The format of a Business Plan is something that has been
developed and refined over the years and is something that should
not be changed. Like a good recipe, a business plan needs to
include certain ingredients to make it work.
When you create a business plan, dont attempt to recreate its
format. Those reviewing this type of document have expectations
you must meet. If they do not see those crucial decision-making
components, theyll see no reason to proceed with their review of
your business plan, no matter how great your business idea.
Executive Summary Section
Every business plan must begin with an Executive Summary section.
A well-written Executive Summary is critical to the success of
the rest of the document. Here is where you need to capture the
attention of your audience so that they will be compelled to read
on. Remember, its a summary, so each and every word must be
carefully selected and presented.
Use the Executive Summary section of your business plan to
accurately describe the nature of your business venture including
the need that you plan to fill. Show the reasons why people need
your product or service. Show this by including a brief analysis
of the characteristics of your potential market.
Describe the organization of your business including your
management team. Also, briefly describe your sales and marketing
plan or approach. Finally include the numbers that those
reviewing your business plan want to see the amount of capital
you seek, the carefully calculated sales projections and your
plan to repay the loan.
If youve captured your audience so far theyll read on.
Otherwise, theyll close the document and add your business plan
to the heap of other rejected ideas.
Devote the balance of your business plan to providing details of
the items outlined in the Executive Summary.
The Business Section
Be sure to include the legal name, physical address and detailed
description of the nature of your business. Its important to
keep the description easy to read using common terminology. Never
assume that those reading your business plan have the same level
of technical knowledge that you do. Describe how you plan to
better serve your market than your competition is currently
Market Analysis Section
An analysis of the market shows that you have done your homework.
This section is basically a summary of your Marketing Plan. It
needs to show the demand for your product or service, the
proposed market, trends within the industry, a description of
your pricing plan and packaging and a description of your company
The Financing section must show that you are as committed to your
business venture as you expect those reading your business plan
to be. Show the amount of personal funds you are contributing and
their source. Also include the amount of capital you need and
your plan to repay this debt. Include all pertinent financial
worksheets in this section: annual income projections, a
break-even worksheet, projected cash flow statements and a
Outline your organizational structure and management team here.
Include the legal structure of your business whether it is a
partnership, corporation or limited liability corporation.
Include resumes and biographies of key players on your management
team. Show staffing projection data for the next few years.
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