There is no one fixed way to write a business plan.
The nature of the business, it’s state of development, the need for outside capital and other factors will determine the exact outline of the plan and will also determine how specific the plan must be.
Below is a basic outline for a strong business plan that I would encourage you to change and alter as your business needs.
When you are setting up your business you need a rigid process, making sure to stick to the plan or initial idea, but you must also know when you need to be like water and allow the flow to form a new or stronger pool.
Our list below will provide a great starting points for those looking to create a business, or when just starting out. These elements of the plan are universal and will apply to all businesses.
- Your business concept What is the concept you came up with and why do you believe it is the best product for the market, right now! Never be concerned about questioning yourself as you will always be your own biggest critic.
- Supply and demand for your product or service Is it a niche market that you are trying to penetrate? What is the size of the market? What mediums will potential customers use to find you? Who is your competition, not just now but in the future? Finally, what is your competitive advantage? Why will people buy from you?
- What management structure will you introduce? Who are the key players in the business? What is their experience and knowledge in the industry and business as a whole? Will you have employees who complement your strengths and make up for your weaknesses?
- Financing for your start up. What are your budgeted overheads? What are your fixed costs and variable costs? What is your break-even point number? If these concepts are foreign to you now, you should be an expert by the time the business plan is written.
The following business plan outline can be used to write a plan for most businesses small and large:
- Executive/Company Summary
- Mission statement
- What will your keys to success be?
- Who are the owners?
- Create a company start-up summary
- Define your Locations
- Products or Services
- Describe the Product/Service you will be offering
- Who is your competition?
- What sales brochures and sales material will you need?
- Fulfilment and delivery of the products/service include Service Level Agreements (SLA’s)
- What kind of technology are you using to support sales (CRM)?
- Other than the initial products, what is the long term plan for new products or services?
- Marketing Plan
- What market segmentation are you trying to approach: What is the age? Gender? Socioeconomic status?
- Is it a unique and boutique market?
- Geographical considerations?
- What is the strategy for targeting to this market
- What analysis have you used to approach this market?
- Are there any buying patterns? Is it seasonal?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What is your distribution plan?
- What business participants, partners and affiliates do you have?
- Strategy and Implementation Summary
- Explain your pricing strategy
- As part of your budgeting, advise your sales strategy and sales forecasts
- Set your timeline for the business
- Do you have any strategic alliances/agents with other businesses?
- Management Summary
- Organisational chart
- Management team
- Human resource and pay plan and outline
- Financial Plan
- Where is the capital coming from to fund the organisation?
- What are your key financial indicators?
- What are the assumptions you have made for the business?
- Starting Costs
- At what point do you break-even and apply analytical data?
- Create a 3 year projected profit and loss
- Calculate your monthly projected cash flow
- What do you project for your balance sheet?
- What are your margins for the business?
We hope this has been helpful and that your business endeavours are successful.
If you would like to learn the best approach to promoting your business, check out To Sell or Not Sell for 11 simple steps to selling.