasing a product or service. The variation of the AIDA model is the CAB model and the AIDCAS model.

PESTEL analysis


The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization.

This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses. That can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

Technology adoption curve


The technology adoption curve is a model that goes through five stages. Each of those stages (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggard) has a specific psychographic that makes that group of people ready to adopt a tech product.

This simple concept can help you define the right target for your business strategy.

Business model essence

A Business Model Essence, according to FourWeekMBA, is a way to find the critical characteristics of any business to have a clear understanding of that business in a few sentences.

That can be used to analyze existing businesses. Or to draft your Business Model and keep a strategic and execution focus on the key elements to be implemented in the short-medium term.

FourWeekMBA business model framework


An effective business model has to focus on two dimensions: the people dimension and the financial dimension. The people dimension will allow you to build a product or service that is 10X better than existing ones and a solid brand.

The financial dimension will help you develop proper distribution channels by identifying the people that are willing to pay for your product or service and make it financially sustainable in the long run.



Understanding your TAM, SAM and SOM can help you navigate the market you’re in and to have a laser focus on the market you can reach with your product and service.

Brand Building

business strategy examples for a business plan

Value Proposition Design


Product-Market Fit


Freemium Decision Model


Organizational Design And Structures


Speed-Reversibility Matrix


Minimum Viable Product

SWOT Analysis

business strategy examples for a business plan

Revenue Modeling


Business Experimentation


Business Analysis


Ansoff Matrix


Key takeaway

I hope that in this guide you learned the critical aspects related to business strategy, with an emphasis on the entrepreneurial world. If business strategy would only be an academic discipline disjoined from reality, that would still be an interesting domain, yet purely speculative.

However, as a business strategy can be used as a useful tool to leverage on to build companies, hopefully, this guide will help you out in navigating through the seemingly noisy and confusing business world, dominated by technology. As a last but critical caveat, there isn’t a single way toward building a successful business.

And oftentimes the way you choose to build a business is really up to you, how you want to impact a community of people and your vision for the future!

Other resources: 

  • Types of Business Models You Need to Know
  • What Is a Business Model Canvas? Business Model Canvas Explained
  • Blitzscaling Business Model Innovation Canvas In A Nutshell
  • What Is a Value Proposition? Value Proposition Canvas Explained
  • What Is a Lean Startup Canvas? Lean Startup Canvas Explained
  • How to Write a One-Page Business Plan
  • How to Build a Great Business Plan According to Peter Thiel
  • How To Create A Business Model
  • What Is Business Model Innovation And Why It Matters
  • What Is Blitzscaling And Why It Matters
  • Business Model Vs. Business Plan: When And How To Use Them
  • The Five Key Factors That Lead To Successful Tech Startups
  • Business Model Tools for Small Businesses and Startups

Additional Business Strategy Tactics

Blue ocean player.


Blue Sea Player


Constructive Disruptor


Niche player




Continuous Blitzscaler


What is business strategy?

What are examples of business strategies.

Things like product differentiation, business model innovation, technological innovation, more capital for growth, can all be moats that organizations focus on to gain an edge. Depending on the context, industry, and scenario, a business strategy might be more or less effective; that is why testing and experimentation are critical elements.

Connected Strategy Frameworks



Business Model Canvas


Lean Startup Canvas


Blitzscaling Canvas


Blue Ocean Strategy


Business Analysis Framework


Balanced Scorecard


Blue Ocean Strategy 


GAP Analysis


GE McKinsey Model


McKinsey 7-S Model


McKinsey’s Seven Degrees


McKinsey Horizon Model


Porter’s Five Forces


Porter’s Value Chain Model


PESTEL Analysis


Scenario Planning


STEEPLE Analysis


FourWeekMBA Business Toolbox

Business Engineering


Tech Business Model Template


Web3 Business Model Template


Asymmetric Business Models


Business Competition


Technological Modeling


Transitional Business Models


Minimum Viable Audience


Business Scaling


Market Expansion Theory




Asymmetric Betting


Growth Matrix


Revenue Streams Matrix


Pricing Strategies


Other business resources:

  • What Is Business Model Innovation
  • What Is a Business Model
  • What Is Business Strategy
  • What is Blitzscaling
  • What Is Market Segmentation
  • What Is a Marketing Strategy
  • What is Growth Hacking

More Resources


About The Author

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Gennaro Cuofano

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The Strategy Story

What is a Business Strategy? What are the examples of business strategy?

business strategy examples for a business plan

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy is a comprehensive plan formulated by an organization to achieve its long-term goals and objectives. It outlines the organization’s direction and guides its decision-making processes on allocating resources, including capital and people, to pursue this strategy. Here are some key aspects of a business strategy:

  • Vision and Mission : It starts with the clear articulation of the company’s vision and mission, which define the overarching purpose and goals of the organization.
  • Competitive Advantage : The strategy aims to establish or maintain a unique position in the market that allows the business to outperform its competitors. This could be through superior products, lower costs, brand strength, or other differentiators.
  • Market Analysis : A thorough market analysis, including customers, competitors, and the overall industry environment, is a critical part of formulating a business strategy. This helps in identifying opportunities and threats in the external environment.
  • Internal Analysis : Understanding the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses is equally important. This includes analyzing the company’s resources, capabilities, processes, and financial position.
  • Strategic Objectives : Strategic objectives are set based on external and internal analyses. The company aims to achieve These specific, measurable goals within a certain timeframe.
  • Tactics and Actions : The strategy also includes the development of specific tactics and actions that will be used to achieve the strategic objectives. This could involve developing new products, entering new markets, improving operations, or other initiatives.
  • Resource Allocation : A crucial part of the strategy is deciding how to allocate the organization’s resources effectively across different initiatives to maximize the chances of achieving the strategic objectives.
  • Performance Monitoring : Finally, a business strategy includes mechanisms for monitoring performance against the strategic objectives and adjusting the plan based on performance and changes in the external environment.

A well-crafted business strategy should guide the entire organization toward achieving its long-term goals while being flexible enough to adapt to changes in the external environment.

How to make a business strategy

Creating a business strategy involves a comprehensive process to define your company’s vision, objectives, and steps to achieve them. Here’s a structured approach to developing a business strategy:

  • Define Your Vision : Start by articulating a clear and compelling vision of what you want your organization to become in the future. This vision will guide the direction of your business strategy.
  • Set Clear Objectives : Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives that align with your vision. These objectives should clarify what you intend to achieve in the short and long term.
  • Conduct a SWOT Analysis : Analyze your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. This will help you understand the internal and external factors impacting your strategy.
  • Understand Your Market and Competition : Conduct market research to gain insights into your industry, customers, and competitors. Understanding the market landscape is crucial for identifying opportunities and threats.
  • Define Your Value Proposition : Clearly articulate your business’s unique value to customers. This involves understanding what sets your products or services apart from competitors.
  • Outline Your Strategic Priorities : Based on your SWOT analysis and market understanding, identify the key areas your business needs to focus on to achieve its objectives. These priorities will guide your actions and resource allocation.
  • Develop Action Plans : For each strategic priority, develop detailed action plans that outline the specific steps, resources, and timelines required to achieve your objectives. This should include defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress.
  • Allocate Resources : Determine the resources (financial, human, technological) required to implement your action plans. Ensure that you allocate resources efficiently to maximize impact.
  • Implement and Monitor : Execute your action plans and monitor progress against your objectives and KPIs. This involves tracking performance, analyzing outcomes, and making adjustments as needed.
  • Review and Adapt : Business environments are dynamic, so reviewing your strategy and adapting it regularly is essential. This might involve revising your objectives, strategic priorities, or action plans.

Remember, a successful business strategy is not just about planning but also about execution and adaptability. It requires continuous evaluation and the willingness to adjust to align with your vision and objectives.

MIT Sloan Executive Education’s Applied Business Analytics online program is designed to bridge the gap between the needs of working professionals and the accessibility of analytical models and tools. Take this opportunity to use data to improve decision-making.

What are the levels of business strategy?

Business strategy can be divided into three levels: corporate, business, and functional.

Corporate level strategy

A corporate-level strategy is a long-term plan that a company uses to guide its business decisions and activities. A corporate-level strategy typically focuses on how the company will compete in its overall industry or market.

This can involve decisions about which businesses to operate in, what products or services to offer, and how to allocate resources across the company. Senior executives usually develop corporate-level strategies and are designed to help businesses achieve their overall goals.

When crafting a corporate strategy, businesses must consider their strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats in their industry. By considering all of these factors, companies can develop a plan that will allow them to compete effectively and achieve their desired success.

Corporate Level Strategy: Explained with Examples and Types  

Business level strategy

A business-level strategy is a plan of action to achieve a specific goal. This could be anything from increasing market share to expanding into new markets.

A business-level strategy must be aligned with the company’s overall mission and goals to succeed. It should also consider the company’s strengths and weaknesses and the threats and opportunities present in the marketplace.

Once a business-level strategy has been formulated, it is crucial to implement it in a consistent and disciplined manner. Otherwise, it will simply be another worthless piece of paper gathering dust on a shelf.

Business Level Strategy: Explained with Examples and Types

Functional level strategy

A functional-level strategy is a plan that focuses on how a company will use its resources to achieve its goals in a specific business area.

For example, a company’s marketing functional level strategy might focus on how it will use its marketing budget to reach its target customers. A functional-level strategy is generally created by a company’s top managers and is then implemented by lower-level managers.

