Business Plan Writing Plan

A well structured business plan can provide in-depth understanding of your existing or proposed business. A wide vision will be provided, showing your own goals, objectives and information regarding your available finances and additional funds you will require. When drafting your own business plan, there are four key areas that require specific attention:

- The nature of your business /niche market

- Management of the business and entrepreneurs involved

- Market conditions in which the business operates

- Financial management, planning; risks and rewards associated with the total investment in the business

A professional business plan should incorporate a cover page which will include an executive summary and a business overview which identifies the business’ profile and the product or service associated with the company. This is then followed with a management section which presents any entrepreneurs involved and the management structure, after which comes the Market section made up as follows:-

- Industrial and marketing analysis

- Sales and marketing strategy

- Financial Statements and Projections

- The Legal and Regulatory environment

- “SWOT” analysis and risk/reward assessment

- Appendices with documentation in support thereof

An Executive Summary is arguably the vital part of any business plan. It is the media by which your strategy will be sold to the investor and is an overview of the entire business plan which should highlight the main objectives and provide summaries of each section associated with it. Therefore, even though it is set at the beginning of the document, it is presented at the end to rehash the essentials of the plan.

The business overview will require a business profile with thorough information on the background and history of your business, i.e: how was it formed and whether it is a new business or not. A mission statement must be also presented, as well as the long and short term objectives relating to the business’ growth. Development and possible exit strategies, such as going public or buying out investors are listed among these options. The second part of the overview will describe in detail, the product or service marketed by the business and any innovative features offered that give an advantage over the competition. Include the key technologies being employed, together with any current and future research and developments. The location and premises particulars are important factors and if applicable, any production facilities. These should be fully presented, with any relative and associated information.

All aspects related or associated directly or indirectly, are to be listed and an organizational chart should be included. Payment, incentives, share options, and conditions of employment relating to key management and directors, together with any management deficiencies, should form part of the presentation. A further highlighted aspect for inclusion, relates to the situation concerning current levels of employment, labor relations and union membership. All other pertinent facts involved with the operation of the business should be revealed and explained comprehensively.

The Market presentation should summarize the industry in which your company operates. Most of the facts you will present, may be researched from government statistics and trade organizations. Your summary should describe current trends and developments within the industry, including the major influencers and any industrial problems. You should also review influencing events, nationally and globally, together with the effects of legislation on the industry generally. The Market analysis and Sales Strategy will be given a full and in-depth presentation. Show future growth potential, with a complete analysis as to the overall trends and expectations. Your existing customer base must be listed and any orders or letters of intent must be shown in support. A comparison should be presented with your competitors, as to pricing structures, product quality, their service delivery and expectations regarding their reaction to your business activity in the marketplace. Adding to this is your strategy to increase and develop the present customer base, advertising and targets.

Your financial statements and projections should be summarized within the body of the business plan. A detailed analysis as an appendix should also be attached. This should show a historical finance performance with at least three sets of audited annual statements in support. It would be advisable in this respect, to consult your accountant or auditor. Legal and Regulatory Environment should display all legal documents, including licenses, copyrights and certificates associated with your business. “SWOT” Analysis and Risk/Reward Assessment, will provide definite information on possible strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Review the strategies carried out in respect of the risk factors and end your Business Plan document with Appendices and Support.

In order to get your business off the ground and see it reach its full potential, a professionally drafted and presented business plan is a must. In a society where competition within business is fierce, it is important that we do all we can in order to get our business off the ground and thriving as soon as possible.

Business Plan

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm’s resume. The basic components include a current and proforma balance sheet, an income statement, and a cash flow analysis. It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make good business decisions. Because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan application. Additionally, it informs sales personnel, suppliers, and others about your operations and goals.

Importance of a Business Plan

The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be overemphasized. It is important for:

- outside funding
– credit from suppliers
– management of your operation and finances
– promotion and marketing of your business
– achievement of your business goals and objectives

Despite the critical importance of a business plan, many entrepreneurs drag their feet when it comes to preparing a written document. They argue that their marketplace changes too fast for a business plan to be useful or that they just do not have enough time. But just as a builder won’t begin construction without a blueprint, eager business owners shouldn’t rush into new ventures without a business plan. It is true that the marketplace changes too fast for any long-term business predictions to come true; nevertheless, the first year’s month-by-month predictions are usually 90% true. Thereafter, slowly it becomes calculated guesses, but still planning provides the impetus, energy, and drive necessary for the business to achieve its objectives.

Before You Begin

Before writing your business plan, you need answers to the following core questions:

- What service or product does your business provide and what needs does it fill?
– Who are the potential customers for your product or service and why will they purchase it from you?
– How will you reach your potential customers?
– Where and how will you get the financial resources to start your business?

The clearer are your answers to these questions, the better will be your business plan. Be as detailed as possible. Writing the answers down provides a firm ground on which your business plan may be based.

