Steer your business in the right direction with a clear, comprehensive business plan. Without a plan, your business decisions may feel haphazard. Even worse, investors and lenders will be hesitant to invest in your company. Find out how to write a solid plan for your business today.

Business plans are a key component for any loan application. All business plans have the same basic characteristics, so look over these areas to create a comprehensive plan. First, start with an executive summary. This is similar to an elevator speech for your entire company. It should clearly and distinctly explain how your business is unique and what you’ll do to outperform the competition. A similar, but also essential, second component is a company summary, which includes all the details of your company history.

Include a detailed description of all the products and services that your company is offering or will offer. This section is subject to change, but is essential for reviewing the features of your products and how they’ll stand out. A detailed understanding of your products and services help your investors determine how well you’ll succeed in your industry.

A market analysis is your review of all your competitors and customers. Describe your intended audience, the size of your market and what you’ll do to carve out a portion of the market for yourself. Include implementation and strategy elements in your business plan to create milestones and a plan of action for your company.

Next, a management summary provides key information about your management team. Explain the relevant experience, accomplishments and other information necessary to establish the credibility of your management team.

Finally, a financial plan is the final component of your plan. Include key financial information about your sales, profits and cash flow factors. A financial plan should not only provide details of your financial history, but also financial projections.

Each of these components are essential for communicating the seriousness of your business and its financial viability. Without a firm business plan, you may struggle to receive the financial support and other assistance you need. Whether you’re working with an angel investor, bank or other lender, take time to create a detailed plan for your company. Your company’s plan is a work in progress, so you’ll need to review it from time to time. Continue to craft your plan to keep it up-to-date to stay competitive and receive the best financing options available.