While a functional-level strategy is often aligned with the company’s overall business strategy, it can also be adapted to meet the needs of a specific business unit or product line. By taking into account each business unit’s unique resources and objectives, a company can develop a more targeted and practical approach to achieving its goals.

For a company to be successful, all three levels of strategy must be aligned. Otherwise, there will be confusion and conflict between different departments, leading to stagnation or even decline.

By developing a clear and concise business strategy, companies can ensure that all levels of the organization work together towards a common goal.

Functional Level Strategy: Explained with Examples and Types

Examples of business strategy

A business strategy is a plan that outlines how a company will achieve its goals. There are many different business strategies, but some common examples include cost leadership, differentiation, and focus.

Cost leadership

Cost leadership creates a competitive advantage by having the lowest cost of production in their respective industry. This strategy is often used by companies that can produce their goods or services at a lower price than their competitors.

To achieve a cost leadership position, businesses must achieve economies of scale, which refers to producing goods or services at a lower unit cost as production increases.

There are several ways that businesses can achieve economies of scale, such as through vertical integration, investing in new technology, or streamlining their manufacturing process.

Once a business has achieved a cost leadership position, it can maintain it by continuously lowering its costs and/or raising its prices.

What is a Cost leadership strategy | Explained with Examples


A differentiation strategy is where a company seeks to distinguish itself from the competition by offering unique products or services.

This can be done in terms of quality, features, design, or any other aspect that sets the company’s products or services apart from its rivals.

A differentiation strategy aims to make the company’s products or services more attractive to customers and thus gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

While a differentiation strategy can be an effective way to grow a business, it can also be challenging to sustain over the long term due to the constant need to innovate and remain ahead of the competition.

Product differentiation Strategy in marketing with types & examples

A focus strategy involves targeting a specific market niche or segment. Focus Strategy: All you need to know

A focus strategy aims to gain a competitive advantage by catering to the target market’s unique needs. Focus strategies can be either cost-based or differentiation-based.

Focus strategies can effectively build brand loyalty and increase market share, but they can also be tricky to execute. Because focus strategies involve targeting a specific market segment, companies must be careful not to spread themselves too thin or risk losing their competitive advantage.

Each strategy has its benefits and drawbacks, and the best strategy for any given company will depend on its specific goals and situation.

However, all businesses need some strategy to be successful. Without a plan to achieve its goals, a company will likely flounder and ultimately fail.

Innovation focused business strategy of Godrej

How to measure the effectiveness of a business strategy

Measuring the effectiveness of a business strategy involves evaluating how well the strategy has achieved its objectives and contributed to the overall vision and goals of the organization. Here are vital steps and metrics to consider in this process:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) : Identify specific, quantifiable indicators directly linked to the strategic objectives. KPIs can vary widely depending on the nature of the strategy and the business, including financial metrics, customer satisfaction scores, market share, operational efficiency, and employee engagement levels.
  • Financial Performance : Assess the impact of the strategy on the company’s financial health, including revenue growth, profit margins, return on investment (ROI), and cash flow. These metrics provide a clear picture of the financial viability and success of the strategy.
  • Market Position and Share : Evaluate changes in your market position and share as a result of the strategy. Gains in market share or improvements in positioning against competitors can indicate the effectiveness of market-oriented strategic initiatives.
  • Customer Metrics : Measure customer-related metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, customer retention rates, net promoter scores (NPS), and customer acquisition costs. These metrics can help assess how well the strategy resonates with customers and contributes to loyalty and growth.
  • Operational Efficiency : Look at improvements in operational metrics such as production costs, turnaround times, error rates, and quality indicators. Enhancements in these areas can signal the successful implementation of operational or process-oriented strategies.
  • Employee Engagement and Productivity : Evaluate employee-related metrics, including employee satisfaction, turnover rates, and productivity levels. A successful strategy should also positively impact the workforce, driving engagement and efficiency.
  • Strategic Milestones : Track progress against strategic milestones and timelines. Assessing the completion of critical initiatives and projects on schedule can provide insights into the execution effectiveness of the strategy.
  • Benchmarking : Compare your performance against industry benchmarks or competitors to gauge your strategy’s relative effectiveness. This can provide a broader perspective on how well your plan is performing in the competitive landscape.
  • Feedback Loops : Implement feedback mechanisms from customers, employees, and other stakeholders to gather qualitative insights into the strategy’s impact. Feedback can provide valuable context to the quantitative data and highlight areas for improvement.
  • Adaptability and Resilience : Assess how well the strategy has enabled the organization to adapt to unforeseen challenges or market changes. A strategy’s ability to provide flexibility and resilience can be a critical measure of its long-term effectiveness.

It’s essential to review these metrics and adjust your strategy as needed regularly. Effective measurement is an ongoing process, and insights gained from this evaluation should inform future strategic decisions and adjustments.

IDEO’s Design Thinking Strategy – Making consumers fall in love with your products

How to implement a successful business strategy

Any business owner knows that a successful company requires a well-thought-out strategy. But what goes into a successful business strategy?

Implementing a successful business strategy requires a thoughtful and systematic approach. Here are some steps you might consider:

  • Set Clear Goals: Defining what success looks like is crucial before you start. Your business goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Your strategy should be designed to help you achieve these goals.
  • Conduct a SWOT Analysis: A SWOT analysis helps you understand your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It provides a clear understanding of your current position, which is essential for strategy development.
  • Understand Your Customers: Knowing your customer’s needs and preferences is vital. This understanding will allow you to make strategic decisions that will satisfy your customers and make your business more competitive.
  • Understand Your Competitors: Knowing who your competitors are and what they offer can help you differentiate your products or services and find a competitive advantage.
  • Formulate the Strategy: Based on the knowledge gained from the previous steps, develop a strategy that leverages your strengths, minimizes your weaknesses, capitalizes on opportunities, and mitigates threats. This strategy should address all key areas of your business, such as product development, marketing, sales, operations, and customer service.
  • Communicate the Strategy: Once you have a strategy in place, communicate it clearly and consistently to all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, and customers. Everyone should understand the direction the business is headed and their role in getting there.
  • Implement the Strategy: This is where the rubber meets the road. Start executing the strategy. Ensure all actions and decisions align with the strategic goals. You might need to change your operations, develop new products, enter new markets, etc.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Implementation is not a one-and-done process. Regularly review the strategy’s progress and effectiveness using key performance indicators (KPIs). If something isn’t working as expected, don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy.
  • Innovation: A successful strategy often includes a focus on innovation. This could mean developing new products or services, or it could involve finding more efficient ways of doing things.
  • Culture and Leadership: A positive culture and strong leadership are crucial for a successful strategy. Leaders should embody the strategy and inspire others to work towards it. Likewise, a culture that encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and continuous learning can accelerate strategy implementation.

Remember, every business is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It’s important to be flexible and adaptable and continuously learn and refine your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not.

Difference between business strategy and corporate strategy

Business strategy and corporate strategy are two different levels of strategic planning in an organization. They both are essential for organizational success, but they focus on different aspects of the organization.

Corporate Strategy:

This is concerned with the overall scope and direction of the entire organization. It involves making decisions about the organization’s portfolio of businesses (if it is a conglomerate with multiple lines of businesses), the markets it will operate in, and how it will create value across those different businesses.

The focus of the corporate strategy is on capital allocation, mergers and acquisitions, and defining the overall corporate identity. The main goal of corporate strategy is to ensure the organization is diversified and balanced in a way that reduces risks and enhances corporate value. In other words, it looks at “what” businesses the company should be in.

Corporate Level Strategy: Explained with Examples and Types

Business Strategy:

This operates at a lower level and is concerned with how a single business unit competes within its specific market. It outlines how to achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Business strategy involves decisions about product development, customer targeting, marketing, production, distribution, and pricing.

It’s more focused on operational effectiveness and strategic positioning within the market. This strategy primarily responds to the question of “how” the business will succeed in a specific market.

In summary, corporate strategy is more big-picture, determining where and how the organization will compete, whereas business strategy focuses on executing the corporate strategy within specific markets.

business strategy examples for a business plan

The real challenge in crafting strategy lies in detecting subtle discontinuities that may undermine a business in the future. And for that there is no technique, no program, just a sharp mind in touch with the situation Henry Mintzberg, management thinker and “enfant terrible” of strategic planning theory

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business strategy examples for a business plan

The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

As an aspiring entrepreneur gearing up to start your own business , you likely know the importance of drafting a business plan. However, you might not be entirely sure where to begin or what specific details to include. That’s where examining business plan examples can be beneficial. Sample business plans serve as real-world templates to help you craft your own plan with confidence. They also provide insight into the key sections that make up a business plan, as well as demonstrate how to structure and present your ideas effectively.

business strategy examples for a business plan

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business strategy examples for a business plan

Example business plan

To understand how to write a business plan, let’s study an example structured using a seven-part template. Here’s a quick overview of those parts:

  • Executive summary: A quick overview of your business and the contents of your business plan.
  • Company description: More info about your company, its goals and mission, and why you started it in the first place.
  • Market analysis: Research about the market and industry your business will operate in, including a competitive analysis about the companies you’ll be up against.
  • Products and services: A detailed description of what you’ll be selling to your customers.
  • Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market.
  • Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background.
  • Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even long-term) financial goals and the costs to run the business. If you’re looking for funding, this is the place to discuss your request and needs.

7 business plan examples (section by section)

In this section, you’ll find hypothetical and real-world examples of each aspect of a business plan to show you how the whole thing comes together. 

