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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, how often should a business plan be updated, the bottom line, 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 is business plan and its components

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

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

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

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

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

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Business Plan: What It Is + How to Write One

Discover what a business plan includes and how writing one can foster your business’s development.

[Featured image] Woman showing a business plan to a man at a desk

What is a business plan? 

A business plan is a written document that defines your business goals and the tactics to achieve those goals. A business plan typically explores the competitive landscape of an industry, analyzes a market and different customer segments within it, describes the products and services, lists business strategies for success, and outlines financial planning.  

In your research into business plans, you may come across different formats, and you might be wondering which kind will work best for your purposes. 

Let’s define two main types of business plans , the traditional business pla n and the lean start-up business plan . Both types can serve as the basis for developing a thriving business, as well as exploring a competitive market analysis, brand strategy , and content strategy in more depth. There are some significant differences to keep in mind [ 1 ]: 

The traditional business plan is a long document that explores each component in depth. You can build a traditional business plan to secure funding from lenders or investors. 

The lean start-up business plan focuses on the key elements of a business’s development and is shorter than the traditional format. If you don’t plan to seek funding, the lean start-up plan can serve mainly as a document for making business decisions and carrying out tasks. 

Now that you have a clear business plan definition , continue reading to begin writing a detailed plan that will guide your journey as an entrepreneur.  

How to write a business plan 

In the sections below, you’ll build the following components of your business plan:

Executive summary

Business description 

Products and services 

Competitor analysis 

Marketing plan and sales strategies 

Brand strategy

Financial planning

Explore each section to bring fresh inspiration to the surface and reveal new possibilities for developing your business. You may choose to adapt the sections, skip over some, or go deeper into others, depending on which format you’re using. Consider your first draft a foundation for your efforts and one that you can revise, as needed, to account for changes in any area of your business.  

Read more: What Is a Marketing Plan? And How to Create One

1. Executive summary 

This is a short section that introduces the business plan as a whole to the people who will be reading it, including investors, lenders, or other members of your team. Start with a sentence or two about your business, your goals for developing it, and why it will be successful. If you are seeking funding, summarize the basics of the financial plan. 

2. Business description 

Use this section to provide detailed information about your company and how it will operate in the marketplace. 

Mission statement: What drives your desire to start a business? What purpose are you serving? What do you hope to achieve for your business, the team, your customers? 

Revenue streams: From what sources will your business generate revenue? Examples include product sales, service fees, subscriptions, rental fees, license fees, and more. 

Leadership: Describe the leaders in your business, their roles and responsibilities, and your vision for building teams to perform various functions, such as graphic design, product development, or sales.  

Legal structure: If you’ve incorporated your business or registered it with your state as a legal entity such as an S-corp or LLC, include the legal structure here and the rationale behind this choice. 

3. Competitor analysis 

This section will include an assessment of potential competitors, their offers, and marketing and sales efforts. For each competitor, explore the following: 

Value proposition: What outcome or experience does this brand promise?

Products and services: How does each one solve customer pain points and fulfill desires? What are the price points? 

Marketing: Which channels do competitors use to promote? What kind of content does this brand publish on these channels? What messaging does this brand use to communicate value to customers?  

Sales: What sales process or buyer’s journey does this brand lead customers through?

Read more: What Is Competitor Analysis? And How to Conduct One

4. Products and services

Use this section to describe everything your business offers to its target market . For every product and service, list the following: 

The value proposition or promise to customers, in terms of how they will experience it

How the product serves customers, addresses their pain points, satisfies their desires, and improves their lives

The features or outcomes that make the product better than those of competitors

Your price points and how these compare to competitors

5. Marketing plan and sales strategies 

In this section, you’ll draw from thorough market research to describe your target market and how you will reach them. 

Who are your ideal customers?   

How can you describe this segment according to their demographics (age, ethnicity, income, location, etc.) and psychographics (beliefs, values, aspirations, lifestyle, etc.)? 

What are their daily lives like? 

What problems and challenges do they experience? 

What words, phrases, ideas, and concepts do consumers in your target market use to describe these problems when posting on social media or engaging with your competitors?  

What messaging will present your products as the best on the market? How will you differentiate messaging from competitors? 

On what marketing channels will you position your products and services?

How will you design a customer journey that delivers a positive experience at every touchpoint and leads customers to a purchase decision?

Read more: Market Analysis: What It Is and How to Conduct One   

6. Brand strategy 

In this section, you will describe your business’s design, personality, values, voice, and other details that go into delivering a consistent brand experience. 

What are the values that define your brand?

What visual elements give your brand a distinctive look and feel?

How will your marketing messaging reflect a distinctive brand voice, including the tone, diction, and sentence-level stylistic choices? 

How will your brand look and sound throughout the customer journey? 

Define your brand positioning statement. What will inspire your audience to choose your brand over others? What experiences and outcomes will your audience associate with your brand? 

Read more: What Is a Brand Strategy? And How to Create One

7. Financial planning  

In this section, you will explore your business’s financial future. If you are writing a traditional business plan to seek funding, this section is critical for demonstrating to lenders or investors that you have a strategy for turning your business ideas into profit. For a lean start-up business plan, this section can provide a useful exercise for planning how you will invest resources and generate revenue [ 2 ].  

Use any past financials and other sections of this business plan, such as your price points or sales strategies, to begin your financial planning. 

How many individual products or service packages do you plan to sell over a specific time period?

List your business expenses, such as subscribing to software or other services, hiring contractors or employees, purchasing physical supplies or equipment, etc.

What is your break-even point, or the amount you have to sell to cover all expenses?

Create a sales forecast for the next three to five years: (No. of units to sell X price for each unit) – (cost per unit X No. of units) = sales forecast

Quantify how much capital you have on hand.

When writing a traditional business plan to secure funding, you may choose to append supporting documents, such as licenses, permits, patents, letters of reference, resumes, product blueprints, brand guidelines, the industry awards you’ve received, and media mentions and appearances.

Business plan key takeaways and best practices

Remember: Creating a business plan is crucial when starting a business. You can use this document to guide your decisions and actions and even seek funding from lenders and investors. 

Keep these best practices in mind:

Your business plan should evolve as your business grows. Return to it periodically, such as every quarter or year, to update individual sections or explore new directions your business can take.

Make sure everyone on your team has a copy of the business plan and welcome their input as they perform their roles. 

Ask fellow entrepreneurs for feedback on your business plan and look for opportunities to strengthen it, from conducting more market and competitor research to implementing new strategies for success. 

Start your business with Coursera 

Ready to start your business? Watch this video on the lean approach from the Entrepreneurship Specialization : 

Article sources

1. US Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan , https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan." Accessed April 19, 2022.

2. Inc. " How to Write the Financial Section of a Business Plan ,   https://www.inc.com/guides/business-plan-financial-section.html." Accessed April 14, 2022.

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What is a Business Plan? Definition, Tips, and Templates

AJ Beltis

Published: June 07, 2023

In an era where more than 20% of small enterprises fail in their first year, having a clear, defined, and well-thought-out business plan is a crucial first step for setting up a business for long-term success.

Business plan graphic with business owner, lightbulb, and pens to symbolize coming up with ideas and writing a business plan.

Business plans are a required tool for all entrepreneurs, business owners, business acquirers, and even business school students. But … what exactly is a business plan?

businessplan_0

In this post, we'll explain what a business plan is, the reasons why you'd need one, identify different types of business plans, and what you should include in yours.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a documented strategy for a business that highlights its goals and its plans for achieving them. It outlines a company's go-to-market plan, financial projections, market research, business purpose, and mission statement. Key staff who are responsible for achieving the goals may also be included in the business plan along with a timeline.

