Like any written document, a business plan needs an adequate structure to meet its objectives.
Last week we tried to answer the question: what is a business plan? And we also explain the different uses it has and the advantages of writing one.
Today we are going to delve into discovering what is the structure of a business plan, as it is also known.
The Structure Of A Business Plan
.The summary sheet or Summary
This sheet is the first one that appears in the business plan but it is written after the plan is written. It expresses the idea of the business and must communicate the power of the idea. When looking for investors, this page is the “hook” for them to continue reading (or not…).
.The company and the human team
.A history of the company, whether it is new or already operating in the market. If this business plan is to start the company, then here you can explain how you got to this business idea.
.A description of your qualifications that are relevant to developing this business idea. Do you have experience in this business? Do you know anything about this business?
.If you already have a work team or partners, describe the qualifications of all those who are of vital importance for the development of the business. What do they each bring to this business? How is x person’s background or experience a valuable asset to this business? Does their experience complement yours? Who do they know? Who knows them?
.A detailed description of the target market. It is convenient to use statistics to support the market study and to cite the respective sources. In other words, where do you get this data?
.A summary of the competition and the reasons why you think you will fit in that Market, what are the weak points of the competition?
.A summary of the trends of that Market. Again do not forget to cite the sources and if that information is available online, you should include a link to it. The idea here is to know if there is an opportunity and if it is growing and at what rate.
.A summary of the potential distributors of your product or service. Have you contacted them yet? Do they have agreements with the competition that will prevent them from distributing your products?
.The product or service
.A detailed description of your product/s or service/s.
.A cost analysis of your production.
.An estimate of the price of your product or service.
.A description of how you are going to make it. Do you have your own facilities? Are you going to outsource?
.A description of how you will “deliver” your products or services. Logistics, transportation, etc.
.Promotion and Sales of the product or service
.A description of how and where you are going to sell your product/s or service/s.
.A description of how and where you are going to promote your product/s or service/s.
.A description of your sales plan. Are there bonuses for sellers, incentives, etc?
.A description of your plan B, or defensive plan. What happens if after starting your business something happens that ruins your plans? A change in legislation, difficulties to import inputs or export your production, complaints from a neighbor about your activity, etc. Any of these incidents imply a lot of unplanned extra costs in the normal operation of the business, how are you going to deal with them? In short: what if the context changes?
.A description of your estimate of how much money you will need to start this operation.
.A summary of each and every one of the expenses that you will have during the first year
.A summary of your projected sales for the first year
.A summary of what you think you will be able to pay the bank and the time limits you think it will take to recover your initial capital.
.A description of how much cash you are willing to contribute to your own business
.A report of your credit history
.A report of how much you have in assets for your business.
The structure mentioned above is to guide you in the elaboration of your business plan. Depending on the type of product or service, if the objective is to use it to find investors or to request a bank loan, or if it is only for personal use to explore the possibilities of starting a new company or expanding an existing one, it may require other points or further elaboration of any of them.
Writing a business plan is a fascinating experience, it involves asking the right questions.
Keep in mind that a business plan must be reviewed and updated periodically, otherwise, its usefulness will be drastically reduced.