  • Executive summary

Your executive summary offers a high-level overview of the rest of your business plan. You’ll want to include a brief description of your company, market research, competitor analysis, and financial information. 

In this free business plan template, the executive summary is three paragraphs and occupies nearly half the page:

  • Company description

You might go more in-depth with your company description and include the following sections:

  • Nature of the business. Mention the general category of business you fall under. Are you a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of your products?
  • Background information. Talk about your past experiences and skills, and how you’ve combined them to fill in the market. 
  • Business structure. This section outlines how you registered your company —as a corporation, sole proprietorship, LLC, or other business type.
  • Industry. Which business sector do you operate in? The answer might be technology, merchandising, or another industry.
  • Team. Whether you’re the sole full-time employee of your business or you have contractors to support your daily workflow, this is your chance to put them under the spotlight.

You can also repurpose your company description elsewhere, like on your About page, Instagram page, or other properties that ask for a boilerplate description of your business. Hair extensions brand Luxy Hair has a blurb on it’s About page that could easily be repurposed as a company description for its business plan. 

company description business plan

  • Market analysis

Market analysis comprises research on product supply and demand, your target market, the competitive landscape, and industry trends. You might do a SWOT analysis to learn where you stand and identify market gaps that you could exploit to establish your footing. Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis for a hypothetical ecommerce business: 

marketing swot example

You’ll also want to run a competitive analysis as part of the market analysis component of your business plan. This will show you who you’re up against and give you ideas on how to gain an edge over the competition. 

  • Products and services

This part of your business plan describes your product or service, how it will be priced, and the ways it will compete against similar offerings in the market. Don’t go into too much detail here—a few lines are enough to introduce your item to the reader.

  • Marketing plan

Potential investors will want to know how you’ll get the word out about your business. So it’s essential to build a marketing plan that highlights the promotion and customer acquisition strategies you’re planning to adopt. 

Most marketing plans focus on the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. However, it’s easier when you break it down by the different marketing channels . Mention how you intend to promote your business using blogs, email, social media, and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Here’s an example of a hypothetical marketing plan for a real estate website:

marketing section template for business plan

Logistics and operations

This section of your business plan provides information about your production, facilities, equipment, shipping and fulfillment, and inventory.

Financial plan

The financial plan (a.k.a. financial statement) offers a breakdown of your sales, revenue, expenses, profit, and other financial metrics. You’ll want to include all the numbers and concrete data to project your current and projected financial state.

In this business plan example, the financial statement for ecommerce brand Nature’s Candy includes forecasted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs.

financial plan example

It then goes deeper into the financials, citing:

  • Funding needs
  • Project cash-flow statement
  • Project profit-and-loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet

You can use Shopify’s financial plan template to create your own income statement, cash-flow statement, and balance sheet. 

Types of business plans (and what to write for each)

A one-page business plan is a pared down version of a standard business plan that’s easy for potential investors and partners to understand. You’ll want to include all of these sections, but make sure they’re abbreviated and summarized:

  • Logistics and operations plan
  • Financials 

A startup business plan is meant to secure outside funding for a new business. Typically, there’s a big focus on the financials, as well as other sections that help determine the viability of your business idea—market analysis, for example. Shopify has a great business plan template for startups that include all the below points:

  • Market research: in depth
  • Financials: in depth


Your internal business plan acts as the enforcer of your company’s vision. It reminds your team of the long-term objective and keeps them strategically aligned toward the same goal. Be sure to include:

  • Market research


A feasibility business plan is essentially a feasibility study that helps you evaluate whether your product or idea is worthy of a full business plan. Include the following sections:

A strategic (or growth) business plan lays out your long-term vision and goals. This means your predictions stretch further into the future, and you aim for greater growth and revenue. While crafting this document, you use all the parts of a usual business plan but add more to each one:

  • Products and services: for launch and expansion
  • Market analysis: detailed analysis
  • Marketing plan: detailed strategy
  • Logistics and operations plan: detailed plan
  • Financials: detailed projections

Free business plan templates

Now that you’re familiar with what’s included and how to format a business plan, let’s go over a few templates you can fill out or draw inspiration from.

Bplans’ free business plan template

business strategy examples for a business plan

Bplans’ free business plan template focuses a lot on the financial side of running a business. It has many pages just for your financial plan and statements. Once you fill it out, you’ll see exactly where your business stands financially and what you need to do to keep it on track or make it better.

PandaDoc’s free business plan template

business strategy examples for a business plan

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is detailed and guides you through every section, so you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. Filling it out, you’ll grasp the ins and outs of your business and how each part fits together. It’s also handy because it connects to PandaDoc’s e-signature for easy signing, ideal for businesses with partners or a board.

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template

Miro's business model canvas template

Miro’s Business Model Canvas Template helps you map out the essentials of your business, like partnerships, core activities, and what makes you different. It’s a collaborative tool for you and your team to learn how everything in your business is linked.

Better business planning equals better business outcomes

Building a business plan is key to establishing a clear direction and strategy for your venture. With a solid plan in hand, you’ll know what steps to take for achieving each of your business goals. Kickstart your business planning and set yourself up for success with a defined roadmap—utilizing the sample business plans above to inform your approach.

Business plan FAQ

What are the 3 main points of a business plan.

  • Concept. Explain what your business does and the main idea behind it. This is where you tell people what you plan to achieve with your business.
  • Contents. Explain what you’re selling or offering. Point out who you’re selling to and who else is selling something similar. This part concerns your products or services, who will buy them, and who you’re up against.
  • Cash flow. Explain how money will move in and out of your business. Discuss the money you need to start and keep the business going, the costs of running your business, and how much money you expect to make.

How do I write a simple business plan?

To create a simple business plan, start with an executive summary that details your business vision and objectives. Follow this with a concise description of your company’s structure, your market analysis, and information about your products or services. Conclude your plan with financial projections that outline your expected revenue, expenses, and profitability.

What is the best format to write a business plan?

The optimal format for a business plan arranges your plan in a clear and structured way, helping potential investors get a quick grasp of what your business is about and what you aim to achieve. Always start with a summary of your plan and finish with the financial details or any extra information at the end.

Want to learn more?

  • Question: Are You a Business Owner or an Entrepreneur?
  • Bootstrapping a Business: 10 Tips to Help You Succeed
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset: 20 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur
  • 101+ Best Small Business Software Programs 

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Free Marketing Plan Examples: Real-World Samples & Templates

By Joe Weller | April 27, 2024

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A  marketing plan  is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s marketing strategy and tactics, and ensures that its marketing goals align with its overall objectives. Effective marketing plans include detailed analysis of the market along with roadmaps for upcoming campaigns. Inside this article, you’ll find the  elements of a marketing plan , 10 real-world examples of marketing plans with commentary from experienced marketing professionals, free marketing plan templates and samples , and a  chart to help you determine which template suits your needs .

Marketing Plan Elements

Typical marketing plans begin with an executive summary and include audience demographics, company objectives, situational analysis of the business, and marketing strategies and tactics. Market research and analysis provide campaign direction, and the budget and timeline offer practical parameters. A marketing plan can provide an overview of all strategies and campaigns to be executed in a certain time frame, or it can focus on a specific product, channel, or strategy. The level of detail and the sections included might vary, depending on the organization’s needs. The nine main elements of a marketing plan are:  

Executive Summary and Mission Statement:  A concise, high-level summary conveys the purpose of your marketing plan, introduces key strategies and research insights, and highlights the most important takeaways for stakeholders. For example, an executive summary might outline your brand’s identity, its place within the competitive landscape, and the major opportunities that upcoming marketing campaigns will target. Longer plans might include a separate mission statement or vision statement to align marketing efforts with your company’s larger goals. Discover more  examples of executive summaries with templates to help you write one effectively.  

Single Slide Executive Summary Example Template

Situational Analysis:  One of the most crucial elements of your marketing plan, a situational analysis is an assessment of the internal and external factors affecting a business’s performance. It should include research-based insights into market trends and dynamics, customer demographics and pain points, and internal resources.  A strong situational analysis often includes a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, which provides a foundation for an effective marketing strategy. Learn more about  how to perform a SWOT analysis .  

Competitive Analysis:  Understanding the competition is key to developing a compelling marketing plan. This analysis should consider recent marketing campaigns from similar brands to identify successful ways to reach a shared target audience. Being aware of the competitive landscape can also help your business develop a unique selling proposition and stand out in the market. The competitive analysis might be included in the larger situational analysis, or it might be a stand-alone section. For example, a marketing plan could include data on how competitors rank on keywords, or it could evaluate the performance of competitors’ recent social media campaigns. One common framework for understanding market dynamics is a Porter’s five forces analysis, which identifies the forces that contribute to industry rivals. Learn how to evaluate the competitive landscape with  free industry analysis templates .  

Porter’s Five Forces Model Example Template

Target Audience: In order to implement marketing strategies that engage consumers and drive conversions, businesses need to know who their audience is, what they want, and how they behave. A marketing plan should define a specific, segmented target audience with demographic, geographical, psychographic, and behavioral data.  This section often includes customer profiles or buyer personas — fictionalized representations of ideal customers or audience segments — which help marketers typify consumer behaviors. These profiles should include media habits and most-used platforms to ensure that your marketing plan selects the right channels for each campaign. Learn how to analyze your target market with  free customer profile templates .  

Simple Customer Profile Presentation Template

Goals and Objectives:  Marketing plans typically include both long-term goals, which provide broad direction for the company’s marketing strategy, and short-term objectives, which focus on more immediate tactics and campaigns. Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) and include corresponding key performance indicators (KPIs).  The goals and objectives in a marketing plan often focus on conversions, market share, brand awareness, or engagement. Clearly defined goals ensure strategically aligned marketing initiatives with measurable results. Take a look at  real-world examples of SMART goals for more insights.  