The business plan is an undeniably critical component to getting any company off the ground. It's key to securing financing, documenting your business model, outlining your financial projections, and turning that nugget of a business idea into a reality.

What is a business plan used for?

The purpose of a business plan is three-fold: It summarizes the organization’s strategy in order to execute it long term, secures financing from investors, and helps forecast future business demands.

Business Plan Template [ Download Now ]

businessplan_2

Working on your business plan? Try using our Business Plan Template . Pre-filled with the sections a great business plan needs, the template will give aspiring entrepreneurs a feel for what a business plan is, what should be in it, and how it can be used to establish and grow a business from the ground up.

Purposes of a Business Plan

Chances are, someone drafting a business plan will be doing so for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Securing financing from investors.

Since its contents revolve around how businesses succeed, break even, and turn a profit, a business plan is used as a tool for sourcing capital. This document is an entrepreneur's way of showing potential investors or lenders how their capital will be put to work and how it will help the business thrive.

All banks, investors, and venture capital firms will want to see a business plan before handing over their money, and investors typically expect a 10% ROI or more from the capital they invest in a business.

Therefore, these investors need to know if — and when — they'll be making their money back (and then some). Additionally, they'll want to read about the process and strategy for how the business will reach those financial goals, which is where the context provided by sales, marketing, and operations plans come into play.

2. Documenting a company's strategy and goals.

A business plan should leave no stone unturned.

Business plans can span dozens or even hundreds of pages, affording their drafters the opportunity to explain what a business' goals are and how the business will achieve them.

To show potential investors that they've addressed every question and thought through every possible scenario, entrepreneurs should thoroughly explain their marketing, sales, and operations strategies — from acquiring a physical location for the business to explaining a tactical approach for marketing penetration.

These explanations should ultimately lead to a business' break-even point supported by a sales forecast and financial projections, with the business plan writer being able to speak to the why behind anything outlined in the plan.

what is business plan and its components

Free Business Plan Template

The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Free Business Plan [Template]

Fill out the form to access your free business plan., 3. legitimizing a business idea..

Everyone's got a great idea for a company — until they put pen to paper and realize that it's not exactly feasible.

A business plan is an aspiring entrepreneur's way to prove that a business idea is actually worth pursuing.

As entrepreneurs document their go-to-market process, capital needs, and expected return on investment, entrepreneurs likely come across a few hiccups that will make them second guess their strategies and metrics — and that's exactly what the business plan is for.

It ensures an entrepreneur's ducks are in a row before bringing their business idea to the world and reassures the readers that whoever wrote the plan is serious about the idea, having put hours into thinking of the business idea, fleshing out growth tactics, and calculating financial projections.

4. Getting an A in your business class.

Speaking from personal experience, there's a chance you're here to get business plan ideas for your Business 101 class project.

If that's the case, might we suggest checking out this post on How to Write a Business Plan — providing a section-by-section guide on creating your plan?

What does a business plan need to include?

  • Business Plan Subtitle
  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • The Business Opportunity
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Target Market
  • Marketing Plan
  • Financial Summary
  • Funding Requirements

1. Business Plan Subtitle

Every great business plan starts with a captivating title and subtitle. You’ll want to make it clear that the document is, in fact, a business plan, but the subtitle can help tell the story of your business in just a short sentence.

2. Executive Summary

Although this is the last part of the business plan that you’ll write, it’s the first section (and maybe the only section) that stakeholders will read. The executive summary of a business plan sets the stage for the rest of the document. It includes your company’s mission or vision statement, value proposition, and long-term goals.

3. Company Description

This brief part of your business plan will detail your business name, years in operation, key offerings, and positioning statement. You might even add core values or a short history of the company. The company description’s role in a business plan is to introduce your business to the reader in a compelling and concise way.

4. The Business Opportunity

The business opportunity should convince investors that your organization meets the needs of the market in a way that no other company can. This section explains the specific problem your business solves within the marketplace and how it solves them. It will include your value proposition as well as some high-level information about your target market.

businessplan_9

5. Competitive Analysis

Just about every industry has more than one player in the market. Even if your business owns the majority of the market share in your industry or your business concept is the first of its kind, you still have competition. In the competitive analysis section, you’ll take an objective look at the industry landscape to determine where your business fits. A SWOT analysis is an organized way to format this section.

6. Target Market

Who are the core customers of your business and why? The target market portion of your business plan outlines this in detail. The target market should explain the demographics, psychographics, behavioristics, and geographics of the ideal customer.

7. Marketing Plan

Marketing is expansive, and it’ll be tempting to cover every type of marketing possible, but a brief overview of how you’ll market your unique value proposition to your target audience, followed by a tactical plan will suffice.

Think broadly and narrow down from there: Will you focus on a slow-and-steady play where you make an upfront investment in organic customer acquisition? Or will you generate lots of quick customers using a pay-to-play advertising strategy? This kind of information should guide the marketing plan section of your business plan.

8. Financial Summary

Money doesn’t grow on trees and even the most digital, sustainable businesses have expenses. Outlining a financial summary of where your business is currently and where you’d like it to be in the future will substantiate this section. Consider including any monetary information that will give potential investors a glimpse into the financial health of your business. Assets, liabilities, expenses, debt, investments, revenue, and more are all useful adds here.

So, you’ve outlined some great goals, the business opportunity is valid, and the industry is ready for what you have to offer. Who’s responsible for turning all this high-level talk into results? The "team" section of your business plan answers that question by providing an overview of the roles responsible for each goal. Don’t worry if you don’t have every team member on board yet, knowing what roles to hire for is helpful as you seek funding from investors.

10. Funding Requirements

Remember that one of the goals of a business plan is to secure funding from investors, so you’ll need to include funding requirements you’d like them to fulfill. The amount your business needs, for what reasons, and for how long will meet the requirement for this section.

Types of Business Plans

  • Startup Business Plan
  • Feasibility Business Plan
  • Internal Business Plan
  • Strategic Business Plan
  • Business Acquisition Plan
  • Business Repositioning Plan
  • Expansion or Growth Business Plan

There’s no one size fits all business plan as there are several types of businesses in the market today. From startups with just one founder to historic household names that need to stay competitive, every type of business needs a business plan that’s tailored to its needs. Below are a few of the most common types of business plans.

For even more examples, check out these sample business plans to help you write your own .

1. Startup Business Plan

businessplan_7

As one of the most common types of business plans, a startup business plan is for new business ideas. This plan lays the foundation for the eventual success of a business.

The biggest challenge with the startup business plan is that it’s written completely from scratch. Startup business plans often reference existing industry data. They also explain unique business strategies and go-to-market plans.

Because startup business plans expand on an original idea, the contents will vary by the top priority goals.

For example, say a startup is looking for funding. If capital is a priority, this business plan might focus more on financial projections than marketing or company culture.

2. Feasibility Business Plan

businessplan_4

This type of business plan focuses on a single essential aspect of the business — the product or service. It may be part of a startup business plan or a standalone plan for an existing organization. This comprehensive plan may include:

  • A detailed product description
  • Market analysis
  • Technology needs
  • Production needs
  • Financial sources
  • Production operations

According to CBInsights research, 35% of startups fail because of a lack of market need. Another 10% fail because of mistimed products.

Some businesses will complete a feasibility study to explore ideas and narrow product plans to the best choice. They conduct these studies before completing the feasibility business plan. Then the feasibility plan centers on that one product or service.

3. Internal Business Plan

businessplan_5

Internal business plans help leaders communicate company goals, strategy, and performance. This helps the business align and work toward objectives more effectively.

