What Should Be Included in a Business Plan?
Writing a business plan is a daunting, but necessary, task. Doing so can help take your business to new heights, oftentimes by putting yourself in a better position to secure further funding, but also just by making it clear to the entire organizational team what the overall goals are for the company. Here is a quick rundown of the important sections to include in a business plan…
Sections to Include:
- An Executive Summary: Your executive summary is a quick explanation of your business plan and what you expect to happen with it. This summary should only be a few pages long, or may even just be a one-page. It should include the name of your business, what services will be offered, your vision of the future of the company, and a brief look at how you plan to succeed.
- Overview of Company: Your company’s overview should be an overall view of the formation of your company, and how it is legally structured. It should also include any history of the company, including what services have been rendered, the people who have been in charge, and how those things have changed in the past.
- List of Products/Services: It should be clear what you are offering to the marketplace, and how what you are offering will benefit the customer. Be as detailed as you can about the product/service, including details about the supply chain, expected price, and estimated sales.
- Sales Plan: Your sales plan is essentially an analysis of the current market for your services/products, and what you need to do to reach that market. As such, you should breakdown the demographics that you will be targeting, and include statistics about who you are going to reach, and how you plan to reach them.
- The Team: You don’t need to list every employee in your business, but your management team should be highlighted and shown to be assets in your business plan. Showcase the structure of how your business is organized, and how people’s strengths will play into their role. Include all relevant past experiences of these individuals. It may also be a good idea to include any advisors for your business (whether that be accountants, attorneys, or board members).
- Financial Plan: You should work with your company’s accountant, or hire an outside one, to help you develop a complete financial plan that projects cash flow and sets very tangible targets that your business will need to reach to be successful.
Tips to Remember When Creating Your Plan!
- Create the perfect customer in your mind. You need to know who it is your trying to reach with your business plan, so you should have an ideal archetype prepared of what that customer looks like.
- Clarify the needs you’re satisfying. If you can clearly define what need currently exists on the market, and specify what it is that you are doing to fulfill that need, then your business will have a far more defined path to success.
- Note your differences with competitors. Don’t ever assume that people will flock to your business because it is another option. You need to directly clarify and define what makes your business different from everybody who offers an even remotely similar service to you.
- Focus on reaching customers. If a consumer base exists for your product, you need to outline what it is that is going to bring them to your business. This involves identifying various promotional strategies and marketing techniques that should work for your industry.