Tentative Index of a Business Plan

[ Note: The index will change according to the information obtained/to be disclosed. Not all information may be disclosed. For example, if you are not applying for a loan, then the last three year’s tax statements of principals need not be disclosed. Much other information can be added or deleted as per the market’s demand and supply conditions with respect to your business.]


1.0 Executive Summary

1.1 Description of business

1.2 Objectives

1.3 Mission

1.4 Marketing

1.5 Competition

1.6 Operating procedures

1.7 Personnel

1.8 Business insurance

1.9 Keys to success

2.0 Company Summary

2.1 Company Ownership

2.2 Company History (for ongoing companies) or Start-up Plan (for new companies).

2.3 Company Locations and Facilities

3.0 Products and Services

3.1 Product and Service Description

3.2 Competitive Comparison

3.3 Sales Literature

3.4 Sourcing and Fulfillment

3.5 Technology

3.6 Future Products and Services

4.0 Market Analysis Summary

4.1 Market Segmentation

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

4.2.1 Market Needs

4.2.2 Market Trends

4.2.3 Market Growth

4.3 Industry Analysis

4.3.1 Industry Participants

4.3.2 Distribution Patterns

4.3.3 Competition and Buying Patterns

4.3.4 Main Competitors

5.0 Strategy and Implementation Summary

5.1 Strategy Pyramids

5.2 Value Proposition

5.3 Competitive Edge

5.4 Marketing Strategy

5.4.1 Positioning Statements

5.4.2 Pricing Strategy

5.4.3 Promotion Strategy

5.4.4 Distribution Patterns

5.4.5 Marketing Programs

5.5 Sales Strategy

5.5.1 Sales Forecast

5.5.2 Sales Programs

5.6 Strategic Alliances

5.7 Milestones

6.0 Web Plan Summary

6.1 Website Marketing Strategy

6.2 Development Requirements

7.0 Management Summary

7.1 Organizational Structure

7.2 Management Team

7.3 Management Team Gaps

7.4 Personnel Plan

8.0 Financial Plan

8.1 Loan applications

8.2 Capital equipment and supply list

8.3 Important Assumptions

8.4 Key Financial Indicators

8.5 Break-even Analysis

8.6 Projected Profit and Loss

8.7 Projected Cash Flow

8.8 Projected Balance Sheet

8.9 Business Ratios

8.10 Long-term Plan

9.0 Supporting Documents

9.1 Tax returns of principals for last three years Personal financial statement (all banks have these forms)

9.2 For franchised businesses, a copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor

9.3 Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space

9.4 Copy of licenses and other legal documents

9.5 Copy of resumes of all principals

9.6 Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.


A good business plan is imperative for any business be it small, medium, or big if it needs to survive in today’s tough business environment. Like a warrior sharpens his sword for 6 hours for a battle of 6 minutes, similarly a businessperson should take several days to prepare his business plan in order to survive for many years.

Guidelines For Developing a Business Plan

People who are thinking of starting a business should also think about developing a business plan. It is like a mental exercise but one which is based in reality. It can help in make it clear to you if the business you are planning would be successful or not, or if the product or service you are thinking of offering would have high demand in the market.

A business plan basically should include two main points:

• A brief introduction of yourself (including your personal and professional background) and your idea (including its origins or how it came about); and

• An overview describing the proposed business including the location and the costs that would be involved in the setup.

Think about these when developing a plan for bus:

1. Write down your proposal, what you want to do, and the reasons behind it. This would help in clarifying your ideas and in outlining the rest of the plan.

2. Write down your plans for the proposed business and what new idea you can offer to people. These can form as the basis for your business main structure.

3. Do some basic market research (in real settings and on the Internet) and use the information you gathered in your plan. Even for beginning business owners who are not looking for additional funding, market research can help in knowing what to sell and at what prices to offer them.

4. Even if you are not seeking additional financing, include your financial information like profit and loss forecasts, financial forecasts, or cash flow projections, in the business.

5. A business plan does not need to be lengthy in order to have depth, although it has to discuss what the business is about and how it will make money.

When writing down a plan for business, first look for an outline or template which allows you to make a plan in the format preferred by many investors. Writing a plan is not an intuitive task so an outline or a template is a nice place to get started. Many beginning business people use specialized business plan software which has sample business plans in various industries. Some of which may be similar to your proposed business. Other entrepreneurs even hire people to write business plans for them.

This is understandable because business plans are difficult to write down and most potential lenders want a particular structure for such documents. However, hiring other people to write a business plan ignores the fact that your business idea is different from the others, and you would have a different company description, products, strategy, and or even financial information.

If you are really planning to start a business, get advice from organizations meant to assist entrepreneur, such as a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Beginning business owners should keep in mind that their business plan can be altered if necessary. This document should reflect developments in a business, and with a business that is just starting, a business plan should not be seen as something set in stone. When developing a business plan, the document should be seen more as a guide than a set rule.