When it comes to a business plan format, there are ten basic elements that must be covered when writing a business plan.
The standard contents of a business plan includes:
- an overview
- executive summary
- general company description
- the opportunity
- industry and market
- your strategy
- the team
- a marketing plan
- operational plan
- financial plan
- an appendix.
What to Include in Your Business Plan
Before you physically start writing your business plan, you need to spend some time doing in-depth research into your industry and market. This is important regardless of whether you have previous experience in that particular industry.
You can use the Internet, industry experts and associations, suppliers and existing competitors for the information. Your research will help you in putting the business plan together as it will give you an understanding of the dynamics and forces affecting the industry.
All sections in the business plan format are interrelated, and cannot be written in isolation. Each should be written by people who are fully aware of the contents and intricacies of the other areas of the plan so that the different sections are all integrated.
The best option is to write the plan yourself as you know your business best. Also, if you are responsible for writing the business plan, you could identify certain challenges and find solutions to them, it will also ensure that you know every single aspect of the business, which is critical when meeting with potential investors.
You may need assistance putting together the financial information if you don’t have a financial background, but make sure you get an accountant to explain what all the figures mean. Although there is a fairly well accepted structure for a business plan format, there are many ways of putting it down on paper.
There are three primary parts of a business plan:
- The Business concept
- The Marketplace section
- The Financial section.
Some of the contents will have different names and be presented in a different order but almost any business plan will cover these broad areas:
Business Plan Format Contents
Table of Contents
Your contents page should be the very last thing you write to ensure that all the page numbers are correct. Make sure that you number your pages correctly so that a person can quickly and easily find the sections they are interested in._
The following 10 sections need to be included in your business plan – click on each section to find out more:
- Executive Summary
- General Company Description
- The Opportunity, Industry & Market Description
- Business Model Explanation
- Team: Management & Organisation
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Financial Plan