Business plans have long been a critical guide toward creating a successful company. Think of it as a blueprint for how you’re going to start, run and continue growing your business as a whole. This is where you’re going to figure out what it takes to organize a successful enterprise – everything from an analysis of your competition to how you’re going to fund and sustain your growth.
As an independent mortgage broker, a plan that’s tailored to fit the wholesale industry acts as a roadmap that can help you structure your business and scale fast. Without a solid business plan, it’s almost impossible to secure funding, build trust with business partners or measure and repeat success. While there’s no right or wrong way to prepare a business plan, there are some key attributes you’ll want to make sure you include.
What is the Purpose of a Business Plan?
Whether you’re starting a business or exploring ways to expand your company, a business plan is an important tool to help guide your business-making decisions. While some owners might be tempted to jump right into startup mode, writing a business plan is a crucial first step for budding entrepreneurs to check the viability of a business before investing too much time and money.
A business plan will also provide insights on the necessary steps that need to be taken, resources required for achieving your business goals and a timeline of anticipated results. Overall, a business plan is meant to articulate your strategy for starting your mortgage brokerage.
This is specifically necessary when you’re trying to find investors or partners who will provide financing for your business. Key partners will want to know everything from your marketing and financial to operational and production plans. This will help assure your business will eventually start generating revenue and that you’ll become a successful investment.
What are the Components of a Business Plan?
The components of a traditional business plan are used to cover a wide range of topics necessary for your company to obtain appropriate financing, make future projections and effectively market to your consumers.
When utilizing this form of business plan to show investors, consumers or any outsider interested in your company, you should start off by providing an opening page with your company name, owners/key person’s name and the date your company was created.
The executive summary serves as a top-line description for your business and how you’re going to accomplish your goals. Since this is what people often read first, you want to make a strong first impression and clearly state your business concept. All of the points you make throughout your business plan will be summarized within your executive summary, so it may be a good idea to craft this section last after you’ve thoroughly researched all aspects of your business.
What to summarize in this section (most of these will only require brief descriptions):
- Objectives & Goals
- Target Audience
- Financial Projections
- Marketing Analysis
- Organizational Description
- Management Team
- Funding and Request Use
Your business description is similar to an elevator pitch where you’ll have the opportunity to convey your business idea in a concise manner. It is used to provide an in-depth explanation of what your company is, the problems you can solve, defining your target audience and any audiences your company plans to serve.
It’s also helpful to introduce your company’s mission statement and vision for accomplishing your future goals and objectives. This will provide you with a better understanding of where you see the most potential with your business and what you’ll need to work the most on improving.
Things to consider highlighting:
- Mission Statement
- Goals & Objectives
- Principal Team Members
In this section, it’s important to include information about your specific industry – such as trends, competitors, consumer demographics, and target market. Research is a vital part of any well-written business plan and your market analysis section is where your hard work will shine through.
What’s the current state of the mortgage industry? Where is the industry headed and how will you position your business for success based on the future? These are the types of questions you need to be answering within this section, as well as identifying the competitive advantages that will help position you as a continued success as you continue to grow.
Most importantly, consider your client, the prospective homebuyer or refinancing homeowner. Do you know what they want? Do you know how you will deliver? Some answers may come more quickly than others, but the time you invest into researching these questions will help you develop a winning strategy toward marketing your business.
Products or Service Line
Use this section to discuss the specific services you want to offer and how they will meet the needs of your clients. For most entrepreneurs hoping to create the next hot product, this can be tricky. Explaining the benefits of a product or of a service that already exists in a crowded market can be a struggle for investors and potential staff members.
However, as an independent mortgage broker starting their own business, this section is fairly simple. Your clients want to purchase homes and you will use your knowledge of the available loan product offerings of mortgage lenders to facilitate that purchase. If you plan to specialize in specific types of certain types of home loans – such as VA or Jumbo – you can mention that within this section.
What to include:
- Product/Service Description
- Pricing Structure
- Product Lifecycle
- Intellectual Property Rights (Trademarks, Logos, Domains, etc.)
- Research and Development
Organization and Management
This section is important for describing to your investors, consumers, and employees how your company will be structured and who’s executing specific business objectives. Be sure to include your legal structure in this section to state whether you’re intending to incorporate your business as a C or S corporation, create a general or limited partnership or if you’re a sole proprietor/LLC – in simpler terms, state your business entity.
Including an organizational chart in this section is highly useful to show a complete breakdown of who does what and who is in charge of certain initiatives. You’ll be able to show each individual’s experiences and how they will contribute to the success of the company. Consider providing CVs or resumes of key members on your team.
Marketing and Sales
The purpose of this section is to lay out your plan for marketing your business and generating sales. As someone who’s just getting started as a mortgage brokerage owner, keeping it simple can go a long way here.
For example, digital marketing and social media can help you attract and retain clients, and you can rely on most lender technology to see loans through to closing. And don’t worry, writing out your marketing and sales strategy doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t evolve later because it should. Some marketing and sales insights can only come from experience, whether it’s yours or a mentor’s, and you can continue to optimize your strategies for continued success.
It’s also helpful to highlight how you plan to market directly to your target audience. Try mentioning your plans for client retention and point out any further growth opportunities you may have in mind. This section will be referred to within your financial projections, therefore you should be providing accurate information and research to back you up.
What to consider:
- Target Market Assumptions
- Needs and Wants
- Industry Trends
- Growth Opportunities
- Distribution Patterns
- Competition and Buying Patterns
- Main Competitors
This section is used to provide information about your future financial plans, such as when and how much future funding you’ll need. It’s important to specify whether you’ll want debt or equity, terms you’d like applied and the length of time your request will cover. Also, make sure to provide specific details on what you’ll need this funding for regarding equipment, paying salaries or certain bills until revenue increases.
What to think about when crafting this section:
- Why is the funding needed?
- Total amount of funding needed
- How will you be using these funds?
- Parameters of funding
- What funding will you need in the future?
Your financial projections should convince any investors, consumers or partners why your business will be a financial success. You can showcase this by utilizing charts or tables to highlight Profit and Loss, Cash Flow and Balance Sheets. Some plans include a projected five or ten year plan in a summarized fashion, such as gross margin, sales, net profit, assets, liabilities and capital.
If you’ve already established and have begun operating, include income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements from the past couple of years. You’ll also need to provide your prospective financial outlook that includes forecasted income statements, capital expenditures, budgets, balance sheets, etc.
Additional things to consider:
- Important Assumptions
- Key Financial Indicators
- Break-Even Analysis
- Long-term Plan
- Business Ratios
Last, but not least, your appendix section should be used to provide specific documentation that will support your business plan. Common items included within this section are credit histories, resumes, product photos, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents and any other relevant contacts.
Overall, a business plan still plays a crucial role in launching a sustainable and profitable business today. New trends and data show us that the best time to complete a robust plan may now come later in the journey than it used to. It is much more important to get started, test and secure your funding first.
When it comes to business plan creation there are now more templates and streamlined formats that are being adjusted to meet today’s needs to accommodate faster-moving, leaner startups. Although, no matter how you do it and who you’ll show your plan to, it’s important to have someone with experience review before presenting it to a potential investor or partner.
Check out the Small Business Administration’s template for creating your own, detailed Traditional Business Plan.