SMART Goals Worksheet Template with Sample Text

Marketing Strategy:  This section of a marketing plan details the business’s unique value proposition and the channels that will communicate it. A robust marketing strategy addresses the touchpoints in a consumer’s buying cycle and breaks down the 4 Ps (product, price, place, promotion) of the marketing mix. Channels might include digital marketing, advertisements, social media, and influencer partnerships. To develop an overarching marketing strategy, consider using a  marketing strategy template . To learn more about the 4 Ps, read this  product marketing guide .  

Marketing Strategy Example Template

Tactics and Action Plan:  A marketing plan is not an abstract strategy document, but a concrete roadmap for executing specific campaigns with specific tactics. Your plan should detail the messaging for each campaign and the corresponding methods for communication — such as email newsletters, social content, targeted ads, and public relations.  This section provides KPIs and actionable steps such as resource allocation, deliverables, and distribution plans. It might also include the expected outcome for each campaign. To plan individual campaigns, consider using a  marketing project plan template .  

Marketing Project Plan Template

Budget:  Marketing expenses might include the cost of advertising, content creation, website maintenance, or promotional materials; no marketing plan is complete without a budget that breaks down the costs of such initiatives. A clear, comprehensive budget ensures that marketing efforts are financially feasible and resources can be allocated for maximum impact. The budget also enables the marketing team to track the return on investment (ROI) of each campaign. To create a comprehensive budget, try our  free marketing budget templates .    

Marketing Budget Plan Template

Timeline:  Finally, a marketing plan includes a clear schedule for implementing its initiatives and tactics. This timeline details the start and end dates of each campaign, deadlines for deliverables, and key events or milestones. It keeps the marketing team aligned and initiatives on track, ensuring that marketing objectives can be achieved within the set time frame. Organize dates and deadlines with the help of a  marketing timeline template .  

Marketing Timeline Template

Marketing Plan Examples

Real-world marketing plans show how businesses utilize effective planning documents. These 10 examples from various industries exhibit unique strengths and weaknesses. With insightful commentary from marketing experts, these plans offer practical takeaways any marketer can use.  

Delmarva and the Ground for Change This  in-depth marketing plan for a documentary produced by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub includes audience profiles, competitive analysis, and a distribution plan. Along with a detailed breakdown of its digital marketing strategy, it considers how different tactics will affect the viewer’s content journey.   

Delmarva Marketing Plan

John Dinsmore , a marketing consultant and professor at Wright State University, praises this plan for its attractive design and thoughtful, thorough content: “They do a nice job of extrapolating on who the target market is and tying their tactics to achieving specific goals.”  He appreciates the inclusion of a SWOT analysis, but feels it could be done more effectively. “‘Opportunities’ is not a place for business ideas. It’s a place to identify external, positive trends that can help your initiative. In this context, an opportunity could be ‘Rising concern for and awareness of climate issues.’ Similarly, ‘threats’ is not a place to list things that are difficult. It’s for negative external trends such as ‘Increased skepticism over ability to combat climate change.’” 

Dekker Fraser

Dekker Fraser , former Global Marketing Manager at Sony PlayStation, adds that this plan includes a strong focus on collaborations with media and influencers: “Many marketing plans place too much emphasis on target customers and not enough on target collaborators.”  

Minnesota Tourism This  marketing plan by Explore Minnesota , the state’s Department of Tourism, showcases Minnesota’s beauty with vivid imagery. It uses a variety of demographic information to identify priority audience segments and includes well-designed infographics that analyze audience and competition. As a result, the campaigns are clearly targeted at specific audiences and objectives. 

John Rarrick

John Rarrick , Head of Marketing at Movius Corp., admires the strength of the message behind the strategy. “This plan has a very well-developed ‘why,’” he says. “You’ll see that often when the plan is to repair or save something that has undergone a time of great loss — such as a loss of revenue or reputation. The audience personas, goals, tactics, and budget are all detailed and measurable.” 

Minnesota Marketing Plan

Gold Coast Transit District  

Gold Coast Marketing Plan

A  short, high-level marketing plan for Gold Coast Transit highlights key campaigns and includes the most important details, such as timelines, budgets, and tactics. It begins with a bulleted overview of the most important takeaways and takes into account general marketing efforts that don’t fit under a specific campaign umbrella. Fraser notes that this plan includes year-round marketing initiatives, with an effective “emphasis on strong offers, such as youth-free fares.” However, he points out that its brand awareness goals could be more specific. “Instead, use context-specific awareness goals such as ‘When commuting to work, residents first think of Gold Coast Transit’ or ‘When coming home from the library at night, I think of taking the bus,’” he says. “In other words, peg awareness to specific category-entry points.”  

University of Arizona College of Engineering This  marketing, branding, and communications plan for the University of Arizona College of Engineering sets out a long-term vision, high-level goals, and strategies for achieving these goals. It has a section for methodology — including promotional videos and email newsletters — and segments its audience to align with its strategies. This plan “demonstrates a clearly defined audience,” according to Rarrick. That said, not every section of the plan includes the same level of specificity. “The KPIs are vague,” he adds. “I would expect to see something more measurable, rather than ‘increase’ or ‘improve.’” 

Arizona Marketing Plan

Timberland Regional Library This  library's two-year marketing plan sets initiatives in motion with a clear schedule for action. It includes both promotional and production calendars for effective planning, which is especially important for campaigns pegged to external events.  Dinsmore cites this plan’s “professional and elegant graphic design” as a strength. It also offers a roadmap for tackling several marketing campaigns on different timelines. However, he suggests that the plan needs more measurable goals and defined strategies. “There’s no overarching strategy that ties all of these tactics and initiatives together,” he says. “It’s just a laundry list of dates and actions.” 

Library Marketing Plan

Safe Haven Family Shelter Nonprofit organizations need creative marketing strategies to reach their targets and use funds efficiently. With specific objectives and actionable steps, this  marketing plan for Safe Haven Family Shelter delineates high-level goals and details the path to achieving them. It identifies the roles and responsibilities of individual team members to ensure alignment. Rarrick commends this plan for its “clearly defined audience and very clearly defined goals.” The plan showcases the differences between strategic business goals and measurable marketing objectives.  

Safe Haven Marketing Plan

Visit Myrtle Beach This  destination marketing plan by the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce  incorporates detailed information about target markets, audience personas, and key behaviors. It includes an infographic that illuminates the touchpoints in a traveler’s journey and shows the marketing team how each tactic contributes to conversions.  Overall, Dinsmore praises this plan as a “very smart and thoughtful presentation.” It outlines a distinct media mix for each target audience, defines its objectives clearly, and ties these objectives to success metrics. He continues, “I want to thank the Myrtle Beach folks for planning to measure their efforts. Measurement is often anathema to marketing people, but if you’re not measuring, you don’t know how to improve.”  With so much information to cover, the plan would benefit from an executive summary to introduce key takeaways. “The bigger the scope, the harder it is to make everything feel connected, and that’s a bit of an issue with this plan,” Dinsmore adds.  

Myrtle Beach Marketing Plan

Tropical Avocados This  example of a no-frills plan was commissioned by the nonprofit Improving Economies for Stronger Communities (IESC) to help brand and launch tropical avocados in the U.S. market. It shows the importance of making branding decisions backed by market and consumer research. A detailed SWOT analysis and competitive analysis provide essential insights that enable the company to determine the best unique selling proposition.  A key strength of this plan is its detailed research into its audience. Fraser cites its “excellent identification of consumer objections — e.g., concern over how natural the avocado size is — and consumer behavior.” As a result, the brand can adopt effective messaging in its marketing campaigns. As with USDA Northeast Climate Hub’s Delmarva and the Ground for Change documentary, “target collaborators — e.g., food writers, organizations, and chefs — are included in the target audience. Collaborators are often more critical to the marketing plan than the consumers themselves,” Fraser adds.  

Avocados Marketing Plan

Rochelle Community Hospital This  case study of Rochelle Community Hospital in Rochelle, Illinois, shows how a targeted marketing plan can be used to achieve significant results. The report by Legato Healthcare Marketing showcases the importance of reevaluating an existing marketing strategy — in this case, shifting the emphasis from print to digital. External marketing agencies often have more tools at their disposal, particularly if the business has not had a strong digital presence. With targeted ads and website updates, the agency employed tactics with direct metrics in order to track its impact.   

Rochelle Hospital Marketing Plan

Visit Concord This  example from the Concord Tourism Improvement District marketing plan is concise and includes streamlined insights on the audience and market. It details each marketing channel with specific tactics and measurable KPIs.  The overall strategy, according to Fraser, offers “an excellent emphasis on social proof and word-of-mouth marketing,” as well as a “good balance of awareness and activation marketing.” In order to improve, he suggests, “the plan should factor in the following critical quantitative factors to help drive the media strategy: reach, frequency, and the total-addressable market.” 

Concord Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan Templates

Using a template takes the guesswork out of organizing a marketing plan document. These customizable templates include essential elements and options for specific industries or marketing channels, and they range from one-page plans to comprehensive, presentation-ready reports.

Microsoft Word Simple Marketing Plan Template

Simple Marketing Plan Sample

Download the Simple Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Simple Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

This example of a simple, customizable plan focuses on key strategies and prioritizes readability. This one-page marketing plan template includes space to summarize marketing strategy and overarching business objectives, along with an action plan to highlight responsibilities and deadlines.

