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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, elements of a business plan, special considerations.

Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How To Write One

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

what should my business plan include

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

A business plan is a document that defines in detail a company's objectives and how it plans to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written road map for the firm from marketing , financial, and operational standpoints. Both startups and established companies use business plans.

A business plan is an important document aimed at a company's external and internal audiences. For instance, a business plan is used to attract investment before a company has established a proven track record. It can also help to secure lending from financial institutions.

Furthermore, a business plan can serve to keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and on target for meeting established goals.

Although they're especially useful for new businesses, every company should have a business plan. Ideally, the plan is reviewed and updated periodically to reflect goals that have been met or have changed. Sometimes, a new business plan is created for an established business that has decided to move in a new direction.

Key Takeaways

Want Funding? You Need a Business Plan

A business plan is a fundamental document that any new business should have in place prior to beginning operations. Indeed, banks and venture capital firms often require a viable business plan before considering whether they'll provide capital to new businesses.

Operating without a business plan usually is not a good idea. In fact, very few companies are able to last very long without one. There are benefits to creating (and sticking to) a good business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and working through potential obstacles to success.

A good business plan should outline all the projected costs and possible pitfalls of each decision a company makes. Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they can have the same basic elements, such as an executive summary of the business and detailed descriptions of its operations, products and services, and financial projections. A plan also states how the business intends to achieve its goals.

While it's a good idea to give as much detail as possible, it's also important that a plan be concise to keep a reader's attention to the end.

A well-considered and well-written business plan can be of enormous value to a company. While there are templates that you can use to write a business plan, try to avoid producing a generic result. The plan should include an overview and, if possible, details of the industry of which the business will be a part. It should explain how the business will distinguish itself from its competitors.

Start with the essential structure: an executive summary, company description, market analysis, product or service description, marketing strategy, financial projections, and appendix (which include documents and data that support the main sections). These sections or elements of a business plan are outlined below.

When you write your business plan, you don’t have to strictly follow a particular business plan outline or template. Use only those sections that make the most sense for your particular business and its needs.

Traditional business plans use some combination of the sections below. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making. Regardless, try to keep the main body of your plan to around 15-25 pages.

The length of a business plan varies greatly from business to business. Consider fitting the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Then, other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and included as appendices.

As mentioned above, no two business plans are the same. Nonetheless, they tend to have the same elements. Below are some of the common and key parts of a business plan.

Unique Business Plans Help

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its singularity and potential for success.

Types of Business Plans

Business plans help companies identify their objectives and remain on track to meet goals. They can help companies start, manage themselves, and grow once up and running. They also act as a means to attract lenders and investors.

Although there is no right or wrong business plan, they can fall into two different categories—traditional or lean startup. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the most common. It contains a lot of detail in each section. These tend to be longer than the lean startup plan and require more work.

Lean startup business plans, on the other hand, use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans aren't as common in the business world because they're short—as short as one page—and lack detail. If a company uses this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or lender requests it.

Financial Projections

A complete business plan must include a set of financial projections for the business. These forward-looking financial statements are often called pro-forma financial statements or simply the " pro-formas ." They include an overall budget, current and projected financing needs, a market analysis, and the company's marketing strategy.

Other Considerations for a Business Plan

A major reason for a business plan is to give owners a clear picture of objectives, goals, resources, potential costs, and drawbacks of certain business decisions. A business plan should help them modify their structures before implementing their ideas. It also allows owners to project the type of financing required to get their businesses up and running.

If there are any especially interesting aspects of the business, they should be highlighted and used to attract financing, if needed. For example, Tesla Motors' electric car business essentially began only as a business plan.

Importantly, a business plan shouldn't be a static document. As a business grows and changes, so too should the business plan. An annual review of the company and its plan allows an entrepreneur or group of owners to update the plan, based on successes, setbacks, and other new information. It provides an opportunity to size up the plan's ability to help the company grow.

Think of the business plan as a living document that evolves with your business.

A business plan is a document created by a company that describes the company's goals, operations, industry standing, marketing objectives, and financial projections. The information it contains can be a helpful guide in running the company. What's more, it can be a valuable tool to attract investors and obtain financing from financial institutions.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

Even if you have a good business plan, your company can still fail, especially if you do not stick to the plan! Having strong leadership with focus on the plan is always a good strategy. Even when following the plan, if you had poor assumptions going into your projections, you can be caught with cash flow shortages and out of control budgets. Markets and the economy can also change. Without flexibility built in to your business plan, you may be unable to pivot to a new course as needed.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers a quick explanation of its business. The company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide since it's just getting started.

Sections can include: a value proposition, a company's major activities and advantages, resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital, a list of partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

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what should my business plan include

What Should a Business Plan Include?

A business plan serves as a roadmap to successfully launch a business. It helps you overcome the challenges you might experience in your industry. Learn how to create and use a business plan for your startup.

One of the most fatal mistakes that aspiring entrepreneurs make in launching a startup is forgetting a business plan . You wouldn’t launch a ship at sea without establishing its routes and the direction you’ll steer it to. Without proper planning, your ship will end up adrift or worst, dramatically sink when the tides hit. And in a volatile commercial industry, the tides are constantly changing.

Avoid common startup mistakes by creating a business plan. A business plan not only strengthens your foundation but also helps you navigate the ever-changing field of business. Chances are your customers’ preferences will change over time and you have to keep up with them. Hence, a business plan also changes accordingly.

But how exactly do you create a business plan? Is there a template to follow? Should you enlist the help of other experts to write it? Today, we’ll look into what should be included in your business plan and how it should be written. The first step is by understanding what it is and what it is for.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is an official company document that breaks down all the goals of a business and how to achieve them. It basically lays out the groundwork for your idea to come alive. It’s often referred to as the “blueprint of the business”, summarizing your goals.

Although there are many ways to write it, its key point usually discusses the financial, marketing, and operational strategies of the business.   

What is it for?

A business plan serves as a guide for a growing company. It’s a consistent reference for business owners and stakeholders to base critical decisions on. It’s especially useful for early-stage startups to attract investors. When a company doesn’t have a proven track record, it can lay out its full potential instead.

Not only is the business plan useful for the initial launching of a business, but it also helps with pivotal changes. Since the market is perpetually changing, it’s crucial that your plan also evolves with it. Hence, the goals and methods of achieving will be updated. In some cases, a whole new plan is created if the company wants to drastically move in a new direction.   

What’s included in a Business Plan

Although there’s no fixed formula for writing a business plan, there are some identifiable key points. These are generally the items factored in its creation:

1.     Executive Summary

The executive summary outlines the whole plan. You start with a clear introduction of who you are, what you sell, and what your ambitions are as a business. This section includes your mission statement, product description, and the basic overview of your company’s structure. It should also include your financial plans .   

2.     Business Description

The business description provides detailed information about your industry. It must describe its current outlook as well as its profit potential. You will go into detail about your target market and other organizations or businesses you cater to. Also, this section briefly discusses what problem the business is trying to solve.  

3.     Market Analysis

A business must have a firm understanding of its target market and should be able to prove its sustainability. The market analysis provides trends and studies about the target consumers—their size, demographics, buying power, and frequent activities. This section also touches briefly on the competitors.

4.     Product Development

Investors need a clear idea of how you would create and maintain your product. The development plan section contains the details of the product’s design; its production methods, lifecycle, marketing, and development budget. This includes the overall strategy of how it will be sold in the market.

5.     Marketing Strategies

The product is only as good as how much it will sell. Therefore, this section describes how you will present your products and services to the market. This will discuss your marketing campaigns, distribution channels, and types of media you’ll tap into. You will summarize how you intend to reach your customers and pitch your products to them.

6.     Operations and Management

Your investors need an overview of how the business functions. The operations plan highlights the logistics of the company such as team responsibilities, division tasks, and operational expenses. This helps track down who is responsible for certain areas of the business.  

7.     Financial Plans

Money mobilizes the idea. Hence, it’s important to keep an accurate record of where it’s going. This section shows the company’s monetary plans and its future projections. This includes financial statements, balance sheets, and third-party business transactions. For startups, it will mostly contain the target profit and estimates of expenses.    

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

Now that we have an idea of the business plan template , it’s time to learn how to write it effectively. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re writing one for your business.

Build your Business

Business plans are important when you’re starting your business from scratch. However, the success of your business still heavily relies on their execution. A lot of startups fail because they can’t push through with what was proposed in the business plans.

More than just articulating your ideas, you need to do a lot more to make them come to life. For one, you’ll need the capital to kick things off and make everything operational. Second, you’ll need to hire the best people to run your operations. Lastly, you have to find investors to sustain your business.

One way to ensure that your business plan is properly executed is by enlisting the help of business experts. Full Scale is an offshore software development company that specializes in helping startups.

We can provide the talent and resources needed to begin your operations. Whether you need project managers, marketing specialists, or technical experts; we’ve got them all. We’ll take care of all the processes of recruitment and management so you can focus on your core competencies.

Ready to begin your entrepreneurial journey? Get your FREE consultation today!

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What to Include in Your Business Plan

Here's what your business plan should contain, how long it should be and what it should look like.

By The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. • Dec 9, 2014

In their book Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors briefly describe just what your business plan should contain, how long it should be and how to know if it's time to write it.

A business plan is a written description of the future of your business. It's a document that tells the story of what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you've written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan.

But there are some generally accepted conventions about what a full-blown business plan should include and how it should be presented. A plan should cover all the important matters that will contribute to making your business a success. These include the following:

1. Your basic business concept. This is where you discuss the industry, your business structure, your particular product or service, and how you plan to make your business a success.

2. Your strategy and the specific actions you plan to take to implement it. What goals do you have for your business? When and how will you reach your goals?

3. Your products and services and their competitive advantages. Here's your chance to dazzle the readers with good, solid information about your products or services and why customers will want to purchase your products and services and not those of your competitors.

4. The markets you'll pursue. Now you have to lay out your marketing plan. Who will your customers be? What is your demographic audience? How will you attract and retain enough customers to make a profit? What methods will you use to capture your audience? What sets your business apart from the competition?

5. The background of your management team and key employees. Having information about key personnel is an important but often misrepresented portion of a business plan. It's not a long and detailed biography of each person involved but an accurate account of what they've done and what they bring to the table for this specific business opportunity.

6. Your financing needs. These will be based on your projected financial statements. These statements provide a model of how your ideas about the company, its markets and its strategies will play out.

As you write your business plan, stick to facts instead of feelings, projections instead of hopes, and realistic expectations of profit instead of unrealistic dreams of wealth. Facts—checkable, demonstrable facts—will invest your plan with the most important component of all: credibility.

How long should your plan be?

A useful business plan can be any length, from that scrawl on the back of an envelope to more than 100 pages for an especially detailed plan describing a complex enterprise. A typical business plan runs 15 to 25 pages.

Miniplans of five to 10 pages are the popular concise models that may stand on their own for smaller businesses. Larger businesses seeking major funding will often have miniplans as well, but the full business plan will be waiting in the wings. It's to your advantage to run long when creating your plan, then narrow it down for presentation purposes.

The size of the plan will also depend on the nature of your business and your reason for writing it. If you have a simple concept, you may be able to express it in very few words. On the other hand, if you're proposing a new kind of business or even a new industry, it may require quite a bit of explanation to get the message across.

The purpose of your plan also determines its length. If you're looking for millions of dollars in seed capital to start a risky venture, you'll usually (although not always) have to do a lot of explaining and convincing. If you already have relationships with potential investors, they may simply want a miniplan. If you're just going to use your plan for internal purposes to manage an ongoing business, a much more abbreviated version may suffice.

Many business plan presentations are made with PowerPoint decks, using 10 to 12 slides to tell your story. That's a great starting point, but you should have at least a miniplan available, especially if you're seeking millions of dollars.

When should you write it?

Still not sure if it's time to write a business plan? Here are a few clues that it's time to start writing:

Entrepreneur Staff

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What Is a Business Plan? Definition and Planning Essentials Explained

Posted february 21, 2022 by kody wirth.

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What is a business plan? It’s the roadmap for your business. The outline of your goals, objectives, and the steps you’ll take to get there. It describes the structure of your organization, how it operates, as well as the financial expectations and actual performance. 

A business plan can help you explore ideas, successfully start a business, manage operations, and pursue growth. In short, a business plan is a lot of different things. It’s more than just a stack of paper and can be one of your most effective tools as a business owner. 

Let’s explore the basics of business planning, the structure of a traditional plan, your planning options, and how you can use your plan to succeed. 

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that explains how your business operates. It summarizes your business structure, objectives, milestones, and financial performance. Again, it’s a guide that helps you, and anyone else, better understand how your business will succeed.  

Why do you need a business plan?

The primary purpose of a business plan is to help you understand the direction of your business and the steps it will take to get there. Having a solid business plan can help you grow up to 30% faster and according to our own 2021 Small Business research working on a business plan increases confidence regarding business health—even in the midst of a crisis. 

These benefits are directly connected to how writing a business plan makes you more informed and better prepares you for entrepreneurship. It helps you reduce risk and avoid pursuing potentially poor ideas. You’ll also be able to more easily uncover your business’s potential. By regularly returning to your plan you can understand what parts of your strategy are working and those that are not.

That just scratches the surface for why having a plan is valuable. Check out our full write-up for fifteen more reasons why you need a business plan .  

What can you do with your plan?

So what can you do with a business plan once you’ve created it? It can be all too easy to write a plan and just let it be. Here are just a few ways you can leverage your plan to benefit your business.

Test an idea

Writing a plan isn’t just for those that are ready to start a business. It’s just as valuable for those that have an idea and want to determine if it’s actually possible or not. By writing a plan to explore the validity of an idea, you are working through the process of understanding what it would take to be successful. 

The market and competitive research alone can tell you a lot about your idea. Is the marketplace too crowded? Is the solution you have in mind not really needed? Add in the exploration of milestones, potential expenses, and the sales needed to attain profitability and you can paint a pretty clear picture of the potential of your business.

Document your strategy and goals

For those starting or managing a business understanding where you’re going and how you’re going to get there are vital. Writing your plan helps you do that. It ensures that you are considering all aspects of your business, know what milestones you need to hit, and can effectively make adjustments if that doesn’t happen. 

With a plan in place, you’ll have an idea of where you want your business to go as well as how you’ve performed in the past. This alone better prepares you to take on challenges, review what you’ve done before, and make the right adjustments.

