Much like a map or a GPS provides clear directions to your destination, a business plan can help define your goals and spell out the steps your business must take to achieve them. It can also establish a set of benchmarks to measure your progress. A business plan is critically important when it comes to obtaining financing. Here are the key sections that a business plan should include.
Your executive summary outlines the primary points in the subsequent sections and touches on your company profile and goals.
This section summarizes your company's purposes and goals. It defines who you are and what you want to achieve.
Here you can demonstrate your industry knowledge and present conclusions based on your assessment of the industry, your potential market and its demographics, and your main competitors.
Provide information on what you do, how you do it, the markets your business serves, and what differentiates your business from the competition. You can include examples of recent projects that were completed and, if advisable, the names of some of your major clients.
Here you can outline your business's organizational structure and identify the company owners, management team, and board of directors.
This section provides the opportunity to explain what you sell and how your products or services benefit customers.
It's important to summarize how you plan to market your business and what your sales strategy is. This section should include information on how you will reach target customers and penetrate the market and should provide details about pricing, promotions, and distribution.
This is where you present an overview of your finances. It is where you lay out your assumptions about revenue growth, operating costs, and cash flows. Include balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow schedules as well as details about capital requirements.