Microsoft Word Annual Marketing Plan Template

Annual Marketing Plan Example

Download the Annual Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Annual Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word  

This comprehensive marketing plan template includes a number of key sections — such as goals, target market, marketing channels, and performance standards — that can be customized to suit a variety of businesses. In the situational analysis, you can find space for both a 5C (company, collaborators, customers, competitors, climate) analysis and a SWOT analysis. The blank template begins with a table of contents, a business summary, and a mission statement to allow for easy readability. The sample focuses on marketing strategies for one fiscal year, but you can modify this plan for any time period. 

Microsoft Word Small Business Marketing Plan Template

Small Business Marketing Plan Example

Download the Small Business Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Small Business Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

A strong marketing plan is essential for small businesses looking to stand out from larger competitors. This small business marketing plan template provides an outline for a detailed marketing strategy, including a unique selling proposition, the 4Ps marketing mix, and marketing channels. It builds its strategy on situational analysis and identification of the business’s core capabilities. Find  more marketing plan templates  for different industries.

Microsoft Word Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template

NonProfit Marketing Plan Example

Download the Nonprofit Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

This example marketing plan for a nonprofit incorporates information on the funding climate into its situational analysis, as well as a detailed organizational summary. With sections for short- and long-term goals, marketing strategies and channels, and stakeholder profiles, the template is comprehensive and customizable. Find  more nonprofit marketing plan templates here .

Excel Product Marketing Plan Template

Product Marketing Plan Example

Download the Product Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Product Marketing Plan Template for Excel

When integrating a new product into existing marketing strategies, it’s important to take into account all the elements of the marketing mix. This product marketing plan template is organized by product, price, place, promotion, process, people, and physical evidence. In these sections, you can find space to consider market research, consumer behaviors, and marketing channels.

Excel Social Media Marketing Plan Template

Social Media Marketing Action Plan Example

Download the Social Media Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Social Media Marketing Plan Template for Excel

For planning specific campaigns, this social media marketing action plan template begins with the campaign goal, highlights important promo dates, and separates actions by platform. It’s useful for executing targeted social media campaigns within a larger marketing strategy. Find  more marketing action plan templates here .

Excel Digital Marketing Plan Template

Digital Marketing Plan Example

Download the Digital Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Digital Marketing Plan Template for Excel

Focusing on digital marketing channels is an effective way to organize strategies into a streamlined and actionable plan. This strategic digital marketing template highlights important audience behaviors and access channels to ensure messaging reaches consumers. Customizable for a variety of digital marketing projects, the template includes space for keywords, goals, and tasks. Find  more digital marketing plan templates here .

Which Marketing Plan Format Is Right for You?

To choose the right marketing plan format for your needs, consider the plan’s role in your marketing strategy. Do you need a comprehensive plan to provide an overview of tactics that will take place over a long period of time? Or are you looking for a plan to focus on specific channels, campaigns, or product launches? 

Each template in this article offers space to detail market research, strategies, and access channels. The longer plans include more sections for in-depth situational analysis and audience demographics, while the shorter plans focus on the marketing mix and action plan. This chart highlights the key elements of each marketing plan:  

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500+ business plans and financial models

Manufacturing Business Plan PDF Example

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  • May 7, 2024
  • Business Plan

the business plan template for a manufacturing business

Creating a comprehensive business plan is crucial for launching and running a successful manufacturing business. This plan serves as your roadmap, detailing your vision, operational strategies, and financial plan. It helps establish your manufacturing business’s identity, navigate the competitive market, and secure funding for growth.

This article not only breaks down the critical components of a manufacturing business plan, but also provides an example of a business plan to help you craft your own.

Whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or new to the manufacturing industry, this guide, complete with a business plan example, lays the groundwork for turning your manufacturing business concept into reality. Let’s dive in!

Our manufacturing business plan covers all essential aspects necessary for a comprehensive strategy. It details operations, marketing strategy , market environment, competitors, management team, and financial forecasts.

  • Executive Summary : Provides an overview of the manufacturing company’s business concept, market analysis , management, and financial strategy.
  • Facilities & Equipment: Describes the facility’s capabilities, machinery, and technological advancements.
  • Operations & Supply: Outlines the production processes, supply chain logistics, and inventory management.
  • Key Stats: Offers data on industry size , growth trends, and market positioning.
  • Key Trends: Highlights significant trends impacting the industry, such as automation and localization.
  • Key Competitors : Analyzes primary competitors and differentiates the company from these rivals.
  • SWOT: Analyzes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Marketing Plan : Outlines tactics for attracting new contracts and maintaining client relationships.
  • Timeline : Sets out key milestones from inception through the first year of operations.
  • Management: Information on the management team and their roles within the company.
  • Financial Plan: Projects the company’s financial performance over the next five years, detailing revenue, profits, and anticipated expenses.

the business plan template for a manufacturing business

Manufacturing Business Plan

business strategy examples for a business plan

Fully editable 30+ slides Powerpoint presentation business plan template.

Download an expert-built 30+ slides Powerpoint business plan template

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary introduces your manufacturing business plan, offering a concise overview of your manufacturing facility and its products. It should detail your market positioning, the range of products manufactured, the production process, its location, size, and an outline of day-to-day operations.

This section should also explore how your manufacturing business will integrate into the local and broader markets, including the number of direct competitors within the area, identifying who they are, along with your business’s unique selling points that differentiate it from these competitors.

Furthermore, you should include information about the management and co-founding team, detailing their roles and contributions to the business’s success. Additionally, a summary of your financial projections, including revenue and profits over the next five years, should be presented here to provide a clear picture of your business’s financial plan.

Make sure to cover here _ Business Overview _ Market Overview _ Management Team _ Financial Plan

Manufacturing Business Plan exec summary1

Dive deeper into Executive Summary

Business Overview

Facilities & equipment.

Describe your manufacturing facility. Highlight its design, capacity, and technology. Mention the location, emphasizing accessibility to transport routes. Discuss advantages for efficiency and cost management. Detail essential equipment and its capabilities.

Operations & Supply Chain

Detail product range. Outline your operations strategy for efficiency and scalability. Discuss supply chain management. Highlight sourcing of materials, inventory control, and logistics. Emphasize strong partnerships with suppliers and distributors.

Make sure to cover here _ Facilities & Equipment _ Operations & Supplies

business strategy examples for a business plan

Market Overview

Industry size & growth.

Start by examining the size of the manufacturing industry relevant to your products and its growth potential. This analysis is crucial for understanding the market’s scope and identifying expansion opportunities.

Key Market Trends

Proceed to discuss recent market trends , such as the increasing demand for sustainable manufacturing processes, automation, and advanced materials. For example, highlight the demand for products that utilize eco-friendly materials or energy-efficient production techniques, alongside the rising popularity of smart manufacturing.

Key Competitors

Then, consider the competitive landscape, which includes a range of manufacturers from large-scale enterprises to niche firms. For example, emphasize what makes your business distinctive, whether it’s through advanced technology, superior product quality, or specialization in certain manufacturing niches. This section will help articulate the demand for your products, the competitive environment, and how your business is positioned to thrive within this dynamic market.

Make sure to cover here _ Industry size & growth _ Key competitors _ Key market trends

business strategy examples for a business plan

Dive deeper into Key competitors

First, conduct a SWOT analysis for your manufacturing business. Highlight Strengths such as advanced production technology and a skilled workforce. Address Weaknesses, including potential supply chain vulnerabilities or high production costs. Identify Opportunities like emerging markets for your products or potential for innovation in production processes. Consider Threats such as global competition or economic downturns that may impact demand for your products.

Marketing Plan

Next, develop a marketing strategy that outlines how to attract and retain customers through targeted advertising, trade shows, digital marketing, and strategic partnerships. Emphasize the importance of showcasing product quality and technological advantages to differentiate your business in the market.

Finally, create a detailed timeline that outlines critical milestones for your manufacturing business’s launch, marketing initiatives, customer acquisition, and expansion goals. Ensure the business progresses with clear direction and purpose, setting specific dates for achieving key operational and sales targets.

Make sure to cover here _ SWOT _ Marketing Plan _ Timeline

Manufacturing Business Plan strategy

Dive deeper into SWOT

Dive deeper into Marketing Plan

The Management section focuses on the manufacturing business’s management and their direct roles in daily operations and strategic direction. This part is crucial for understanding who is responsible for making key decisions and driving the manufacturing business toward its financial and operational goals.

For your manufacturing business plan, list the core team members, their specific responsibilities, and how their expertise supports the business.

Manufacturing Business Plan management

Financial Plan

The Financial Plan section is a comprehensive analysis of your financial projections for revenue, expenses, and profitability. It lays out your manufacturing business’s approach to securing funding, managing cash flow, and achieving breakeven.

This section typically includes detailed forecasts for the first 5 years of operation, highlighting expected revenue, operating costs and capital expenditures.

For your manufacturing business plan, provide a snapshot of your financial statement (profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statement), as well as your key assumptions (e.g. number of customers and prices, expenses, etc.).

