A Business plan is essential for running a successful business. It provides a blueprint to follow as you run your business. It is also a requirement for business owners who are seeking business financing from lenders and investors. A well-written business plan serves as a blueprint of marketing and financial plans and provides detailed information of where your business is going and how it will get there. Because of the importance of a business plan, it is vital to know what to include in this document. The following outline presents the essential elements of a good business plan.
The executive summary is the first part of your business plan that is usually written last. The executive summary provides a quick overview of the whole business plan. An executive summary is a very important part of the business plant, because after reading it, the investor or lender should be interested in the business. This summary is designed to provide an overview of the entire plan including products or services, personnel, the amount of fund needed and how it will be used. Make sure the executive summary is succinct and packed with enthusiasm for the business.
The company description section is typically the second section of the business plan, and comes after the executive summary. In this section you should outline vital details about your company, such as the company’s mission statement, its location, how large the company is, and what you hope to accomplish. Any past accomplishments should also be included here.
Products or Services
This section of your business plan is where you should provide a clear description of your products or services with emphasis on the benefits of your product or service for the customer.
The market analysis segment of your business plan is next. This section should provide an overview of the market you intend to sell your service or product in. Determine who will use your service or products. Define your target market. Explain where your customers can be found and the strategies you will use to reach them. Include information about your competition including their strengths and weaknesses in the market. Explain how your business is different from the competition.
The financial analysis part of your business plan should provide the details for financing your business and estimate of your operating expenses. You would want to include your company’s income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets. If you are unsure as to how to provide these statements, consult with an accountant or other financial professional for help. It is important that you provide clear and accurate statements.
The management summary section introduces who runs the business and what their responsibilities are. Anyone reviewing your business plan will be want to see who is on your management team and how their skills will contribute to the success and profitability of your business. So be sure to provide information about your management team’s educations, certifications, skills and experiences. A list of successful business managers and owners with impressive credentials and accomplishments can tremendously enhance your business plan.