Now that we have the rules of writing a business plan out of the way, let’s dive into the details of building your plan.
The rest of this article will provide the specifics of what you should include in your business plan, what you should skip, the critical components of the all-important financial projections, and links to additional resources that can help jump-start your plan.
Remember, your business plan is a tool to help you build a better business, not just a homework assignment. Good business plans are living documents that you return to on a regular basis and update as you learn more about your customers, sales and marketing tactics that work (and don’t), and what you got right and wrong about your budget and forecast. Your plan sets out the goals you’d like to achieve and you should use it to track your progress and adjust course as you go.
1. Executive summary
This is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. Most people write it last, though.
This section answers these questions: What are you actually selling and how are you solving a problem (or “need”) for your market? Who is your target market and competition?
How are you going to take your opportunity and turn it into a business? This section will cover your marketing and sales plan, operations, and how you’re going to measure success.
4. Team and company
Investors look for great teams in addition to great ideas. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire. You will also provide a quick overview of your legal structure, location, and history if you’re already up and running.
5. Financial plan
Your business plan isn’t complete without a financial forecast. We’ll tell you what to include in your financial plan.
If you need more space for product images or additional information, use the appendix for those details.
Let’s dive into the details of each section of your business plan and focus on building one that your investors and lenders will want to read.