A Business Plan Guide is a document that helps business owners outline their plans for success. It can be helpful to have one before starting a new business, but it’s also useful for existing businesses that need to update their strategies and planning.
There are several different types of business plans, but they all have a few common elements. These include:
The Executive Summary
This is the shortest section of your plan and is meant to be an overview of what your entire business plan entails. You’ll want to make sure it captures the big picture and has a focus on what’s most important, like your target market and marketing goals.
The SWOT Analysis
This analysis can help you identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that your business may face in the future. It’s usually presented as a grid with bullet points that break down information in each area.
The Financial Plan
The financial plan is the most crucial part of a business plan for those seeking funding. It details predicted revenue, expenses, and net profit in graphs to show the viability of your idea.
Your financial plan should also include how you will pay your employees and meet your other operational needs, such as marketing or accounting procedures. You’ll need this information to get funding from banks or investors, so it’s essential.
The company description is a brief overview of your business, showcasing its values and culture, and giving readers a sense of who you are as a brand. It can also serve as a quick reference to include on other pieces of business collateral, such as your website or social media profiles.
This section is a brief look at the people who run your business and their key roles within it. It’s a great place to showcase your best employees and their skills.
Employees are the backbone of your business, and they need to be happy and productive in order to ensure that your vision is realized. Whether you’re hiring full-time or contract workers, it’s important to provide your team with everything they need in terms of training and compensation.
The organizational structure of your business is a critical part of its overall success, and it should be outlined in your business plan. It should be easy for readers to understand the hierarchy and what departments work together, as well as how you’ll communicate internally.
Your business should be incorporated as a C corporation, an S corporation, or a general partnership or limited partnership (LLP). It’s important to note which structure your business will have when creating your legal documentation.
You should also mention what ownership will be involved in the operation of the business. It’s important to explain how much ownership will be invested, as well as what type of equity will be distributed between the owners.
Finally, it’s important to state how the business will be structured and who will be in charge of the company. This information is especially relevant when you’re applying for government grants and securing outside capital.