Pursue funding

Even if you do not intend to pursue funding right away, having a business plan will prepare you for it. It will ensure that you have all of the information necessary to submit a loan application and pitch to investors. So, rather than scrambling to gather documentation and write a cohesive plan once it’s relevant, you can instead keep your plan up-to-date and attempt to attain funding. Just add a use of funds report to your financial plan and you’ll be ready to go.

The benefits of having a plan don’t stop there. You can then use your business plan to help you manage the funding you receive. You’ll not only be able to easily track and forecast how you’ll use your funds but easily report on how it’s been used. 

Better manage your business

A solid business plan isn’t meant to be something you do once and forget about. Instead, it should be a useful tool that you can regularly use to analyze performance, make strategic decisions, and anticipate future scenarios. It’s a document that you should regularly update and adjust as you go to better fit the actual state of your business.

Doing so makes it easier to understand what’s working and what’s not. It helps you understand if you’re truly reaching your goals or if you need to make further adjustments. Having your plan in place makes that process quicker, more informative, and leaves you with far more time to actually spend running your business.

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What should your business plan include?

The content and structure of your business plan should include anything that will help you use it effectively. That being said, there are some key elements that you should cover and that investors will expect to see. 

Executive summary

The executive summary is a simple overview of your business and your overall plan. It should serve as a standalone document that provides enough detail for anyone—including yourself, team members, or investors—to fully understand your business strategy. Make sure to cover the problem you’re solving, a description of your product or service, your target market, organizational structure, a financial summary, and any necessary funding requirements.

This will be the first part of your plan but it’s easiest to write it after you’ve created your full plan.

Products & Services

When describing your products or services, you need to start by outlining the problem you’re solving and why what you offer is valuable. This is where you’ll also address current competition in the market and any competitive advantages your products or services bring to the table. Lastly, be sure to outline the steps or milestones that you’ll need to hit to successfully launch your business. If you’ve already hit some initial milestones, like taking pre-orders or early funding, be sure to include it here to further prove the validity of your business. 

Market analysis

A market analysis is a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the current market you’re entering or competing in. It helps you understand the overall state and potential of the industry, who your ideal customers are, the positioning of your competition, and how you intend to position your own business. This helps you better explore the long-term trends of the market, what challenges to expect, and how you will need to initially introduce and even price your products or services.

Check out our full guide for how to conduct a market analysis in just four easy steps .  

Marketing & sales

Here you detail how you intend to reach your target market. This includes your sales activities, general pricing plan, and the beginnings of your marketing strategy. If you have any branding elements, sample marketing campaigns, or messaging available—this is the place to add it. 

Additionally, it may be wise to include a SWOT analysis that demonstrates your business or specific product/service position. This will showcase how you intend to leverage sales and marketing channels to deal with competitive threats and take advantage of any opportunities.

Check out our full write-up to learn how to create a cohesive marketing strategy for your business. 

Organization & management

This section addresses the legal structure of your business, your current team, and any gaps that need to be filled. Depending on your business type and longevity, you’ll also need to include your location, ownership information, and business history. Basically, add any information that helps explain your organizational structure and how you operate. This section is particularly important for pitching to investors but should be included even if attempted funding is not in your immediate future.

Financial projections

Possibly the most important piece of your plan, your financials section is vital for showcasing the viability of your business. It also helps you establish a baseline to measure against and makes it easier to make ongoing strategic decisions as your business grows. This may seem complex on the surface, but it can be far easier than you think. 

Focus on building solid forecasts, keep your categories simple, and lean on assumptions. You can always return to this section to add more details and refine your financial statements as you operate. 

Here are the statements you should include in your financial plan:

The appendix is where you add additional detail, documentation, or extended notes that support the other sections of your plan. Don’t worry about adding this section at first and only add documentation that you think will be beneficial for anyone reading your plan.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. So, to get the most out of your plan, it’s best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering. 

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you’ll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual. 

This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix. We recommend only starting with this business plan format if you plan to immediately pursue funding and already have a solid handle on your business information. 

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea. 

The structure ditches a linear structure in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It’s faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations. This is really best for those exploring their business idea for the first time, but keep in mind that it can be difficult to actually validate your idea this way as well as adapt it into a full plan.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan. This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. It basically serves as a beefed-up pitch document and can be finished as quickly as the business model canvas.

By starting with a one-page plan, you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan. This plan type is useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Now, the option that we here at LivePlan recommend is the Lean Plan . This is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27-minutes . However, it’s even easier to convert into a full plan thanks to how heavily it’s tied to your financials. The overall goal of Lean Planning isn’t to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the Lean Planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and stable through times of crisis.

It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Try the LivePlan Method for Lean Business Planning

Now that you know the basics of business planning, it’s time to get started. Again we recommend leveraging a Lean Plan for a faster, easier, and far more useful planning process. 

To get familiar with the Lean Plan format, you can download our free Lean Plan template . However, if you want to elevate your ability to create and use your lean plan even further, you may want to explore LivePlan. 

It features step-by-step guidance that ensures you cover everything necessary while reducing the time spent on formatting and presenting. You’ll also gain access to financial forecasting tools that propel you through the process. Finally, it will transform your plan into a management tool that will help you easily compare your forecasts to your actual results. 

Check out how LivePlan streamlines Lean Planning by downloading our Kickstart Your Business ebook .

Kody Wirth

Posted in Business Plan Writing

What should a business plan include?

Table of Contents

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Every business needs a plan to succeed. A business plan is a crucial document that gives you and interested parties (like investors or lenders) a description and overview of your company’s future. At its most basic, your business plan should explain who you are, where you want to go, and how you plan to get there. 

So, what details should a business plan include to convey this information? This guide will explain why your business plan needs the following elements:

Use a combination of these nine elements to create your business plan.

The executive summary appears first in your business plan and highlights what you’ll discuss in your business plan to give the reader an idea of what to expect. Since it’s a summary of what’s to come, it’s best to write it last to make sure you include all the important parts.

A good executive summary is engaging from the first sentence, revealing your company’s mission and sharing details about your products or services. It might be good to explain why you’re starting your business and share details about your experience in the industry.

After your executive summary, you include a company description that includes key information about your business, goals and target market. Use this section to provide a detailed description of your company, including the problems you solve and who you solve them for. 

Explain your competitive advantages that will make your business succeed. Your company description is the best place to boast about your strengths and abilities. 

A good business plan will also include a section that describes how your business will compete against your competitors. Use this section to prove your knowledge of the industry, breaking down other companies’ strengths and weaknesses. 

This section aims to demonstrate how your business will measure up and explain if anything will prevent you from jumping into the market. Examples of such obstacles could be high upfront costs or complicated supply processes. Whatever it is, you need to be honest about it. The competitor analysis is part of your market analysis, which we’ll cover in the next section.

This section is to show readers that you understand the industry and specific market you want to enter. You’ll explain how your unique strengths will fit into the market and back it up with data and statistics about industry trends and themes. 

Include information about how other businesses are succeeding and failing, and use the analysis to visualise your target customers. Above all, your analysis should demonstrate how your business will provide value in your target market .

Here you’ll explain how your business will be structured and managed. Describe the legal structure of your business: will you be a sole trader or run a limited company? 

Use an organisational chart to lay out how you’ll manage your business, including if you plan to eventually hire staff or if you’ll go it alone the entire way. The more details you can provide, the better an overview the reader will get.

While you’ll include a description of your products or services in your company description, this section will give the reader all the details they need. This section should include a complete description of what your business creates and sells. Explain how long they could last and how they’ll meet the existing demand in the market. 

You should also mention your suppliers (if you have any) and other key information like how much it’ll cost to make your products and how much you hope to make from them. If you have any patents or copyrights, this is where you list them.

This section is where you explain how you’ll attract and retain customers, including how a sale will actually happen. You’ll need to refer to this section when you make financial projections (we’ll cover this later), so be thorough when describing your marketing and sales strategies. 

Break down the steps you’ll take to promote your business and the budget you’ll need to implement your strategies.

If you need funding , this section is where you outline your funding requirements. Clearly explain how much funding you need over the next few years and what you’ll use the money for. 

You’ll need to specify the type of funding you want, such as the terms you want to apply and the length of time your request will cover. Explain if you need funding to buy equipment or materials, cover specific bills until business picks up, or if you need it for something else. Always include a description of how you plan to pay off your debt as well.

In this final section, you’ll break down the financial goals and expectations that you’ve set based on your market analysis. 

Report how much you anticipate to make in the first 12 months and your projected earnings for the second, third, fourth and fifth years of business. If you’re applying for a personal loan or small business loan, it’s a good idea to include an appendix or added section that provides additional financial or background information.

Now that you know what to include, you should have all the tools you need to create a solid business plan.

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here .

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More From Forbes

Business plan template: what to include.

All entrepreneurs and business owners should have a business plan. The very process of developing your plan helps you understand they type of business you'd like to build, and the action plan which you will need to follow.

However, there's only one time when EVERY entrepreneur and business owner develops a business plan. That's when they need to raise funding. Since virtually all lenders and equity investors require a formal business plan.

To help you out, here is my proven business plan template , and the information below details the 11 key sections to include in your plan.

1. Cover Page

As simple as this seems, include a cover page with your contact information so potential investors can easily reach you.

2. Executive Summary

If investors don’t like your Executive Summary, they won’t read any further, so this section is critical.

Concisely describe what your business does and what market need it solves. Of critical importance, describe your “unique success factors,” which are the 4-7 reasons why your business will be successful.

Also show your topline financial projections and amount of money you are seeking to raise here.

3. Company Overview

In this section, give a profile of your company. Answer questions such as where you are located, when you were formed, and what is your legal entity form.

Also discuss the stage of your company: what successes has your company already achieved?

4. Industry Analysis

In the Industry Analysis section, you will detail the market in which you are competing, how large it is, and what trends are affecting it.

5. Customer Analysis

Here you will identify who your target customers are and their needs. Get as specific as you can with regards to the demographic and psychographic make-up of your customers.

6. Competitive Analysis

In this section, identify your competitors and their key strengths and weaknesses.

Importantly, identify your competitive advantages, that is, why you can be more successful than the others.

7. Marketing Plan

In this section, you will describe your products and/or services and your desired brand positioning.

Importantly, you will also detail your promotions plan, which is how you will get customers to know about your company (e.g., newspaper ads, direct mail, etc.).

Finally, if applicable, discuss your distribution plan, which details from where customers can purchase your products and/or services.

8. Operations Plan

Your operations plan should detail the key operational processes your organization needs to accomplish on a daily basis to achieve success. In addition, it should identify the milestones you need to accomplish over the next 1-3 years in order to achieve success.

9. Management Team

The Management Team section of the business plan must prove why the key company personnel are “eminently qualified” to execute on the business model.

Also mention gaps in your team and who you need to hire.

10. Financial Plan

Your financial plan is critically important to investors. Identify the ways in which your company generates revenues. And highlight the key assumptions which govern your financial projections.

If you are seeking funding, identify how much money you need to start and/or run your business, and the primary uses of these funds.

Finally, include a summary of your financial projections.

11. Appendix

Use the Appendix to support the rest of your business plan. Include your full financial projections, including your projected income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.

Include any additional details, such as patent information, customer lists, etc., that help prove to investors that your company is a great investment opportunity.

Using this business plan template and the information detailed herein will force you to think through your business and document it in a way that investors and other readers fully understand. Be sure you can not only present your business well in the written business plan, but in person. Since investors and lenders will want to meet you face-to-face before writing a sizable check.

Dave Lavinsky

Business Plan Example and Template

Learn how to create a business plan

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that contains the operational and financial plan of a business, and details how its objectives will be achieved. It serves as a road map for the business and can be used when pitching investors or financial institutions for debt or equity financing .

Business Plan

A business plan should follow a standard format and contain all the important business plan elements. Typically, it should present whatever information an investor or financial institution expects to see before providing financing to a business.

Contents of a Business Plan

A business plan should be structured in a way that it contains all the important information that investors are looking for. Here are the main sections of a business plan:

1. Title Page

The title page captures the legal information of the business, which includes the registered business name, physical address, phone number, email address, date, and the company logo.

2. Executive Summary

The executive summary is the most important section because it is the first section that investors and bankers see when they open the business plan. It provides a summary of the entire business plan. It should be written last to ensure that you don’t leave any details out. It must be short and to the point, and it should capture the reader’s attention. The executive summary should not exceed two pages.

3. Industry Overview

The industry overview section provides information about the specific industry that the business operates in. Some of the information provided in this section includes major competitors, industry trends, and estimated revenues. It also shows the company’s position in the industry and how it will compete in the market against other major players.

4. Market Analysis and Competition

The market analysis section details the target market for the company’s product offerings. This section confirms that the company understands the market and that it has already analyzed the existing market to determine that there is adequate demand to support its proposed business model.

Market analysis includes information about the target market’s demographics , geographical location, consumer behavior, and market needs. The company can present numbers and sources to give an overview of the target market size.

A business can choose to consolidate the market analysis and competition analysis into one section or present them as two separate sections.

5. Sales and Marketing Plan

The sales and marketing plan details how the company plans to sell its products to the target market. It attempts to present the business’s unique selling proposition and the channels it will use to sell its goods and services. It details the company’s advertising and promotion activities, pricing strategy, sales and distribution methods, and after-sales support.

6. Management Plan

The management plan provides an outline of the company’s legal structure, its management team, and internal and external human resource requirements. It should list the number of employees that will be needed and the remuneration to be paid to each of the employees.

Any external professionals, such as lawyers, valuers, architects, and consultants, that the company will need should also be included. If the company intends to use the business plan to source funding from investors, it should list the members of the executive team, as well as the members of the advisory board.

7. Operating Plan

The operating plan provides an overview of the company’s physical requirements, such as office space, machinery, labor, supplies, and inventory . For a business that requires custom warehouses and specialized equipment, the operating plan will be more detailed, as compared to, say, a home-based consulting business. If the business plan is for a manufacturing company, it will include information on raw material requirements and the supply chain.

8. Financial Plan

The financial plan is an important section that will often determine whether the business will obtain required financing from financial institutions, investors, or venture capitalists. It should demonstrate that the proposed business is viable and will return enough revenues to be able to meet its financial obligations. Some of the information contained in the financial plan includes a projected income statement , balance sheet, and cash flow.

9. Appendices and Exhibits

The appendices and exhibits part is the last section of a business plan. It includes any additional information that banks and investors may be interested in or that adds credibility to the business. Some of the information that may be included in the appendices section includes office/building plans, detailed market research , products/services offering information, marketing brochures, and credit histories of the promoters.

