Creating a business plan is one of the first steps you should take as a business owner. The business plan is an essential roadmap for your business success.
Your business plan is a living document that generally projects three to five years ahead and outlines the path your company intends to take to grow and expand revenues. It should provide detailed information on ways to obtain financing, build relationships, attract employees and increase your confidence as a business owner.
The structure of a business plan may vary depending on your business and needs, but it should incorporate the following sections:
Executive Summary - The executive summary is a high-level description of your business plan and should provide information on your company profile and goals.
Company Description - The company description provides information on what you do, how you are different from other companies and the market to which your business caters.
Market Analysis - Market analysis should focus on the knowledge you have surrounding your industry and the market you service.
Organization & Management - This section should include information such as: organizational structure, details on ownership, profiles of your management team and the qualifications of your board of directors.
Service or Product Line - Describe the product or service you are offering. Provide details about your product's life cycle. Include any information on research and development you are involved in or planning.
Marketing & Sales - You should include an overall market strategy on how you plan to penetrate the market, as well as how you plan to grow and communicate. An overall sales strategy is needed to communicate how you are going to sell your product.
Financial Projections - After you have researched the market, you should develop financial projections. If funding is needed, providing these projections to back up your request is critical. Be sure to include historical and prospective financial data.
Appendix - Provide an appendix on a as-needed basis to include information such as resumes, permits and leases.