Business Plan Format Guide | ExpertHub

 

what are the contents of a business plan

business plan. WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN CONTENTS OF A BUSINESS PLAN; WHAT MAKES A GOOD BUSINESS PLAN P Test assumptions, especially if the idea is realistic; Identify strengths and weaknesses. A business plan has two purposes: firstly, to bring in extra resources; and secondly, to help us manage resources better. A business plan is a formal written document containing business goals, the methods on how these goals can be attained, and the time frame within which these goals need to be achieved. It also describes the nature of the business, background information on the organization, the organization's financial projections, and the strategies it intends to implement to achieve the stated targets. Contents of a Written Business Plan I. Background and Purpose. II. Market Analysis. III. Product or Service Development. IV. Marketing. V. Financial Data. VI. Organization Structure and Management. VII. Ownership. VIII. Risk Factors. IX. Conclusion.


Elements of a Business Plan | Business Strategy


Now that you understand why you need a business plan and you've spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. The following pages will describe in detail the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn't include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help.

With that in mind, jump right in. Within the overall outline of the business plan, the executive summary will follow the title page. The summary should tell the reader what you want. This is very important. All too often, what the business owner desires is buried on page eight.

Clearly state what you're asking for in the summary. The statement should be kept short and businesslike, probably no more than half a page. It could be longer, depending on how complicated the use of funds may be, but the summary of a business plan, what are the contents of a business plan, like the summary of a loan application, is generally no longer than one page.

Within that space, you'll need to provide a synopsis of your entire business plan. Key elements that should be included are:. When writing your statement of purpose, don't waste words. If the statement of purpose is eight pages, nobody's going to read it because it'll be very clear that the business, no matter what its merits, won't be a good investment because the principals are indecisive and don't really know what they want.

Make it easy for the reader to realize at first glance both your needs and capabilities. What are the contents of a business plan business description usually begins with a short description of the industry.

When describing the industry, discuss the present outlook as well as future possibilities, what are the contents of a business plan. You should also provide information on all the various markets within the industry, including any new products or developments that will benefit or adversely affect your business.

Base all of your observations on reliable data and be sure to footnote sources of information as appropriate. This is important if you're seeking funding; the investor will want to know just how dependable your information is, and won't risk money on assumptions or conjecture.

When describing your business, the first thing you need to concentrate on is its structure. By structure we mean the type of operation, i. Also state whether the business is new or already established. In addition to structure, legal form should be reiterated once again. Detail whether the business is a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, who its principals are, and what they will bring to the business.

You should also mention who you will sell to, how the product will be distributed, and the business's support systems. Support may come in the form of advertising, promotions and customer service. Once you've described the business, you need to describe the products or services you intend to market. The product description statement should be complete enough to give the reader a clear idea of your intentions. You may want to emphasize any unique features or variations from concepts that can typically be found in the industry.

Be specific in showing how you will give your business a competitive edge. For example, your business will be better because you will supply a full line of products; competitor A doesn't have a full line. You're going to provide service after the sale; competitor B doesn't support anything he sells. Your merchandise will be of higher quality. You'll give a money-back guarantee. Competitor C has the reputation for selling the best French fries in town; you're going to sell the best Thousand Island dressing.

Now you must be a classic what are the contents of a business plan and ask yourself, "How can I turn a buck? And why do I think I can make a profit that way? You don't have to write 25 pages on why your business will be profitable.

Just explain the factors you think will make it successful, like the following: it's a well-organized business, it will have state-of-the-art equipment, its location is exceptional, the market is ready for it, and it's a dynamite product at a fair price.

If you're using your business plan as a document for financial purposes, explain why the added equity or debt money is going to make your business more profitable. Show why your business is going to be profitable.

A potential lender is going to want to know how successful you're going to be in this particular business. Factors that support your claims for what are the contents of a business plan can be mentioned briefly; they will be detailed later. Give the reader an idea of the experience of the other key people what are the contents of a business plan the business.

They'll want to know what suppliers or experts you've spoken to about your business and their response to your idea. They may even ask you to clarify your choice of location or reasons for selling this particular product.

The business description can be a few paragraphs in length to a few pages, depending on the complexity of your plan. If your plan isn't too complicated, keep your business description short, describing the industry in one paragraph, the product in another, and the business and its success factors in three or four paragraphs that will end the statement.

While you may need to have a lengthy business description in some cases, it's our opinion that a short statement conveys the required information in a much more effective manner.

It doesn't attempt to hold the reader's attention for an extended period of time, and this is important if you're presenting to a potential investor who will have other plans he or she will need to read as well. If the business description is long and drawn-out, you'll lose the reader's attention, and possibly any chance of receiving the necessary funding for the project. Market strategies are the result of a meticulous market analysis.

A market analysis forces the entrepreneur to become familiar with all aspects of the market so that the target market can be defined and the company can be positioned in order to garner its share of sales.

