After working with a lot of clients over the years, we’ve determined the most important parts of a business plan. Even though it’s important the whole thing is done well, here are the areas we recommend spending a little extra time on.
This is commonly accepted as the most important part of a business plan. If you don’t have a good executive summary, you won’t draw the reader in. They won’t won’t be interested in reading the rest of the document, so you would’ve wasted a lot of time and effort drafting it.
Your executive summary should include a few key things:
- Purpose of the plan
- Business name
- The services or products you offer
The balance here is having a short summary that also communicates what you need to. Get them excited about the opportunity they’re learning about.
This part of the business plan is where you can dive a bit deeper into your company. This helps the reader understand the business as a whole.
A few key elements here include:
Legal Entity – How is your business legally structured? Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S Corp or C Corp?
Brief History – The reader doesn’t need to know every single thing your business has done over the last few months. But when was it started? What need was it created to fill?
Stakeholders – A stakeholder is anyone involved in the company. Suppliers, customers, employees, owners – they’re all considered stakeholders.
High-Level Goals – How big is the company going to grow over the next few years? How are you going to achieve that goal?
Marketing Plan – You’ll get in more detail with this later. But what’s your overall marketing plan? How will you get new leads and reach new potential customers?
Again, this is all at a high level. You’re still warming up the reader and giving them an understanding of what you’re trying to do.
Products and Services
This section may sound simplistic, but there’s more to it than you might expect. Yes, the point of this section is to explain what products and services you sell. But you also need to explain why they fill a need.
For example, let’s say you offer a lawn mowing service. Why does your area need another one? How is your company different/better than the others? You need to be specific here. If you just say something generic like “we have the best people” or “we do the best job,” that’s not enough.
The best way to do this is to get very specific. So instead of having a lawn mowing service that does anything and everything, maybe you just maintain the yards around office buildings. Or instead of doing landscaping for any residential home, you only do it for a certain high-end neighborhood.
Other things to include in this section are your costs, suppliers, and prices. You need to prove that you’re able to actually make a decent profit.
Everything leads up to this section. This can make or break your business plan, as it needs to be appealing to investors.
Don’t be unrealistic, but don’t be too conservative either. It takes time to get a business off the ground – investors understand that. But you still need to have something exciting enough that they’ll consider funding you.
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Courtesy of Cuselleration