It is important to understand the different elements of a simple business plan so that you can write a beneficial one that will get your business organized and keep you on track towards success.
Your business plan's cover is important because it lays the foundation for the pages to follow. It is your chance to make your business report stand out from the other more generic looking business plans.
The Executive Summary
This is a one page summary of your business. It must include all of your important contact information and clearly state why someone should either loan you money or invest in your business.
The Table of Contents
While a lot of people overlook this part of a business plan, it is important because otherwise your business plan will look very amateurish.
Information about Your Company
There is a lot of information that needs to be included in this section such as:
- The date when your company was formed and they reason it came into existence.
- The type of company it is.
- If you have a corporation, then state how many shares have been issued and to whom.
- If you have a partnership, then state who is involved.
- State who formed the company, and if it wasn't you, then state how you came to own the company.
- List the people who are currently involved and their roles. It is also important to explain why these people want to devote themselves to this business.
- What you foresee as the company's future.
Out of all of this information, it is actually the story of your company that will grab the lender's attention. After all, lenders see facts and figures all day, but they rarely hear a compelling story. If you have a compelling story, then your business plan is sure to stand out.
Information about the Industry
Good statistical information is really important here since this is what bankers and lenders really like to see. Make sure that you do your homework so that you can provide them with good, solid figures. You will want to showcase these things in a way that will benefit your company. The statistics that you need to include are:
- How the industry is growing.
- How your company fits into this industry.
- Charts to show the industry's strengths.
- Demographic information.
Biographical Information on Principals
Use this section to tell your venture capitalists about who they are talking to. You should write a page about each principal and their accomplishments.
A Marketing Plan
This is your chance to explain how you plan to market your company. Make sure that you showcase any past successes and answer the following questions:
- Why do you think that you can promote your business?
- How will you promote it?
- What will this cost?
- How are others promoting this type of business?
- How can you compete with other businesses?
This area of your business report will vary depending upon whether or not you are a new business. New businesses will want to project what their quarterly earnings will be for the first two years. On the other hand, existing businesses will want to give a summary of each year for the past five to ten years. Whenever possible, provide this information in the form of a chart as it is then easier to reference.Make sure that your business plan is unique and that every part of it is sharp and concise. Your business plan will stick out if you are able to put together a convincing presentation.