How Do I Write a Business Plan That Will Help Me Get Approved for a Small Business Loan?

How to Write a Business Plan That Will Get Your Small Business Loan ApprovedWriting a business plan that will make sense (and seem believable) to a bank or lender is not rocket science. However, there are many people who have no clue how to put together a business plan together in the proper manner. I know this for a fact (based on my years of experience as a business plan writer). I’ve had many people approach me for help with raising capital with a business plan that’s only 10 pages long! Unfortunately, a 10 page business plan is not going to cut it with the majority of the banks and lenders out there.

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If you want to write a business plan that will help you win favor with banks and lenders, it would be wise to follow a formula that already works. The SBA (Small Business Administration) has developed a standard format for business owners to follow when creating a business plan. I’ve used the same format to write business plans for my clients but I’ve expanded the format based on what I know the lenders I work with like to see (and what has helped my clients get approved). Below is an outline of what should be included in your business plan if you’re applying for a small business loan (and want to increase your chances of approval).

  • Executive Summary
    • Company & Services – This section should include a brief and clear description of what your company is all about. It’s the “who we are, what we do, and how we do it” section of the business plan.
    • Objectives – This section should include three to five measurable and attainable goals that you can reach within your first three to five years in business.
    • Mission – This section should include your mission statement. Your mission statement should outline what you do to benefit your customer and why you do it.
    • Keys to Success – This section should include 8 to 10 critical things you  must do on a continuous basis to build and maintain the success of your business.


  • Company SummaryThis section is typically a combination of the entire executive summary section.
    • Company Ownership – This section should outline the percentage of ownership you and/or your business partners maintain within the company.  It should also outline the state where the business has been registered, the date of registration, and formation type (i.e. LLC, Corp, etc).
    • Company History – This section should include information about the owners experience in relation to the business and why the company was started. It should also outline the milestones reached the successes experienced in the business thus far.
    • Company Location & Facilities – This section should outline the location of company headquarters. An physical address should be included.
    • Services Description – This section should provide a detailed description of the products and/or services you are offering.
    • Future Products & Services – This section should outline the products or services you plan to offer in the future (that are complimentary to your core product or service offering).
    • Fulfillment & Distribution of Services – This section should outline, step by step, how you deliver your products or services to your customer.
    • Operations & Technology – This section should outline the technology, software, hardware, and equipment you use to operate your business effectively.


  • Service Business Analysis – This section should describe your business based on  the NAICS Code and description for your industry.


  • Market Analysis – This section should outline the number of business in the industry by state. Marketing analysis data can be obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns website.
    • Market Trends – This section should outline current trends that are taking place in your industry. Trends are any “fad” you can immediately capitalize on in your industry.
    • Market Growth – This section should outline the rate in which your industry has grown over the last 5 years (and/or will grow over the next 5 years).
    • Market Risks – This section should outline any risks you will face in business that could slow down or jeopardize business growth and how you will address them.
    • Business Participants & Main Competitors – This section should outline your major competitors and how discuss their status in the industry.
    • Competition & Buying Patterns – This section should outline the rate in which your target market is buying from your competitors (i.e. how often they buy) and what they buy.
    • Target Market Description & Segmentation – This section should outline who your target market is, the size of your target market, and where they are located.
    • Target Market Needs – This section should outline the needs of your target market in relation to your products and services.
    • Community Benefits – This section should outline how your business will benefit the community where it is located.


  • Marketing Vision & Strategy – This section should outline how you plan on reaching your target market. You should discuss the marketing and advertising techniques you will implement to generate leads that can turn into sales.


  • SWOT Analysis – This section should be an overall summary of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
    • Strengths – This section should outline your current strengths that will help you be successful in business.
    • Weaknesses – This section should outline your current weaknesses or challenges  that may slow down the growth of your business.
    • Opportunities – This section should outline opportunities that are currently available for you to capitalize on.
    • Threats – This section should outline anything that threatens the growth and sustainability of your business.



  • Management Team Summary – This section should outline each of the management team members and their duties and responsibilities.
    • Management Team Gaps – This section should outline the management team members needed and their duties and responsibilities.
    • Personnel Plan – This section should outline the positions that need to be filled and the duties and responsibilities associated with each.
    • Personnel Training Plan – This section should outline how your employees will be trained on the day to day operations of the business as well as their personally assigned duties and responsibilities.
    • Organizational Structure (Chart) – This section will outline the hierarchy of your staff, (i.e. who reports to who).


  •  Financial Plan Summary
    • Financial Projections – This section should outline your financial projections for at least the next 3 years. Financial projections should include detailed estimates of sales and revenues.