An outline of what your business plan should look like

2011-07-09 08:30

1 Table of Contents
This features the main headings of the plan and their page numbers for easy reference. Finalise this section last to ensure that the numbers are all correct.

2 Executive Summary

This is a two-page summary of your full plan. It should describe the ­company, details about management, objectives and why it will be successful, and if the business needs funding, how much is needed, and how it will be repaid.

3 General Company Description
This is where you give an overview of the company and the business. It should include the company’s name, ­mission statement, goals and objectives, and strengths.

4 Industry & Market
Based on your research, discuss the opportunity you have identified,
the “gap” in the market, why this gap exists, how you identified it, and how you intend to fill it.

Barriers to entry:
» How easy or difficult it is for future competitors to enter the same market;
» Who are your customers and what ­influence they have over prices;
» Who the suppliers are and their ­influence over the prices;
» Who the competitors are and how strong their products or services are, and;
» The total size of the market, what percentage of the market share you will have.

5 Business Model
Information on what your company offers in terms of products or services, what makes your offering unique, who you sell them to, and how you make your ­money. Source of revenue, the major costs incurred in generating revenue, the ­profitability of the business, the investment required to get the business up and running, and the critical success factors for the model to work.


Your strategy, what is unique about your business and what value there is for customers. You must also include your plan for how you intend to enter the market and grow your market share.

7 Team

A breakdown of the people in the business. Include a list of founders, ­including their qualifications and experience, a description of who will ­manage the business and an organisational chart if you have more than 10 employees.

8 Marketing Plan

This should provide details of your marketing strategy based on your market research.

9 Operational Plan

An explanation of the day-to-day operation of your business.

10 Financial Plan

Start-up expenses and ­capitalisation, a 12-month profit and loss projection, a 12-month cash flow ­projection, a projected balance sheet at start-up and the end of years one and three, and a breakeven calculation.

11 Appendix

This section contains any supporting documentation you think the reader would want to refer to and could include brochures and advertising, industry studies, blueprints and plans, maps and photos of locations, articles, lists of equipment, contracts, letters of support from future customers, market research studies, and detailed financial calculations and projections.

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