A well-written business plan lays out a path for achieving these two major objectives:
- It is detailed enough to help you define what needs to be done over a year, two years, or even 3-5 years.
- It is broad enough to accommodate changes that were not anticipated during earlier stages.
Making a plan that incorporates both of these elements is impossible or difficult. Nonetheless, it is a necessary step before moving on to other aspects of establishing and launching your business.
Developing a Profitable Business Plan
Recognize that you are only sketching an outline at this point. While some level of detail is required, it does not have to account for every last detail. Instead, you want something to make defining the next few steps easier.
A good business plan outline will include the following:
- Executive Summary: a simplified version of the entire plan.
- Company Description: What the company will do and how it differs from similar entities
- Market Research: Learning about your industry, market, and competitors.
- Organization/Management: Your company’s best organizational and management structures.
- Service/Product Line: A description of your product or products (lifecycle, advantages).
- Marketing/Sales: Sales strategies and marketing plans
- Funding: Money required and how it will be spent. Transparency is critical in this arena.
- Financial Projections: If you do require funding, projections will be critical.
- Appendix: Resumes, permits, and leases are a few examples of what you might include in an appendix if one is required in your business plan.
While you are not required to follow the exact outline for your business plan, I recommend that you select sections that are relevant to you and your company’s needs. Different businesses will use the components of a business plan in different ways, with some being able to ignore them completely. As you create a business plan for your company, you will discover this for yourself.
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