Business plans are essential documents in the life cycle of all businesses, from the initial launch phase through to times of change, growth, and expansion. A business plan is also a very detailed document. Here is an outline of the things you should include to ensure your business plan is as comprehensive as possible.
The executive summary should provide a concise overview of the business outlining the name, business concept, products, services, and company vision. It should also give details of the purpose of the business plan so readers know exactly what you want to achieve.
The company description section of the business plan should expand on the business concept and your vision. It should also give details about the legal structure of the business.
In addition, the company description should introduce the reader to the value proposition and unique selling point that you offer to customers. In other words, you should describe why you think your plans for the business will be successful, plus you should highlight the opportunities you have identified in the market.
Product or Service Description
The next stage should involve providing a detailed description of your products or service. You should use this section to highlight what makes your offering different from what is on the market but the content should focus on benefits to the user rather than simply comprising a list of features. This means you should consider why your customers will think your products or services are great, not why you think they are.
Industry Analysis and Description
The items you should include in this section are:
- A description of the industry
- The size of the industry
- The trends in the industry
- How those trends will help you achieve your goals
This is an important part of your business plan both for your readers and for your own information and reference as you begin implementing the plan’s strategies. As a result, you should go into as much relevant detail as possible. This includes:
- How many competitors are there in the market?
- Who are the main competitors?
- What is the market share of your competitors?
- Competitor strengths and weaknesses
- How will you get an advantage to win market share?
Target Market Analysis and Customer Description
This section involves describing your target market including the size of the market and your projected market share.
You should also define your ideal customer in this section too as this will help you put in place an effective marketing strategy. Any market research you have conducted should also be included in this part of your business plan.
In this section, you must outline your marketing plan including the budget you will spend and the different channels you will use to reach your target market and promote your brand, products, and services.
Give an overview of the background and experience of the management team in this section as well as the overall organisational structure of the company.
Strategy and Operations Plan
Next, outline your strategy and operations plan that will deliver your business objectives and vision for the company. The individual elements you should mention will depend on your company, but they can include:
- Pricing strategy
- Staffing strategy
- Distribution plans
- Service delivery plans
- Supplier strategy
- Product development and company expansion plans
- Regulatory compliance plans
- Risk management plans
- And more
Financial Plan and Projections
While this is often the final section of a business plan, it is often the most important. It should include information such as:
- Historical data if it is an established business
- Sales and cost projects
- Cash flow projections
- Funding sources
The projections you include should highlight the potential of the company, but make sure they are realistic.
If you need help with preparing any part of your business plan, particularly the financial section and projections, please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.