Besides the typical elements in a startup business plan, an internal business plan may also include:

  • Department-specific budgets
  • Target demographic analysis
  • Market size and share of voice analysis
  • Action plans
  • Sustainability plans

Most external-facing business plans focus on raising capital and support for a business. But an internal business plan helps keep the business mission consistent in the face of change.

4. Strategic Business Plan

businessplan_8

Strategic business plans focus on long-term objectives for your business. They usually cover the first three to five years of operations. This is different from the typical startup business plan which focuses on the first one to three years. The audience for this plan is also primarily internal stakeholders.

These types of business plans may include:

  • Relevant data and analysis
  • Assessments of company resources
  • Vision and mission statements

It's important to remember that, while many businesses create a strategic plan before launching, some business owners just jump in. So, this business plan can add value by outlining how your business plans to reach specific goals. This type of planning can also help a business anticipate future challenges.

5. Business Acquisition Plan

businessplan_3

Investors use business plans to acquire existing businesses, too — not just new businesses.

A business acquisition plan may include costs, schedules, or management requirements. This data will come from an acquisition strategy.

A business plan for an existing company will explain:

  • How an acquisition will change its operating model
  • What will stay the same under new ownership
  • Why things will change or stay the same
  • Acquisition planning documentation
  • Timelines for acquisition

Additionally, the business plan should speak to the current state of the business and why it's up for sale.

For example, if someone is purchasing a failing business, the business plan should explain why the business is being purchased. It should also include:

  • What the new owner will do to turn the business around
  • Historic business metrics
  • Sales projections after the acquisition
  • Justification for those projections

6. Business Repositioning Plan

businessplan_6 (1)

When a business wants to avoid acquisition, reposition its brand, or try something new, CEOs or owners will develop a business repositioning plan.

This plan will:

  • Acknowledge the current state of the company.
  • State a vision for the future of the company.
  • Explain why the business needs to reposition itself.
  • Outline a process for how the company will adjust.

Companies planning for a business reposition often do so — proactively or retroactively — due to a shift in market trends and customer needs.

For example, shoe brand AllBirds plans to refocus its brand on core customers and shift its go-to-market strategy. These decisions are a reaction to lackluster sales following product changes and other missteps.

7. Expansion or Growth Business Plan

When your business is ready to expand, a growth business plan creates a useful structure for reaching specific targets.

For example, a successful business expanding into another location can use a growth business plan. This is because it may also mean the business needs to focus on a new target market or generate more capital.

This type of plan usually covers the next year or two of growth. It often references current sales, revenue, and successes. It may also include:

  • SWOT analysis
  • Growth opportunity studies
  • Financial goals and plans
  • Marketing plans
  • Capability planning

These types of business plans will vary by business, but they can help businesses quickly rally around new priorities to drive growth.

Getting Started With Your Business Plan

At the end of the day, a business plan is simply an explanation of a business idea and why it will be successful. The more detail and thought you put into it, the more successful your plan — and the business it outlines — will be.

When writing your business plan, you’ll benefit from extensive research, feedback from your team or board of directors, and a solid template to organize your thoughts. If you need one of these, download HubSpot's Free Business Plan Template below to get started.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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What is a Business Plan? Definition and Resources

Clipboard with paper, calculator, compass, and other similar tools laid out on a table. Represents the basics of what is a business plan.

9 min. read

Updated November 30, 2023

If you’ve ever jotted down a business idea on a napkin with a few tasks you need to accomplish, you’ve written a business plan — or at least the very basic components of one.

The origin of formal business plans is murky. But they certainly go back centuries. And when you consider that 20% of new businesses fail in year 1 , and half fail within 5 years, the importance of thorough planning and research should be clear.

But just what is a business plan? And what’s required to move from a series of ideas to a formal plan? Here we’ll answer that question and explain why you need one to be a successful business owner.

  • What is a business plan?

Definition: Business plan is a description of a company's strategies, goals, and plans for achieving them.

A business plan lays out a strategic roadmap for any new or growing business.

Any entrepreneur with a great idea for a business needs to conduct market research , analyze their competitors , validate their idea by talking to potential customers, and define their unique value proposition .

The business plan captures that opportunity you see for your company: it describes your product or service and business model , and the target market you’ll serve. 

It also includes details on how you’ll execute your plan: how you’ll price and market your solution and your financial projections .

Reasons for writing a business plan

If you’re asking yourself, ‘Do I really need to write a business plan?’ consider this fact: 

Companies that commit to planning grow 30% faster than those that don’t.

Creating a business plan is crucial for businesses of any size or stage. 

If you plan to raise funds for your business through a traditional bank loan or SBA loan , none of them will want to move forward without seeing your business plan. Venture capital firms may or may not ask for one, but you’ll still need to do thorough planning to create a pitch that makes them want to invest.

But it’s more than just a means of getting your business funded . The plan is also your roadmap to identify and address potential risks. 

It’s not a one-time document. Your business plan is a living guide to ensure your business stays on course.

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

Related: 14 of the top reasons why you need a business plan

What research shows about business plans

Numerous studies have established that planning improves business performance:

  • 71% of fast-growing companies have business plans that include budgets, sales goals, and marketing and sales strategies.
  • Companies that clearly define their value proposition are more successful than those that can’t.
  • Companies or startups with a business plan are more likely to get funding than those without one.
  • Starting the business planning process before investing in marketing reduces the likelihood of business failure.

The planning process significantly impacts business growth for existing companies and startups alike.

Read More: Research-backed reasons why writing a business plan matters

When should you write a business plan?

No two business plans are alike. 

Yet there are similar questions for anyone considering writing a plan to answer. One basic but important question is when to start writing it.

A Harvard Business Review study found that the ideal time to write a business plan is between 6 and 12 months after deciding to start a business. 

But the reality can be more nuanced – it depends on the stage a business is in, or the type of business plan being written.

Ideal times to write a business plan include:

  • When you have an idea for a business
  • When you’re starting a business
  • When you’re preparing to buy (or sell)
  • When you’re trying to get funding
  • When business conditions change
  • When you’re growing or scaling your business

Read More: The best times to write or update your business plan

How often should you update your business plan?

As is often the case, how often a business plan should be updated depends on your circumstances.

A business plan isn’t a homework assignment to complete and forget about. At the same time, no one wants to get so bogged down in the details that they lose sight of day-to-day goals. 

But it should cover new opportunities and threats that a business owner surfaces, and incorporate feedback they get from customers. So it can’t be a static document.

For an entrepreneur at the ideation stage, writing and checking back on their business plan will help them determine if they can turn that idea into a profitable business .

And for owners of up-and-running businesses, updating the plan (or rewriting it) will help them respond to market shifts they wouldn’t be prepared for otherwise. 

It also lets them compare their forecasts and budgets to actual financial results. This invaluable process surfaces where a business might be out-performing expectations and where weak performance may require a prompt strategy change. 

The planning process is what uncovers those insights.

  • How long should your business plan be?

Thinking about a business plan strictly in terms of page length can risk overlooking more important factors, like the level of detail or clarity in the plan. 

Not all of the plan consists of writing – there are also financial tables, graphs, and product illustrations to include.

But there are a few general rules to consider about a plan’s length:

  • Your business plan shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to skim.
  • Business plans for internal use (not for a bank loan or outside investment) can be as short as 5 to 10 pages.

A good practice is to write your business plan to match the expectations of your audience. 

If you’re walking into a bank looking for a loan, your plan should match the formal, professional style that a loan officer would expect . But if you’re writing it for stakeholders on your own team—shorter and less formal (even just a few pages) could be the better way to go.

The length of your plan may also depend on the stage your business is in. 

For instance, a startup plan won’t have nearly as much financial information to include as a plan written for an established company will.