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Here is a basic template that any business can use when developing its business plan:

Section 1: Executive Summary

Section 2: Industry Overview

Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition

Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan

Section 5: Management Plan

Section 6: Operating Plan

Section 7: Financial Plan

Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits

Related Readings

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to Business Plans. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following CFI resources will be helpful:

what should my business plan include

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

1. Write an executive summary

2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description, which should contain information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, it should cover the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

Your sales strategy.

Your distribution strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

You may also include metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

How to Write a Business Plan Outline [2022 Guide & Format]

what should my business plan include

When starting a business, having a well-thought-out business plan prepared is necessary for success. It serves as the foundation of your business, helps guide your strategy, and prepares you to overcome the obstacles and risks associated with entrepreneurship. In short, a business plan makes you more like to succeed.

However, like everything in business, starting is often the hardest part. What information do you need? How in-depth should each section be? How should the plan be structured?

All good questions that you can answer by following this business plan outline. 

What is a business plan outline?

Starting with a business plan outline helps ensure that you’re covering all of the necessary information to complete your plan. A traditional business plan typically includes—an executive summary, an overview of your products and services, thorough market and industry research, a marketing and sales strategy, operational details, financial projections, and an appendix. 

Depending on what you intend to do with your plan, you may not need all of this information right away. If you’re going to speak with investors or pursue funding, then yes, you’ll need to include everything from this outline. But, if you’re using your plan to test an idea or help you run your business, you may want to opt for a lean plan. This is a simpler and faster method that is designed to be updated and used day-to-day. 

If you’re unsure of which plan is right for you, check out our guide explaining the differences and use cases for each . 

What are the 7 essential parts of a business plan?

No matter the type of business plan you create, these are the seven basic sections you should include. Be sure to download your free business plan template so that you can start drafting your own plan as you work through this outline.

1. Executive summary

While it may appear first, it’s best to write your executive summary last. It’s a brief section that highlights the high-level points you’ve made elsewhere in your business plan.

Summarize the problem you are solving for customers, your solution, the target market, the founding team, and financial forecast highlights. Keep things as brief as possible and entice your audience to learn more about your company. 

Keep in mind, this is the first impression your plan and business will make. After looking over your executive summary, your target reader is either going to throw your business plan away or keep reading. So make sure you spend the time to get it just right.

2. Product and services

This is really the opportunity section of your business plan, with the products and services being how you plan to take advantage of the opportunity. You’ll need to describe the problem that you solve for your customers and the solution that you are selling. 

Lastly, if there are any major competitive products or services already in the market, it may be valuable to mention them here. Detail how you differ, what your strengths and weaknesses are in comparison, and how you’ll differentiate from what is already available. If you have any intellectual property or patents that help strengthen your position list them here as well.

3. Market analysis 

You need to know your target market —the types of customers you are looking for—and how it’s changing, and your market analysis summary will help you get clear on it. 

Use this business plan component to discuss your customers’ needs, where your customers are, how to reach them and how to deliver your product to them.

You’ll also need to know who your competitors are and how you stack up against them—why are you sure there’s room for you in this market?

4. Marketing and sales

Use this business plan section to outline your marketing plan, your sales plan, and the other logistics involved in actually running your business.

You’ll want to cover your sales channels, broad marketing activities, your pricing strategy, as well as your intended market position. This will likely evolve over time, but it’s best to include anything that clearly details how you will sell and promote your products and services. 

5. Organization and management

The company and management section is an overview of who you are.

It should describe the organization of your business, and the key members of the management team . It should also provide any historical background about your business. When your company was founded, who is/are the owner(s), what state your company is registered in and where you do business, and when/if your company was incorporated for example.

Be sure to include summaries of your managers’ backgrounds and experience—these should act like brief resumes—and describe their functions with the company. You should also include any professional gaps you intend to fill, as well as projected milestones for your business.

6. Financial projections and metrics

At the very least this section should include your projected sales forecast , profit and loss , cash flow projections, and balance sheet , along with a brief description of the assumptions you’re making with your projections.

Finally, if you are raising money or taking out loans, you should highlight the money you need to launch the business. This part should also include a use of funds report—basically an overview of how the funding will be used in business operations. 

And while it’s not required, it may be wise to briefly mention your exit strategy. This doesn’t need to be overly detailed, just a general idea of how you may eventually want to exit your business. 

7. Appendix

The end of your business plan should include any additional information to back up specific elements of your plan. More detailed financial statements, resumes for your management team, patent documentation, credit histories, marketing examples, etc. Basically, include anything that can promote your credibility as a business owner.

Free business plan template

Business plan outline template

If you’re looking for greater insight into what goes into specific planning sections, check out the following outline. It can help you develop a detailed business plan or provide guidance as to what may be missing in your current plan. 

Keep in mind that each business plan will look different depending on numerous factors , including the type of business and what you will be using the plan for. Consider the following outline to be a master version to reference and consider. Just be sure to focus on the plan type and sections that are most beneficial to your business, pitch, or overall strategic planning .

1.0 Executive Summary

1.1 problem.

A summary of the problem you are solving and an identifiable need in the market you are filling.

1.2 Solution

A description of the product or service you will provide to solve the problem.

1.3 Target Market

A defined customer base who will most likely purchase the product or service. For info on how to define your target market, check out our guide on the subject.

1.4 Competition

The current alternatives or substitutes in the market that you and your business will be competing against.

1.5 Financial Summary

Key highlights of your financial plan that covers costs, sales, and profitability.

1.6 Funding Requirements

A brief outline of the amount of money you will need to start your business. Include this if you plan on pitching to investors. 

1.7 Milestones and Traction

A roadmap of where you currently are and specific milestones you plan to hit.

2.0 Product and services

2.1 problem worth solving.

A thorough description of the problem or pain point you intend to solve for your customer base. 

2.2 Our Solution

A thorough description of your proposed product or service that alleviates the problem of your customer base.

2.3 Validation of Problem and Solution

Any data or relative information that supports your solution. If you’ve already run tests that verify your idea , this is the place to include your results.

2.4 Product Overview

A description of your product and/or service that explains what it does, who its for, and how it benefits your customers.

2.5 Competition

Any information explaining current competitive offerings and how your product differs from them.

2.6 Roadmap/Future Plans

A list of steps taken so far, along with an outline of steps you plan to take in establishing or growing your business.

3.0 Market Analysis 

3.1 market segmentation.

Potential groups of customers separated by specific characteristics.

3.2 Target market segment strategy

Your ideal customer who would most likely benefit from your business.

3.2.1 Market needs

A description of how your target market is not effectively served and how your business fulfills a need.

3.2.2 Market trends

How consumers in your target market tend to act including purchasing habits, financial trends, and any other relevant factors.

3.2.3 Market growth

The perceived potential increase or decrease in the size of your target market.

3.3 Key customers

Your ideal customer archetype who will be the main advocate for your business.

3.4 Future markets

A snapshot of the potential market based on the last few sections and how your business strategy works within it.

3.5 Competition

A list of potential competitors. Identifying the competition isn’t always obvious and it may take some digging on your part .

3.5.1 Competitors and alternatives

A list of potential indirect competitors that provide products or services that are alternatives to your business.

3.5.2 Competitive advantage 

The strategic advantage(s) that makes your target market more likely to choose you over the competition. 

4.0 Marketing and Sales

4.1 marketing plan.

An outline of your marketing and advertising strategy including costs, advertising channels, and goals.

4.2 Sales plan

An estimate of the number of sales you anticipate based on market conditions, capacity, pricing strategy, and other factors.

4.3 Location and facilities

Details of your physical business location (if necessary) including location and costs of operation.

4.4 Technology

An explanation of any new technology that defines your business.

4.5 Equipment and tools

Any required production equipment or tools and the cost associated with purchasing or renting them.

5.0 Organization and management

5.1 organizational structure.

An overview of the structure of your business including roles and responsibilities of specific employees and the flow of information between levels of the organization.

5.2 Management team

A list of potential candidates you anticipate taking on high-level management roles within your company.

5.3 Management team gaps

Any positions or areas of expertise that you currently do not have candidates ready to fill those roles.

5.4 Personnel plan

A list of potential positions that you expect to require in order to run your business effectively.

5.5 Company history and ownership

A summary of your company’s history and how it relates to planning your business.

5.6 Milestones

A detailed roadmap of specific goals and objectives you plan to achieve that will help you manage and steer your business.

5.7 Key metrics

Performance measurements that help you gauge the overall performance and health of your business.

6.0 Financial projections and metrics

Standard financial documentation that showcases the current and projected health of your business.

6.1 Revenue and sales forecast

Expected revenue and sales for the next 1-3 years, broken down into month-by-month increments for at least the first year.

6.2 Expenses

Expected or incurred costs necessary to start and operate your business.

6.3 Projected profit and loss

How much money you will bring in by selling products and/or services and how much profit you will make or lose after accounting for production costs.

6.4 Projected cash flow

Money that is expected to cycle in and out of your business. This can also include your overall cash position and cash runway.

6.5 Projected balance sheet

Expected balances for business assets, liabilities, and equity.

6.6 Personnel plan

Outline of how and who you intend to hire, what compensation will be, and how employees will fit into business operations.

6.7 Use of funds

Explanation of how funds were or will be used. This is typically meant to be shared with investors or lenders.

6.8 Exit strategy

A brief description of how you intend to eventually exit from your business. Acquisition, selling, passing along to a family member/employee, etc.

7.0 Appendix

A repository for any additional information , including charts and graphs, to support your business plan.

How to organize your business plan

There’s no real established order to business plans, aside from keeping the Executive Summary at the top. As long as you have all of the main business plan components, then the order should reflect your goals . 

If this is meant solely for your personal use, lay it out as a roadmap with similar sections grouped together for easy reference. If you’re pitching this to potential investors, lead with the stronger sections to emphasize the pitch. Then if you’re unsure of what order makes sense, then just stick to the outline in this article.

Should you include tables and charts in your business plan?

Every business plan should include bar charts and pie charts to illustrate the numbers. It’s a simple way for you, your team, and investors to visualize and digest complex financial information.

Cash flow is the single most important numerical analysis in a business plan, and a standard cash flow statement or table should never be missing. Most standard business plans also include a sales forecast and income statement (also called profit and loss), and a balance sheet .

How long should your business plan be?

There’s no perfect length for a business plan . A traditional business plan can be anywhere from 10 to 50 pages long depending on how much detail you include in each section. However, as we said before unless you intend to pursue funding, you likely don’t need a lengthy business plan at first.

Instead, you can start with a lean plan that can be completed in as little as 30-minutes. This one-page business plan is designed to help you get the core information down about your business. It encourages you to focus on your financials and functions moreso as a long-term management tool that’s easy to review and update regularly. 

So, if you’re pursuing funding check out our full guide on how to write a traditional business plan . If you’re looking for a faster, easier, and more effective long-term planning method, check out this guide from LivePlan on how to write a lean plan in under an hour .

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry .

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what should my business plan include

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what should my business plan include

what should my business plan include

what should my business plan include

what should my business plan include

what should my business plan include

How to write a business plan in seven simple steps

When written effectively, a business plan can help raise capital, inform decisions, and draw new talent.

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Companies of all sizes have one thing in common: They all began as small businesses.  Starting small  is the corner for those just getting off the ground. Learn about how to make that first hire, deal with all things administrative, and set yourself up for success.

Writing a business plan is often the first step in transforming your business from an idea into something tangible . As you write, your thoughts begin to solidify into strategy, and a path forward starts to emerge. But a business plan is not only the realm of startups; established companies can also benefit from revisiting and rewriting theirs. In any case, the formal documentation can provide the clarity needed to motivate staff , woo investors, or inform future decisions.  

No matter your industry or the size of your team, the task of writing a business plan—a document filled with so much detail and documentation—can feel daunting. Don’t let that stop you, however; there are easy steps to getting started. 

What is a business plan and why does it matter? 

A business plan is a formal document outlining the goals, direction, finances, team, and future planning of your business. It can be geared toward investors, in a bid to raise capital, or used as an internal document to align teams and provide direction. It typically includes extensive market research, competitor analysis, financial documentation, and an overview of your business and marketing strategy. When written effectively, a business plan can help prescribe action and keep business owners on track to meeting business goals. 

Who needs a business plan?

A business plan can be particularly helpful during a company’s initial growth and serve as a guiding force amid the uncertainty, distractions, and at-times rapid developments involved in starting a business . For enterprise companies, a business plan should be a living, breathing document that guides decision-making and facilitates intentional growth.

“You should have a game plan for every major commitment you’ll have, from early-stage founder agreements to onboarding legal professionals,” says Colin Keogh, CEO of the Rapid Foundation—a company that brings technology and training to communities in need—and a WeWork Labs mentor in the UK . “You can’t go out on funding rounds or take part in accelerators without any planning.”

How to make a business plan and seven components every plan needs

While there is no set format for writing a business plan, there are several elements that are typically included. Here’s what’s important to consider when writing your business plan. 

1. Executive summary 

No longer than half a page, the executive summary should briefly introduce your business and describe the purpose of the business plan. Are you writing the plan to attract capital? If so, specify how much money you hope to raise, and how you’re going to repay the loan. If you’re writing the plan to align your team and provide direction, explain at a high level what you hope to achieve with this alignment, as well as the size and state of your existing team.

The executive summary should explain what your business does, and provide an introductory overview of your financial health and major achievements to date.  

2. Company description 

To properly introduce your company, it’s important to also describe the wider industry. What is the financial worth of your market? Are there market trends that will affect the success of your company? What is the state of the industry and its future potential? Use data to support your claims and be sure to include the full gamut of information—both positive and negative—to provide investors and your employees a complete and accurate portrayal of your company’s milieu. 

Go on to describe your company and what it provides your customers. Are you a sole proprietor , LLC, partnership, or corporation? Are you an established company or a budding startup? What does your leadership team look like and how many employees do you have? This section should provide both historical and future context around your business, including its founding story, mission statement , and vision for the future. 

It’s essential to showcase your point of difference in your company description, as well as any advantages you may have in terms of expert talent or leading technology. This is typically one of the first pieces of the plan to be written.

3. Market analysis and opportunity

Research is key in completing a business plan and, ideally, more time should be spent on research and analysis than writing the plan itself. Understanding the size, growth, history, future potential, and current risks inherent to the wider market is essential for the success of your business, and these considerations should be described here. 

In addition to this, it’s important to include research into the target demographic of your product or service. This might be in the form of fictional customer personas, or a broader overview of the income, location, age, gender, and buying habits of your existing and potential customers. 

Though the research should be objective, the analysis in this section is a good place to reiterate your point of difference and the ways you plan to capture the market and surpass your competition.

