Last month, we discussed the need for a business plan. This month, we drill down What is Included in the Business Plan. A complete, thoughtful business plan will provide mechanisms to enhance your management in marketing, operations, finances, long-term growth, and development. Components of a successful business plan include:
- Executive Summary – a clear, concise, synopsis of your business. Write it last but put it first so that the reader is compelled to read your complete plan.
- Company Description – conveys the basics of your business. Your mission statement should be at the beginning of this section to describe the goals, objectives, and underlying principles of your company.
- Industry Analysis – the factors that affect your industry as a whole. This will take some research.
- Target Market – who are your customers, the size of your market and your market penetration
- Competition – know who you are up against
- Marketing Plan & Sales Strategy – realistic and price-conscious plan to get your product or service into the hands of the customers as well as measure how effective your company is at maintaining customers and developing new ones
- Operations – the day to day functions of how you plan to run your business
- Management & Organization – your people are the heart of your business, maximize the talents of your team
- Long-Term Development & Exit Plan – develop specific goals, measure your progress along the way
- Financials – historical income statement and balance sheet to provide a baseline for your projections of revenue and expenses for this year and next year. Your financial statements provide you with the information needed to make decisions and access the condition of your business.
- Plan’s Appendix – items that support information (such as key employee resumes) in your business plan
A Business Plan is one of the best tools that can be used to help you stay focused on your business activities and reach your long-term goals.