Business plans come in many shapes and sizes. Often the first draft of a business plan is written on a bar napkin or scratch paper! There are 3 primary reasons to write a business plan.

1.) To communicate your ideas to others, especially potential investors
2.) To force you to take an objective, critical, and unemotional look at your business project
3.) To be used as an operating tool/roadmap/blueprint to help you manage your business and work effectively toward its success.

Below is a suggested outline for a business plan, whether it be for your own use, or for an investor.

  1. Cover Sheet (Include name of business, names of principals, address, phone number, and logo)
  2. Statement of Purpose or Executive Summary
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Description of the Business
  5. Product/Service
  6. Marketing
    1. Place, Product, Promotion, and Price Strategies
    2. Target Market
    3. Future Growth Opportunities
  7. Location of Business
  8. Competition
  9. Description of Management
  10. Personnel Needs, Salaries, Organizational Chart
  11. Application and Expected Effect of Loan or Investment
  12. Sources and Applications of Funding
  13. Capital Equipment List
  14. Balance Sheet for End of Year One
  15. Breakeven Analysis
  16. Pro Forma Income Projections/Profit and Loss Statements
    1. Three Year Summary
    2. Detail by Month for Year One
    3. Detail by Quarter for Years Two and Three
    4. Notes of Explanation
  17. Pro Forma Cash Flow Statements
    1. Detail by Month for Year One
    2. Detail by Quarter for Years Two and Three
    3. Notes of Explanation
  18. Supporting Documents (ie. legal documents, personal resumes, credit reports, copies of leases, contracts, floor plan, industry data, articles of partnership, personal balance sheet, cost of living budget, job descriptions, letters of intent, contracts, or anything else relevant to the plan)

Leave a Reply