How to write a business plan

The time you put into writing a business plan may be your first investment, but certainly not your least. Writing a business plan is not mandatory, but it is very important. What is a business plan? Why do you need one? And what should you include? The article helps you with the 3 most important steps you need to follow.

Being well-prepared increases your chance of success. A business plan gives insight into your entrepreneurial skills, goals, market position, and the feasibility of your idea. This also comes in handy if you want to involve external parties in your startup, such as financiers. But what is a business plan exactly? Why should you make one? And what is included? Find out how to write a good business plan.


1. You and your company

You start your business plan structure by writing down information about you and your company. Who are you? What is your drive? Why do you want to start a business? And what are your entrepreneurial skills?

With your business plan, you present yourself to, for example, a bank or investors. They do not only look at your idea but also at who you are and what you have done in the past.

Personal information

Write down basic information, such as your name, address, place of residence, family composition, driving licence, education, and previous employers. Basically, this part of your plan includes everything that you would put in your resume.

Personal characteristics

Write down why you want to become an entrepreneur. Describe your drive, the skills that make you a good entrepreneur, and your strengths and weaknesses. The KVK Test of Strengths (in Dutch) helps you visualise your entrepreneurial skills, such as financial matters, administration, marketing, networking, and your plans to develop.

Tip: if you start a business with a partner, you have to include the characteristics of each entrepreneur.

Your idea

Your idea is the foundation of your business adventure. You are now going to put the idea that is in your head on paper. Do this in just a few lines. You will notice that if you can describe your idea in a few lines, elaboration of your business plan will be easier. After all, it gives you focus.

Describe what your idea is and what customer problems it solves. And tell here what makes your product unique and differentiates it from competitors' products or services.

Discuss your business idea with an experienced entrepreneur free of charge. Make an appointment here and learn from the experiences of an established entrepreneur.

Your company

Here you describe how you actually want to put your idea into practice. Describe very precisely what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, what you stand for, what your objectives are, and who your target group is. This helps you discover whether your business plans are feasible. In this part, you include information such as:

  • Legal structure
    Describe which legal structure you choose and why.
  • Part-time business
    Are you still working as an employee or do you take care of your children or parents next to your part-time business? Then write down how you think you can spend enough time on your own company. Is there a non-competition clause included in your contract? If so, explain how you plan to deal with that.
  • Company name
    Which company name do you choose? Have you registered your company name yet?
  • Register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK
    When will you register your company with KVK? Or when did you do that?
  • Location
    Are you starting a business from home or from an office? Do you need specific environmental permits or a zoning plan? Also, write down why you choose to rent or buy.
    Tip: Do the Location Scan (in Dutch) and get an overview with basic information about the population and competition in your place of business. And check how many companies are located in a particular industry are located in an area, quickly and easily with the Company Counter.
  • Insurance, permits and other obligations
    Which legal requirements and obligations do you have to meet? Do you need certain diplomas or permits?
  • Terms and Conditions
    Write down your terms and conditions. Or explain why you choose not to set them up.
  • Administration
    Are you going to keep your business records yourself? Or will you hire a bookkeeper or accountant?
  • Staff
    Are you hiring staff or not? And why?
  • Future prospects
    Where do you want your company to be in a few years? And what will you do to achieve this goal?
  • Old Age Pension (AOW)
    How do you arrange your pension?

Tip! Present your business plan to friends and family. Or better yet, someone from your network. They can take a fresh look at your plans and give you advice. Having your business plan drawn up by a third party may come across as less professional. 

If you are unable to write a business plan, you have various options for calling in help. You can ask a student to support you via a college or other relevant educational institution. Also, you can ask commercial parties for paid support.

2. Your marketing plan

In this part of your business plan, you will discuss your target group and your target market. A marketing plan is a systematic approach to bringing your product or service to the attention of your (potential) customers. Make the objectives from your business plan concrete. Here is how:

Conduct market research

Conducting market research is the first step in defining your marketing strategy. Are your customers as convinced of your product or service as you? Through market research, you find out whether there is a market for your product or service. You also map out your competition.

3. Your financial plan

Your financial plan is a tool for determining whether your business plan is financially viable. You also use it to submit your funding application to one or more lenders. The plan will help you convince them to invest money in your business.

Download a business plan example

You know what parts of your business plan are indispensable. It is even easier if you can fill in an example business plan. Even if you don't know how to get started, an example business plan is useful. You can download such an example (in Dutch) from Qredits or Some freelancer/zzp organisations also offer business plan templates for free.