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Business plan layout

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It is essential to have a realistic, working business plan when you're starting up a business.

A business plan is a written document that describes your business, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts. It has many functions, from helping you secure external funding to measuring success within your business.

How do I write a business plan?

Your start up business plan should be based on detailed information but should focus on the information the reader needs to know. It should not be a long document.

Before you start, you will need your financial information, market research - backing up the assertions you are making, information about your team and detailed product literature or technical specifications.

Your business plan will have six sections:

This YouTube video will show you how to prepare a high-quality business plan using a number of easy-to-follow steps.

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The Perfect Business Plan Layout & Outline for a Great Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Business plan layout

The layout of a business plan is not an area where great imagination and creativity is needed or recommended. It should be a more or less straightforward task to layout or outline your plan, using industry standard practices which funders have become familiar with through thousands of business plans. Use the following steps to implement this standard layout and save creativity for your business idea within the plan.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

Start by getting your hands on a good business plan template. This will speed your time to completing your plan. Business plans generally start with an executive summary and company overview, move through background research and market analysis, customers, and competition, describe the company’s intended methods in the marketing plan and operation plan, show who’s on the management team , and conclude with the financial plan and appendices featuring full financial statements.

Use the business plan template to guide your understanding of each section and to see how they relate to each other. Don’t assume that any one example should dominate your understanding unless it comes from an extremely trusted source with a reputation for business plan expertise and success.

Business Page Layout Tips

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Sample Business Plan Outline

1. executive summary.

Your executive summary is the most important part of your plan. It comes at the beginning and is the first thing investors or lenders will read. If they aren’t excited by what they see, they’ll unfortunately stop reading. So make sure your executive summary gives a quick overview of what your company does and explains, in an exciting tone, why your company will be successful.

2. Company Description

In your Company Description, provide background on your company. When did you incorporate? What have you accomplished to date? Here you will let readers know the history of your business.

3. Market Analysis

In the Market Analysis section of your business plan provide background on the industry in which you operate. Conduct market research to make this section concrete and compelling. Answer questions such as: how big is your industry? what trends are affecting it?

4. Customer Analysis

Here you will document your target market. How are they? How many are there? What are their likes and dislikes? Ideally you can provide comprehensive demographic and psychographic profiles of your target customers and show how your company’s product or service are ideally suited to their needs.

5. Competitor Analysis

In this section of your business plan, document your key competitors. Explain their strengths and their weaknesses. Remember that investors and lenders expect you to have direct competitors. They just want to feel confident that despite them, you can still achieve lasting success.

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6. Marketing Plan

Your marketing strategy should primarily focus on the promotional methods you will use to attract new customers. Will you use search engine marketing? Will you employ radio ads? Document each of the promotional methods you will use.

7. Operations Plan

This section of your plan should discuss the key roles that your company must expertly perform and your strategies for operational excellence. You must also outline the long-term milestones your company plans to accomplish and the key dates for each.

8. Management Team

In your Management Team section, detail the key members of your team. Document their backgrounds and how their past experiences make them well suited to succeed in your organization.

9. Financial Plan

Here you will layout the key assumptions used in creating your financial model and then provide topline results from your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow projections. If you are seeking funding, document the amount of funding you seek and the key uses for it.

10. Appendix

In your Appendix, you will provide supporting information such as employee or customer agreements, store layouts, etc. You must also include your full, five-year financial model and projections.

By following the above business plan outline, you will ensure your plan is in the format investors and lenders expect. If you would like to quickly and easily finish your business plan, read and click on our suggested business resources below.

OR, Let Us Write a Business Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Click here to see how Growthink’s business plan consulting services can create your business plan for you.

Business Page Layout FAQs

How do i lay out a business plan.

Laying out a business plan is not, and should not, be complicated. You can lay out your business plan using our sample business plan outline discussed here .

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline allows you to organize your plan and present it in the format that’s most compelling to readers. Also, by starting with your outline, it’s easier to add the required information into the right sections of your business plan.

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Business Plan Template & Guide for Small Businesses

Business plan layout plan

Tips on building your Revised Board: Other Location can be an important aspect of your business even if you are not in social or manufacturing.

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Observing Funds In this section you will find the reader how much knowledge you need to lie, what you are going to use it for, and how you got to the dreaded amount. Tips on alternative your Advisory Board:. Preparing a business plan is like outlining an itinerary for a road trip.

You'll want to have a clear, objective map that you can follow step by step while developing your business. "A business. Intel's original plan, written on the back of a menu (view copy), is an excellent example of a hard statement. The company will engage in research, development, and manufacture and sales of integrated electronic structures to fulfill the needs of electronic systems manufacturers.

Busines Plan Template | 1 BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE – GUIDE ı For detailed guidelines on developing an effective business plan, visit. A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them.

It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals. Written business plans are often required to obtain a bank loan or other financing. Fun Center Business Plan.

Helping family entertainment center developers find and secure their funding with a professionally prepared fun center business plan. Formal Business Plan Layout Sample Below you will find a sample layout for a formal business plan. This is used for our Starter Company Plus program applicants.