Make sure to cover here _ Profit and Loss _ Cash Flow Statement _ Balance Sheet _ Use of Funds

Manufacturing Business Plan financial plan

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PESTLE Analysis

Insights and resources on business analysis tools

PEST Analysis: Examples and Meaning in Business

Last Updated: Apr 8, 2024 by Jim Makos Filed Under: PEST Analysis

What is a PEST analysis, and what are its four parts? What is the difference between PESTLE analysis and PEST, and why is it important for every business? As a business student, analyst, manager or owner, you are called to conduct a PEST analysis sooner or later. In the next 10 minutes, I’ll go through everything you need to know about PEST analysis and how you can do a PEST analysis of an organization starting from scratch. I promise you’ll know more about PEST analysis than 99% of people out there, as I’m explaining everything as concisely as possible. Let’s start with the PEST analysis definition.

What is a PEST Analysis?

PEST analysis is a strategic tool for organizations to identify and assess how Political, Economic, Social, and Technological external factors impact operations so that they can gain a competitive edge. A PEST analysis helps you determine how these factors will affect a business’s performance and strategy in the long term. It is often used in collaboration with other analytical business tools. For example:

  • A combination of PEST and SWOT analysis usually gives a clearer understanding of a situation with related internal and external factors
  • PESTLE analysis is an extension of PEST analysis that covers legal and environmental factors

I’m going to explain the PEST analysis as simply as possible with examples and a template for better understanding. I will also show how to do a PEST analysis starting from scratch, even for people without any business education like me!

Why Do a PEST Analysis

It’s simple: to succeed. For a business to be successful, they need a few things:

  • A solid product
  • Marketing plan
  • Identifiable brand
  • Happy customers
  • Thorough budget
  • An investor or two
  • Unique selling position
  • And a whole lot of research

Throughout the endless market research, customer acquisition costs, and project risk assessments, business managers could forget about outside influences ( we call these external factors in this type of analysis). Aside from the company’s internal resources and industry factors, PEST’s macroeconomic factors can impact a company’s performance in a big way.

By being aware of external factors, managers can aid their business. But if they don’t know them, they can cripple their business before it begins. That’s how advantageous PEST analysis is .

What are the four parts of PEST analysis?

Now, let me explain each of the four parts of a PEST analysis more thoroughly. You’ll better understand what each of these external factors in this analysis is all about.

  • Political – Here, government regulations and legal factors are assessed in terms of their ability to affect the business environment and trade markets. The main issues addressed in this section include political stability, tax guidelines, trade regulations, safety regulations, and employment laws.
  • Economic – Next, businesses examine the economic issues that have an impact on the company. This would include factors like inflation, interest rates, economic growth, the unemployment rate and policies, and the business cycle followed in the country.
  • Social – At this stage, businesses focus on the society and people. Elements like customer demographics, cultural limitations, lifestyle attitudes, and education come into play here. This part allows a business to understand how consumer needs are shaped.
  • Technological – This may come as a surprise, but technology may not always be an ally for businesses. Depending on the product, technology may affect the organization positively but also negatively. In PEST’s last section we find technological advancements, the role of the Internet, and how an industry’s innovation creates winners and losers.

Every business is different. Some factors may not affect a firm or industry as they would with others. But it’s beneficial to have a well-rounded view of the many factors that could affect them. Along with the ones that will affect them.

This is why we do PEST analysis for a business — to be aware of risks, opportunities, influences, and limitations. Let’s go deeper into these external factors that impact the success of a business. I’ll also briefly mention a specific example for each of them.

Political Factors

Political factors in PEST analysis refer to the extent to which the government and political actions in a country influence the business climate. Here are some examples that will occasionally make it into the (P) of my PEST analysis:

  • Tax policies
  • Tax incentives
  • Political tensions
  • Employment laws
  • Import restrictions
  • Health and safety laws
  • Consumer protection laws
  • Tariff and Trade restrictions
  • Regulation and deregulation

For instance, a country’s foreign policy often plays an important role in determining trade regulations. This can either result in trade restrictions or trade incentives and can affect an organization’s operations. Read my dedicated page on political factors with more examples here .

Economic Factors

In the (E) part of PEST Analysis, we run into how the economy affects the organization. I consider the following economic factors when doing a PEST analysis:

  • Interest rate
  • Inflation rates
  • Exchange rates
  • Unemployment rate

For instance, exchange rates affect a global organization by influencing the cost of imported and exported goods. Furthermore, interest rates influence the cost of capital available to the organization. Thus they are significant in the expansion and growth of a business. Find more economic factors and examples of how they affect businesses here .

Social Factors

Social factors include different cultural and demographic aspects of society. These can affect the macro-environment in which the organization operates.

In the ‘S’ part of the PEST analysis I usually examine:

  • Age distribution
  • Cultural diversity
  • Demographics shifts
  • Population growth rate
  • Health consciousness and trends
  • Changing consumer lifestyles and preferences

A study of these factors can help organizations understand the dynamics of existing and emerging potential markets along with future customer needs.

Social factors are more unpredictable than economic and political factors, simply because people are unpredictable. But every business needs customers. And what and how they buy has an immediate effect on an organization’s profitability.

Based on these social factors, marketers create buyer personas. These avatars are necessary for businesses to target the ideal customer.

For example, if you’re selling whey powder, you go after fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders. You are looking for people that follow an active lifestyle. Hence, a declining trend in health consciousness doesn’t seem encouraging.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about social factors here .

Technological Factors

Technological factors aren’t important only for tech-related businesses. The (T) part in PEST analysis may affect even the most old-school organization that’s been operating for a century.

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and consumers are becoming extremely tech-savvy. With the advent of new technology, older technology gets outdated and obsolete. If an organization does not look out for technological changes, it can lag behind its competitors.

I often include the following technological factors when conducting a PEST analysis:

  • Cybersecurity Threats
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Big data and computing
  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Supply Chain Automation

Let’s consider the advancements in computing; more specifically, networking.

If a business offers the latest and fastest Wi-Fi in their store, it’s an added luxury. It’s annoying if it still operates on 3G speeds, but won’t ruin sales. However, if they handle all receipts in an online database and that goes offline because they didn’t keep their network infrastucture up-to-date then they have a major problem. Especially in big holidays like Black Friday.

Again, this is about impact on the business operation. How will ‘X’ technology affect the business in the long and short term? That’s what we’re trying to figure out with PEST analysis.

A ton more technological factors can be found here .

PEST Analysis Examples

Here is a hypothetical PEST analysis example that can give you a clear understanding of how this works:

Here at I rarely limit myself to PEST analysis. I almost always go the extra mile and include the Legal and Environmental factors when I initiate a PEST analysis. This leads to a more detailed analysis called PESTLE.

PESTLE Analysis: An extension of PEST Analysis

PESTLE analysis is an extension of PEST that is used to assess two additional macroeconomic factors. These factors are the  Legal and Environmental conditions that can have an impact on a organization. Examples of PESTLE analysis are similar to those of a PEST analysis, but they will include factors such as these:

  • Discrimination laws
  • Copyright and patent laws


  • Waste management
  • Changes in weather and climate
  • Laws regarding pollution and recycling
  • Use of green or eco-friendly products and practices

So, if you want to assess a business situation comprehensively, a PESTLE analysis is a definite must. You can find more about that analysis here .

Why PEST Analysis Is Important For Every Business

So, now that we did a PEST analysis, how’s that going to help the business?

What does a five-year business plan look like? Or a ten-year plan? It likely involves growth.

Whether it’s the expansion of a product line or opening stores in new locations, business changes need proper preparation. And that’s where the PEST analysis comes in.

PEST analysis is the foolproof plan for business expansion !

Both new business owners and veterans should include PEST analysis in their business plan. By breaking down the critical influences in the P.E.S.T. categories, businesses get a better understanding of whether their next business move is strategic or doesn’t make sense.

For example, politics isn’t just about political tensions, unrest and elections. Politics are also about trade policies, regulations and taxation. Companies doing business worldwide have to consider laws in the countries they operate, as well. Even if they aren’t doing international trade yet, it could be a possibility in the future, and going in blind is a good way to toss success out the window.

PEST analysis helps people become aware.

Aware of how political parties and regulations can impact a business. And how the economy (past, present, and future) affects an industry. It allows people to understand consumers — who they are, what they buy, and why they don’t buy. And finally, it identifies what technology is necessary for the development and success of a product, business, or industry.

It’s almost like an outline. It shows people what influences impact the quality, success, or devastation of businesses and industries. You can’t stop the four influences, but if you’re aware of them and their impact, you can plan around, against, or with them.

PEST analysis is often used by business analysts, marketers, students, and business owners, since it’s super important for every business!

All you need to do a proper PEST analysis is time. And the payoff is worth every second.

How PEST analysis works

PEST analysis requires research and data, sometimes ten years old, sometimes only a couple. The more information I have to go through, the more accurate my final results will be. By looking into the past and the present, I can make predictions for the future.

By studying these recent developments through a PEST analysis lens, organizations are deciding whether to jump into this for the long haul or for the time being.

You want to look at your industry in a similar light. Ten years ago, did it exist? Has it slowed down within the last two years or are more companies diving in? More competition can be a strong sign an industry is booming, but it could also be the first sign of oversaturation.

Break down your assessment into the four categories of PEST analysis. Start with politics and work your way through the remaining factors. Or start from the bottom. Whatever gets the job done and makes the analysis enjoyable.

How to Do a PEST Analysis From Scratch

I’ve written dozens of PEST analyses over the last couple of years. Below I document my process on how to do a PEST analysis , even when you’ve never written one before.

You should have a topic in mind. Most PEST analyses are about a specific business, industry, or product. However, they can also be applied to countries, too. You can’t start without a topic, though, so have it ready.

Where to find information for your PEST analysis

It’ll be easier to find and segment information if you break your analysis down into four sections, like the acronym implies:

  • Technological

Each section will require its own information. However, some of this information will overlap.