4. Competitive analysis 

Beyond explaining the elements that differentiate you from your competition, it’s important to provide an in-depth analysis of your competitors themselves.

This research should delve into the operations, financials, history, leadership, and distribution channels of your direct and indirect competitors. It should explore the value propositions of these competitors, and explain the ways you can compete with, or exploit, their strengths and weaknesses. 

5. Execution plan: operations, development, management 

This segment provides details around how you’re going to do the work necessary to fulfill this plan. It should include information about your organizational structure and the everyday operations of your team, contractors, and physical and digital assets.

Consider including your company’s organizational chart, as well as more in-depth information on the leadership team: Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What do they bring to the table? Potentially include the résumés of key people on your team. 

For startups, your execution plan should include how long it will take to begin operations, and then how much longer to reach profitability. For established companies, it’s a good idea to outline how long it will take to execute your plan, and the ways in which you will change existing operations.

If applicable, it’s also beneficial to include your strategy for hiring new team members and scaling into different markets. 

6. Marketing plan 

It’s essential to have a comprehensive marketing plan in place as you scale operations or kick off a new strategy—and this should be shared with your stakeholders and employees. This segment of your business plan should show how you’re going to promote your business, attract customers, and retain existing clients.

Include brand messaging, marketing assets, and the timeline and budget for engaging consumers across different channels. Potentially include a marketing SWOT analysis into your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Evaluate the way your competitors market themselves, and how your target audience responds—or doesn’t respond—to these messages.

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7. Financial history and projections  

It’s essential to disclose all finances involved in running your company within your business plan. This is so your shareholders properly understand how you’re projected to perform going forward, and the progress you’ve made so far. 

You should include your income statement, which outlines annual net profits or losses; a cash flow statement, which shows how much money you need to launch or scale operations; and a balance sheet that shows financial liabilities and assets. 

“An income statement is the measure of your financial results for a certain period and the most accurate report of business activities during that time, [whereas a balance sheet] presents your assets, liabilities, and equity,” Amit Perry, a corporate finance expert, explained at a WeWork Labs educational session in Israel.

It’s crucial to understand the terms correctly so you know how to present your finances when you’re speaking to investors. Amit Perry, CEO and founder of Perryllion Ltd.

In addition, if you’re asking for funding, you will need to outline exactly how much money you need as well as where this money will go and how you plan to pay it back. 

12 quick tips for writing a business plan 

Now that you know what components are traditionally included in a business plan, it’s time to consider how you’ll actually construct the document.

Here are 12 key factors to keep in mind when writing a business plan. These overarching principles will help you write a business plan that serves its purpose (whatever that may be) and becomes an easy reference in the years ahead. 

1. Don’t be long-winded

Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon. When business plans are too long-winded, they’re less likely to be used as intended and more likely to be forgotten or glazed over by stakeholders. 

2. Show why you care

Let your passion for your business shine through; show employees and investors why you care (and why they should too). 

3. Provide supporting documents

Don’t be afraid to have an extensive list of appendices, including the CVs of team members, built-out customer personas, product demonstrations, and examples of internal or external messaging. 

4. Reference data

All information regarding the market, your competitors, and your customers should reference authoritative and relevant data points.  

5. Research, research, research

The research that goes into your business plan should take you longer than the writing itself. Consider tracking your research as supporting documentation. 

6. Clearly demonstrate your points of difference

At every opportunity, it’s important to drive home the way your product or service differentiates you from your competition and helps solve a problem for your target audience. Don’t shy away from reiterating these differentiating factors throughout the plan. 

7. Be objective in your research

As important as it is to showcase your company and the benefits you provide your customers, it’s also important to be objective in the data and research you reference. Showcase the good and the bad when it comes to market research and your financials; you want your shareholders to know you’ve thought through every possible contingency. 

8. Know the purpose of your plan

It’s important you understand the purpose of your plan before you begin researching and writing. Be clear about whether you’re writing this plan to attract investment, align teams, or provide direction. 

9. Identify your audience

The same way your business plan must have a clearly defined purpose, you must have a clearly defined audience. To whom are you writing? New investors? Current employees? Potential collaborators? Existing shareholders? 

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what should my business plan include

10. Avoid jargon

Avoid using industry-specific jargon, unless completely unavoidable, and try making your business plan as easy to understand as possible—for all potential stakeholders. 

11. Don’t be afraid to change it

Your business plan should evolve with your company’s growth, which means your business plan document should evolve as well. Revisit and rework your business plan as needed, and remember the most important factor: having a plan in place, even if it changes.

A business plan shouldn’t just be a line on your to-do list; it should be referenced and used as intended going forward. Keep your business plan close, and use it to inform decisions and guide your team in the years ahead. 

Creating a business plan is an important step in growing your company 

Whether you’re just starting out or running an existing operation, writing an effective business plan can be a key predictor of future success. It can be a foundational document from which you grow and thrive . It can serve as a constant reminder to employees and clients about what you stand for, and the direction in which you’re moving. Or, it can prove to investors that your business, team, and vision are worth their investment. 

No matter the size or stage of your business, WeWork can help you fulfill the objectives outlined in your business plan—and WeWork’s coworking spaces can be a hotbed for finding talent and investors, too. The benefits of coworking spaces include intentionally designed lounges, conference rooms, and private offices that foster connection and bolster creativity, while a global network of professionals allows you to expand your reach and meet new collaborators. 

Using these steps to write a business plan will put you in good stead to not only create a document that fulfills a purpose but one that also helps to more clearly understand your market, competition, point of difference, and plan for the future. 

For more tips on growing teams and building a business, check out all our articles on  Ideas by WeWork.

Caitlin Bishop is a writer for WeWork’s  Ideas by WeWork , based in New York City. Previously, she was a journalist and editor at  Mamamia  in Sydney, Australia, and a contributing reporter at  Gotham Gazette .

what should my business plan include

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6 Questions Every Business Plan Should Answer

Jeremy  Bender

Lay out your goals and a road map for achieving them.

An actionable business plan is crucial, whether your business is brand-new or an established player in its field. A business plan is especially vital for SMBs, which often must contend with lower name recognition, fewer loyal customers and other typical business challenges. While it doesn’t guarantee success, creating a business plan with research and care can help a business prepare for any future uncertainties.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners must ensure their business plans address six primary questions. Thinking through these questions and developing potential solutions helps set up your venture for success. 

What is a business plan, and why does it matter?

A business plan is a formal document designed to help you set achievable business goals and outline how you’ll accomplish them. The business plan should include various road maps dedicated to the following operational elements:

A business plan is a valuable tool internally and externally.

When pitching your business idea to investors , emphasize how your product or service solves a problem and frame your pitch as a story to demonstrate your passion.

What should a business plan include?

Typically, a business plan should include the following elements: 

Business plans vary in length depending on your business’s size, industry and scope. An SMB typically has a shorter and more succinct business plan than a larger, established business that operates across industries. 

Collect market intelligence for your business plan by conducting customer surveys and researching social media metrics, competitors’ sales and target customer data.

Questions every business plan should answer

We spoke with six business leaders who shared their thoughts on the crucial questions a business plan should answer. Consider these six essential questions to optimize your business plan.

1. What is the competitive advantage?

Scott Locke, chair of the intellectual property department at Dorf and Nelson LLP, advises thoroughly researching copyright infringement issues when determining your competitive advantage. 

“I always look for what will give the business a competitive advantage relative to businesses that want to offer the same or similar goods and services and an analysis of the competitive landscape,” Locke explained. “I pay particular attention as to whether there is valuable intellectual property, be it patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets, that will serve as barriers to entry for competitors. Similarly, I like to see a discussion of the intellectual property of the most direct competitors and how the new business will avoid infringing on it.”

2. Is the business in a growth market?

Walter Recher, principal consultant at SmallBall Marketing, says your business plan should emphasize how you plan to grow your business . 

“The key to any successful business is to be a growing company in a growth market. A business plan should articulate how the entrepreneurs will enter the market, apply their investment to prepare them to grow quickly, and participate in the expansion of an industry that is thriving, with a better-than-average growth trajectory,” Recher said. “As I have spent my career working for hyper-growth companies in rapidly expanding markets, a founder of several small businesses and adjunct professor of a course on entrepreneurship, this has been the common denominator.”

3. Will customers pay for it?

Andi Gray, founder and president of Strategy Leaders, advises examining the risks of entrepreneurship and determining what and how customers will pay for their products and services. 

“When looking at business plans, I always want to know how the owners plan to get paying customers to engage at a fee and quantity that allows them, as owners, to be in business and sustain themselves,” Gray advised. “My frequently asked question is, ‘How do you plan to feed and clothe yourself, and where do you plan to sleep while you’re getting this venture off the ground?’ My hope is that it will cause the students to consider why they are planning to take the risks of entrepreneurship.” 

4. How will the business be staffed?

Larry Holfelder, senior consultant at DJL Insurance Services Inc., emphasizes the importance of staffing considerations. 

“In every business plan, I like to see the recognition of the need to cover and staff the production, sales and finance parts of the business. Roles should be established for the entity as if it were mature and successful,” Holfelder advised. “Multiple roles should be assigned at first, if necessary, and filled with the right people as the entity grows and the timing is right.” 

Holfelder says thoughtful staffing coverage shows that the business owners are realistic. “I like to see that type of thought process because it shows me they recognize that they won’t be able to do it all themselves and that business success revolves around collaboration and management,” Holfelder said. “It also shows that they recognize their own limitations, their ability to focus on their strengths, and the need to bring in others who know what they don’t in order to reach the goals they envision.”

Consider using a staffing agency if you need to scale quickly and want flexibility and reduced legal risks.

5. Is the product innovative?

Irwin Glenn, chief identity scientist at Hunova, stresses the importance of innovation and inventiveness as well as the team’s level of inspiration. 

“Is the idea for the product or service innovative, a unique invention, or is the dream truly inspired? Glenn asked. “By innovative, I want to understand if the business plan is centered around a new twist on already-existing technology or services delivered in a new and compelling way. If inventive, can the idea be protected against new or existing competition? Finally, is the team assembled an excellent group that can’t be stopped from succeeding? Are they inspiring to me, each other, and their marketplace?”

6. Are the plans and goals realistic?

Charles North, former president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, prioritizes a realistic business plan with reasonable expectations. 

“I look for it to be a realistic business plan, not something that is pie-in-the-sky. I want to see reasonable expectations,” North explained. “I tend to look more on the conservative side, since I feel that is the safest way to go. The idea doesn’t have to be reasonable; the plan does. The idea can be anything.”

North also emphasizes the importance of sales forecasts . “I always look for projections on what the business will do in the first year, second year, third year and fourth year showing sales, expenses [and the] bottom line as the business progresses. Those assumptions have to be reasonable.”

How planning for success pays off

A great business idea is no guarantee of success, but a solid business plan is a way to start a new business off the right foot and prepare your venture for a lucrative future. 

Business plans are a vital resource for businesses of all sizes. While business plans should, at minimum, lay out a series of goals and a road map for achieving them, a business plan should also help answer questions ranging from analyzing a business’ competitive advantages to considering if its goals are realistic. 

If you think through these questions while creating your business plan, your business will be in a better position to achieve its goals and weather any challenges it may face. 

David Mielach contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.

what should my business plan include

8 Things Every Business Plan Should Include

Some entrepreneurs may think a  business plan  is an irrelevant piece of paperwork that will just get lost in the shuffle, or a pointless exercise getting in the way of pursuing the fun part of running a business. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Your business plan should be treated as a birth certificate or formal constitution. This document lays out, in explicit detail, every aspect of what you hope your business will be, the ethics on which it’s founded, and your specific plan for how to  sustain and grow  it over time. That’s incredibly useful info!

Sure, every business is different, and different businesses mean different approaches to business plans, but below we’ll walk you through eight  essential  items that every business plan should include in order to be effective.

What is a business plan?

In the simplest of terms, a business plan is a blueprint or guide showcasing your  business’s goals  and your detailed plan for how those goals will be met. Again, this isn’t just a feel-good exercise to do: Banks, potential partners, investors, and even the state where you register your company will want to see a copy of your business plan in this kind of detail.

This will often be the document that seals or breaks your ability to land an account, loan, or merger. Not having a business plan is like not having a photo ID; your business basically can’t get in anywhere without it. Don’t think of your business plan as a  best practice  but rather a founding, critical step in the successful launching of your idea.

8 Things to Include in Your Business Plan

The elements of a business plan can be every bit as unique as your business. You should spend the time to think about how you want your plan to reflect the core values and ethics of your company. 

Detailed planning? Core values? Ethics? If this is starting to sound intimidating, don’t worry — you’ve got this! You can start by familiarizing yourself with the  small business statistics  related to your market. A bit of research like this will help you make educated decisions about the parts of your business plan. That said, there are key elements that you don’t want to forgo. Add these eight essential components to your business plan:

Business Plan Elements:

Remember that you don’t need to be worried if you don’t have all the answers to these at the moment. You have time to find them and reflect on how you want to incorporate them meaningfully into your business plan.

1. Executive Summary

The  executive summary  should lead your business plan and appear directly after your title page. This is where you state what you want for your venture in clear and concise language. This document will ideally be no longer than a page in length and offer a good synopsis of the entire business plan. List your business’s previous accomplishments, current  market position , and  financial  features where these items apply. 

For example, if you are a fledgling graphic design business but have already done work for big-name, recognized clients, include evidence of that in your executive summary to highlight your company’s established positive connections. This section is meant to provide a road map of your company’s placement in your industry and its hoped-for trajectory.

2. Company Description

This is the section of your business plan to talk about the essential elements of your company’s objectives and prior accomplishments. Give the reader your company’s history and  mission statemen t here. What kind of operation is your business — retail, manufacturing, service-related? What sort of format have you adopted:  LLC , corporation , or sole proprietorship ? 

Name your company’s principals and leaders in your description and include any other support networks available to your business. For example, if you are running a small carpentry venture but have done work for major construction contractors in your area, let your readers know about these larger allies, as they lend your business further credibility in your field. It’s advisable to write this section more like a bulleted list or profile than in paragraph or narrative form.

3. Market Research

This portion of your business plan addresses your target and potential market. Here, you’ll paint a verbal picture of your ideal customer, including age, gender, vocation, education, and even hobbies. The more specific you can be in your market analysis, the better it looks to investors, as identifying too broad a market indicates too little research and too much risk. You need to offer an educated estimate of your target market’s size, monetary value, and stability, which you can determine through completing a thorough market analysis.

