Developing a business plan is a critical step in launching any business. Your business plan serves as your roadmap, outlining your business’s goals and detailing how you plan to achieve them. Here’s a general outline of what you should include in your business plan:
This is a brief overview of your business, including the name and location, your vision and mission, the product or service you’re offering, and the purpose of your business plan. This should be compelling and concise to capture the reader’s interest.
This section provides more detail about your business. It should include the legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC), the nature of your business, the specific needs that your product or service fulfills, and how your business is uniquely qualified to fulfill them.
Here you’ll include the information from your market research, including a description of your industry, your target market and its size, the competition, and market trends.
Organization and Management:
This section describes your business’s organizational structure, the owners and management team, and your human resources plan.
Service or Product Line:
Describe your product or service, focusing on the benefits to potential and current customers. Discuss your product lifecycle and intellectual property rights, if applicable.
Marketing and Sales:
Describe your marketing and sales strategy. How will you reach your target market (marketing) and how will you sell your product or service (sales)?
If you’re seeking funding, you’ll need to specify your current funding requirements, future funding requirements over the next five years, how you’ll use the funds, and the types of funding you’re considering.
Provide an outlook of your business’s financial future. This section typically includes income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the next three to five years.
This section includes any additional information, such as resumes, permits, leases, patents, licenses, or product pictures
Although it may seem odd to plan for the end in the beginning, potential investors will want to know your long-term plans. Are you planning to sell the business eventually, pass it on to your children, or transform it into a publicly-traded company?
Remember, a business plan is a living document. As your business grows and the market changes, your business plan should evolve to reflect these changes. Furthermore, it’s not just a document for potential investors, but it should also guide your business decisions and help you stay focused on your objectives.