Often a business plan will come into play when you are trying to raise funds to help grow your business or get started for that matter. In developing your business plan, there are a few key ingredients that need to be included. Just as when you are putting together a delicious recipe, a business plan is also comprised of several ingredients that all need to come together perfectly. Below are the key elements of a solid business plan.
1. Executive summary
This is an overview of the entire business and the plans for the company moving forward. It should be the first component of your business plan. And it is generally in the one to two-page range as far as length.
In this section, you will outline what your productservice is, what problem and/or pain points it addresses, and for whom are you solving a problem; in other words, who constitutes your target market.
This section goes into detail regarding how you are going to use the opportunity identified and turn it into a viable business. So here you will include such things as marketing plans, how operations will flow, and what types of milestones you will be used to measure the success and/or lack thereof of your business.
4. Company / management summary
Your team is at the backbone of your business, and so it has to be a major element of your business plan. Use this section, to describe your tea, their experience, and who you might be looking to hire. Additionally, offer an overview of legal structure, location, and history.
5. Financial plan
This part is extremely important especially if you are trying to raise money for your company. Investors are going to want to see those financial forecasts. It should also include a cash flow statement, sales forecasts, as well as a profit and loss statement, among other components.
This could be thought of as a miscellaneous section; that is to say if you want to include additional product info, images, or any other relevant information that you think will help enhance your business plan.
A few tips for making your business plan a standout
Wherever possible, keep it short
While you want your plan to be detailed, you don't want to ramble on and on and lose the attention of whoever is reading your plan. People are generally not going to sift through 100 pages, probably not even going to read through fifty. You want it readable and to the point.
Understand your audience
Keep the language relatively simple. You want the audience to be able to clearly understand what is being relayed. If your company is involved in the tech sector, you still want to avoid using tech-related jargon that is inaccessible to many. Keep any explanation simple and straightforward.
Don't be intimidated
While it may seem an intimidating task to write a business plan, it doesn't have to be. There are a ton of tools and resources to help you. Remember, you're the expert in your field, own it.