Use this section to showcase that you understand your competition and have sized up the opportunity related to your venture. For example, suppose you’re launching a boutique printing and graphics company in a town where there is already a larger printing group. In that case, you might detail that your operation will be positioned within walking distance of the town’s big university and offer scholastic demographics on the students who attend there to illustrate the demand for the work you’ll be doing. 

Conduct a detailed competitive analysis of other businesses in your area based on your target market. What are their primary marketing channels and average costs per project? Is your industry sector affected by the  gig economy ? If so, how much? It’s helpful to present the information relating to your active competitors in a spreadsheet or table to be more immediately readable.

4. Product or Service Description

This part of your business plan is your chance to spotlight your company’s products or services. Provide highly specific details about your production process, the  product life cycle  of what you’re offering, and especially the benefits. What is unique about what you are selling? Do you have any patents or intellectual property protection in place? Where do you get the raw materials you use to make or supply your items? Do you currently have anything in the research and development pipeline? 

Offering detailed info on these kinds of questions and addressing the assembly, quality control, supply chain logistics, and daily operations associated with your products or services helps demonstrate why your business is different from others in your market — and it’s also useful for you yourself to think through if you’re just getting started.

Use this space to show just how creative and vital your company’s work is.  For instance, if you are founding a consulting agency for sustainable design, perhaps showcasing that your service plans make heavy use of local quarry rock would be wise here, as this is an element other  green entrepreneurs  might not have.

5. Marketing and Customer Acquisition Strategy

Documenting your revenue model is a crucial component of your business plan. This section outlines your sales strategy, helps position your brand, and reduces the risk of your company barking up the wrong revenue tree or timing your product/service in a disadvantageous way. This is the section of your business plan where you’re going to detail everything from the pricing to the predicted margins of your business. What  marketing strategy  will your company employ? How does it differ from or exceed those of other business models?

True, much of this financial information will be speculative if you’re just starting out. However, getting specific about how you’ll handle your revenue channels should be based on existing information at your disposal — remember, you’ll want potential investors to see you’ve taken the time to be realistic in your planning and projections. Has your company made any money to date? If so, how much, and how was it generated? What relationship does your cost of goods sold (COGS) have to your bottom line and market share? Does your marketing plan include  payments  from customers that will be collected on a one-time basis, recurrently, based on service time spent, or some combination of the above?

A good example here might be a small electrician’s company that, unlike its competitors, doesn’t charge a “come and see” or service fee for estimates. While this might initially seem to bring in less money for the company, the traction it will give the business with appreciative  customers  in the long run is likely to increase the company’s demand and revenue.

6. Business and Team Structure

The section of your business plan that addresses your management team is where you have the pleasure of introducing the people that power your business. This is a chance for you to further showcase your seriousness to potential lenders, investors, or partners by highlighting each of your team member’s qualifications, backgrounds, and credentials.

Create brief biographies of three to five sentences for each of your principal team members, including why this person is qualified for the role they play in your business. For example, your small business may have a co-founder who has obtained a law degree, but you’re going to run a freelance accounting firm. 

Use this space to show how that person’s background in law makes them the  perfect partner  and will help your company comply with federal and local regulations. Remember that your goal is to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the team you have assembled to help run your business are not only professionals but also the best people for the job.

If you haven’t made many hires yet, you’ll also want to spend a moment in this segment of your business plan forecasting your staffing needs. Who do you still need to hire to make this business as good as it can be? What do you predict will cost to hire these experts? Will you  outsource  any component of your team? Take time here to show that you have thought ahead to potential staffing  scenarios  and your responses.

7. Company Financials

Demonstrating that you have a realistic understanding of your company’s financial needs is essential. Even if you have a new business idea and don’t have formal financial statements yet, this sector of your business plan should provide your business’s established budget, cash flow analysis, any income statements and balance sheets you have, and your  debt-to-liquidity ratio . Don’t forget to factor in  business taxes  that will impact your company and gauge the frequency with which those taxes will be imposed (some are yearly; others are quarterly). 

Let’s say you are starting a small IT consulting business. You may not have much financial data yet, but you do have a wealth of information from companies you have worked for in the past and their technological trends, needs, and financial projections. Take this information and make very thorough profit and loss projections for your company based on current, factual industry data.

Remember that every projection you make in your financial plan needs to have a direct justification. It’s also wise to project conservatively on profits and liberally on losses to account for the unpredictability in your target market.

8. Request for Funding

Now for the really fun part of your business plan: officially asking for money. Your request for funding should start with what the investor will get by partaking in your small business. Spell out your capital needs, why you need them, and why providing them is beneficial to the funder. 

It’s imperative in this section for business owners to outline key milestones that investor money will aid in achieving. What are the long-range goals for this money? How will investors be rewarded in the short and long term? 

For example, suppose you are founding a freelance landscaping company in a city showing a steady statistical uptick in suburban, residential development. In that case, you can couch your investor’s long-term benefits in terms of the exponential growth your connections to contractors/builders suggest. In short, your investors can get in on the ground floor of what your network will give you access to. Make your funding request all about positives, and you are much more likely to receive favorable results from it.

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A good business plan can help you understand your industry and customers more efficiently, help you mark business milestones, and focus your entrepreneurial efforts in the right direction. Setting yourself up for success early through this kind of planning is the smartest step you can take toward guaranteeing the life and growth of your business.

If you find that you need help brainstorming, organizing, or formulating your new company,  ZenBusiness  can assist you in everything from  running your business virtually  to  defeating burnout . 

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Writing a Business Growth Plan

Max Freedman

You can facilitate and speed up expansion by having a clear road map.

When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught in the moment, always focusing on the day in front of you. But to be truly successful, you need to be looking ahead. You need to plan for your growth. To help with that process, many business owners write business growth plans, which provide a timeline for the next one to two years on how revenue can increase. In order to write an effective business growth plan, you need to understand what one is, the different types of strategies to consider, and how to project ways for your revenue to grow.

What is a business growth plan?

graphic of a person sitting next to a large graph

A business growth plan is an outline for where a company sees itself in the next one to two years. The growth plan should be formatted to follow along with each quarter. At the end of each quarter, the company can review what goals it met and what goals it missed during that period. At this point, management can revise the business growth plan to reflect current market standing.

Why are business growth plans important?

These are some of the many reasons why business growth plans are important:

What factors impact business growth?

Countless factors can affect your business growth. These are some of the key elements:

What are the four major growth strategies?

graphic of person standing next to a large chart

There are countless growth strategies for businesses, but only four major types. With these growth strategies, you can determine how to build on your brand.

Share your growth plan with key employees as a motivator. When employees see an opportunity for increased responsibility and corresponding compensation, they’re more likely to stay.

What to include in a business growth plan

A business growth plan focuses specifically on expansion and how you’re going to achieve it. Creating a useful plan takes time, but the effort can pay off substantially by keeping your growth efforts on track. You should include these elements in your growth plan:

Your growth plan should also include an assessment of your operating systems and computer networks to determine if they can accommodate growth.

How to write a business growth plan

To successfully write a business growth plan, you have to do some forward thinking and research. Here are some key steps to follow when writing your business growth plan.

1. Think ahead.

The future is always unpredictable, but if you study your target market, your competition and the past growth of your company, you can plan for future expansion. The Small Business Administration (SBA) features a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan for growth.

2. Study other growth plans.

Before you start writing, review models from some successful companies.

3. Discover opportunities for growth.

With some homework, you can determine if your expansion opportunities lie in creating new products, adding more services, targeting a new market, opening new locations or going global, to name a few examples. Once you’ve identified your best options for growth, include them in your plan.

4. Evaluate your team.

Your plan should include an assessment of your employees and a look at staffing requirements to meet your growth objectives. By assessing your own skills and those of your employees, you can determine how much growth can be accomplished with your present team. You’ll also know when to start hiring additional people and what skill sets to look for in those new hires.

Review and revise your growth plan often – at least once a year.

5. Find the capital.

Include detailed information on how you will fund expansion. Business.gov offers a guide on how to prepare your request for funding, as well as how to connect with SBA lenders.

6. Get the word out.

graphic of a person with a megaphone climbing out of a smartphone

Growing your business requires a targeted marketing effort. Be sure to outline how you will effectively market your business to encourage growth and how your marketing efforts will evolve as you grow.

7. Ask for help.

Advice from other business owners who have had successful growth can be the ultimate tool in writing your growth plan.

8. Start writing.

Business plan software has streamlined the growth plan process. Most software programs are geared toward business plans, but you can modify them to create a plan that focuses on growth.

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what should my business plan include

what should my business plan include

How to Write a Solar Production Business Plan

Creating a comprehensive solar production business plan for production success .

A well-written business plan provides a roadmap that outlines the goals, strategies, and financial projections of your business. It also serves as a powerful tool for attracting investors and securing financing.

Today, we’ll cover what you need to know to create an effective solar production business plan for solar manufacturing success. We’ll look at the elements of a good business plan, the pros, and cons of developing your own business plan versus hiring a professional, and tips for crafting an effective solar manufacturing business plan. 

We’ll also discuss common mistakes to avoid. Let’s get started!

Why You Need A Business Plan 

Solar production business plan involves a thorough analysis of the market, the competition, and the industry. It also involves creating a financial plan, setting milestones, and planning for contingencies.

Creating a solar production business plan for a solar manufacturing company requires a deep understanding of the industry, the current market conditions, and the competitive landscape. It also requires an understanding of the technologies used in solar manufacturing, costs of solar panel manufacturing in setting up production, and the regulations and laws governing the industry.


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Developing a solar production business plan.

Business plans are not just for startups. Existing businesses can also benefit from creating a business plan. A good business plan can help a business grow and expand, identify new opportunities, and create a roadmap for success.

It provides the framework for goals and objectives, and it outlines the strategies and plans for achieving them. It also provides investors with a detailed understanding of the business and its potential for success.

For solar manufacturing, a business plan can help you determine the most cost-effective way to set up production, identify potential markets, and develop strategies for marketing and sales. It can also provide a roadmap for navigating the often-complex regulatory environment, as well as a plan for securing financing.

Creating a solar production business plan can also help you stay organized and focused. It provides a framework for tracking progress measuring success and identifying areas for improvement.

Elements Of A Business Plan

A good business plan should include the following elements:

should you develop your own business plan? 

Developing your own business plan has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it gives you the opportunity to customize the plan to your specific needs and goals. It also gives you the chance to learn more about the industry and become an expert in the field.

On the other hand, writing your own solar production business plan can be time-consuming and may require more research and resources than you have available. It also requires a deep understanding of the industry, the current market conditions, and the competitive landscape.

should you hire a professional business plan writer 

Hiring a professional business plan writer is another option. On the plus side, professional business plan writers have the expertise and experience to create an effective business plan quickly and efficiently. They also have access to resources and industry knowledge that you may not have.

On the other hand, hiring a professional can be costly, and you may not get the personalized attention that you would with a DIY approach. Additionally, you may not have as much control over the process.

Tips For Crafting An Effective Solar Production Business Plan 

Here are some tips to help you craft an effective business plan

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Business Plan

To get the most out of your business plan, it’s important to:

Without a solar production business plan, your venture will not have a roadmap to guide it. This will increase the risk of failure. It’s also next to impossible to get financing from banks or investors without a business plan.

Developing a business plan gives banks and potential investors confidence that the business can be run profitably. It gives them a reasonable expectation of a good return on their investment and makes them more likely to loan or invest in the business.


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9 Essential Sections You Can Include in a Business Plan

As an entrepreneur, your business plan is one of your most important documents. Your plan is the best way to share your goals and secure financing. A well-written plan shares your story, drive, passion, and tells the world that you are serious and committed to making your dream real. So what should you include in your business plan to highlight this?

In your plan, you share your business concept, what you plan to do with your business, and how you intend to execute your idea and achieve your goals. Your business plan is a written document and management tool that outlines the details of your company.

what should my business plan include

What to include in a business plan

A business plan is the story of your company split up into key sections. These include but are not limited to:

Taking your great business idea and putting it onto paper is no easy task. It’s one thing to document your idea, and another to do the research, analysis, writing and presentation to create a comprehensive, neat package you can use to easily sell your idea to investors, funders, employees or potential customers.

Take your time really giving each section the detail and attention it deserves. If you need any assistance with your business plan, we are here to help. Reach out any time .

Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey

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Free Communication Plan Templates

Smartsheet Contributor Kate Eby

February 27, 2023

Below, you’ll find the best free communication plan templates for your organization. These templates are fully customizable and available in multiple formats. Pick the one that’s right for you.

On this page, you’ll find a communication plan template that allows for full customization and the inclusion of numerous important details; a strategic communication plan template that helps you develop a granular and highly focused communication strategy; and a business communication plan template that enables you to align your business plan and mission statement with your communication plan.

Communication Plan Template

Communication Plan Template

Download a Communication Plan Template for  Excel | Microsoft Word | Google Sheets

Use this communication plan template to develop a clear and organized plan for disseminating information throughout your organization. Enter important details, such as stakeholders, deliverables, priority, delivery method, and frequency of communication. You can use this template in its current form, or you can adapt it to suit your specific needs. A good communication plan streamlines your workflow and reduces redundant or unnecessary communication while ensuring the efficient distribution of all vital details to every interested party. 

For additional information on communication plans, including more templates and professional advice, check out this comprehensive guide to project communication plans .

Strategic Communication Plan Template

Strategic Communication Plan Template

Download a Strategic Communication Plan Template for  Excel | Adobe PDF | Google Sheets

Use this strategic communication plan template for a complete and detailed look at your organization’s communication needs. This template helps you develop a strategic plan that takes into consideration your mission, executive strategy, situational analysis, stakeholders, key messages, and more. This tool gives you the ability to create a customized plan that encompasses all your needs.

Check out these free communication templates for more options and information about communication plans.

Business Communication Plan Template

Business Communication Plan Template

Download a Business Communication Plan Template for  Excel | Adobe PDF | Google Sheets

A business communication plan is crucial for setting and meeting organizational goals. Use this template to align your business plan and mission statement with your communication plan. Fill in all the crucial details concerning your business and mission to create a fully formed communication plan that streamlines and strengthens the connection between your business, clients, and stakeholders. 

To learn more about creating your own communication plan, visit this highly informative page of free communication strategy templates, examples, and expert tips .

What Is a Communication Plan Template?

A communication plan template is a tool for organizing and planning a communication strategy for a project or program. The template format can range from a simple chart to a multistep plan. Adapt the template to meet your organization’s needs.

A communication plan is essential for creating and implementing a predictable, reliable, and timely system of communication within your organization. Use a communication plan template to ensure that you’re accounting for all stakeholders and disseminating key information in a timely and constructive manner.

