How to Format a Business Plan: Small Business Plan Components

This is a synopsis of the whole business plan and is very crucial, since it is instrumental in getting the reader interested in the plan. The executive summary should cover all the significant areas of your business plan.

The Executive Summary: This is a synopsis of the whole business plan and is very crucial, since it is instrumental in getting the reader interested in the plan. The executive summary should cover all the significant areas of your business plan. It should begin with a management team overview and cover the main products or services. It should also include the USP, market competition, market analysis, required funds and utilization plans, financial projections and strategies adopted for future success.

If the business is technology oriented, the summary should contain a brief overview of the available technological capabilities. It is essential to have an engaging and concise executive summary. Even though the summary is designed at the beginning of the plan, it is, in fact, the last part to be added.

Company Background: The company background should provide ownership details, (i.e. sole proprietorship, partnership or a limited liability company). It should mention how long the company has been in existence, the location of the corporate office, employee strengths and annual sales figures.

Owner, Management and Key Personnel Background: These details would include information about the owner or managing partners, management personnel at the senior level, technological heads, scientists and R&D personnel.

Market Analysis Report: The market analysis includes the details of the target customer segment or segments that the company’s products or services are oriented towards. It also offers an objective description of the advantages of the product and the strategy adopted to satisfy the needs of customers. It should deal comprehensively with market competition, listing competitive brands and their advantages and disadvantages and how the latter can be turned into an opportunity for the company. All information should be supported by factual data.

Production and Manufacturing Section: This section should describe all the processes involved in manufacturing and production (if any). The location, plant layout, size and capacity of required production facilities, with inventory requirements, reflecting raw material requirement and the finished goods inventory and requirements for the warehouse space.

Sales and Marketing Section: This section should feature an overall marketing plan, covering advertising, pricing and sales tactics. The strategies for marketing mentioned should be in line with the company’s vision and goals. It sheds light on your marketing plans, taking into consideration the effect of external influences such as the overall economic environment and existing and future competition.

Finance Section: This section lists the source of the funds on which the entire business plan is based. Explicit details of all loans and liabilities should be provided. Projected figures for the costs, sales and expected returns, along with a breakeven analysis and monthly cash flow statement are integral parts of this section.

Human Resources Section: This section deals with personnel related issues, such as manpower planning, required skill sets, training and compensation and issues related to industrial relations.

By paying attention to and including all the above sections in your business plan, you will have the best possible chance of securing the funding that you need to successfully launch your business.

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