It is good practice when writing a business plan to clearly and neatly organize useful and important information into appropriate sections and headings. This will make it easy for readers to grasp your points.
1. The Preface
This section contains your title page and “the table of contents” showing what a reader or an investor is expected to find in your business plan.
2. Executive Summary
The executive summary in a business plan is the most appealing part of the plan to an investor or anyone who decides to pick up your proposal to read. Therefore, you should use the executive summary in your business plan to project the core values your business is offering its potential customers, stating clearly what sets apart your business model from existing ones. You should also state clearly what you will need to bring the plan to fruition. As a tip, your executive summary should be written after you have compiled the entire business plan and should truly summarize the plan.
3. Business Description
Under this heading in your business plan, you should begin with a short introduction of your business and the industry you play in. Describe what currently obtains as well as future expectations. Provide information on markets in this industry and discuss the role of your product/service in this market, taking care to also explain how new developments or products can impact your business positively or otherwise.
4. Marketing Plan
Here in the business plan, you will discuss your clearly defined target market and how you intend to make your product or service to reach your potential customers. It goes without saying that the market strategies you are employing should be a result of comprehensive market analysis.
5. Competition Analysis
In your business plan, you should include the results of the analysis of the competition that you have carried out. It should reflect the core strengths and the key weaknesses of the competition that could be exploited to give you a market advantage. It should also include any effort you are putting in place to prevent the competition from encroaching on your market.
6. Operations and Management Plan
Under this heading, you should discuss the day-to-day running of the business. The operations plan will throw light on logistics issues such as the tasks of each member of the management team, you would also share things like your human resource planning amongst other things.
7. Financial plan
This is usually the most attention-grabbing. This section of the business plan will feature discussion centered on your financial model including financial data and your financial need for the business. Take note that the fact that it gets a lot of attention does not mean that the other sections are less-important. Your financial plan will highlight your detailed expenses, your revenue lines and how much you intend to get from them and the key figures that drive these projections. It will also tie all these together to get a valuation for your business. Valuation and its calculation is a topic for another post. The financial plan is arguably the most important part of your business plan. You might need to call in a professional here, especially for things like valuation. In addition, when investors see that you have a professional doing your financial plans for you, they tend to have more confidence in what you are pitching.
Your conclusion should be short, informative and it should really live up to its calling – a conclusion. You do not need to launch a new tirade of explanations or theories, just keep it short and meaningful.
Finally, when writing a business plan, it’s quite easy to focus on the major details and forget little details like punctuation, grammar, and organization. Ensure you proof-read your business plan. There is nothing quite as painful as a well put together business plan which is largely incomprehensible.
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