Read More: How long should your business plan be?  

What information is included in a business plan?

The contents of a plan business plan will vary depending on the industry the business is in. 

After all, someone opening a new restaurant will have different customers, inventory needs, and marketing tactics to consider than someone bringing a new medical device to the market. 

But there are some common elements that most business plans include:

  • Executive summary: An overview of the business operation, strategy, and goals. The executive summary should be written last, despite being the first thing anyone will read.
  • Products and services: A description of the solution that a business is bringing to the market, emphasizing how it solves the problem customers are facing.
  • Market analysis: An examination of the demographic and psychographic attributes of likely customers, resulting in the profile of an ideal customer for the business.
  • Competitive analysis: Documenting the competitors a business will face in the market, and their strengths and weaknesses relative to those competitors.
  • Marketing and sales plan: Summarizing a business’s tactics to position their product or service favorably in the market, attract customers, and generate revenue.
  • Operational plan: Detailing the requirements to run the business day-to-day, including staffing, equipment, inventory, and facility needs.
  • Organization and management structure: A listing of the departments and position breakdown of the business, as well as descriptions of the backgrounds and qualifications of the leadership team.
  • Key milestones: Laying out the key dates that a business is projected to reach certain milestones , such as revenue, break-even, or customer acquisition goals.
  • Financial plan: Balance sheets, cash flow forecast , and sales and expense forecasts with forward-looking financial projections, listing assumptions and potential risks that could affect the accuracy of the plan.
  • Appendix: All of the supporting information that doesn’t fit into specific sections of the business plan, such as data and charts.

Read More: Use this business plan outline to organize your plan

  • Different types of business plans

A business plan isn’t a one-size-fits-all document. There are numerous ways to create an effective business plan that fits entrepreneurs’ or established business owners’ needs. 

Here are a few of the most common types of business plans for small businesses:

  • One-page plan : Outlining all of the most important information about a business into an adaptable one-page plan.
  • Growth plan : An ongoing business management plan that ensures business tactics and strategies are aligned as a business scales up.
  • Internal plan : A shorter version of a full business plan to be shared with internal stakeholders – ideal for established companies considering strategic shifts.

Business plan vs. operational plan vs. strategic plan

  • What questions are you trying to answer? 
  • Are you trying to lay out a plan for the actual running of your business?
  • Is your focus on how you will meet short or long-term goals? 

Since your objective will ultimately inform your plan, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish before you start writing.

While a business plan provides the foundation for a business, other types of plans support this guiding document.

An operational plan sets short-term goals for the business by laying out where it plans to focus energy and investments and when it plans to hit key milestones.

Then there is the strategic plan , which examines longer-range opportunities for the business, and how to meet those larger goals over time.

Read More: How to use a business plan for strategic development and operations

  • Business plan vs. business model

If a business plan describes the tactics an entrepreneur will use to succeed in the market, then the business model represents how they will make money. 

The difference may seem subtle, but it’s important. 

Think of a business plan as the roadmap for how to exploit market opportunities and reach a state of sustainable growth. By contrast, the business model lays out how a business will operate and what it will look like once it has reached that growth phase.

Learn More: The differences between a business model and business plan

  • Moving from idea to business plan

Now that you understand what a business plan is, the next step is to start writing your business plan . 

If you’re stuck, start with a one-page business plan and check out our collection of over 550 business plan examples for inspiration. They’re broken out over dozens of industries—you can even copy and paste sections into your plan and rewrite them with information specific to your business.

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See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

what is business plan and its components

Table of Contents

  • Reasons to write a business plan
  • Business planning research
  • When to write a business plan
  • When to update a business plan
  • Information to include
  • Business vs. operational vs. strategic plans

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What Is a Business Plan? Definition and Planning Essentials Explained

Posted february 21, 2022 by kody wirth.

what is business plan and its components

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:

  • Sales and revenue projections
  • Profit and loss statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet

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 .

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Kody Wirth

Posted in Business Plan Writing

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12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)

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Starting and running a successful business requires proper planning and execution of effective business tactics and strategies .

You need to prepare many essential business documents when starting a business for maximum success; the business plan is one such document.

When creating a business, you want to achieve business objectives and financial goals like productivity, profitability, and business growth. You need an effective business plan to help you get to your desired business destination.

Even if you are already running a business, the proper understanding and review of the key elements of a business plan help you navigate potential crises and obstacles.

This article will teach you why the business document is at the core of any successful business and its key elements you can not avoid.

Let’s get started.

Why Are Business Plans Important?

Business plans are practical steps or guidelines that usually outline what companies need to do to reach their goals. They are essential documents for any business wanting to grow and thrive in a highly-competitive business environment .

1. Proves Your Business Viability

A business plan gives companies an idea of how viable they are and what actions they need to take to grow and reach their financial targets. With a well-written and clearly defined business plan, your business is better positioned to meet its goals.

2. Guides You Throughout the Business Cycle

A business plan is not just important at the start of a business. As a business owner, you must draw up a business plan to remain relevant throughout the business cycle .

During the starting phase of your business, a business plan helps bring your ideas into reality. A solid business plan can secure funding from lenders and investors.

After successfully setting up your business, the next phase is management. Your business plan still has a role to play in this phase, as it assists in communicating your business vision to employees and external partners.

Essentially, your business plan needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the needs of your business.

3. Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

As a business owner, you are involved in an endless decision-making cycle. Your business plan helps you find answers to your most crucial business decisions.

A robust business plan helps you settle your major business components before you launch your product, such as your marketing and sales strategy and competitive advantage.

4. Eliminates Big Mistakes

Many small businesses fail within their first five years for several reasons: lack of financing, stiff competition, low market need, inadequate teams, and inefficient pricing strategy.

Creating an effective plan helps you eliminate these big mistakes that lead to businesses' decline. Every business plan element is crucial for helping you avoid potential mistakes before they happen.

5. Secures Financing and Attracts Top Talents

Having an effective plan increases your chances of securing business loans. One of the essential requirements many lenders ask for to grant your loan request is your business plan.

A business plan helps investors feel confident that your business can attract a significant return on investments ( ROI ).

You can attract and retain top-quality talents with a clear business plan. It inspires your employees and keeps them aligned to achieve your strategic business goals.

Key Elements of Business Plan

Starting and running a successful business requires well-laid actions and supporting documents that better position a company to achieve its business goals and maximize success.

A business plan is a written document with relevant information detailing business objectives and how it intends to achieve its goals.

With an effective business plan, investors, lenders, and potential partners understand your organizational structure and goals, usually around profitability, productivity, and growth.

Every successful business plan is made up of key components that help solidify the efficacy of the business plan in delivering on what it was created to do.

Here are some of the components of an effective business plan.

1. Executive Summary

One of the key elements of a business plan is the executive summary. Write the executive summary as part of the concluding topics in the business plan. Creating an executive summary with all the facts and information available is easier.

In the overall business plan document, the executive summary should be at the forefront of the business plan. It helps set the tone for readers on what to expect from the business plan.

A well-written executive summary includes all vital information about the organization's operations, making it easy for a reader to understand.

The key points that need to be acted upon are highlighted in the executive summary. They should be well spelled out to make decisions easy for the management team.

A good and compelling executive summary points out a company's mission statement and a brief description of its products and services.

Executive Summary of the Business Plan

An executive summary summarizes a business's expected value proposition to distinct customer segments. It highlights the other key elements to be discussed during the rest of the business plan.

Including your prior experiences as an entrepreneur is a good idea in drawing up an executive summary for your business. A brief but detailed explanation of why you decided to start the business in the first place is essential.

