What Do Successful Business Plans Have in Common?

It is vital to see the 10 sections contained within a business plan as more than due diligence. See them as a chance to captivate the investor because each one has a special function.

The Executive Summary – This is the ΓÇÿhook’ of your plan and precisely outlines your product, both the size and demand of the market, as well as the business’ specific qualifications to be able to fill the market needs. When your executive summary is good investors will want to read the rest.

The Company Analysis – This is your chance to outline your achievements. Include a timeline of your achievements that both the business and/or management has attained on a prior game plan. Also include how your company has an ΓÇÿunfair competitive advantage’ for example proprietary technology.

The Industry Analysis – This is where you prove that you know the industry completely as well as overlapping industries that your company competes in. You need to include complete industry figures from reputable data sources as well as niche trends. Make sure that you are specific.

The Customer Analysis – This is a map of your customer relationships. This is where you need to show that you know your customers better than any other business. Be sure to include nice market trend statistics, demographics, psychographics, and all other relevant customer info.

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The Competitive Analysis – This is where you prove that you know your opponent/s. Remember that your competition isn’t restricted to public companies that function within your industry. Your actual competition is in fact any service/product that customers are able to utilize to meet the same needs that your business does and that includes actions the customers can take themselves. Indicate the both the strengths and the weaknesses of your competition.

The Marketing Plan – Remember the 4 P’s: Product, Promotions, Price, and Place. Expound your product and how it will be promoted. Expound on your pricing and distribution channels. Try to be specific wherever you can and let your investors see in what way you intend to move the product into the consumer’s hands.

The Operations Plan – This is a description of the ways you service your customers. Inform the investors of the daily activities of your business including both short-and-long term processes. Make sure to also provide projected dates of product releases, revenue milestones, partnership formations, customer contracts secured, future funding rounds and IPO, and hiring. This is where investors are seeking context pertaining to ΓÇÿexits’ or payout for their capital.

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The Management Team – This is the very engine that drives your business’ success. Make sure that you provide bios of your team and Board of Directors. Include accomplishments that best indicate their abilities when it comes to executing plans and growing the business. If any gaps that are essential to the initial operation of the company make sure to fill these prior to completing your business plan.

The Financial Plan – Because this provides the details pertaining to the way in which your company will reap rewards your investors will devote much of their time to this part of the plan. This is why it is crucial that your future projections (pro forma statements) need to include dates for market penetration rates, operating margins, and employee numbers, acquisitions, mergers, and IPOs. You must be completely realistic!

The Business Plan Appendix – This is also called overflow documentation. In this section you back up the claims that you have made in the executive summary, financial plan, and in the other sections as well. Be sure to provide technical drawings, patent info, customer or partner letters, a complete list of competitors, and also a list of key customers if possible.

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