A business plan is a document normally produced in the early stages of a company’s launch. It is then modified as the company grows and expands. A business plan essentially outlines the company’s goals for the short and long terms, along with describing specific strategies that will be taken to achieve those goals. In some cases, strategies indirectly related to the company’s goals may be mentioned if they are pertinent to the overall plan.
Business Plan Contents
There are no hard and fast rules determining a business plan’s content or structure. There are no formatting rules either. As long as a plan is clear, concise, and well written, it can say just about anything. Below are some of the most commonly utilized components of a modern business plan.
The executive summary provides a brief snapshot of the most important aspects of the business. It might offer a description of the company’s primary product along with a summary of the management structure. Consider the executive summary as similar to the opening paragraph of a 5-paragraph essay. It outlines the main points which will then be discussed in further detail as the document progresses.
Second only to the executive summary, in terms of importance, is a section detailing the company’s financial strategies. This section discusses how business operations will be funded along with a projection of how long it will take before the company begins turning a profit. Plans for repaying business loans would also be included here.
Products and Services
A competent business plan will discuss the company’s products or services. Said products or services are the entire reason for being in business. This section talks about them from a summary point of view. There is no need to go into detail inasmuch as products and services tend to evolve over time.
A business plan generally describes how the company intends to reach customers with its products or services. The described strategies are known as marketing strategies. They can include a variety of things including online marketing, print marketing, TV and radio advertising, live events, etc.
In certain types of businesses, marketing strategies also include a description of how products or services will be sold. For example, a retail business might describe an online store or a brick-and-mortar location.
The industry assessment section of a business plan discusses the state of the industry as a whole, along with more specific information about direct competitors. It explains how the business intends to compete effectively in the marketplace.
In some cases, it is necessary to include an operations assessment, which is to say how the business will operate day-to-day. This section may include information about physical premises, staffing levels, working hours, business hours, etc.
Business Plan Template
If you’re looking for pre-made template of a business plan, you can visit Law Depot. They offer an easy-to-use service to create your own business plan. It combines a do-it-yourself agreement with the guidance of their service.
Mission and Vision Statements
Whether or not it is appropriate to include mission and vision statements in a business plan is a matter of debate. Some people believe they should be separate documents entirely while others believe a company’s mission and vision should be encapsulated in the business plan.
In short, a company’s mission is a description of what it hopes to achieve by being in business. For example, the mission of a tech start-up might be to get as many companies on board with cloud computing as possible. A company’s vision is a description of where management sees the organization five or 10 years down the road.
Business Plan Length
There is no set length for a business plan. Traditionally, more complex businesses have required more complex plans. But really, a business plan should be as long as necessary to clearly define the included points. The key to avoiding writing too much is to use concise language that opts for brevity over industry jargon.
Updating a Business Plan
The business plan a company comes up with in its earliest stages will evolve over time. Because companies should be routinely referring to their business plans to ensure they are on track, modifications should be made whenever significant changes within the company occur.
Note that a business plan is not typically a legally binding document.