Adding your company's mission statement in your executive summary cannot be overemphasized. It creates a culture that defines how employees and all individuals associated with your company abide when carrying out its related processes and operations.

Your executive summary should be brief and detailed to catch readers' attention and encourage them to learn more about your company.

Components of an Executive Summary

Here are some of the information that makes up an executive summary:

  • The name and location of your company
  • Products and services offered by your company
  • Mission and vision statements
  • Success factors of your business plan

2. Business Description

Your business description needs to be exciting and captivating as it is the formal introduction a reader gets about your company.

What your company aims to provide, its products and services, goals and objectives, target audience , and potential customers it plans to serve need to be highlighted in your business description.

A company description helps point out notable qualities that make your company stand out from other businesses in the industry. It details its unique strengths and the competitive advantages that give it an edge to succeed over its direct and indirect competitors.

Spell out how your business aims to deliver on the particular needs and wants of identified customers in your company description, as well as the particular industry and target market of the particular focus of the company.

Include trends and significant competitors within your particular industry in your company description. Your business description should contain what sets your company apart from other businesses and provides it with the needed competitive advantage.

In essence, if there is any area in your business plan where you need to brag about your business, your company description provides that unique opportunity as readers look to get a high-level overview.

Components of a Business Description

Your business description needs to contain these categories of information.

  • Business location
  • The legal structure of your business
  • Summary of your business’s short and long-term goals

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section should be solely based on analytical research as it details trends particular to the market you want to penetrate.

Graphs, spreadsheets, and histograms are handy data and statistical tools you need to utilize in your market analysis. They make it easy to understand the relationship between your current ideas and the future goals you have for the business.

All details about the target customers you plan to sell products or services should be in the market analysis section. It helps readers with a helpful overview of the market.

In your market analysis, you provide the needed data and statistics about industry and market share, the identified strengths in your company description, and compare them against other businesses in the same industry.

The market analysis section aims to define your target audience and estimate how your product or service would fare with these identified audiences.

Components of Market Analysis

Market analysis helps visualize a target market by researching and identifying the primary target audience of your company and detailing steps and plans based on your audience location.

Obtaining this information through market research is essential as it helps shape how your business achieves its short-term and long-term goals.

Market Analysis Factors

Here are some of the factors to be included in your market analysis.

  • The geographical location of your target market
  • Needs of your target market and how your products and services can meet those needs
  • Demographics of your target audience

Components of the Market Analysis Section

Here is some of the information to be included in your market analysis.

  • Industry description and statistics
  • Demographics and profile of target customers
  • Marketing data for your products and services
  • Detailed evaluation of your competitors

4. Marketing Plan

A marketing plan defines how your business aims to reach its target customers, generate sales leads, and, ultimately, make sales.

Promotion is at the center of any successful marketing plan. It is a series of steps to pitch a product or service to a larger audience to generate engagement. Note that the marketing strategy for a business should not be stagnant and must evolve depending on its outcome.

Include the budgetary requirement for successfully implementing your marketing plan in this section to make it easy for readers to measure your marketing plan's impact in terms of numbers.

The information to include in your marketing plan includes marketing and promotion strategies, pricing plans and strategies , and sales proposals. You need to include how you intend to get customers to return and make repeat purchases in your business plan.

Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan

5. Sales Strategy

Sales strategy defines how you intend to get your product or service to your target customers and works hand in hand with your business marketing strategy.

Your sales strategy approach should not be complex. Break it down into simple and understandable steps to promote your product or service to target customers.

Apart from the steps to promote your product or service, define the budget you need to implement your sales strategies and the number of sales reps needed to help the business assist in direct sales.

Your sales strategy should be specific on what you need and how you intend to deliver on your sales targets, where numbers are reflected to make it easier for readers to understand and relate better.

Sales Strategy

6. Competitive Analysis

Providing transparent and honest information, even with direct and indirect competitors, defines a good business plan. Provide the reader with a clear picture of your rank against major competitors.

Identifying your competitors' weaknesses and strengths is useful in drawing up a market analysis. It is one information investors look out for when assessing business plans.

Competitive Analysis Framework

The competitive analysis section clearly defines the notable differences between your company and your competitors as measured against their strengths and weaknesses.

This section should define the following:

  • Your competitors' identified advantages in the market
  • How do you plan to set up your company to challenge your competitors’ advantage and gain grounds from them?
  • The standout qualities that distinguish you from other companies
  • Potential bottlenecks you have identified that have plagued competitors in the same industry and how you intend to overcome these bottlenecks

In your business plan, you need to prove your industry knowledge to anyone who reads your business plan. The competitive analysis section is designed for that purpose.

7. Management and Organization

Management and organization are key components of a business plan. They define its structure and how it is positioned to run.

Whether you intend to run a sole proprietorship, general or limited partnership, or corporation, the legal structure of your business needs to be clearly defined in your business plan.

Use an organizational chart that illustrates the hierarchy of operations of your company and spells out separate departments and their roles and functions in this business plan section.

The management and organization section includes profiles of advisors, board of directors, and executive team members and their roles and responsibilities in guaranteeing the company's success.

Apparent factors that influence your company's corporate culture, such as human resources requirements and legal structure, should be well defined in the management and organization section.

Defining the business's chain of command if you are not a sole proprietor is necessary. It leaves room for little or no confusion about who is in charge or responsible during business operations.

This section provides relevant information on how the management team intends to help employees maximize their strengths and address their identified weaknesses to help all quarters improve for the business's success.

8. Products and Services

This business plan section describes what a company has to offer regarding products and services to the maximum benefit and satisfaction of its target market.

Boldly spell out pending patents or copyright products and intellectual property in this section alongside costs, expected sales revenue, research and development, and competitors' advantage as an overview.

At this stage of your business plan, the reader needs to know what your business plans to produce and sell and the benefits these products offer in meeting customers' needs.

The supply network of your business product, production costs, and how you intend to sell the products are crucial components of the products and services section.

Investors are always keen on this information to help them reach a balanced assessment of if investing in your business is risky or offer benefits to them.

You need to create a link in this section on how your products or services are designed to meet the market's needs and how you intend to keep those customers and carve out a market share for your company.

Repeat purchases are the backing that a successful business relies on and measure how much customers are into what your company is offering.

This section is more like an expansion of the executive summary section. You need to analyze each product or service under the business.

9. Operating Plan

An operations plan describes how you plan to carry out your business operations and processes.

The operating plan for your business should include:

  • Information about how your company plans to carry out its operations.
  • The base location from which your company intends to operate.
  • The number of employees to be utilized and other information about your company's operations.
  • Key business processes.

This section should highlight how your organization is set up to run. You can also introduce your company's management team in this section, alongside their skills, roles, and responsibilities in the company.

The best way to introduce the company team is by drawing up an organizational chart that effectively maps out an organization's rank and chain of command.

What should be spelled out to readers when they come across this business plan section is how the business plans to operate day-in and day-out successfully.

10. Financial Projections and Assumptions

Bringing your great business ideas into reality is why business plans are important. They help create a sustainable and viable business.

The financial section of your business plan offers significant value. A business uses a financial plan to solve all its financial concerns, which usually involves startup costs, labor expenses, financial projections, and funding and investor pitches.

All key assumptions about the business finances need to be listed alongside the business financial projection, and changes to be made on the assumptions side until it balances with the projection for the business.

The financial plan should also include how the business plans to generate income and the capital expenditure budgets that tend to eat into the budget to arrive at an accurate cash flow projection for the business.

Base your financial goals and expectations on extensive market research backed with relevant financial statements for the relevant period.

Examples of financial statements you can include in the financial projections and assumptions section of your business plan include:

  • Projected income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Income statements

Revealing the financial goals and potentials of the business is what the financial projection and assumption section of your business plan is all about. It needs to be purely based on facts that can be measurable and attainable.