What Should a Communication Plan Include?

A communication plan should include goals and objectives; stakeholders and audiences; key messages; and a timeline for the dissemination of important communication. As your plan evolves, you can add details, such as multistep solutions or changes of task ownership. 

The nature of your plan’s content depends partially on the type and size of your organization. Still, most communication plans share a basic framework. To learn more, check out the key elements of a communication plan .

How to Write a Strategic Communication Plan

When writing a strategic communication plan, first decide on your goals. Next, consider what you need to communicate and to whom. Then write and obtain approval for your message. Finally, create a schedule and share your message with the team.

Your plan will vary, depending on your specific circumstances, but expect to follow these steps:

How to Use Communication Plan Templates

As communication plans evolve, you can easily adapt by using a template. Pick an editable template that meets your needs. Complete the relevant fields with your specific information. As clients or stakeholders change, so should your communication plan. 

Use the following step-by-step instructions to get the most out of the templates on this page:

Master Your Communication Strategy with Free Templates from Smartsheet

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How To Write the Perfect Business Plan in 9 Steps (2023)

How to write a business plan: everything you need to know

A great business plan can help you clarify your strategy, identify potential roadblocks, decide what you’ll need in the way of resources, and evaluate the viability of your idea or your growth plans before you start a business .

Not every successful business launches with a formal business plan, but many founders find value in taking time to step back, research their idea and the market they’re looking to enter, and understand the scope and the strategy behind their tactics. That’s where writing a business plan comes in.

Table of Contents

What is a business plan?

Why write a business plan, business plan formats, how to write a business plan in 9 steps, tips for creating a small business plan, common mistakes when writing a business plan, prepare your business plan today, business plan faq.

A business plan is a document describing a business, its products or services, how it earns (or will earn) money, its leadership and staffing, its financing, its operations model, and many other details essential to its success.

We had a marketing background but not much experience in the other functions needed to run a fashion ecommerce business, like operations, finance, production, and tech. Laying out a business plan helped us identify the “unknowns” and made it easier to spot the gaps where we’d need help or, at the very least, to skill up ourselves. Jordan Barnett, Kapow Meggings

Investors rely on business plans to evaluate the feasibility of a business before funding it, which is why business plans are commonly associated with getting a loan. But there are several compelling reasons to consider writing a business plan, even if you don’t need funding.

If you’re looking for a structured way to lay out your thoughts and ideas, and to share those ideas with people who can have a big impact on your success, a business plan is an excellent starting point.

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Business plans can span from one page to multiple pages with detailed graphs and reports. There’s no one way to create a business plan. The goal is to convey the most important information about your company for readers.

Common types of business plans we see include, but are not limited to, the following:

Check out real-world examples of different business plans by reading The Road to Success: Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own .

Few things are more intimidating than a blank page. Starting your business plan with a structured outline and key elements for what you’ll include in each section is the best first step you can take.

Since an outline is such an important step in the process of writing a business plan, we’ve put together a high-level overview you can copy into your blank document to get you started (and avoid the terror of facing a blank page). You can also start with a free business plan template and use it to inform the structure of your plan.

Once you’ve got your business plan outline in place, it’s time to fill it in. We’ve broken it down by section to help you build your plan step by step.

1. Draft an executive summary

A good executive summary is one of the most crucial sections of your plan—it’s also the last section you should write.

The executive summary’s purpose is to distill everything that follows and give time-crunched reviewers (e.g., potential investors and lenders) a high-level overview of your business that persuades them to read further.

Again, it’s a summary, so highlight the key points you’ve uncovered while writing your plan. If you’re writing for your own planning purposes, you can skip the summary altogether—although you might want to give it a try anyway, just for practice.

Screenshot of an executive summary by FIGS

An executive summary shouldn’t exceed one page. Admittedly, that space constraint can make squeezing in all of the salient information a bit stressful—but it’s not impossible. Here’s what your business plan’s executive summary should include:

2. Describe your company

This section of your business plan should answer two fundamental questions: who are you, and what do you plan to do? Answering these questions with a company description provides an introduction to why you’re in business, why you’re different, what you have going for you, and why you’re a good investment bet. For example, clean makeup brand Saie shares a letter from its founder on the company’s mission and why it exists.

A letter from the Saie founder next to a picture of a woman putting on mascara

Clarifying these details is still a useful exercise, even if you’re the only person who’s going to see them. It’s an opportunity to put to paper some of the more intangible facets of your business, like your principles, ideals, and cultural philosophies.

Here are some of the components you should include in your company description:

Some of these points are statements of fact, but others will require a bit more thought to define, especially when it comes to your business’s vision, mission, and values. This is where you start getting to the core of why your business exists, what you hope to accomplish, and what you stand for.

This is where you start getting to the core of why your business exists, what you hope to accomplish, and what you stand for.

To define your values, think about all the people your company is accountable to, including owners, employees, suppliers, customers, and investors. Now consider how you’d like to conduct business with each of them. As you make a list, your core values should start to emerge.

Once you know your values, you can write a mission statement . Your statement should explain, in a convincing manner, why your business exists, and should be no longer than a single sentence.

As an example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Making commerce better for everyone.” It’s the “why” behind everything we do and clear enough that it needs no further explanation.

What impact do you envision your business having on the world once you’ve achieved your vision?

Next, craft your vision statement: what impact do you envision your business having on the world once you’ve achieved your vision? Phrase this impact as an assertion—begin the statement with “We will” and you’ll be off to a great start. Your vision statement, unlike your mission statement, can be longer than a single sentence, but try to keep it to three at most. The best vision statements are concise.

Finally, your company description should include both short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals, generally, should be achievable within the next year, while one to five years is a good window for long-term goals. Make sure all your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

3. Perform a market analysis

No matter what type of business you start, it’s no exaggeration to say your market can make or break it. Choose the right market for your products—one with plenty of customers who understand and need your product—and you’ll have a head start on success. If you choose the wrong market, or the right market at the wrong time, you may find yourself struggling for each sale.

Market analysis is a key section of your business plan, whether or not you ever intend for anyone else to read it.

This is why market research and analysis is a key section of your business plan, whether or not you ever intend for anyone else to read it. It should include an overview of how big you estimate the market is for your products, an analysis of your business’s position in the market, and an overview of the competitive landscape. Thorough research supporting your conclusions is important both to persuade investors and to validate your own assumptions as you work through your plan.

How big is your potential market?

The potential market is an estimate of how many people need your product. While it’s exciting to imagine sky-high sales figures, you’ll want to use as much relevant independent data as possible to validate your estimated potential market.

Since this can be a daunting process, here are some general tips to help you begin your research:

Some sources to consult for market data include government statistics offices, industry associations, academic research, and respected news outlets covering your industry.

SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis looks at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What are the best things about your company? What are you not so good at? What market or industry shifts can you take advantage of and turn into opportunities? Are there external factors threatening your ability to succeed?

These breakdowns often are presented as a grid, with bullet points in each section breaking down the most relevant information—so you can probably skip writing full paragraphs here. Strengths and weaknesses—both internal company factors—are listed first, with opportunities and threats following in the next row. With this visual presentation, your reader can quickly see the factors that may impact your business and determine your competitive advantage in the market.

Here’s an example:

SWOT analysis

Free: SWOT Analysis Template

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Competitive analysis.

There are three overarching factors you can use to differentiate your business in the face of competition:

To understand which is the best fit, you’ll need to understand your business as well as the competitive landscape.

You’ll always have competition in the market, even with an innovative product, so it’s important to include a competitive overview in your business plan. If you’re entering an established market, include a list of a few companies you consider direct competitors and explain how you plan to differentiate your products and business from theirs.

You’ll always have competition in the market, even with an innovative product.

For example, if you’re selling jewelry, your competitive differentiation could be that, unlike many high-end competitors, you donate a percentage of your profits to a notable charity or pass savings on to your customers.

If you’re entering a market where you can’t easily identify direct competitors, consider your indirect competitors—companies offering products that are substitutes for yours. For example, if you’re selling an innovative new piece of kitchen equipment, it’s too easy to say that because your product is new, you have no competition. Consider what your potential customers are doing to solve the same problems your product solves.

4. Outline management and organization

A woman does research on a laptop sitting on the floor

The management and organization section of your business plan should tell readers about who’s running your company. Detail the legal structure of your business. Communicate whether you’ll incorporate your business as an S corporation or create a limited partnership or sole proprietorship.

If you have a management team, use an organizational chart to show your company’s internal structure, including the roles, responsibilities, and relationships between people in your chart. Communicate how each person will contribute to the success of your startup.

5. List your products and services

Your products or services will feature prominently in most areas of your business plan, but it’s important to provide a section that outlines key details about them for interested readers.

If you sell many items, you can include more general information on each of your product lines; if you only sell a few, provide additional information on each. For example, bag shop BAGGU sells a large selection of different types of bags, in addition to home goods and other accessories. Its business plan would list out those bags and key details about each.

Screenshot of BAGGU reusable bags on its website

Describe new products you’ll launch in the near future and any intellectual property you own. Express how they’ll improve profitability.

It’s also important to note where products are coming from—handmade crafts are sourced differently than trending products for a dropshipping business, for instance.

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6. perform customer segmentation.

A man looks at graphs on an ipad

Your ideal customer, also known as your target market, is the foundation of your marketing plan , if not your business plan as a whole. You’ll want to keep this person in mind as you make strategic decisions, which is why an overview of who they are is important to understand and include in your plan.

To give a holistic overview of your ideal customer, describe a number of general and specific demographic characteristics. Customer segmentation often includes:

This information will vary based on what you’re selling, but you should be specific enough that it’s unquestionably clear who you’re trying to reach—and more importantly, why you’ve made the choices you have based on who your customers are and what they value.

For example, a college student has different interests, shopping habits, and pricing sensitivity than a 50-year-old executive at a Fortune 500 company. Your business plan and decisions would look very different based on which one was your ideal customer.

7. Define a marketing plan

A screenshot of a tweet about a marketing plan

Your marketing efforts are directly informed by your ideal customer. Your marketing plan should outline your current decisions and your future strategy, with a focus on how your ideas are a fit for that ideal customer.

If you’re planning to invest heavily in > Instagram marketing , for example, it might make sense to include whether Instagram is a leading platform for your audience—if it’s not, that might be a sign to rethink your marketing plan.

Most marketing plans include information on four key subjects. How much detail you present on each will depend on both your business and your plan’s audience.

Promotion may be the bulk of your plan since you can more readily dive into tactical details, but the other three areas should be covered at least briefly—each is an important strategic lever in your marketing mix.

8. Provide a logistics and operations plan

Brown boxes stacked to the ceiling in a warehouse

Logistics and operations are the workflows you’ll implement to make your ideas a reality. If you’re writing a business plan for your own planning purposes, this is still an important section to consider, even though you might not need to include the same level of detail as if you were seeking investment.

Cover all parts of your planned operations, including:

This section should signal to your reader that you’ve got a solid understanding of your supply chain and strong contingency plans in place to cover potential uncertainty. If your reader is you, it should give you a basis to make other important decisions, like how to price your products to cover your estimated costs, and at what point you plan to break even on your initial spending.

9. Make a financial plan

A laptop sits open with numbers and graphs on the screen

No matter how great your idea is, and regardless of the effort, time, and money you invest, a business lives or dies based on its financial health. At the end of the day, people want to work with a business they expect to be viable for the foreseeable future.

The level of detail required in your financial plan will depend on your audience and goals, but typically you’ll want to include three major views of your financials: an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash-flow statement. It also may be appropriate to include financial data and projections.

Here’s a spreadsheet template that includes everything you’ll need to create an income statement, balance sheet, and cash-flow statement, including some sample numbers. You can edit it to reflect projections if needed.

Income statement

Your income statement is designed to give readers a look at your revenue sources and expenses over a given time period. With those two pieces of information, they can see the all-important bottom line or the profit or loss your business experienced during that time. If you haven’t launched your business yet, you can project future milestones of the same information.

Balance sheet

Your balance sheet offers a look at how much equity you have in your business. On one side, you list all your business assets (what you own), and on the other side, all your liabilities (what you owe). This provides a snapshot of your business’s shareholder equity, which is calculated as:

Assets - Liabilities = Equity

Cash flow statement

Your cash flow statement is similar to your income statement, with one important difference: it takes into account when revenues are collected and when expenses are paid.

When the cash you have coming in is greater than the cash you have going out, your cash flow is positive. When the opposite scenario is true, your cash flow is negative. Ideally, your cash flow statement will help you see when cash is low, when you might have a surplus, and where you might need to have a contingency plan to access funding to keep your business solvent .

It can be especially helpful to forecast your cash-flow statement to identify gaps or negative cash flow and adjust operations as required. Here’s a full guide to working through cash-flow projections for your business.

Download your copy of these templates to build out these financial statements for your business plan.

Know your audience

When you know who will be reading your plan—even if you’re just writing it for yourself to clarify your ideas—you can tailor the language and level of detail to them. This can also help you make sure you’re including the most relevant information and figure out when to omit sections that aren’t as impactful.

Have a clear goal

You’ll need to put in more work and deliver a more thorough plan if your goal is to secure funding for your business versus working through a plan for yourself or even your team.

Invest time in research

Sections of your business plan will primarily be informed by your ideas and vision, but some of the most crucial information you’ll need requires research from independent sources. This is where you can invest time in understanding who you’re selling to, whether there’s demand for your products, and who else is selling similar products or services.

Keep it short and to the point

No matter who you’re writing for, your business plan should be short and readable—generally no longer than 15 to 20 pages. If you do have additional documents you think may be valuable to your audience and your goals, consider adding them as appendices.

Keep the tone, style, and voice consistent

This is best managed by having a single person write the plan or by allowing time for the plan to be properly edited before distributing it.

Use a business plan software

Writing a business plan isn’t the easiest task for business owners. But it’s important for anyone starting or expanding a business. Fortunately, there are tools to help with everything from planning, drafting, creating graphics, syncing financial data, and more. Business plan software also have templates and tutorials to help you finish a comprehensive plan in hours, rather than days.

A few curated picks include:

For a more in-depth look at the available options, read Get Guidance: 6 Business Plan Software to Help Write Your Future .

Other articles on business plans would never tell you what we’re about to tell you: your business plan can fail. The last thing you want is for time and effort to go down the drain. Avoid these common mistakes:

Read through the following business plan example. You can download a copy in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and use it to inspire your own business planning.

