A good business plan will increase your chances of business success. It will help you identify your customers, market, competition,
pricing strategies, financial and operational goals. By completing a business or strategic plan you will better understand
your competitive advantages, new opportunities, current weaknesses and longer-term objectives for the business, and is also
an important requirement for gaining finance for your venture.
Your plan should include all the background information
to your business as well as the strategic planning for the direction and growth of your business. Specifically, your business
plan should include the following:
Title page: Title or heading of the plan and brief description
if required, author, date, company/organization if applicable, details of circulation and confidentiality.
page: A list of contents (basically the sections listed here, starting with the Introduction page) showing page numbers,
plus a list of appendices allowing the reader to find what they need and navigate the document easily, and to refer others
to particular items and page numbers when reviewing or querying.
Introduction page: Introduction
and purpose of the plan.
Executive summary page: Beneficial as a short précis of your
business, this should normally be no more than a page long - the key points of the whole plan including conclusions, recommendations,
actions, financial returns on investment, etc., clearly readable in a few minutes.
Main body of plan:
Acknowledgments and reference sources: only if
- Overview description of your business – your products/ services, location/ service area, vision statement
- Define and quantify your market – market sectors, market size, segmentation, relevant statistics,
values, numbers (locations, people/users, etc) - make this relevant to your business.
- Explain your specific market
- sector trends, growth, legislation, seasonality, your particular niche, political, social, environmental and technical factors,
opportunities, ethics, etc.
- Analyse your customer base by customer type, values and products/services including major
existing and prospective accounts
- Explain you routes to market, gatekeepers, influencers and strategic partners -
the other organizations/individuals you will work with to develop your market, including 'what's in it for them',
commissions, endorsements, accreditations, approvals, licenses, etc.
- Case studies and track record - the credibility,
evidence and proof that your propositions and strategic partnerships work
- Competitor analysis - SWOT analysis of
your own business compared with each competitor
- Sales and marketing/business plan for at least 1 year showing sales
and margins by product/service, customer type, market, etc. This should be on a spreadsheet, with as many different sheets
as necessary to quantify relevant inputs and outputs.
- List your strategic actions (marketing campaigns, sales activities,
advertising, etc) that will deliver the above, with costs and returns. This should be supported with a spreadsheet, showing
cost and return on investment for each activity.
Appendices: - additional detailed reference material, examples, statistics, spreadsheets,
etc., for reference and not central to the main presentation of your plan.