11. Request For Funding

The request for funding section focuses on the amount of money needed to set up your business and underlying plans for raising the money required. This section includes plans for utilizing the funds for your business's operational and manufacturing processes.

When seeking funding, a reasonable timeline is required alongside it. If the need arises for additional funding to complete other business-related projects, you are not left scampering and desperate for funds.

If you do not have the funds to start up your business, then you should devote a whole section of your business plan to explaining the amount of money you need and how you plan to utilize every penny of the funds. You need to explain it in detail for a future funding request.

When an investor picks up your business plan to analyze it, with all your plans for the funds well spelled out, they are motivated to invest as they have gotten a backing guarantee from your funding request section.

Include timelines and plans for how you intend to repay the loans received in your funding request section. This addition keeps investors assured that they could recoup their investment in the business.

12. Exhibits and Appendices

Exhibits and appendices comprise the final section of your business plan and contain all supporting documents for other sections of the business plan.

Some of the documents that comprise the exhibits and appendices section includes:

  • Legal documents
  • Licenses and permits
  • Credit histories
  • Customer lists

The choice of what additional document to include in your business plan to support your statements depends mainly on the intended audience of your business plan. Hence, it is better to play it safe and not leave anything out when drawing up the appendix and exhibit section.

Supporting documentation is particularly helpful when you need funding or support for your business. This section provides investors with a clearer understanding of the research that backs the claims made in your business plan.

There are key points to include in the appendix and exhibits section of your business plan.

  • The management team and other stakeholders resume
  • Marketing research
  • Permits and relevant legal documents
  • Financial documents

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The 10 Key Components of a Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Growthink.com Components of a Business Plan Step By Step Advice

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1 million entrepreneurs and business owners write business plans. These plans have been used to raise funding and grow countless businesses.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

From working with all these businesses, we know what the 10 elements in any great business plan. Providing a comprehensive assessment of each of these components is critical in attracting lenders, angel investors , venture capitalists or other equity investors.

Get started with a title page that includes your company name, logo and contact information, since interested readers must have a simple way to find and reach out to you. After that be sure to include the 10 parts of a business plan documented below.

What are the 10 Key Components of a Business Plan?

The 10 sections or elements of a business plan that you must include are as follows:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary provides a succinct synopsis of the business plan, and highlights the key points raised within. It often includes the company’s mission statement and description of the products and services. It’s recommended by me and many experts including the Small Business Administration to write the executive summary last.

The executive summary must communicate to the prospective investor the size and scope of the market opportunity, the venture’s business and profitability model, and how the resources/skills/strategic positioning of the company’s management team make it uniquely qualified to execute the business plan. The executive summary must be compelling, easy-to-read, and no longer than 2-4 pages.

2. Company Analysis

This business plan section provides a strategic overview of the business and describes how the company is organized, what products and services it offers/will offer, and goes into further detail on the business’ unique qualifications in serving its target markets. As any good business plan template will point out, your company analysis should also give a snapshot of the company’s achievements to date, since the best indicator of future success are past accomplishments.

3. Industry or Market Analysis

This section evaluates the playing field in which the company will be competing, and includes well-structured answers to key market research questions such as the following:

  • What are the sizes of the target market segments?
  • What are the trends for the industry as a whole?
  • With what other industries do your services compete?

To conduct this market research, do research online and leverage trade associations that often have the information you need.  

4. Analysis of Customers

The customer analysis business plan section assesses the customer segment(s) that the company serves. In this section, the company must convey the needs of its target customers. It must then show how its products and services satisfy these needs to an extent that the customer will pay for them.

The following are examples of customer segments: moms, engaged couples, schools, online retailers, teens, baby boomers, business owners, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of business you operate as different segments often have different needs. Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. With regards to psychographic variables, discuss whether your customers have any unique lifestyles, interests, opinions, attitudes and/or values that will help you market to them more effectively.

5. Analysis of Competition

All capable business plan writers discuss the competitive landscape of your business. This element of your plan must identify your direct and indirect competitors, assesses their strengths and weaknesses and delineate your company’s competitive advantages. It’s a crucial business plan section.

Direct competitors are those that provide the same product or service to the same customer. Indirect competitors are those who provide similar products or services. For example, the direct competitors to a pizza shop are other local pizza shops. Indirect competitors are other food options like supermarkets, delis, other restaurants, etc.

The first five components of your business plan provide an overview of the business opportunity and market research to support it. The remaining five business plan sections focus mainly on strategy, primarily the marketing, operational, financial and management strategies that your firm will employ.

6. Marketing, Sales & Product Plan

The marketing and sales plan component of your business plan details your strategy for penetrating the target markets. Key elements include the following:

  • A description of the company’s desired strategic positioning
  • Detailed descriptions of the company’s product and service offerings and potential product extensions
  • Descriptions of the company’s desired image and branding strategy
  • Descriptions of the company’s promotional strategies
  • An overview of the company’s pricing strategies
  • A description of current and potential strategic marketing partnerships/ alliances

7. Operations Strategy, Design and Development Plans

These sections detail the internal strategies for building the venture from concept to reality, and include answers to the following questions:

  • What functions will be required to run the business?
  • What milestones must be reached before the venture can be launched?
  • How will quality be controlled?

8. Management Team

The management team section demonstrates that the company has the required human resources to be successful. The business plan must answer questions including:

  • Who are the key management personnel and what are their backgrounds?
  • What management additions will be required to make the business a success?
  • Who are the other investors and/or shareholders, if any?
  • Who comprises the Board of Directors and/or Board of Advisors?
  • Who are the professional advisors (e.g., lawyer, accounting firm)?

9. Financial Plan

The financial plan involves the development of the company’s revenue and profitability model. These financial statements detail how you generate income and get paid from customers,. The financial plan includes detailed explanations of the key assumptions used in building the business plan model , sensitivity analysis on key revenue and cost variables, and description of comparable valuations for existing companies with similar business models.

One of the key purposes of your business plan is to determine the amount of capital the firm needs. The financial plan does this along with assessing the proposed use of these funds (e.g., equipment, working capital, labor expenses, insurance costs, etc.) and the expected future earnings. It includes Projected Income Statements, Balance Sheets (showing assets, liabilities and equity) and Cash Flow Statements, broken out quarterly for the first two years, and annually for years 1-5.

Importantly, all of the assumptions and projections in the financial plan must flow from and be supported by the descriptions and explanations offered in the other sections of the plan. The financial plan is where the entrepreneur communicates how he/she plans to “monetize” the overall vision for the new venture. Note that in addition to traditional debt and equity sources of startup and growth funding that require a business plan (bank loans, angel investors, venture capitalists, friends and family), you will probably also use other capital sources, such as credit cards and business credit, in growing your company.

10. Appendix

The appendix is used to support the rest of the business plan. Every business plan should have a full set of financial projections in the appendix, with the summary of these financials in the executive summary and the financial plan. Other documentation that could appear in the appendix includes technical drawings, partnership and/or customer letters, expanded competitor reviews and/or customer lists.

Find additional business plan help articles here.

Expertly and comprehensively discussing these components in their business plan helps entrepreneurs to better understand their business opportunity and assists them in convincing investors that the opportunity may be right for them too.

In addition to ensuring you included the proper elements of a business plan when developing your plan always think about why you are uniquely qualified to succeed in your business. For example, is your team’s expertise something that’s unique and can ensure your success? Or is it marketing partnerships you have executed? Importantly, if you don’t have any unique success factors, think about what you can add to make your company unique. Doing so can dramatically improve your success. Also, whether you write it on a word processor or use business plan software , remember to update your plan at least annually. After several years, you should have several business plans you can review to see what worked and what didn’t. This should prove helpful as you create future plans for your company’s growth.