Download sample business plan example (.doc)

A business plan can help you identify clear, deliberate next steps for your business, even if you never plan to pitch investors—and it can help you see gaps in your plan before they become issues. Whether you’ve written a business plan for a new online business idea , a retail storefront, growing your established business, or purchasing an existing business , you now have a comprehensive guide and the information you need to help you start working on the next phase of your own business.

Illustrations by Rachel Tunstall

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How to make a compelling business plan presentation (plus free templates)

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or have an idea for a new revenue stream within an existing corporation, you’re going to need a business plan .

A business plan is your route to securing investment and funding. It’s also a useful tool for you , clarifying what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it in high-def detail.

When it comes to persuading potential investors and stakeholders, you’ll need to condense your business plan into a business plan presentation. This will form a key part of your pitch.

(Cue long nights of stress and worry as you wonder what exactly you need to include to convince an audience that your business idea is destined for success — and worthy of their hard-earned cash.)

Great business plan presentations combine a brilliant business concept, data that proves potential and creative, clever slide design.

The first two are down to you. But luckily, we can teach you all the design tricks you need to achieve the latter. Bring those key components together and you boost your chances of getting the investment or stakeholder approval you need to pursue your ambitions.

Read on to learn what great design can do for you and how you can incorporate it into each of the essential business plan slides you’ll want to include in your presentation.

What exactly is a business plan presentation?

Why is design so important for your business plan presentation, the slides you have to include in your business plan presentation, cover / title slide, the problem, your business solution, competitors.

Use of funds

Already feeling the pressure start with a free template, 10 free templates for your business plan presentation.

Sample slides from Wealthsimple business plan presentation

A business plan presentation forms part of your investment pitch. It’s a summary of all the information included in your (probably very lengthy) business plan document.

Whilst the document dives deep into business details, your business plan presentation provides an overview (with you on hand to flesh things out a little).

It should tell an audience about your business and the products or services it offers. It has to detail where you’re planning to take your business and how you’re planning to get there.

A business plan presentation should also outline those all-important figures; what will you do with investment and what do investors or stakeholders stand to gain?

That’s a lot to fit onto just a few slides! But — as we’ll discover — it’s important to communicate your business ideas as clearly and concisely as you possibly can .

Whilst you have to know your entire business plan inside out (and be prepared to expand on points if investors and stakeholders have questions), the presentation is an opportunity to highlight need-to-know informational nuggets.

Aim to give investors just enough info to spark their interest and see your potential, without overloading them with the finer details.

How to Wow Investors with a Killer Pitch Deck Design

A good business plan presentation is all about the facts and figures, right?

Let’s be honest. You won’t get very far without a great business idea and numbers proving its profitability. But forgetting about business plan presentation design is a huge mistake.

Bad design can hamper your message and investors’ confidence in your abilities . A visually confused presentation can’t help but leave a bad impression.

Good presentation design, on the other hand, can help you to communicate your ideas more effectively. It will help you to maximize the potential of every slide, saying more without cramming in tons of text.

It will also help you to engage your audience from the very start.

Some investors sit through lots of pitch presentations. Yours should grab their attention. It should assure them of your professionalism and capability. And it should stick in their memory for all the right reasons.

Good presentation design can help you to achieve all of the above.

Sample slides from Copper Cow business plan presentation

The perfect business plan presentation should fit into 10 slides — 20 at the absolute most. It should take no longer than 20 minutes to deliver . But, what should be included? Here, we’ve listed the key contents that investors care about the most:

Also, if you’re pitching to a number of different groups, you may want to adapt your presentation as you go, adding in slides in response to commonly asked investor questions.

But start by keeping things short , sweet and digestible as per the structure below. And don’t forget to maximize the potential of each business plan slide by giving careful thought to design.

Cover slides are too often an afterthought. But this first slide has so much potential.

Your cover slide is your first impression. And — as we know — first impressions count. Especially when you have limited time in which to convey what you and your business are all about. 

A cover page should include your company logo and (if you have one) your slogan. It should also feature a title that summarizes your offering.

This slide won’t be information-heavy, but with the right design it can communicate a lot about you and your business. 

How good slide design can help:

Cover slide design sets the scene. It’s an introduction to you — a professional who takes every aspect of their business very seriously. And it should hook your audience from the very start.

Design a Presentation Cover Page to Grab Your Audience’s Attention: What to Include

Pick a visually appealing font and layout. Start with a cohesive design you can stick to for the rest of the presentation.

Corporate presentations in blue tones have been seen many, many times before. So when it comes to colors, try to stand out from the crowd. Pick strong but complementary shades, without going too garish or OTT. 

When it comes to colors, try to stand out from the crowd

Also, go big and emotional with images. Images provoke an emotional reaction in an audience that just isn’t possible with text alone. 

So give center stage to an image that reflects what your business wants to achieve for its customers. You’ll draw your audience in with design, ready to hit them with business plan facts and figures.

What problem will your business solve? An audience needs to understand the full extent of this problem before you tell them how you plan to solve it.

So use this slide to explain why this pain point exists, how many people experience it and what it feels like to experience it.

Facts will convince your audience whilst good storytelling will appeal to their emotions too.

Color here is really important. With it, you can associate your brand with the solution rather than the problem.

Pick a color that contrasts with those used in your business branding. Then use this color to present the problem.

Make compelling business plan presentation - Problem Slide

If you’re struggling to pick the right contrast, take a look at the color wheel . Find your primary brand color. Then pick a contrast in the other half of the wheel, avoiding the one directly opposite.

When presenting figures, pick three or four impactful numbers and put them in a BIG font. You’ll surprise your audience with both the content and appearance of your slide, emphasizing the size of the problem in the process.

Your audience understands the problem. Now it’s time to tell them the solution you envisage.

Keeping things simple will create more impact. Diagrams, sketches or just a single sentence will make your solution digestible and memorable.

Back to brand colors with this slide! This will create a link between your brand and the ingenious solution in the mind of your audience.

Creating the right emotion is also really important here. Get your audience to feel something and your solution is much more likely to stick in their memory.

Color and image are key to emotional design . They provoke immediate and largely subconscious responses in an audience. So think carefully about the visuals you include on this slide.  

Color and image are key to emotional design in the solution slide

As human beings, we’re instantly drawn to faces. So you could use photos of people looking happy and content along with a calming color scheme to communicate a sense of positivity.

Do it right and your audience will associate those feelings with your brand and your solution.  

Your idea might sound great. But unless you have proof that your proposed market is actually interested in it, you won’t convince investors.

Use this slide to describe your market and your business niche within it. Give evidence of customer interest in your product and service, providing data that demonstrates the market size and potential growth too.

Video is a great way to showcase the opinions of your prospective customer base. So embed some short and snappy video interviews into your slide. Plus, it will give you a break from doing all the talking too!

When it comes to showing market data, take some time to think about your chart design. All charts should fit with the color scheme of your business plan presentation. Leaving your charts unedited is amateurish and a huge design no-no.

Leaving your charts unedited is amateurish and a huge design no-no

Also consider what exactly it is you’re trying to say with this data. You can then use color along with other data storytelling techniques to really highlight the important numbers and keep an audience’s attention where you want it.

Who are you up against when it comes to solving this problem and winning over your prospective customers?

Your investors will want to know all about your competition and what you plan to do differently. This slide should show how your customers are currently handling the problem you plan to solve and how alternative solutions compare with yours.

You can be a little sneaky with this slide. Use design to show your competitors in a less favorable light than your own brand.

That could mean displaying their logos in black and white and yours in full color. If you’re using a competitive matrix chart, you could use the most appealing color to represent your company.

Make compelling business plan presentation - Competitors Slide

And if you want to show screenshots or images of competitor products, opt for the least attractive ones you can find, remembering all the while that your competitors will be doing exactly the same thing to you one day!

The business model

This is where you tell your investors just how you are going to make money — and grow theirs in the process. Solid numbers are the only way to win your audience over.

You should show the cost of customer acquisition and their lifetime value. Financial projections for the years to come, featuring cash flow, burn rate and break-even point are another essential.

Also be clear on what your investors stand to gain and when they can cash out. They’ll only ever be interested in your product and how it helps your audience if it also boosts their bottom line.

This is one slide where balancing depth of content and audience engagement is really important — and a little bit tricky. 

There’s probably lots of info you want to communicate to your audience at this point. Try to keep it simple (but not so simple that your investors don’t have enough data to go off).

How to Design Data in Your Presentation: Use the Right Chart

This means making the most of every chart. Play around with different charts until you find one that displays your data as simply as possible. Your audience should be able to process the figures at a glance.  

And don’t forget to customize! Highlights, color and great data storytelling will help you to convey your numbers clearly and legibly.

How to Design Data in Your Presentation: Don't Use Defaults

What is the business but the team behind it? Investors often want to get a sense of the great minds running your brand.

This slide is an opportunity to introduce them to the management team (and give a sense of their competence and dedication to the task at hand).

Provide brief bios (no life stories here please!) and work to paint a picture of expertise in as little time as possible.

Concise bios and professional headshots are a must. If possible, take photos of team members in the same session so lighting and location are consistent.

Professional photography gear isn’t essential. Smartphone cameras have pretty good capabilities these days.

Make compelling business plan presentation - Team Slide

But, whatever you do, don’t leave it to the last minute. You’ll end up with the pics your team have had on their Twitter profile since 2014, which definitely won’t fill your investors with the required confidence.

So, your investors are prepared to cough up the cash you’re looking for. How much do you need and what will you do with it?

This slide is a place to list your goals, and demonstrate how you’ll reach profitability (or a next round of funding) with the money your investors are putting up.

Remember earlier, when we talked about emphasizing the size of the problem faced by your market by putting figures in a BIG FONT?

Don’t scare your investors by doing the same thing here!

When you’re asking for money, keep fonts to a reasonable size. Also use calming colors, avoiding exciting reds and yellows wherever possible. You don’t want heart rates racing at the sight of those dollar signs.

Make compelling business plan presentation - Funds Slide

Logically presenting your goals is important too. The more logical your layout, the more manageable and realistic your goals will seem.

Try presenting your goals in columns, rather than in bullet points. And then use icons to illustrate your points and reinforce your message. 

Find here more really useful info on avoiding dreaded bullet points in presentations .

Your conclusion

Just like your title slide, your conclusion should be given the same thought and attention as all the rest. End on a high note with a short but inspirational recap . 

And don’t forget your contact details too!

We’d recommend fading to a dark slide background here. That way, all attention focuses on you.

With a simple, minimalist slide design, you and your closing statements take center stage. Pick the right words and this style of presentation conclusion can leave a lasting impact on your audience.

Getting ready to pitch your business idea to investors is stressful enough, without having to worry about presentation design.

If visuals aren’t your forte, leave it to the graphic design experts at Slides Carnival and choose from one of our free business plan templates .

These templates all include a business timeline, roadmap, SWOT analysis, competitor analysis and lots of other really useful business plan key elements and visuals. Use them to add credibility to your content and convince investors and stakeholders that you’re a risk worth taking.

Free simple Powerpoint template and Google Slides theme in blue and yellow with frame

Subtle Bevel Presentation Template

Free green Powerpoint template or Google Slides theme with upward arrows pattern

Upward Arrows Presentation Template

Free technology Powerpoint template or Google Slides theme

Technology Pixels Presentation Template

Free geometric Powerpoint template or Google Slides theme

Business Geometric Presentation Template

Free minimal and corporate Powerpoint template or Google Slides theme

Clean Corporate Presentation Template

Free technology Powerpoint template and Google Slides theme with transparent conceptual illustrations

Tech Illustrated Presentation Template

Free cool Powerpoint template Google Slides theme with diverse people

Diverse People Presentation Template

Free Powerpoint template or Google Slides theme minimal with architecture photos

Modern Corporate Presentation Template

Free professional corporate Powerpoint template or Google Slides theme

Blue Corporate Presentation Template

Free Powerpoint template or Google Slides theme with simple design in black and white

Cool Circles Presentation Template

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Professional designs for your presentations

SlidesCarnival templates have all the elements you need to effectively communicate your message and impress your audience.

Suitable for PowerPoint and Google Slides

Download your presentation as a PowerPoint template or use it online as a Google Slides theme. 100% free, no registration or download limits.

Free Printable Communication Plan Template [Master Your Communication Strategy]

A communication plan is a crucial element of any project, event, or organization. It outlines the strategies and methods for effectively communicating with stakeholders, including employees, customers, partners, and the public. By developing a clear and comprehensive communication plan , organizations can ensure that all parties are informed, engaged, and on the same page.

The plan includes the goals and objectives of the communication, the target audience, the channels of communication, and the frequency and timing of communication. A well-designed communication plan helps to promote transparency, build trust, and enhance relationships, ultimately leading to greater success in achieving the goals of the organization.

Table of Contents

Importance of Communication Plan

Communication Plan

The importance of a communication plan lies in its ability to facilitate effective and efficient communication between an organization and its stakeholders . A communication plan serves as a blueprint for ensuring that all parties are informed and involved in the process, reducing confusion and misunderstandings.

A well-designed communication plan helps to:

Clarify goals and objectives: By outlining the objectives of communication, a communication plan helps to keep everyone focused and working towards the same end goal.

Reach the target audience: A communication plan helps to identify the target audience and the best ways to reach them, ensuring that the message is delivered effectively.

Promote transparency: A communication plan helps to build transparency and trust between the organization and its stakeholders, by providing clear and consistent information.

Enhance relationships: By providing regular and meaningful communication, a communication plan helps to enhance relationships between the organization and its stakeholders, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.

Streamline processes: A communication plan helps to streamline communication processes and eliminate redundancies, reducing waste and improving efficiency.

What should a communication plan include?

A communication plan should include the following elements:

Goals and Objectives: Outline the objectives of the communication, including what information you want to convey, what actions you hope to inspire, and what outcomes you hope to achieve.

Target Audience: Identify the stakeholders who will receive the information and what their needs and interests are.

Channels of Communication: Determine the best methods for reaching the target audience, including face-to-face meetings, phone calls, emails, newsletters, social media, and other forms of digital and print communication.

Message: Develop a clear and concise message that will resonate with the target audience and achieve the goals of the communication.

Frequency and Timing: Determine how often and when the communication will take place, taking into account the target audience’s schedule, interests, and attention span.

Responsibilities: Assign roles and responsibilities for managing the communication, including who will develop the message, who will be responsible for distribution, and who will monitor the results.

Evaluation: Plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the communication plan and determining whether the goals and objectives were met.

Budget: Allocate resources, including time, money, and personnel, to ensure the communication plan can be executed effectively.