Examples of a Business Prospectus

by Steve Milano

Published on 26 Sep 2017

A business prospectus is a document that describes a stock offering, mutual fund or potential financial venture, or it can outline the operations of a going concern. These prospectuses help attract potential investors or allow potential partners or purchasers of a business to understand the workings and risks of involvement in a specific venture.

Stock Prospectus

Some business prospectuses relate to investment opportunities in the form of stock in a particular company. This helps potential investors learn about the business and its risks and opportunities. Before purchasing stock in a company, investors often want to know as much as they can about the business. Prospectus information includes data about the company’s earnings, assets, liabilities, products, services and management team. Companies that are planning to offer stock for the first time in an initial public offering, or IPO, prepare and distribute preliminary and final prospectuses. Publicly traded companies wanting to sell more stock create prospectuses in addition to providing annual reports.

Mutual Fund Prospectus

A mutual fund prospectus includes information about the fund’s offer, fees, past performance, managers, risks, terms and goals or investing strategy. Like a stock prospectus, a mutual fund prospectus is a document that must meet U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requirements. The SEC requires a statutory prospectus, which is a very detailed document, and a summary prospectus, which provides highlights.

Proposed Business

Some prospectuses describe a potential business that an entrepreneur or group will launch if it can find funding. The prospectus often contains data from the proposed business’s marketplace but will rely on projections for startup and operating costs, sales, revenues and profits. The prospectus describes the product or service, provides biographies of key stakeholders, estimates income and expenses, gives a marketplace overview and provides a SWOT analysis -- a description of the venture’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Unlike a business plan, a prospectus is shorter and less detailed and does not include information on how the business will be run.

Existing Business

A prospectus for an existing business shows how a business has operated and is operating and its potential as an investment. The business might be seeking a silent partner, a co-owner or someone to buy the business outright. This type of prospectus contains information about the company’s product or service and its history, competitors, essential staff members, financial performance and projections for future performance. The prospectus might be seeking money to expand the business, open new locations, upgrade machinery or increase distribution capabilities.

Legal Information

Stock and mutual fund prospectuses must meet SEC requirements. Companies planning an IPO of stock provide preliminary and final prospectuses, depending on the stage of their offering. If you review a business prospectus for a potential or existing business, look for disclaimers and legal statements that attest to the accuracy of the information and a statement that the preparer of the prospectus has disclosed all material information, such as pending lawsuits, legal judgments, liens, past fines and potential risks.


Business Plan Layout

Example Business Plan Layout   There is no standard layout that should be used for all business plans simply because all plans vary among industries. The objective of the business plan (whether using it for planning or to get funding) will also change the layout and style of the business plan elements.

In general the below categories of items should be included in any business plan. Depending on your industry and whether you are trying to get financing you may need to incorporate additional sections.

Executive Summary

This generally outlines the basic premise of the business plan and usually includes sub-topics of the objective, the mission statement, and the keys to success.

Company Summary

The company summary provides information on your company position in the market (if an existing company) or where your startup business would fit in the landscape of your industry.

Product Summary

The product summary describes how your product is positioned in the market and how this supports the company position for short and long term future growth.

Market Summary

The market summary is the description of the competitive landscape in your given market and how the industry as a whole remains a viable option for current and future customers. Is it a growing market or is it shrinking?

Often a SWOT Analysis is incorporated in the Market Summary section to communicate unique advantages the company has in relation to direct competitors.

Product Strategy

How you will position your product to differentiate yourself or compete with other similar products and companies. What is your focus…price, quality, efficiency?

Start-up Costs

This is a realistic look at all the costs involved in starting up your proposed business. This list should include merchandise and signage (if applicable) as well as labor costs associated with setup and opening.

Financial Projections

Financial projections are the key to any good business plan with a one year strategy being a minimum forecast for upcoming business profit / loss. Commonly known as a Pro-Forma – this will show you based upon projected expenses and forecasted sales what to expect over the course of a given timeframe.

Often next steps are included in a business plan for an implementation timeline or other upcoming events.

References (Works Cited)

Works Cited is where you will “cite” your information you used to build a case for your business in the business plan. Quotes or ideas taken from other resources should always be cited to give credit to the original source and build credibility for the accuracy of your information.

The above business plan elements should be used as a starting point for laying out your business plan, and adding additional sections and industry specific data in where appropriate.

Get the FREE Business Plan Template to see how each of these sections fit together and use it as an example for creating your own business plan.

Adam Hoeksema

Craig Frazier

About the Author

Craig is a small business marketer, author and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business management. Follow him on Google+

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  1. The Perfect Business Plan Layout & Outline for a Great Plan

    Learn the right way to layout your business plan so it appeals to investors, lenders or anyone else who will review your business plan

  2. Business Plan Layout Plan

    The layout of a business plan is not an area where great imagination and creativity is needed or recommended. It should be a more or less straightforward task to design your plan

  3. How to Layout a Business Plan

    A good business plan serves as a road map providing guidance in making decisions. Your business plan helps define your business and keeps owners, managers, employees and other stakeholders on the same page

  4. Example Business Plan Layout

    At Business Plan Examples, are providing a unbelievable and outstanding Business Plan Layout according to your business goals and objectives