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What information should be there in your business plan? In what order should be information presented, so that the business plan could be easily understood by creditors and investors? Can you answer all these questions?
Any business plan contains a standard set of elements. Some of them are usually in the same format, some are slightly changed.
For example, a business plan usually begins with a summary, which should be concise and interesting. Readers almost always expect to see sections about a company, its market, its products, its management team, strategy, marketing and financial analysis. However the format of a business plan may change.
How to choose sections that are really important for your business plan, and to omit those that are of no real significance? And in what order should sections follow each other? Here are two options for the structure of the business plan: a simple one and a more detailed structure.
A simple business plan:
1. Summary. It consists maximum of two pages, includes the most important facts about your project, its highlights.
2. Company description: form of business ownership, its organizational structure, history, development plans, start-up plans, etc.
3. Product or Service: Describe what you sell. Lay emphasis on why customers will buy your product or service, why they need it.
4. Market Analysis: You must know your market, customer needs, what places they frequent, what channels to use to reach them, etc.
5. Strategy: it's important to be specific. Specify administrative duties of key managers and employees with exact dates and budgets. Make sure that you can control the results.
6. Web-plan: it is obligatory for e-commerce business and includes description of the site-to-be, its development costs, operations, sales and marketing strategies.
7. Management team: Describe the organizational structure and key members of the management team.
8. Financial Analysis: be sure to add a projected profit and loss statement as well as flow of funds.
Standard tables and charts
There are also some business tables and charts that are commonly found in standard business plans.
Cash flow is the most important type of numerical analysis - you can't do without it. Most plans should also have a sales forecast and projected profit and loss statement. I believe that business plans must also have separate tables on personnel requirements, budgeted balance sheet, market analysis.
Each plan should include bar and pie charts to illustrate the numerical value of your plan.
Advanced business plan:
Here is an extended structure of the business plan, which contains more detailed information about projects.
1 Project Summary
1.1 Project objectives
1.2 Project mission
1.3 Keys to Success. What will make your project succeed.
2 Company summary
2.1 Form of ownership 2.2 Company history (for an existing company), or plan launch (for new companies)
2.3 Company’s headquarters and facilities location
3 Products & Services
3.1 Products and services description
3.2 Comparison to competitor products
3.4 Production technologies
3.5 Future products and services
4 Market analysis
4.1 Market segmentation
4.2 Target market segment strategy
4.2.1 Market demand
4.2.2 Market trends
4.2.3 Market growth
4.3 Industry аnalysis
4.3.1 Market participants
4.3.2 Production distribution
4.3.3 Competition and the structure of purchases
4.3.4 Main competitors
5 Strategy implementation
5.1 Strategy pyramid
5.2 Supply-and-demand situation
5.3 Competitive advantage
5.4 Marketing strategy
5.4.1 Market positioning
5.4.2 Pricing strategy
5.4.3 Promotional strategy
5.4.4 Products and services distribution
5.4.5 Marketing programmes
5.5 Sales strategy
5.5.1 Sales forecast
5.5.2 Sales programmes
5.6 Strategic alliances
5.7 Stages of strategy implementation
6.1 Marketing campaign website
6.2 Development requirements
7.1 Organizational structure
7.2 Management team
8 Financial plan
8.1 Major financial indicators
8.2 Break-even analysis
8.3 Projected profit and loss statement
8.4 Projected cash flow statement
8.5 Projected balance sheet