Small businesses just looking to stay organized benefit from the objective-strategy structure of the standard business plan while bigger businesses or those hoping to expand can fully summarize every element of their businesses so investors and loan agents get a better understanding of the mission of that business—and whether or not they want to invest.
Whether you're writing a web design business plan or a tutoring business plan, there are several key components that must be included in the introduction to the document in order for the plan to be considered viable, including a summary of the business and its goals and the key components that indicate success.
This section details exactly how well the current market in your company's business field is doing, including major and minor concerns that could affect your ability to achieve your sales and income goals.
The section starts with an overview of the market your company targets (demographics) as well as industry analysis of what types of businesses typically exist within that marketplace and known participants who are your main source of competition within that industry.
Calling out objectives like "emphasize service and support" or "focus on target markets" and describing how the company will go about doing this shows investors and business partners that you understand the market and what needs to be done to take your company to the next level.
Once you've outlined each element of your company's strategy, you'll then want to end the business plan with sales forecasts, which detail your expectations after implementing each element of the business plan itself.After fleshing out the objectives of your business plan, it's time to describe the company itself, starting with a company summary that highlights major accomplishments as well as problem areas that need to be solved.This section also includes a summary of the ownership of the company, which should include any investors or stakeholders as well as owners and people who play a part in management decisions.This section should start with a clear introductory overview to what the company offers consumers as well as the voice and style in which the company wishes to present itself to those customers—for example, a software company might say "we don't just sell good accounting software, we change the way you balance your checkbook." The products and services section also details competitive comparisons—how this company measures up to others that offer the same good or service—as well as technology research, sourcing for materials, and future products and services the company plans to offer to help drive competition and sales.In order to properly project what goods and services a company might want to offer in the future, a comprehensive market analysis section should also be included in your business plan.Still, you should be as detailed as necessary when composing your business plan as each element can greatly benefit future decisions by outlining clear guidelines for what the company plans to achieve and how it plans to achieve it.The length and content of these plans, then, comes from the type of business you're creating a plan for.Every business plan, big or small, should start out with an executive summary that details what the company hopes to accomplish, how it hopes to accomplish it, and why this business is the right one for the job.Essentially, the executive summary is an overview of what will be included in the rest of the document and should inspire investors, loan officers, or potential business partners and clients to want to be a part of the plan.You will also want to give a full company history, which includes the inherent barrier to your goals thus far as well as a review of prior years' sales and expenses performances.You'll also want to list any outstanding debts and current assets alongside any trends noted in your particular industry that affect your financial and sales goals.