A business plan is a written description of a company’s present and future. It lays out what the business is, what its chief executive plans to do and how he/she plans to accomplish it. The strategic document presents a roadmap for success. It projects three to five years ahead and outlines the intended path for revenue growth in that period.
The business plan reveals the current position and capacity of the business, and then how it plans to expand its revenue base, capacity, and associated factors between the present and the projected future.
How to Make the Business Stand Out in the Business Plan
What makes the business unique? Presenting this effectively will help you differentiate your business from its competitors and show that you understand the value of the business to the market or markets it is targeting.
Essential Elements of the Business Plan
The Executive Summary
Readers see the executive summary first, and it summarizes the business plan. In one or two pages, you emphasize the positive and play down the negative (when pitching to investors nor creditors). It can include vision and goals.
It should include a brief presentation of the main elements of your business plan:
Description of the Business
The business description provides information about the business, what differentiates it from others, and the market or markets the business serves or intends to serve.
Every business is structured differently. Discover the optimal organizational structure for the type of business and compare how yours stacks up against that model. Discuss the pros and cons.
Services or Products
What does the business offer? How does it benefit its current and potential customers? What is the product lifecycle of the products, if any? These are some of the important elements to include in this section.
Here research about the business industry, markets, and competitors is presented. Thorough research is needed to show you understand the market and the value of the company’s services or products.
Marketing and Sales
How does the business plan to market itself? What is the sales strategy? How many sales people does it have and what are their specialties and experience? These are some of the elements you need to include in this section.
If the business is seeking funding, include the necessary information investors want.
If funding is needed, providing financial projections to back up the funding request is essential. Find out what information you need to include in the financial projections for the business.
An appendix is not an essential part of a business plan, but it is a useful section for including specific backup documents, such as resumes.
The business plan functions as a roadmap for the business and as a pitch for funding from investors. The amount of information you include in each section will depend on its intended readers.