8 Key Essentials for Business Plans

So you want to write a business plan...

Writing a business plan, needs serious thought, and a good understanding of the market opportunities. Here are eight key section that should be covered when you write a business plan.

1) Executive Summary

This is a summary of your business idea. It is the introduction to your business idea and logic and evidence for why you think it will be successful. It is a summary of each of the elements of the business plan, essentially a 5 minute elevator speech on what your business idea is about.

2) Company Description

This section of the business plan introduces the details of the company’s identity and ownership. It will include the company’s name and mission statement (if you have one) and what the company’s primary objectives are. It is also where you should articulate what your company stands for. It should include details on structure and ownership and indicated if it is, in any way already funded.

3) Market Analysis

This section should articulate the market environment within which the opportunity has been identified. A clear description of the opportunity should be included. This is where industry trends, market dynamics and consumer insight should be mentioned. A description of who your customers will be goes into the section too.

4) Products and Services

This is where a clear and compelling description of your product or service is articulated. The rationale for it is discussed here. It is also helpful to describe how and where it will be positioned relative to its competitors in the market and how this will be achieved. You can also include future products that you intend to launch.

5) The Business Strategy

This section details how you will compete in your identified market segment. It should include brand positioning, premium vs. mainstream, and how it is differentiated from competitive offering. Details of the business model should be included in this section.

6) Management and Operations Summary

This is where the people in your business and their skills are detailed. Describe the owners/founders of the business and their respective experience and skills and how this will support the business. The structure of the organisation and how it will operate will be useful. Include who is responsible for which aspects of the management of the company.

7) The Marketing Plan

This is the detail on how your product will compete in its identified market space. This should include product offering and positioning, pricing strategies and promotional actives. It should also include your route to market or distribution plan.

8) Financial Plan and Projections

This is probably the most important part of the business plan and should be carefully thought through. Detail on the investment levels needed to launch, cost of goods and profit margins are essential. It should include details on profit and loss projection over at least 12 months (24-36 is even better), a 12-month cash flow projection, a balance sheet. It is also imperative to include a break-even analysis and start-up expense calculation.

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