Your business plan will consist of multiple sections which all need to be addressed with an explanation.
1. Executive Summary - In this first section, briefly describe your company's purpose, also called the mission statement. Additionally concisely explain your business philosophy and objectives. This section will serve as a summary of your Key Business Points on various subjects listed below.
2. Business Background / History
- List owners or partners and associated partnership percentages.
- Explain when, how, and why you formed this business and how it has progressed (if there were prior operations) so far.
- What is your business philosophy?
- List your short term (next 12 months) objectives.
- List your long term ( 2 years and 5 years) goals.
- Describe your company's successes or achievements to date.
- Describe your company's difficulties or obstacles that your company has yet to overcome.
- Explain what source of funding were used to capitalize this company initially.
- Did the company experience any changes in ownership or management since its inceptions? If yes, explain.
- What is your company's legal form of ownership? Such as LLC, S Corp, etc.
- Why did you select your particular legal entity form?
3. Business Environment - Describe specific factors which may positively or adversely impact your business or industry, such as politics, national economy, specific tax regulations, etc.
4. Product(s) / Service(s) -Describe your product or service in detail.
- Will you be making changes, additions or reductions to your current line of product(s) or service(s)? If yes, explain.
- Do you know the difference between your product / service's features and benefits?
- What are the benefits of your product or service?
- Does it fill a specific need? Explain?
- Can you define your product's or service's uniqueness or a niche?
5. Marketing Plan
- Who or what makes up your current customer base or what we call target market?
- Is this the market you are looking to sell to?
- Is this a newly created market or an existing one?
- Is this target market likely to grow?
- Explain Are there any current relationship(s) between the company and your potential customers? If yes, how was it accomplished?
- What are your current marketing / promotional approaches?
- What is your distribution channel? Eg. How does your product or service reach your customers? (Retail face to face, sales force, E-commerce, etc.)
- What is your pricing policy?
- What is your customer credit or collection policy?
- What marketing or promotional strategies will the company implement to reach its target customer and increase its market share or grow its customer base?
6. Competitive Environment -Who or what is your company's competitor(s)?
- Identify your competitor's strengths.
- Identify your competitor's weaknesses.
- List your your core competencies that will clearly differentiate your from your competition.
- What are your weaknesses or disadvantages that can hinder your ability to successfully compete?
7. Organizational Management
- Who makes up your management team?
- What prior experience do you have managing staff?
- What is your management style?
- Who will take over the management in the event of your absence?
- What kind of quality control procedures does your management implement to ensure that you deliver a top notch service or product?
8. Business Resources
- Do you currently own or lease any equipment?
- List your major suppliers?
- What are their payment terms?
- What outside resources does your company need to deliver your product or service on time?
9. Employee / Personnel Plan
- How many employees do you currently have?
- How many do you need to fill your current demand for your product or service?
- What kind of pay structure will you implement for your employees.
- How will you monitor for productivity in your workforce?
- Will your employees require additional training to perform productively?
10. Financial Data Plan
- What are your company's sales and profitability trends?
- Do you have a need to seek additional capital for expansion? If yes, what sources of funding will you be seeking?
- What is your projected 12 month and 2 years cash flow and profitability?
- Do you currently have outstanding debt, loans or notes payable? If yes, what are the payment terms? And how do you plan on repaying the debt?
- Does the company have any delinquent loans, tax obligations or pending lawsuits?
- How will the owners, shareholders, or partners be compensated for services?
- Does the company implement a generally accepted method of accounting?
- What system for accounting does the company currently use to prepare financial reports?
- How often do you reconcile your bank / credit card accounts?
- Have you prepared a generally acceptable Profit / Loss statement?
- What internal control procedures do you implement to safeguard against theft of key assets and company resources?
- Have you been implementing a working budget?
11. Legal Environment - Do you need to obtain any licensing, environmental regulations, trademarks, copyrights, patents, zoning or building codes to operate your business?