Types of communication plan

There are several types of communication plans, including:

Project Communication Plan: A project communication plan outlines the strategies and methods for communicating with stakeholders during the lifecycle of a project. It helps to ensure that everyone is informed and involved in the project, and that all objectives are met.

Crisis Communication Plan: A crisis communication plan outlines the strategies and methods for communicating with stakeholders during a crisis or emergency situation. It helps to ensure that all parties receive accurate and timely information, and that the organization’s reputation is protected.

Internal Communication Plan: An internal communication plan outlines the strategies and methods for communicating with employees, volunteers, or other internal stakeholders. It helps to ensure that everyone is informed and engaged, and that all objectives are met.

External Communication Plan: An external communication plan outlines the strategies and methods for communicating with customers, partners, or other external stakeholders. It helps to ensure that everyone is informed and engaged, and that all objectives are met.

Marketing Communication Plan: A marketing communication plan outlines the strategies and methods for communicating with customers and other target audiences to promote a product, service, or brand. It helps to ensure that the marketing message is delivered effectively and efficiently.

Stakeholder Communication Plan: A stakeholder communication plan outlines the strategies and methods for communicating with stakeholders to ensure that everyone is informed and involved in the process, and that all objectives are met.

How to make a communications plan

A well-designed communication plan is essential for ensuring that all parties are informed and engaged, and that all objectives are met. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you create an effective communication plan:

Define Your Goals and Objectives

Start by defining the objectives of your communication plan. What information do you want to convey? What actions do you hope to inspire? What outcomes do you hope to achieve?

Identify Your Target Audience

Next, identify the stakeholders who will receive the information, including customers, employees, partners, or other target groups. Consider what their needs and interests are, and how you can best reach them.

Choose Your Channels of Communication

Determine the best methods for reaching your target audience, including face-to-face meetings, phone calls, emails, newsletters, social media, and other forms of digital and print communication.

Develop Your Message

Create a clear and concise message that will resonate with your target audience and achieve the goals of your communication. Consider what information is most important, what benefits your audience will receive, and what motivates them to take action.

Determine Frequency and Timing

Decide how often and when the communication will take place, taking into account the target audience’s schedule, interests, and attention span.

Assign Responsibilities

Assign roles and responsibilities for managing the communication, including who will develop the message, who will be responsible for distribution, and who will monitor the results.

Plan for Evaluation

Develop a plan for evaluating the effectiveness of your communication plan and determining whether the goals and objectives were met.

Allocate Resources

Allocate resources, including time, money, and personnel, to ensure your communication plan can be executed effectively.

Implement and Monitor

Finally, implement your communication plan and monitor its progress. Make changes as needed to ensure that it is effective and efficient, and that all goals and objectives are met.

Example communication plan

Here is an example communication plan:

Goals and Objectives:

Target Audience:

Channels of Communication:

Frequency and Timing:



Implementation and Monitoring:

Q: Who is responsible for creating a Communication Plan?

A: The creation of a Communication Plan is typically the responsibility of the marketing or communications team, although it can involve input and collaboration from other departments as well.

Q: How often should a Communication Plan be reviewed and updated?

A: A Communication Plan should be reviewed and updated regularly, at least once a year, or as needed based on changes in the business environment or communication objectives.

Q: What are some common channels of communication in a Communication Plan?

A: Some common channels of communication in a Communication Plan include email marketing, social media advertising, product demonstrations, influencer partnerships, and events.

Q: How do you evaluate the success of a Communication Plan?

A: The success of a Communication Plan can be evaluated by monitoring metrics such as email open and click-through rates, social media engagement and conversions, product demonstrations and customer feedback, and influencer reach and impact.

Q: How do you prioritize which channels to use in a Communication Plan?

A: The channels to use in a Communication Plan should be based on the goals and objectives, target audience, and resources available. The best channels will vary based on the specific scenario, but generally, the most effective channels will be those that reach the target audience most effectively and efficiently.

Q: Can a Communication Plan change over time?

A: Yes, a Communication Plan can and should change over time based on changes in the business environment, target audience, or communication objectives. The Communication Plan should be flexible enough to accommodate changes as needed.

Q: How do you measure the impact of a Communication Plan?

A: The impact of a Communication Plan can be measured by monitoring metrics such as email open and click-through rates, social media engagement and conversions, product demonstrations and customer feedback, and influencer reach and impact. It’s important to regularly review these metrics and make adjustments to the Communication Plan as needed.

Q: Can a Communication Plan be used for internal communication as well as external communication?

A: Yes, a Communication Plan can be used for both internal and external communication. The strategies, tactics, and channels may differ based on the type of communication, but the principles and overall process remain the same.

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The Pitch

What to include when writing your business plan

Siân Avent

Whether it’s to guide the growth of your business or to secure investment, having a solid business plan is a vital tool for startup founders.

The main goal of your business plan is to explain fundamentally what you want your business to accomplish and how you intend to do it. 

Throughout your startup journey and beyond, your business plan will help you navigate what you need to do and when in order for your enterprise to succeed. So, it’s important that you really hit the nail on the head.

In fact, Pensionbee founder Romina Savova believes a sound business plan is the best way to prepare your startup for seed funding and other subsequent funding rounds. 

So, what should your business plan include? In this article, we’ll discuss all the sections you’ll need to cover all bases. 

Executive summary

Your executive summary should explain succinctly what your business does, essentially covering the same ground as an elevator pitch .

Although your executive summary comes first in your business plan, it’s a good idea to write it last. This is because within your executive summary, you will also briefly summarise the other sections of your business plan.

In short, your executive summary should cover the following:

Company description

Your company description section should highlight the most important information about your business. What problems does it solve? Who are its customers? What’s your vision?

You should also cover why you are the right person or team to take on this idea. Having a team of experts, for example, will set you apart from your competition. 

You should also use this section to cover off your objectives. These can include both financial and non-financial goals, and can be split into short, medium and long-term ambitions. 

Remember that all goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). For example:

Market and opportunity analysis

It’s important for you to have an understanding of your industry’s market and target audience – this is how you can establish what you can provide that others currently aren’t.

This section is particularly important if you’re securing seed funding, as investors want to make sure that any businesses they work with have their best shot at success.

“We want to make sure we have businesses that can grow and become 10x or 100x of what they are,” said Darren Westlake , previous judge from The Pitch.

Research market trends and conduct a SWOT analysis to determine any opportunities that you can take advantage of. 

Make sure you include detail: find three or four competitors and include a short description of each, and how you’re providing something different from them. 

Also, be concise about your market size – if you sell sustainable clothing, don’t refer to the entire clothing industry as your market. Instead, find research that focuses more on your specific target audience.

Within this section you can also provide proof that you’ve tested your business idea . This can be done by asking your target audience, assessing the competition or assessing customer demand.

“We went and spoke to some local clubs we knew really well and said, could we try it? It was about seeing how it would work, whether it was a good idea and if it could be monetised,” said Ben, co-founder of YesRef .

The service or product line

Concisely explain what your business sells or what service you offer, placing focus on how it benefits your customers and/or what issue you’re tackling.

Other points you may want to cover in this section include:

Sales and marketing

Every business will need to market their product or service in order to reach their customers. In this section, you will need to cover how exactly you plan on doing that.

Put your customers at the forefront of your mind: what’s the best way to target them in particular? For example, if you’re targeting teenagers directly, social media will probably be a better bet than networking events.

Potential sales and marketing channels include:

Make sure you backup your plans with some evidence as to why they are the best methods. You should also specify how much time and money you plan to invest on your marketing and sales, which will crop up again in your financial plan section.

Organisation and management plan

As the title suggests, this is where you cover how you will operate and manage the business. 

Start by breaking down the important members of your business and what their responsibilities are, emphasising why their experience makes them the right people to do the job.

You should also describe the structure of your enterprise. In other words, whether you’re a sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership or limited company.

Funding request

Many startups use their business plan primarily to request investor funding. If this is also the case for you, then you will need to include a section outlining your funding requirements.

You need to make it clear and simple to the investor how much money you want and over what period of time. This means that they will have a solid idea of your expectations, helping to avoid confusion at a later date.

In return, you’ll also need to break down what you will use the funding for – investors will want to know where their money is going. For instance, will you spend it on marketing? Or will you use it to buy the equipment you need?

Financial plan and projections

Your penultimate section should cover your finances and projections. If you’re also asking for funding, include how this will come into play in your business’s finances.

Areas you may need to cover include:

Whilst you can display your costs as a simple list, it’s a much better idea to present the information in a cash flow and profit and forecast. This will help you seem more professional and assure investors that you won’t be a risky investment.

Want to learn how to create your own cash flow forecast? Check out our article on preparing a cash flow forecast that investors will love .


Finally, input any supporting documents into an appendix at the end of your business plan – particularly those that have been requested by an investor.

These can include additional information about your products, financial history, legal documents, licences and other materials. 

Want to get your business in front of potential investors? Over the years, The Pitch has helped founders raise tens of millions in investment. Sign up to our newsletter to find out when applications for The Pitch open, and to receive all our expert tips and advice.

Siân Avent

Siân Avent is the Content and Marketing Assistant at Inkwell, the company behind The Pitch.

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    A plan should cover all the important matters that will contribute to making your business a success. These include the following: 1. Your basic business concept. This is where you...

  6. How to write a business plan in 7 steps

    Here are the 7 steps to write a business plan: Executive summary Products & services Market analysis Marketing & sales Company organization and management team Financial projections Appendix Be sure to download our free business plan template to start writing your own business plan as you work through this guide.

  7. What Is a Business Plan? Definition and Essentials Explained

    It describes the structure of your organization, how it operates, as well as the financial expectations and actual performance. A business plan can help you explore ideas, successfully start a business, manage operations, and pursue growth. In short, a business plan is a lot of different things. It's more than just a stack of paper and can be ...

  8. What should a business plan include?

    This guide will explain why your business plan needs the following elements: Executive summary Company description Competitor and market analysis Details of organisation and management Breakdown of products and services Marketing and sales Funding requests and financial projections What should a business plan include?

  9. Business Plan Template: What To Include

    Include your full financial projections, including your projected income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements. Include any additional details, such as patent information,...

  10. Business Plan

    Here are the main sections of a business plan: 1. Title Page The title page captures the legal information of the business, which includes the registered business name, physical address, phone number, email address, date, and the company logo. 2. Executive Summary

  11. 10 Important Components of an Effective Business Plan

    The most important parts of a business plan include: 1. Executive summary The executive summary is the first and one of the most critical parts of a business plan. This summary provides an overview of the business plan as a whole and highlights what the business plan will cover.

  12. How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

    A well-written business plan should include details about your business's goals, products or services, and finances. By Steve Nicastro and Rosalie Murphy Jul 26, 2022 Edited by Ryan Lane...

  13. How to Write a Business Plan Outline [2022 Guide & Format]

    A traditional business plan typically includes—an executive summary, an overview of your products and services, thorough market and industry research, a marketing and sales strategy, operational details, financial projections, and an appendix. Depending on what you intend to do with your plan, you may not need all of this information right away.

  14. How to write a business plan in seven simple steps

    This is typically one of the first pieces of the plan to be written. 3. Market analysis and opportunity. Research is key in completing a business plan and, ideally, more time should be spent on research and analysis than writing the plan itself. Understanding the size, growth, history, future potential, and current risks inherent to the wider ...

  15. What to Include in Your Business Plan

    The business plan should include various road maps dedicated to the following operational elements: Finances. Product creation. Marketing. Operational goals. A business plan is a valuable tool ...

  16. 8 Things Every Business Plan Should Include

    Add these eight essential components to your business plan: Business Plan Elements: Executive Summary Company Description Market Research Product or Service Description Marketing and Customer Acquisition Strategy Business and Team Structure Company Financials Request for Funding

  17. How to Write a Business Growth Plan

    Advice from other business owners who have had successful growth can be the ultimate tool in writing your growth plan. 8. Start writing. Business plan software has streamlined the growth plan process. Most software programs are geared toward business plans, but you can modify them to create a plan that focuses on growth.

  18. How to Write A Solar Production Business Plan

    Focus on the future: Think about the long-term goals and objectives of the business and create a plan to achieve them. Keep it simple: Avoid using jargon and technical language and focus on the key points. Be proactive: Address potential risks and contingencies in advance and develop strategies for managing them.

  19. How to write a business plan

    Executive summary - provide a brief overview of the business idea, distinctive features, operations, financial projections, short term and long terms goals, etc. This section ideally should be ...

  20. The 4 Must-Have Components of a Business Plan

    1. Executive summary. This is one of the shortest components of a business plan, but the one you should spend the most time working on. Whether your business plan is 5 or 30 pages, an executive summary section must recap all of the material in your plan in only two pages.

  21. 9 Essential Sections You Can Include in a Business Plan

    What to include in a business plan A business plan is the story of your company split up into key sections. These include but are not limited to: Cover Page - Include your company name, a logo, title of the document, contact information and a confidentiality disclaimer.

  22. How to Create a Pandemic Preparedness Plan for Your Business

    How to prepare your business. First, get your business in order by identifying key team members, tools, and information. Step 1: Appoint a pandemic coordinator or team with defined roles and responsibilities for preparedness and response planning. In the event of a health emergency, who will be in charge of internal communications, gathering ...

  23. Free Communication Plan Templates

    Download the communication plan template in Microsoft Word. Save the template to your drive using a meaningful and unique title (e.g., "Marketing Department Communication Plan"). Gather the following information to populate the plan: Stakeholders. Deliverables for each stakeholder. Frequency of communication.

  24. How To Write the Perfect Business Plan in 9 Steps (2023)

    A business plan is a document describing a business, its products or services, how it earns (or will earn) money, its leadership and staffing, its financing, its operations model, and many other details essential to its success. How To Write a Business Plan in 10 Simple Steps Watch on

  25. How to make a compelling business plan presentation (plus free

    The slides you have to include in your business plan presentation Selected slides from Copper Cow business plan presentation. The perfect business plan presentation should fit into 10 slides — 20 at the absolute most. It should take no longer than 20 minutes to deliver. But, what should be included?

  26. Free Printable Communication Plan Template [Master Your Communication

    A communication plan should include the following elements: Goals and Objectives: Outline the objectives of the communication, including what information you want to convey, what actions you hope to inspire, and what outcomes you hope to achieve. Target Audience: Identify the stakeholders who will receive the information and what their needs ...

  27. What to include when writing your business plan

    Financial plan and projections. Your penultimate section should cover your finances and projections. If you're also asking for funding, include how this will come into play in your business's finances. Areas you may need to cover include: Raw materials. Staff wages. Production. Marketing. Workspace.