For instance, the economy is often closely tied to political (in)stability. And the state of the economy always affects consumers (social). You don’t need to look for these patterns specifically— it’ll become apparent as you discover new information.

Start with the history

You should be familiar with your topic. If you’re not, read about its history. Learn how it was established, how long it has been around, and who founded it. Read about any major achievements on the organization in question over the last few years. Jot down notes whenever something that seems relevant or important pops up.

After this informational primer, it’s time to start on the four sections. I do my PEST analysis in order of the acronym because the information often bleeds into the next section.

Finding Political Information

Political information is easier to find than in other sections of the analysis (social and technological, specifically). Here, you’ll want to investigate the current political climate.

For instance, if the organization originates from America, you’ll research the current political parties. Who is in charge? Has this affected business operations in any way?

If your topic (business, product, industry) was established years ago, what was the political climate like then? Are different parties in power now? If this is the case, then you’ll want to compare how things have changed for your topic from then to now.

This is also the section where you’ll look into laws and regulations affecting business. Remember the list we went through in the beginning.

I find this information with a simple Google search. Such as “tariff laws USA” (plug in the country you’re searching for if it’s not the United States).

It’s best to get this information from a government site. These sites end in .gov. You may also find information from organizations (websites ending in .org) but not all of these sites are legitimate organizations. Be wary while you research.

Honestly, most of the information you’ll find is dense. But it’s easier if you have a goal. Look for signs of:

  • Government (in)stability
  • Possible political corruption
  • New bills/regulations that may impact your topic
  • Any issues your topic has had with current/former regulations or political parties

If your topic is a company, finding the right information may be easier. Search for “company name + political issues” or “company name + policies” and see what comes up. Avoid any information from untrustworthy sites and sites with no legitimate source.

Finding Economic Information

While you’re researching political information, you may come across connections to the current economy. For instance, political instability often leads to economic instability. This causes unemployment rates to rise and employee strikes. This affects how much disposable income people have.

You may have already found information in your political section that confirms economic problems. But if you haven’t, search government sites for current tax rates, interest rates (if your topic involves international business), and the current state of the economy. Is it good? Thriving? Or bad and declining?

Again, use government websites. Search for economic statistics over the last few years. If your topic is an industry, see how many companies (startups) have started within the last few years.

If your topic is a business that has international stores, look into the relationship between the country of origin and each country the company does business. If the relationship is good, it’s often a good outlook for the company. But if it’s bad, it may lead to problems. What problems? Do a bit of digging online.

Also, if your PEST analysis is for a company, you may look into stocks . Have they been declining? On the rise? Because if it’s the former, then the business may not be looking good. And you’ll want to find out why .

If my topic is a business, I sometimes check out the competition. I’ll look into how that other company has been fairing economically, specifically how its sales have risen or fallen over the last couple of years. If it’s dropped products, shifted marketing efforts, etc., I want to know why . A competitor analysis isn’t always necessary , but it can shed light on possible problems your topic may face.

Finding Social Information

This section is a bit trickier. Political and economic sectors rely heavily on data and evidence. You can find this information on government websites. News sites too, even. And although you can find databases about demographics and population growth for this section — all applicable in a PEST analysis — I wouldn’t stop there.

In the social section, I often examine how consumers are impacted by political and economic factors. You can draw conclusions based on the information you’ve already gathered from your political and economic segments.

For instance, if there is political instability and the economy is on the fritz, then consumers may feel uneasy. They may have fewer job options. And that means they’re less likely to spend frivolously. If your topic is a luxury product, it may mean the company that makes it may have lower sales this year.

But you also want to learn about how consumers feel about your topic. If it’s a company, do consumers generally like it? Or is public opinion souring? There should be a reason for why.

Consider Facebook. The company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has consistently been in hot water over the years. If not for data breaches affecting millions of users, but for their shady involvement with fake news and political tampering.

This has led many consumers to shy away from using Facebook. And this affects businesses that use Facebook to reach new customers.

In this section of the PEST analysis, I’m more likely to search for my topic on news sites and publications. The more popular the topic, the easier it’ll be to find articles written about it. But if the topic has ever been in the news, you’ll likely find it online.

Websites to search include :

  • Consumer Reports
  • Local news websites
  • Other reputable sources

If you know your topic has been in the news for something bad, you can search the topic + the problem.

Although the information may overlap, take keynotes here. See how the problem is affecting consumer opinion. You may even want to take a look at the comments (if there are any) and see what people are saying. It’s coming straight from the lion’s mouth (consumers).

I think many PEST analyses favor numbers too much. We live in a world where anyone with an opinion can be heard, thanks to the internet. And enough of those voices can cause a business to change its policies and products. It can even cause the company to collapse.

So it’s important to search for how consumers feel about your topic too.

Finding Technological Information

This section of the PEST analysis is a bit abstract as well. You’re looking into how new technological advancements has affected your topic positively or negatively. You should also look into what technology your topic uses (currently). And what technology they may want to incorporate.

You may want to look at competitors if your topic is a product or business. See what others are using. And think about why they are.

Press releases

It may be beneficial to search for press releases involving your topic, if possible. If your company is using new technology, they may have announced it through a press release. You can search “company name + press release” or search through these press release websites:

  • PR NewsWire
  • NPR: National Public Radio

You may also find other information here for the other sections of the PEST analysis. Which is just an overall bonus. If all else fails, check if your topic has a website (unless it’s an industry or country). Discuss how they use social media (if they don’t, then… discuss that too!). In this section, you’re assessing what your topic uses, what it doesn’t, and why.

Putting it all together in a final PEST analysis

You’ll likely have heaps of information at hand. For some it’ll feel like too much — but that’s never the case for a PEST analysis. As you begin to read through each section’s notes, incorporate the most interesting, pressing, or surprising information. If anything overlaps with other sections, include that too.

I write each section of a PEST analysis at a time. I take my notes and create coherent sentences. Sometimes I make a list of the most important points and include them that way. If the section is long, I’ll use subheadings to break up the information.

Work on each section separately. And then if there are overlapping themes, incorporate those in. You may want to use those at the end of each section to connect to the next.

Once you’ve done this, you’ve completed your PEST analysis! Most of the work is in finding the information and making it coherent. The last 10-20 percent is putting it all together. So, once the research phase is done, you’re basically done too!

Understanding PEST Analysis: Taking Action

In conclusion, developing an understanding of what is PEST analysis becomes even more important when a company is about to launch a new business or a new product. In general, when they are about to change something drastically. That’s when all these factors play an important role in determining the feasibility and profitability of the new venture.

Therefore, developing an understanding of PEST analysis is useful for organizations for analyzing and understanding the ground realities of the environment they have to operate in.

Realizing what is PEST and knowing how to take this analysis into consideration, the organization can be in a better position to analyze the challenges, environment, factors, opportunities, restrictions and incentives it faces. In case an organization fails to take into account any one of these factors, it may fail to plan and operate properly.

But don’t PEST analysis stop you. Here are some variations that may come in handy when assessing how the external environment affects an organization:

  • STEEP Analysis
  • STEEPLED Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis

Elon Musk really wants you to think Tesla still has a Supercharger plan

  • Elon Musk isn't done with Superchargers yet.
  • Despite firing Tesla's Supercharger team last week, the CEO committed to the network on Friday.
  • "Tesla will spend well over $500m expanding our Supercharger network," Musk wrote on X.

Insider Today

Apparently, Elon Musk really is still game for Superchargers.

On Friday, the billionaire Tesla chief took to X to clarify that he was, in fact, still very committed to building out Tesla's Supercharger business.

"Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500m expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year," Musk wrote . "That's just on new sites and expansions, not counting operations costs, which are much higher."

Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500M expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year. That’s just on new sites and expansions, not counting operations costs, which are much higher. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 10, 2024

You may recall that just a week ago, Musk suddenly decided to fire nearly all the 500 employees on Telsa's Supercharger team .

Tesla's Supercharger network, a collection of fast-charging plug-in stations spread over more than 50,000 sites globally, was seen by investors as a vital cornerstone in the company's ambitions to lead the EV market.

Rivals like Ford and GM have been scrambling to gain access to it. The spread of chargers was also seen as a key strategy to offset concerns potential EV buyers might have around range anxiety too.

Related stories

So as news broke that Musk was axing the Supercharger team, it's safe to say Tesla investors were left more than a little puzzled. As Tesla investor Ross Gerber put it: "Any retreat from this part of the business will have a negative impact on the EV industry."

At the time, Musk tried to offset some concerns by saying Tesla still "plans to grow" the network, just "at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations."

Tesla still plans to grow the Supercharger network, just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 30, 2024

But with his comments on Friday, it looks like Musk has set out to shake off any lingering doubts about his commitment to a business that analysts have estimated could generate almost $7.5 billion in revenue and $730 million in profit a year for Tesla by 2030.

The thing is, with Tesla still without a functioning Supercharger team, the logistics of implementing Musk's plans remain a bit of a mystery.

Musk, who has driven a big shake-up at Tesla recently following the decision to cut more than 10% of the company's workforce in March, seems to be focusing on robotaxis as he looks to boost Tesla's AI and autonomous driving capabilities.

Two days before firing the Supercharger team, the billionaire wrote on X : "Tesla will spend around $10B this year in combined training and inference AI, the latter being primarily in car. Any company not spending at this level, and doing so efficiently, cannot compete."

At a time when companies are plowing billions of dollars into AI, there seems to be some logic here. But Musk also has a stated goal of selling 20 million Teslas a year by 2030.

