The document outline below can help you structure your business plan and give you some useful hints about what to write in each section. This is a simple, basic plan template that fits any type of business.
The purpose of executive summary is to summarize the highlights of the project and to provide a brief snapshot of the business. The reader can specify the size and type of the company, the management structure, the products and services it offers, the size of the target market, and the financial goals of the business.
The business overview section generally consists the information about your company's legal name, address and contact information. Briefly describe the ownership and organisational structure, give a mission statement and a list of your business objectives and success factors. Depending on the business model, you may need to include a description of the location and facilities. Describe your company's history (if any) or any start-up information.
The starting point here is a clear statement of what the product is or what service your business will provide. Explain what makes your products or services unique and how they will differ from those of your competitors.
Do you have any plans to update existing products or to offer new products or services? If yes, provide a brief description of what you plan to do.
This section automatically includes the Sales Revenue table (see below). You may leave some key assumptions or comments on your sales forecast here.
The marketing strategy section typically consists of:
- Industry analysis, which assesses the general industry environment in which you compete;
- Target market analysis, which identifies and quantifies your customers;
- Competitive analysis, which identifies your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses;
- Marketing plan, which explains how you will effectively market your products and services to the target customers.
Describe the management and staffing structure of your business. Discuss how many employees you currently have (if any) and how many you expect to have over the next years. Point out the key people and their roles in your management team. Discuss how you will fill other key jobs within your business. Discuss any factors that could affect your ability to find, hire and keep employees.
Provide an overview of the types of activities your business must routinely perform. Depending on the business model, you may describe the manufacturing process and/or the process of rendering services, filling orders, collecting money from customers, providing after-sale support, dealing with unexpected occurrences or changing conditions etc. As on the template, this chapter consists three sub-chapters dealing with overhead expenses, fixed assets and funding.
This sub-chapter automatically includes the Other Operating Expenses table (see below). You may want to include some comments on the projected expenses.
This sub-chapter automatically includes the Asset Purchases table (see below). If you intend to purchase some fixed assets (equipment, machinery, land), give some comments on your investment plan here.
This sub-chapter automatically includes the Capital Structure table (see below). You may find it useful to give some comments on how the company is financed by the owners and by other investors (bank loans, venture capital), if any.
The risk analysis section should anticipate the events or conditions that could affect your business success. Discuss how likely it is that these events will occur and what steps you will take to limit the impact should these events occur.
This sub-chapter includes several financial projections (see below). Your comments on the financials are optional.