Perspective is everything, even when you are talking about a business plan and if you will look at the ten sections as an opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of your investor instead of simple due diligence it will go more smoothly. Every part has its own special purpose!
Executive Summary: This is the hook of your plan. Here is your opportunity to describe the products, market need and size as well as your unique qualifications to fill said needs.
Get this part of the business plan right and the best executives will be anxious to read the rest.
Business Analysis: This section gives you a chance to highlight your accomplishments. Concisely lay out the timeline of your company’s milestones. This will prove that your management team and company have goals, both prior and current as well as the ability to carry them out. Do not forget to list any ΓÇ£unfair competitive advantagesΓÇ¥ such as proprietary technology.
Industry Analysis: If you know your business inside and out, prove it and do not hesitate to include overlapping areas in which your business will compete. Include niche trends and full industry figures from reputable services, most importantly be specific.
Consumer Analysis: Think of this as a customer relationship map. This is where you can show that you know your customer, in fact better than any other business. Include demographics, psychographics, market trend statistics and any other important consumer info.
Competition Analysis: Show that you know the competition and not just the public businesses in your industry. You are also competing with any product or service that will fill a customer’s needs in place of your business. This could even include actions your customers can take. Clearly and soberly, present the strengths and weaknesses of this type of competition.
Marketing Plan: Product, price, place and promotions are the four P’s of marketing. Completely describe your product, distribution channels, pricing and promotion of your product. Be as concise as you can proving you know how to get your product into a consumers hands.
Operations Plan: How are you going to serve your customers? Talk about your company’s short-term processes, (everyday activities) as well as long term processes. Other information to include: revenue milestones, customer contracts secured, dates of product releases, future funding, hiring and IPO. At this point potential investors are seeking the ΓÇ£exitΓÇ¥ which means pay day for them.
Management Team: The driving force behind your company is your management team. Submit biographies for your Board of Directors and team members. Focus on accomplishments that prove you have the ability to put a plan in place and grow your business. Fill any management gaps that are crucial to the infancy stage of the company before you complete or present a business plan.
Financial Plan: The financial plan will be the area your investors spend the most time examining, because this is where they assess the potential rewards. Pro forma statements (future projections) must reveal operating margins, employee head counts, dates for market penetration rates, mergers, IPO’ and acquisitions. Remember, be real about these numbers.
Business Plan Appendix: Documentation that backs up everything you have stated in your business plan. The financial plan, executive summary and the rest of the document will need a little back up if you want investors to take you seriously. Patent information, letters from customers or partners, technical drawings, complete list of competition and a list of key customers.