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What Is A Business Plan? – Meaning & Components

Business plan

One question which many entrepreneurs don’t get right is ‘ what is a business plan?’ . While it is fairly easy to answer it theoretically, a business plan is a lot more than just a write-up that tells about the business’s goals when you get into the practical aspect of running a startup . It isn’t just stating your goals and the means to achieve them but stating how your business is going to work as a whole.

A business plan is an important aspect of the startup process and should be crafted carefully before preparing your pitch deck and putting yourself in front of the investors.

What Is A Business Plan?

A business plan is a written document that outlines the goals of the business and a roadmap of how to achieve them. It is the written description of your business’s future.

While many first-time entrepreneurs consider a business plan to be similar to what a preamble is to a constitution, but there’s a big difference. A business plan isn’t just an introduction to what the business is about. It is a written document explaining what the business will be after a certain period of time.

Simply stated, a business plan is a guide that conveys your business goals (both long-term and short-term), the business strategies you’ll use to achieve them, the problems and competition that you’ll face and the ways to solve and overcome them, the people you’ll involve in your business, the organisational structure, the marketing and the positioning strategies, and the amount of funds you’ll require for the same.

Importance of A Business Plan

You need a business plan if you run a business. There are no exceptions to the type or age of the business and unlike what many people say, business plans are not limited to startups. Even if you’re running a 20-year-old business, it’s not late to write a business plan and dedicate your resources to your ultimate business goal.

That being said, a business plan is almost a necessity for startups as it helps entrepreneurs break the uncertainty into meaningful pieces and projections. It helps them to present their vision in a language investors and the world understand – which includes sales forecasts, marketing strategies , competitive strategies , milestones, expense budget, partners and employees, and the short-term and long-term goals.

The business plan is an important guide that forces you into disciplined thinking. It gives you a direction to move to and explains to the world what you are here for. Here are the four reasons why a business plan is important for your startup:

Direction & Future Vision

A business plan defines what the business intends to be over time. It includes a detailed description of the customer, the market, and the competition, and gives direction to all the current and future strategies and steps.

Almost all prospective investors and banks require entrepreneurs to prepare a business plan for their startups . The stats, facts, and figures in the business plan make it easy for them to decide whether the team and their business have the potential to earn a profit in the long run or not.

With a vision set for the future, it becomes easy to manage ideas and people to achieve what’s desired.

Partnerships & Alliances

A business plan helps in the smooth execution of the planned business model as it helps to get in the desired partners by explaining their clear roles and the future vision to them.

Components Of A Business Plan

The business plan should be clear and concise. A person outside of your industry should be able to understand it. It should contain all the key information about your startup from what your product is about to how much money you require to build it. Here are the 11 key elements that should be included in every business plan:

  • Executive Summary – This is a brief overview of the entire business plan. This section of the business plan decides whether the stakeholders or investors will continue reading the plan or not. It includes a brief overview of the business idea, the offering, business goals, target market , competition, USP , the team and the financial outlook for the business.
  • Company Description & Synopsis – This section of the business plan explains the company’s mission, philosophy, goals, industry, legal structure, and USP briefly but is more elaborate than the executive summary. The details are followed by the problem the company is solving for the customers and the solution which makes it stand out of the competition.
  • Market Overview – This section explains the current market scenario of the industry – the size of the market, market trends, success stories, what is working and what isn’t, and what is being favoured and expected by the customers in the market. This section gives the readers a reason to believe why the company chose the market stated. Usually, everything in this section is supplemented with a bundle of facts, stats, and figures to prove that the entrepreneurs have done their research before choosing this as an apt market for their offering.
  • Customer Analysis – The customer analysis sections include the persona of the (prospective) customer , which includes his/her demographics, geographics, psychographics, needs, wants, desires, buying habits, etc.
  • Product/Service Overview – This is a section dedicated to the offering the company is (or will be) providing to the customers. It answers all the what, why, where, and when questions related to the product and reiterates the previous stance of why it is the perfect solution for the problem stated.
  • Business Model – The business model is the conceptual structure that explains how the company works or will work. This section will answer the question of how it will provide the offering in the market and why is the offering viable. If the company were Uber , this section would include how it would partner with cab drivers and how would its business structure be viable for both the taxi drivers and its customers.
  • Revenue Model – The revenue model explains how the company is planning to earn money using the business structure explained in the business model section. It explains the intricacies of the expenses and revenue sources of the company.
  • Competitive Analysis – This section is dedicated to explaining who are the competitors, what are their USPs, and what are the strategies used by the business to tackle them.
  • Marketing Plan – The marketing plan acts as an inference of all the details explained earlier. This section provides the details on how the company plans to use the information mentioned above in formulating and executing their marketing strategies. The marketing plan is an important section of the business plan as it explains how the company is planning to reach out to the customers and stand out of the competitors. That being said, the marketing plan isn’t limited to the promotion of the offering. It includes a holistic strategy to market the offering right from production to post-sales.
  • Management Team – This section gives the information of all the members on board, their qualifications, experience, and their posts in the company.
  • Funding & Financials – Funding and financials form the conclusion, but it is the most important section of the business plan for startups as it states the cost of the execution of the business plan. It includes all the short-term and long-term financial requirements and funding goals and how the investors can help the company achieve them.

The Startup Process

We know how important your dream business is to you. Therefore, we’ve come up with an all in one guide:  The Startup Process  to help you turn your vision into reality.

Aashish Pahwa

A startup consultant, digital marketer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 20 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.

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What Are the Basic Components of a Business Plan?

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Main Steps in Business Planning

Four types of information in a business plan, what is the meaning of business finance.

  • What Do Business Documents Include?
  • 6 Types of Business Plans

Writing a business plan is a serious and exciting endeavor. Whether you're launching a new business or making changes to a company you already own, a business plan is where your hopes and dreams connect with the real world, like rubber on asphalt, propelling you toward the realization of those dreams.

Business plans can be complex documents – the product of a great deal of research and analysis covering every facet of your business. So before you get started, take a few minutes to review the major components, which you can use as a roadmap.

Six Key Components of Business Plans

The specific details of a business plan vary widely among industries and individual businesses; however, the majority of business plans contain six key components.

  • Executive Summary: This one-page summary of your business plan includes the most important information and a table of contents that identifies where additional information can be found in the rest of the document.
  • Mission, Goals, and Objectives: This component describes why you started the business, your long-term goals and the key short-term objectives you identified to work toward those goals.
  • Background Information: This section describes the history of your industry, its current state and its future, as well as your company's place in the industry. If there are problems in your chosen industry, address them and list your solutions.
  • Organization Description: This covers your company's planned business structure, key team members, including the management team, and your risk management strategies.
  • Marketing Plan: This details everything about getting your products and services to customers, including identifying your target customers, where they live and other demographics. It also describes how you will promote your brand and products or services and the distribution channels you plan to use to get your products to your customers.
  • Financial Plan: This documents your financial resources, estimated costs and estimated revenue, and it identifies any additional capital you may need. It should include a balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and a budget.

Writing a Business Plan

Where you begin depends on you. If you have a background in finance, the financial plan may be the best place to start, while a marketer might start with the marketing plan. If you're not sure where to start, begin with a draft of the executive summary and begin writing down the questions you need to research and answer.

As Penn State University Extension advises, a SWOT analysis helps you identify what you need to research. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Examining each of these will reveal the risks you need to address and the opportunities you will want to capitalize on.

