Business Plan FormatsFree Business Planning Program - Business Plan Formats
A lot of startup business owners feel intimidated when it comes to writing a business plan. Part of that intimidation comes from the feeling of not knowing the basic business plan formats. In the next few paragraphs, you will see the most commonly used formats for writing a business plan so you won’t have to worry about writing your own.
This basic skill is extremely important for entrepreneurs because the business plan is the number one document that investors and third party companies look at when they analyze your company. They will judge the stability and profitability of your company based on what you write on your plan.
The first thing you need to write is the Executive Summary. This usually contains a paragraph or two, and it gives the readers an overview of your company, your industry, and the products and services you offer. Most business plan formats contain an executive summary, and the objective of this section is to simply introduce the reader to your company and give them an idea of what you can provide to the marketplace.
You don’t have to write specific details about your company within the Executive Summary, because you would want to save the important corporate information for the next part, which is the Company Description. This part tells more about the background of your company, startup history, legal establishment, track record, vision and mission, etc. It is important to communicate the good image of your company here.
Next, talk about your products or services. You don’t have to detail every product or service in your line (although some business plan formats find this necessary). Just state what category or industry your products fall into, or what kind of items you manufacture. Feel free to include products that you intend to manufacture or distribute in the future, so that the reader will know that you are a growing company with lots of potential.
The next part, Market Analysis, gives the reader a clear idea of your target market and your ideal consumers. Your customer profile must be specific and your products or services must directly appeal to identifiable groups of people. It may be necessary to support this section with real time market statistics, such as number of households who exist within your area. You may also include some geographical targeting data, and also describe the behavior of your target consumers. Another approach to this is to simply state who your target customers are, indicate their needs and wants, and state how you plan to reach those people and fulfill their needs.
In standard business plan formats, the next part would usually be Strategy and Implementation. This section carefully outlines management responsibilities and goals. Strategic action steps must be provided to achieve those goals, and there must be a set timeframe for the achievement of each objective. This can be accomplished by creating a simple data table with fields such as Goal or Objective, Position of Personnel Responsible, Strategic Action Steps, Timeframe for Completion, and Budget Needed. For advanced business plan formats, it may be necessary to include more details than the ones already mentioned.
In the next part, you need to outline the details of your Management Team. Here, you state the key management roles in your organization and indicate their unique responsibilities. Yes, this means you have to show the organizational structure of your firm, but you also have to tell the reader about the role of each management position in achieving your company objectives.
Simple business plan formats usually end with financial analysis, where you give the readers an overview of the financial stability of your firm. Standard financial statements such as the most recent Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cashflow, and Statement of Changes In shareholders Equity, need to be included here. Financial ratios such as profitability and liquidity should also be included here so that the readers will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.
Related Sessions - Business Plan Formats
Session 1 - How to Plan a Business
Session 2 - Making a Business Plan
Session 3 - Marketing Business Plans
Session 4 - Example Business PlanSession 5 - Fress Business Plan Templates
Session 6 - Examples of Business Plans
consider themselves a work in progress
Dr Franklin C. Ashby
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