A Template of A Successful Business Plan
Now that you know more about the structure of a business plan, you might still be asking the question,
“WTF am I supposed to put in my business plan?”
These are the basics you need for a lean business plan. As your company grows your business plan will grow too. That’s why you want to start off with a business plan of no more then twenty pages, and as your plan grows you can weed out older information to keep it updated and relatable.
1. Cover Letter
This is where you want to put your business name, contact information, and a table of contents. You want this to look professional and straightforward.
You can include your logo and your mission statement. Just leave some white spaces, it allows the readers eyes to take a break and focus on the relevant information.
2. Executive Summary
This is an important part because it sums up your entire plan in one paragraph. It’s the first thing that people are going to read.
You want to make sure that you describe your company and why you started it. What is your product or service, and what purpose does it solve? Make sure to include your main competitors, and how it will triumph over your competition. This is the introduction to your business and if it’s not well written then they might stop right there. The rest of your business plan should be used to prove why your summary is true. The summary should be the first thing you write and the last thing you rewrite.
3. Market Analysis
Whether you hired a marketing group or opted to do the research in house, this is where you would display these results. You should keep this down to the most relevant information.
Market analysis can be made up of a metric ton of data, so picking the highlights for this section can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
Make sure you include information on your target demographic and any changes in your industry that you are ready for. Make sure to include what problem is present and how your product fixes that problem.
This information needs to be verified by a trustworthy source and it should explain how this information was gathered.This allows you to continue delivering the right data to the right people.
4. Competitive Analysis
There are going to be hundreds, if not thousands of businesses that are fighting over the same territories as you. That’s one of the reasons you are targeting a more specific group of people. This way you’re only going against dozens of other companies.
Paying attention to how your competitors operate, can give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. You’re not trying to steal their ideas or undercut them on prices. This is more of a recon mission. You need to figure out the bare bones of what they are doing. What makes them so successful and how can your business do something similar? Include what your strategies are and how you plan to implement them. This planning doesn’t mean that you won’t make the same mistakes others have made, but it gives you an advantage that you wouldn’t have had before.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can always hire outside help.
You can’t run a business by yourself, no matter how hard you try, and that’s where the next section comes in.
5. Management and Organization
As we went over earlier, this is where you would include your management team. You will need their names, job titles, qualifications and salaries.
The best way to present this information in a visually stimulating way is to put it in an organizational chart or table.
Make sure to include your Board of Directives in a separate section, along with any partners and what percentages of the company they own.
6. Product Placement
Here’s where you include your product or service and what problem it solves. Include your pricing model and what your
Make sure to include any trademarks or patents.
You should include a separate section for how your going to advertise, such as email campaigns, social media, billboards, etc.
This is also where you include a summary of your business’s growth strategy. Include any future expansion plans into other regions or demographics.
7. Financially Accountable
This is where you include your future forecasts. You want this to include at least the forecasts for the next 2 years, but some lenders expect up to 5 years worth of projections. You should also include your cash flow, income statements. Your P&L report should also be listed, along with any other relevant financial information you have.
This is one of the areas you can adjust depending on who you’re meeting with.