Business plan parts and outline breakdown
The business plan is an important document in the business realm, everyone who is into business at any level understands that. A business plan is to a business exactly what a building plan is to a building project. Both documents are very important documents in their own rights and without them, all you are left to do is a bunch of guess work. Meanwhile, guesswork isn’t a safe practice in business anymore like embarking on a building project without a building plan is not only dangerous but can result in a big loss.
So, what brought about the topic, “Business Plan Parts and Outline Breakdown”, which I am writing on today? As important as a business plan is, writing it is usually an upheaval task for many entrepreneurs and business owners. Many of them have their ideas in their heads and hearts but putting it together to create a business plan that makes sense to investor/lenders or for internal operation becomes quite challenging. Yet, as a business person, writing a business plan is a necessity you really cannot run away from if you are thinking of any serious achievements in business. So, how does entrepreneurs overcome this hurdle and challenges that are associated with writing a business plan? This is the reason why I thought of writing this article on “Business Plan Parts and Outline Breakdown” so as to help many people who are in such a fix as far as writing good business plans is concerned.
The goal of this article is to simplify and demystify business plan writing for you as much as possible. Next, let us look at the breakdown of parts and outlines of a business plan.
The outlines of a business plan
A business plan is usually structured to contain the following major topics and subheadings, you can use them as a guide to write your award-winning business plan.
- Executive summary
The executive summary is an important part of your business plan where you provide a summary of all you have written in your plan in a way that is concise but revealing the most important fact that the investor must be aware of. Write it in such a way that, if the executive summary (which should not exceed a page) is all that a lender or an investor gets to read, it is as good as having all the important information communicated already.
This section of your business plan provides you with a very important opportunity to sell the strengths of your business to investors or lenders as the case may be. This is the part of your business plan where you should talk about who you are, what you do, how you operate and perhaps some of the achievements you have recorded in your business. Tell them how you have grown – or if it’s a business that is about to start, tell them about the experiences and skills that qualifies you (and any other person on your team) to run the business profitably. The following are some of the expected contents in this section
- Vision and mission statements
- Legal status
- Location and facilities,
- Production plan
- Business strategy
- Key success factors
This is another crucial and important aspect of your plan. This is so important because this is where you will demonstrate your understanding of your market. It is very easy to see from the market section of your business plan if the business will succeed or not, and two measures can be used to determine that. One is to see whether the market for your products or services is available and viable. If market availability has been checked and confirmed okay, the next thing we would want to know from this section of your business plan is you own understanding of that market. If the checks on either or both of these two parameters returns a negative feedback, then the chances of success in that venture is almost non-existent – and no investor or lender would like to proceed on that basis. So, this is one important aspect of your business plan which you must understand so well and pay attention to. Typically, this section usually bothers on some or all of the following topics.
- Nature and size
- Target market
- Key competitors and players
- Service delivery
- Quality assurance
- Demand/supply analysis
- Competitive edge
- Marketing Plan
This is that setion in your business plan where you are expected to talk about your products and/or services in details and focus particularly on the benefit of each of the products and/or services, as the case may be. In addition, you should talk about the various activities that you will adopt in your marketing efforts, what you want to achieve with these activities and the specific times that you expect each task to be completed. In simple terms, what you are trying to communicate here is what you will do to ensure that you gain significant market share that ensures profitability. However you have chosen to say it, it must be said well, and the appropriate elements in this section which include, but not limited to the following, must be included.
- Promotion and distribution strategy: How you will get your product in front of the right audience and the approach you will take in ensuring that your product or service get to the exact PLACES where those who need your product can be found.
- Market positioning
Read Also: How to start a business plan writing company
5.0 Organizational structure
This is a very crucial aspect in your business plan document. It basically speaks about the flow of information, flow of authority and the flow of finances and other resources. It details who is responsible for what and roles and responsibilities of various offices or officers within the business. The complexities involved in writing the organization structure part of your business plan will be directly proportional to the level of functions that are required within the business. In a simple term, this aspect of the business plan deals with the questions of “Who is responsible for what?” and “Who is accountable to who?” Typically in this section, you will be addressing the topics such as:
- Management team and their responsibilities
- Personnel plan and the roles of staff members
- Value and norms of the company
- Legal, regulatory, social and environmental issues
Depending on the kind of business you are into and the activities involved, your business plan may need to include some or all of the following details.
- Legal issues
- Regulatory issues
- Social issues
- Environmental issues
7.0 Financial Plan
Here comes another important aspect of your business plan, and you cannot afford to be careless in this part. No allowance for guesswork here. Your homework must be well done and your presentation must be top-notch as well. The following elements (or maybe not all, depending on your type of business) are to be included in this part of your plan.
- Forecast of sales
- Estimate of costs
- Working capital projection
- Startup capital required
- Proposed financial structure
- Loan repayment and interest payment schedule
- Projected profit and loss account
- Cash ow projection
- Projected balance sheet
- Financial analysis
8.0 Risk Analysis
- Risk analysis and mitigants: Here you describe any possibility for loss, harm or danger – or any activities that can give rise to any form of risk. You should also discuss what you will do in each case, to either prevent or, where prevention is not feasible, reduce the effects of all the identified risks on the business.
This is the last part of the document where or there information and details which could not have been part of the main document, but are also important, are added or attached. Examples are:
- Photocopy of certificate of incorporation
- Assumptions behind the figures
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