If you search on the internet or look in business textbooks, you will find many different ideas and opinions about what a business plan should include, and what the order of the sections should be. You will discover some of these later in this learning pathway.
However, to start us off, here is an example of a typical outline for a business plan:
What should a business plan include?
- Executive Summary. This section lists the highlights of the entire business plan. Some typical subsections in the executive summary section are objectives, mission, and keys to success.
- Company Information. The company information section covers key information about the establishment of the company, such as legal history, start-up plans, ownership details, and location(s). Depending on the size and longevity of a company (how long they have been operating), this section could vary from a couple of paragraphs to several pages.
- Product and/or Service. The product and/or services section describes what your business is selling. This section should be described in enough detail to adequately inform the reader about the product and/or service, along with the benefits associated with the item. Some common subsections in this section are competitive assessment, sales material, sourcing and fulfillment, technology, and future products and/or services.
- Market Analysis. The next section, market analysis, covers the market conditions, customer needs and wants, and a plan on reaching those potential customers. Some common subsections in this section are market segmentation, market needs, market trends, market growth, industry analysis, distribution patterns, buying patterns, and competitors.
- Strategy and Implementation. The strategy and implementation section covers the details around how your business is going to actually execute your product and service ideas. This section is the heart of the business plan, laying out the strategy for reaching your business goals. Specific dates and budgets should be used to allow for easy tracking of results. Some common subsections in this section are value proposition, competitive advantage, marketing strategy, market positioning, pricing options, promotion strategy, marketing programs, sales strategy, sales forecast, sales programs, strategic partners and alliances, and milestones. Due to the amount of detail included in this section, the strategy and implementation section will be one of the longest sections in your business plan.
- Web Plan. The web plan section illustrates how the business will utilize the web to market to potential customers, advertise its product and/or service, complete customer transactions over the Internet, etc. Some common subsections in this section are website strategy, website development costs, web marketing strategies, web sales strategies, and web operation plans.
- Management Team. The next section, management team, describes the organizational structure and key members of management. Some common subsections included in this section are organizational structure, management team, management team gaps, and personnel plan.
- Financial Analysis. The last section, financial analysis, is typically the section most focused on in a business plan. Everyone wants to know the company’s projected profits and losses when making any investment or funding decisions. This section covers all information associated with the financial well-being of the company, including projected profits and losses, current balance sheet, projected cash flow, and break-even analysis. In addition to these financial statistics, this section includes financial assumptions, financial indicators, business ratios, and a long-term plan.
Which section of the business plan do you think would be hardest to write for a start-up business? Give the reason for your answer.
Market analysis, because…
Post your comment(s) below and then look on the course feed page to see what others have posted.
You must be logged in to post to WEnotes.
If you prefer you can create a post on your learning journal blog. Be sure to label or tag your post IENT102.
Note: Your comment will be displayed in the course feed.