Writing a business plan can be very daunting, especially if you have no idea where to start, or what to include. Whilst there are many ways to approach writing and presenting your business plan, there are a number of elements that should be included as standard: an executive summary, a description of your product or service, a marketing model, an operations plan, a financial plan, and a review of your industry.
Here’s what your business plan structure should look like:
Your business plan structure should always start with an executive summary of about 1-2 pages long. The executive summary provides an overview of your business concept, including your key objectives, your ownership structure and management team, your products and services, your target market and marketing strategy, and a final summary of your financial projections. When it comes to writing your executive summary, it is best to write it last, after having written each element in detail. That way, it’ll be a lot easier for you to summarise the key points in the executive summary.
The business overview section of your business plan structure goes into more detail about the history of your business. For example, in this section, it’s important to include details about what your business is, how you came up with the idea, what your vision, and or mission is, what your objectives are, and also your ownership structure.
Products & services:
Following on from your business overview, it’s important to expand upon the products or services you are offering. In this section, you should include the features and benefits of your products and services, including your competitive advantages and the problem or need that they address. You should outline how and where your products will be produced and the typical margins available to you. The purpose of this section is to demonstrate that your products and services are viable and substantial.
The purpose of mentioning an industry review in your business plan structure is to demonstrate the viability of your business based on your research. Therefore, it’s important to discuss the size and growth of your industry as a whole, to determine whether there is an opportunity for your business, or whether the industry is rapidly contracting or becoming far too competitive. As well as researching the size and trends within your sector, you should discover the key markets within your industry, and how you customers buy products or services within those markets. Understanding your industry helps you to make important decisions for your business.
Marketing strategy & sales:
Planning your marketing strategy at such an early stage in your business can be difficult, but it is extremely valuable to start understanding how you plan to market your products or services, or your brand in general. It is essential to define who your target audience is, who your competition is, and what your unique selling points (USP) are. Other things to include in this section of your business plan structure are: your pricing policy, your launch, distribution and sales strategy, your expected turnover, and anything related to public relations, media relations, and social networking.
Operations & management plan:
The operations and management section of your business plan structure should provide further information about the organisational structure of your business. This includes details on your management team, your human resources plan, business locations and facilities, and the day-to-to operations in your business.
By only commenting on your strengths, you open yourself up to criticism where others can clearly see your flaws and challenges. Therefore, it’s important to also highlight these to show how you plan to address them. Challenges may include internal risks, such as logistics and management or financial issues, external risks include legal issues or safety issues, environmental risks,political and economic barriers.
Your financial plan is key to your business plan. It should show three years worth of projected financial statements, including income statements, pro-forma balance sheets, predicted monthly and annual cash flow, deposit statements and loan agreements. Everything related to finances should be in your business plan structure.
Understanding the structure of your business plan really helps you to not only research what is relevant, but also to think more deeply about your business and how you plan to make it work. Having a solid business idea is a great start, but it’s understanding and considering all of these important elements that turn great business ideas into great businesses.
If you would like more helpful tips on planning your business, call the Focus7 team for a no obligation chat on 01462 262020, or simply email us at email@example.com.