A market analysis also enables the entrepreneur to establish pricing, distribution and promotional strategies that will allow the company to what are the contents of a business plan profitable within a competitive environment. In addition, it provides an indication of the growth potential within the industry, and this will allow you to develop your own estimates for the future of your business. Begin your market analysis by defining the market in terms of size, structure, growth prospects, trends and sales potential.

The total aggregate sales of your competitors will provide you with a fairly accurate estimate of the total potential market. Once the size of the market has been determined, what are the contents of a business plan, the next step is to define the target market. The target market narrows down the total market by concentrating on segmentation factors that will determine the total addressable market--the total number of users within the sphere of the business's influence.

The segmentation factors can be geographic, customer attributes or product-oriented, what are the contents of a business plan. For instance, if the distribution of your product is confined to a specific geographic area, then you want to further define the target market to reflect the number of users or sales of that product within that geographic segment.

Once the target market has been detailed, it needs to be further defined to determine the total feasible market. This can be done in several ways, but most professional planners will delineate the feasible market by concentrating on product segmentation factors that may produce gaps within the market. In the case of a microbrewery that plans to brew a premium lager beer, the total feasible market could be defined by determining how many drinkers of premium pilsner beers there are in the target market.

It's important to understand that the total feasible market is the portion of the market that can be captured provided every condition within the environment is perfect and there is very little competition. In most industries this is simply not the case, what are the contents of a business plan. There are other factors that will affect the share of the feasible market a business can reasonably obtain.

These factors are usually tied to the structure of the industry, the impact of competition, strategies for market penetration what are the contents of a business plan continued growth, and the amount of capital the business is willing to spend in order to increase its market share.

Arriving at a projection of the market share for a business plan is very much a subjective estimate. It's based on not only an analysis of the market but on highly targeted and competitive distribution, pricing and promotional strategies.

For instance, even though there may be a sizable number of premium pilsner drinkers to form the total feasible market, you need to be able to reach them through your distribution network at a price point that's competitive, and then you have to let them know it's available and where they can buy it. How effectively you can achieve your distribution, pricing and promotional goals determines the extent to which you will be able to garner market share.

For a business plan, you must be able to estimate market share for the time period the plan will cover. In order to project market share over the time frame of the business plan, you'll need to consider two factors:. Defining the market is but one step in your analysis. With the information you've gained through market research, you need to develop strategies that will allow you to fulfill your objectives. When discussing market strategy, it's inevitable that positioning will be brought up.

A company's positioning strategy is affected by a number of variables that are closely tied to the motivations and requirements of target customers within as well as the actions of primary competitors. What are the contents of a business plan you've answered your strategic questions based on research of the market, you can then begin to develop your positioning strategy and illustrate that in your business plan.

A positioning statement for a business plan doesn't have to be long or elaborate. It should merely point out exactly how you want your product perceived by both customers and the competition. How you price your product is important because it will have a direct effect on the success of your business, what are the contents of a business plan.

Though pricing strategy and computations can be complex, the basic rules of pricing are straightforward:. Distribution includes the entire process of moving the product from the factory to the end user. The type of distribution network you choose will depend upon the industry and the size of the market. A good way to make your decision is to analyze your competitors to determine the channels they are using, then decide whether to use the same type of channel or an alternative that may provide you with a strategic advantage.

As we've mentioned already, the distribution strategy you choose for your product will be based on several factors that include the channels being used by your competition, your pricing strategy and your own internal resources.

With a distribution strategy formed, you must develop a promotion plan. The promotion strategy in its most basic form is the controlled distribution of communication designed to sell your product or service. In order to accomplish this, the promotion strategy encompasses every marketing tool utilized in the communication effort.

This includes:. Once the market has been researched and analyzed, conclusions need to be developed that will supply a quantitative outlook concerning the potential of the business. The first financial projection within the business plan must be formed utilizing the information drawn from defining the market, positioning the product, pricing, distribution, and strategies for sales.

The sales or revenue model charts the potential for the product, as well as the business, over a set period of time. Most business plans will project revenue for up to three years, although five-year projections are becoming increasingly popular among lenders. When developing the revenue model for the business plan, the equation used to project sales is fairly simple.

It consists of the total number of customers and the average revenue from each customer. In the equation, "T" represents the total number of people, "A" represents the average revenue per customer, and "S" represents the sales projection.

 

Simple Business Plan Template for Entrepreneurs

 

what are the contents of a business plan

 

Wikis > Business Plan Table of Contents. Business Plan. A business plan is a document that clearly communicates what your company does, identifies your goals, and shows potential investors how you plan on being successful. It will act as a road map, giving you an idea about what audience to target and how to go about doing it. When it comes to a business plan format, there are ten basic elements that must be covered when writing a business plan. The standard contents of a business plan includes: an overview; executive summary; general company description; the opportunity; industry and market; your strategy; the team; a marketing plan; operational plan; financial plan; an appendix. A business plan is a formal written document containing business goals, the methods on how these goals can be attained, and the time frame within which these goals need to be achieved. It also describes the nature of the business, background information on the organization, the organization's financial projections, and the strategies it intends to implement to achieve the stated targets.