Updated: Mar 30
Are you planning a new business or thinking about pivoting an existing one? Spice up your business plan to start on the right foot.
Having a detailed business plan is critical to any venture. It helps you understand your goals and keeps you focused on what to do. At the same time, it can help secure vital investments for growing your business.
Here’s an outline that may be of help if you need to create one for your business.
The Executive Summary
Always starts with an executive summary. This is a brief outline of the business plan that contains the proposal and objectives. It’s an overall snapshot of the proposal that will get a lot more detailed later on.
The background section contains information about what the business does and also how everything works and the current stage of development. Here, you must explain the niche and highlight how the business fits in it.
Offer relevant information about the services provided. In the case of a B2C company, you may substitute with product information. Make sure to cover all the benefits, costs, and so on.
Market Breakdown and Strategy
Business plans should always contain a detailed market breakdown. This includes things such as barriers to entry, market structure, among other market characteristics. The market breakdown section requires a fair amount of research. That’s why it’s the part that often takes the longest to complete in great detail. As for the marketing strategy, this is where your business plan outlines your ideas on how to build awareness. Write about how you plan to market your business, package your offer, and sell it.
If you want to create a really detailed business plan, don’t forget to cover the day-to-day operations. Outline how everything runs and create a clear outline from production to sales.
This is particularly relevant information to any financial investor.
This is an optional step, but if the goal of the plan is to secure funding to start strong, you wouldn’t want to skip this. Provide a clear picture of the key roles that the business needs. Define those roles and perhaps even the type of employees desired.
Your business plan is all about getting that proposal to make sense. So, the goal is to state your requirements clearly. At the same time, list the benefits that your proposal brings to the table.
Apart from the sales and cash flow projections, another important element of this section is any trading or existing balance sheets. Again, a business plan isn’t only for proposing a new business. It’s also a useful tool when you want to pivot or seek funding for a struggling venture. So make sure to include a dedicated subsection that evaluates the risks.
Some industries are highly regulated and you may have to include legal disclaimers or any permits needed. Keep everything that has to do with the law in a dedicated section, most commonly somewhere near the end.
Ensure a Good Flow
An often overlooked aspect of business plans is the flow. A comprehensive plan can get very detailed and this is where you want to figure out how to lay the plan out and build anticipation for the proposal. To begin with, you can use a story formula that goes: premise, context, and realisation. Always remember that a good business plan not only has all the necessary details but also has a good flow. It’s crucial if you want to make the reader sign on the dotted line.