See the specimen plan outline below
This is not an endorsement of this business plan for your business
A business plan is more of an analytical framework than a specific type of document of agreement. It shows that you have done your homework on your business, and at least thought about, if not provided, solutions to common challenges that all businesses face.
Great article by Susan Ward
with non-legal template and instructions
- Industry Overview
- Market Analysis
- Ownership & Management
- External Resources
- Balance Sheet
What goes in a business plan?
Do I really have to do this?
Who is a business plan written for? Who am I trying to convince?
Should I just follow a template? Is there a better format or outline I can use?
Do I need to revisit this document each year?
(more always coming)
o The reason: What is the need/gap/problem that your product meets/fills/solves?
o Ideal Customer (also called Target Customer)
o Size of Market: How many are affected by this problem that you might reach?
o Trends in the industry (at least 3) and your industry's code
o Indirect (how else do your ideal/target customers currently have their need met?)
o Competitive Matrix, illustrating your company against major competitors based on customer needs
Marketing and Sales
o How you will position your business relative to your competition (are you more convenient, better service, lower cost, etc? competitive advantage?) – make sure that you are emphasizing what matters to the customer
o How you will find customers: i.e. what marketing strategies will you select, and why?
o Who will be selling? Social media? Detail!
o Entire business process from sale to fulfillment and follow up
o Who, what, where, when, how
o Describe any key vendors/partners - upstream and downstream
Management and Organization
o Brief bio of founders, focused on experience relevant to the business (full bio or resume would go in an appendix)
o Legal entity/structure of the business, and when established, where located
o Other key personnel
o Bios (if personnel are on board)
o General job duties and timing/plan for hiring
o Financial narrative summarizing:
o Startup Expenses
o Cash Flow Projections for 1-3 years (monthly for first 1-2 years)
o Source(s) of funding
o Anything else relevant for the business plan reader that is not included above, such as:
o "Menu" of products and prices (whether prices themselves are not disclosed, the basis for making your pricing calculation, i.e. input cost/.7=sales price + tax)
o Certificates/Licenses/Bonds/Insurance and corresponding warranties
o Key vendors/suppliers
Executive Summary (write this last) Business Description
o Name of entity, principal shareholders, and managers
o What you do and for whom (1 -2 short paragraphs)
o What need do you meet?
o Mission (purpose/what are you offering and why is it important) : Why?
o Vision (1- 3 year horizon : goal outlook for the enterprise)