Business plans are an important business start-up step for many small business owners, especially those who are pitching their business ideas to investors or credit institutions for funding. Because of the vastness of information to be included, business plans can also be one of the most overwhelming parts of starting a business.
Here is a business plan outline that walks you through each section of a basic business plan in the order they typically appear. Each of the links below provides an overview of what should be included, provides an example of the section and shares a few tips for writing each section of your business plan effectively.
The executive summary is the first section of your small business plan that is typically written last. It provides an overview of all of the other sections in the business plan.
The company description section of your business plan is typically the second section, coming after the executive summary. The company description outlines vital details about your company, such as where you are located, how large the company is, what you do and what you hope to accomplish.
The products or services section of your business plan should clearly describe what products and/or services you're selling with emphasis on the value you're providing to your customers or clients.
The market analysis section of your business plan comes after the products and services section and should provide a detailed overview of the industry you intend to sell your product or service in, including statistics to support your claims.
The marketing strategy section of your business plan builds upon the market analysis section. This section outlines where your business fits into the market and how you will price, promote and sell your product or service.
The management summary section of your business plan describes how your business is structured, introduces who is involved, outlines external resources and explains how the business is managed.
The financial analysis section of your business plan should contain the details for financing your business now, what will be needed for future growth as well as estimating your operating expenses.
Appendices and Supporting Information
The appendix of your business plan includes information that supports your statements, assumptions and reasoning used in the other sections of your business plan. This may include graphs, charts, statistics, photos, marketing materials, research and other relevant data.