What To Include in Your Business Plan: 7 Must-Haves

After years of considering it, you finally have a great idea for starting your own business. The only problem is that you are unsure how to take the first step. Fortunately, there are many resources available for budding entrepreneurs like yourself. The first thing you need to do is create a business plan. As you move forward, your plan can act as a guide that can keep you focused. Here is what to include.

1. Executive Summary

The beginning of your business plan should include an executive summary. This is where you give your reader (or yourself) an overview of what your company is all about and why you think it is destined for success. Spend some time thinking about what your overarching purpose is and include a mission statement in this part of your plan. Whether you decide to apply for government funding such as an SBA 7a loan or you are trying to attract new talent to your team, an executive summary is useful.

2. Company Description

Next, you need to include a description about your company. Although the executive summary provides a brief overview, you should save the details for the description part of your plan. In this section, be sure to talk about what kind of problems your business will solve. Make sure to be as specific as possible. Include information about specific consumers and businesses that you plan to serve and list details about your company’s leadership.

3. Market Analysis

For any business to be successful, you need to have a thorough understanding of your industry’s market. This is where conducting a market analysis comes into the picture. After researching your competitors to see what they are doing and identifying your own comparative strengths and weaknesses, write down your findings when you create your business plan in a way that demonstrates that you have a solid comprehension of what you are getting yourself into.

4. Organization and Management

What will the structure of your new company look like and who will be in charge? In addition to identifying whether you intend to be a corporation, limited partnership, sole proprietor or limited liability company, you will also need to outline any other legal details here. For example, will you work with contractors as well as employees? Who will oversee who? Make sure you create an organization that makes sense not only in your head but also on paper.

5. Service or Product Line Description

After describing your company, it is time to talk about the services and/or products that you plan to offer. Think about who your customers will be and what their unique needs are. Then, explain how your products or services will be beneficial for meeting those needs. Also think about what makes your products or services unique, and describe those aspects as well. What sets you apart from your competitors?

6. Marketing and Sales

You can create the most interesting and well-thought out business plan, but if no one knows about your company, your efforts will not pay off. For this reason, you should also think about marketing and sales when you are putting together your business plan. The good news is that there is no single way to market products or services, so there is a lot of room to be creative and find what works best for your brand. Keep in mind that your strategy should evolve as your business grows and inevitable changes occur. Make sure to explain how you plan to attract and retain customers.

7. Financial Projections

In the final section of your business plan, you need to outline the finances. This will be necessary when requesting any type of funding but it will also help you stay on track with spending. In this section, you should explain why and how your business is financially stable and how you plan to maintain that stability (while increasing profits) in the future. Be sure to include income and cash flow statements as well as balance sheets for the last three to five years.

Having your own business can be rewarding, but planning is essential. Make sure you include all of these parts in your future business plan.