He'll definitely want to amp up his Supercharger network too if he plans on achieving that.

Watch: How Elon Musk makes and spends his billions

business strategy examples for a business plan

  • Main content


  1. 6 Step Plan

    business strategy examples for a business plan

  2. 32 Great Strategic Plan Templates to Grow your Business

    business strategy examples for a business plan

  3. FREE Strategic Business Plan Template

    business strategy examples for a business plan

  4. Linear Strategy

    business strategy examples for a business plan

  5. How to Create Simple Business Strategy

    business strategy examples for a business plan

  6. 5 Milestones

    business strategy examples for a business plan


  1. Business Plan Types about discussion || Business Plan Presentation About Discussion || Business Plan

  2. How to successfully exit your business!

  3. Do you know what your unique selling point is? #businesstips

  4. How To Write A Business Plan In 10 Simple Steps!

  5. Business Plan Examples & Toolkit

  6. Why You Should Be Using Video


  1. 9 business strategy examples (and why you need one ASAP)

    Corporate-level business strategy: This high-level strategy includes the company's vision, mission and key decisions.This might involve business choices, acquisitions or divestments, and resource allocation, for example. Business-level strategy: A business-level strategy determines how a company competes in a market, considering product mix, customer segments, pricing, marketing and distribution.

  2. 3 Business Strategy Examples to Inspire Your Own

    One of the best ways to learn about business strategy is from real-world examples. Here are three companies that faced numerous challenges but overcame them through value-based business strategies. 1. Best Buy. Best Buy, the multinational electronics retailer, is an excellent example of how a shift in business strategy can lead to rapid growth.

  3. 10 Business Strategy Examples (And Why It Helps To Have One)

    A business strategy guides top-level executives, as well as departments, about what should and should not be done, according to the organization's core values. It helps everyone stay on the same page and with the same goals. 3. SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

  4. Business strategy examples

    Types of business strategy. Over the last decades, researchers and business leaders have identified a handful of so-called "generic strategies" with broad application across the business landscape. These core business strategies are: Broad cost leadership strategy. Broad differentiation strategy. Focused differentiation strategy.

  5. Business Strategy Definition, Examples, Types & 10-Step Guide

    Business strategy refers to a comprehensive plan or a series of actions meticulously crafted to achieve specific business goals and objectives. It entails a systematic approach aimed at gaining a competitive edge, responding to market dynamics, and attaining sustainable success within a particular industry or market.

  6. 24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

    This is a fantastic template for an existing business that's strategically shifting directions. If your company has been around for a while, and you're looking to improve your bottom line or revitalize your strategy, this is an excellent template to use and follow. 5. BPlan's Free Business Plan Template.

  7. How To Write A Strategic Plan That Gets Results + Examples

    1. Run a strategic planning workshop. The first step is to run a strategic planning workshop with your team. Get your team in the room, get their data, and gather their insights. By running this workshop, you'll foster collaboration and bring fresh perspectives to the table. And that's not all.

  8. How To Write A Business Strategy: Your Four-Step Guide

    Strategic Planning. Creating a solid business strategy happens in three parts: 1) understanding where you stand strategically as an organization right now; 2) deciding where you want to be in the future; and 3) determining how you'll get there. The steps below cover each of these areas, with steps three and four both being part of the final ...

  9. How to Develop a Business Strategy: 6 Steps

    Related: 4 Business Strategy Skills Every Business Leader Needs. 6 Steps to Develop a Value-Based Business Strategy 1. Define Your Purpose. When approaching business strategy, defining your organization's purpose can be a useful starting point. This is vital in creating customer and employee value, especially if your organization's purpose ...

  10. How to Write a Business Plan: Beginner's Guide (& Templates)

    Step #3: Conduct Your Market Analysis. Step #4: Research Your Competition. Step #5: Outline Your Products or Services. Step #6: Summarize Your Financial Plan. Step #7: Determine Your Marketing Strategy. Step #8: Showcase Your Organizational Chart. 14 Business Plan Templates to Help You Get Started.

  11. The 7 Best Business Strategy Examples I've Ever Seen

    Tesla - Playing the long game. Airbnb - Forgetting all about scalability. Toyota - Humility can be the best business strategy. HubSpot - Creating an industry then dominating it. Apple - iPhone launch shows tremendous restraint. PayPal - Daring to challenge the status quo. Spotify - Changing the rules of the music industry.

  12. How To Make A Business Plan: Step By Step Guide

    The steps below will guide you through the process of creating a business plan and what key components you need to include. 1. Create an executive summary. Start with a brief overview of your entire plan. The executive summary should cover your business plan's main points and key takeaways.

  13. How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

    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.

  14. 7 Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2024)

    The business plan examples in this article follow this example template: Executive summary. An introductory overview of your business. Company description. A more in-depth and detailed description of your business and why it exists. Market analysis. Research-based information about the industry and your target market.

  15. What is Business Strategy? Definition, Importance, Levels, and Examples

    Corporate level strategy is a long-range, action-oriented, integrated, and comprehensive plan, which is formulated by the top management of a company. It is very helpful to ascertain business lines, expansion, growth, takeovers and mergers, diversification, integration, and the latest fields for investment.

  16. What Is Business Strategy & Why Is It Important?

    A business strategy is foundational to a company's success. It helps leaders set organizational goals and gives companies a competitive edge. It determines various business factors, including: Price: How to price goods and services based on customer satisfaction and cost of raw materials.

  17. Business Strategy: Examples, Case Studies, And Tools

    A business strategy is a deliberate plan that helps a business to achieve a long-term vision and mission by drafting a business model to execute that business strategy. A business strategy, in most cases, doesn't follow a linear path, and execution will help shape it along the way. ... Business Strategy Examples In 2024: Examples, Case Studies ...

  18. The Ultimate List of Strategic Planning Templates (2024)

    Every type of business plan created at the business and functional level—from sales to marketing to finance to project plans—ultimately feeds into the larger strategic plan. Whether you're mapping out a business strategy, launching a new initiative or improving your business process, you will need the right tools and templates.

  19. How to Create a Strategic Plan for Your Business in 5 Steps

    The most successful small businesses, corporations, and organizations never remain static for long. Their leaders continually look to the future, pursuing a slate of both short-term goals and long-term goals while angling for competitive advantages over rivals. These leaders define their organizations' visions and use strategic planning to achieve organizational goals within a fixed time ...

  20. Strategic Business Plan Template for 2024 Sample

    A strategic business plan is a document that defines the long-term direction of an organization, as well as its overarching goals and objectives. It is the essence of the company leadership's vision and a reference point for other long- and short-term planning documents.

  21. What is a Business Strategy? What are the examples of business strategy?

    Functional level strategy. A functional-level strategy is a plan that focuses on how a company will use its resources to achieve its goals in a specific business area. For example, a company's marketing functional level strategy might focus on how it will use its marketing budget to reach its target customers.

  22. The 7 Best Business Plan Examples (2024)

    Marketing plan: A strategic outline of how you plan to market and promote your business before, during, and after your company launches into the market. Logistics and operations plan: An explanation of the systems, processes, and tools that are needed to run your business in the background. Financial plan: A map of your short-term (and even ...

  23. Business Strategic Plan

    A business strategic plan requires multiple steps (specifically a process) before it is presented to executives and other stakeholders of the company. Listed below is the strategic planning process: 1. Mission and objectives. The mission statement describes the company's vision or a long-term goal it wants to achieve.

  24. Free Marketing Plan Examples: Real-World Samples & Templates

    Real-world marketing plans show how businesses utilize effective planning documents. These 10 examples from various industries exhibit unique strengths and weaknesses. With insightful commentary from marketing experts, these plans offer practical takeaways any marketer can use. Delmarva and the Ground for Change.

  25. Manufacturing Business Plan PDF Example

    The Plan. Our manufacturing business plan covers all essential aspects necessary for a comprehensive strategy. It details operations, marketing strategy, market environment, competitors, management team, and financial forecasts. Executive Summary: Provides an overview of the manufacturing company's business concept, market analysis ...

  26. PEST Analysis: Examples and Meaning in Business

    PEST analysis is the foolproof plan for business expansion! Both new business owners and veterans should include PEST analysis in their business plan. By breaking down the critical influences in the P.E.S.T. categories, businesses get a better understanding of whether their next business move is strategic or doesn't make sense.

  27. Agriculture Business Plan

    The same applies when doing business. You make a business plan ahead of time and get a booming business in return. People with green thumbs like you have a natural talent for growing plants, but you can make your life greener by earning plenty of dollar bills. Craft your agriculture business plan well and be the cream of the crop in the ...

  28. Pfizer Announces New Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

    Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced that Andrew Baum, M.D., will join the company as Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Executive Vice President. Dr. Baum will be a member of Pfizer's Executive Leadership Team reporting to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Albert Bourla. He joins Pfizer from Citi, where he served as Head of Global Healthcare, Managing Director Equity Research.

  29. Elon Musk Really Wants You to Think Tesla Has a Supercharger Plan

    May 10, 2024, 5:11 AM PDT. Elon Musk is CEO of Tesla. Grzegorz Wajda/SOPA/Getty Images. Elon Musk isn't done with Superchargers yet. Despite firing Tesla's Supercharger team last week, the CEO ...

  30. Dr. Alexa Dagostino

    Is the road your strategic plan and your financials? They're th...". Dr. Alexa Dagostino - Entrepreneur & Coach | Imagine achieving your business goals like driving a car toward success.