After completing your work, you can write a new executive summary based on your finished business plan. Note that an executive summary should always be finished last. It often serves as an independent document, called an executive summary business plan, which you can use to entice investors or attract business partners to your company.

Business Planning Is a Verb

Writing a business plan is a journey that may take you exactly where you anticipated or to a brand new realm with new opportunities you hadn't thought of before. So keep an open mind, and whenever you stumble across a new question, make a point of researching it.

Each component of your business plan depends on the others. While researching marketing, for example, you may realize that digital ads are more expensive in your industry than you realized. This not only affects your financial plan, it could also affect the types of products you sell and how you present them to customers. This, in turn, could affect your company's mission, goals and objectives. Instead of selling something like low-cost costume jewelry, this could direct you toward luxury watches and accessories.

As Purdue University explains, starting a business plan is one of the first things you should do before launching a company. Because it will influence your business decisions, you should ideally begin with a solid plan and keep planning as your business grows and evolves.

  • Purdue University: The Elements of a Business Plan
  • Penn State University Extension: Developing a Business Plan

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines and online publications including About.com, Re/Max and American Express.

Related Articles

What are the key elements of a business plan, what is an executive summary business plan, the breakdown of a marketing plan, what are the main purposes of a business plan, a high-level marketing plan, the importance of business plans, what to avoid in writing a business plan, final summary for a marketing plan, how to write a comprehensive business plan, most popular.

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Business Plan Roadmap: Building Your Path to Business Success

Published: 31 December, 2023

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Stefan F.Dieffenbacher

Table of Contents

In today’s fast-paced entrepreneurial landscape, a meticulously crafted business plan functions as the guiding star for your venture’s journey toward success. Whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or a budding startup creator, possessing a comprehensive business plan is indispensable, serving as the key to securing funding, making well-informed decisions, and effectively navigating the ever-evolving business environment.

A skillfully developed business plan serves as the cornerstone of a prosperous venture, seamlessly aligning with crucial elements such as the Business Model Canvas and adapting to the ever-changing business environment . At Digital Leadership, we understand the importance of these strategic foundations, which is why we offer comprehensive Digital Strategy Consulting and Business Model Strategy services, to help businesses not only survive but thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

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Within the confines of this article, we will embark on a comprehensive exploration of the art of crafting an engaging and impactful business plan . We shall dissect critical components, including in-depth market research, meticulous financial projections, savvy marketing strategies, and effective operational blueprints. Additionally, we will unveil a plethora of tips and best practices designed to elevate your business plan above the competition, rendering it a value proposition for those seeking to invest in or collaborate with your enterprise.

What is a Business Plan

A business plan definition is a written document that outlines the goals, strategies, and detailed operational and financial plans of a business. It serves as a roadmap for the business, providing a clear direction for its growth and development. A typical business plan includes information about the company’s mission and vision, its products or services, market analysis, competition, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, organizational structure, financial projections, and funding requirements. Business plans are commonly used to secure funding from investors or lenders, guide the company’s operations, and communicate its vision and strategy to stakeholders.

what is a business plan

A conventional business plan typically divides into two primary segments:

  • The Explanatory Segment: This portion encompasses written content that serves the business purpose of providing a detailed description of the business idea and/or the company. It covers elements such as the executive summary, company overview, market analysis, product or service particulars, marketing and sales strategies, organizational structure, operational blueprints, and funding needs.
  • The Financial Segment: Within this section, you’ll discover financial data and projections, encompassing income statements, balance sheets, cash flow forecasts, and detailed information regarding financing prerequisites and potential sources. This segment offers a quantitative view of the business’s financial situation and future expectations.

Uncover profound insights in our book,  “How to Create Innovation”  – the ultimate guide to  business plan . Within its pages, you’ll find a diverse array of groundbreaking tools and models that will enrich your understanding and empower you to refine your approach, guaranteeing unmatched success in the competitive business landscape.

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Components of a Business Plan: What is Included in a Business Plan

Crafting a thorough and compelling business plan is a fundamental step for entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking to chart a successful course for their ventures. A well-structured business plan not only serves as a roadmap for your business’s growth but also communicates your vision, strategy, and potential to investors, partners, and stakeholders. The key components of a business plan make up a robust business plan, offering valuable insights and practical tips to help you create a document that inspires confidence and aligns your team with a shared vision. Each key element plays a critical role in constructing a business plan that not only secures financial support but also guides your organization toward sustainable success. Let’s delve deeper into these components, adding depth and clarity to your business plan ‘s narrative.

  • Executive Summary: This should succinctly encapsulate the essence of your business plan . It should briefly touch on the market opportunity, your unique value proposition, revenue projections, funding requirements, and the overarching goals of the business.
  • Company Description: Elaborate on your company’s history, including significant milestones and achievements. Clearly define your mission, vision, and values, providing insight into what drives the company’s culture and decisions.
  • Market Analysis: Delve into the market’s nuances by discussing not only its size but also its growth rate, trends, and dynamics. Highlight specific target market segments, customer personas, and pain points that your business aims to address. Include a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to showcase your understanding of the competitive landscape.
  • Products or Services: Offer a detailed explanation of your offerings, emphasizing their key features and benefits. Describe how these offerings fulfill specific customer needs or solve problems, and explain any proprietary technology or intellectual property.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: Provide a comprehensive overview of your marketing and sales plans. Discuss your pricing strategy in depth, outlining how it aligns with market dynamics. Explain your distribution channels and marketing tactics, including digital and traditional methods.
  • Organizational Structure: Present bios of key team members, underscoring their relevant experience, expertise, and roles within the organization. Include an organizational chart to illustrate reporting relationships and the structure’s scalability.
  • Operational Plan: Go into detail about your daily operations, covering everything from production processes and supply chain management to facility requirements and technology utilization. Discuss quality control measures and scalability strategies.
  • Financial Projections: Provide a thorough breakdown of financial forecasts, including monthly or quarterly projections for at least three to five years. Explain the assumptions behind these numbers, including factors such as market growth rates and pricing strategies. Highlight critical financial metrics like burn rate, customer acquisition costs, and return on investment.
  • Funding Requirements: Specify the exact amount of capital you’re seeking, the purpose of the funds, and how the investment will be utilized to achieve specific milestones. Outline potential sources of funding, such as equity investment, loans, or grants. Clarify the expected terms and conditions.
  • Appendix: In the appendix, include supplementary materials that reinforce your business plan’s credibility and depth. This can encompass market research reports, letters of intent, prototypes, patents, legal contracts, and any other relevant documentation that adds value to your case.

A masterfully designed business plan serves as the guiding star to steer you toward triumph. Enter our publication, “ How to Create Innovation “, deep within its pages, you’ll unearth a plethora of pioneering instruments and frameworks, including the influential Business Model Canvas , poised to not only amplify your comprehension but also arm you with the tools essential to craft an authoritative and highly potent business plan.

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Creating a business plan essential steps.

Creating a business plan is a crucial step in launching or growing a business. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create an effective business plan :

1- Draft an Executive Summary:

  • Write a concise overview of your business, including the mission, vision, and goals.
  • Summarize the business concept, target market, and unique value proposition.
  • Keep it brief but compelling to grab the reader’s attention.

2- Compose a Business Description:

  • Provide detailed information about your business, industry, and the problem or need your product/service addresses.
  • Explain your mission, vision, and core values.
  • Describe the legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation).

3- Conduct a Market Analysis:

  • Conduct thorough market research to understand your industry, target market, and competitors.
  • Define your target audience and demonstrate a clear understanding of market trends.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

4- Outline Organization and Management:

  • Outline the organizational structure of your business.
  • Introduce key team members and their roles, highlighting their relevant experience.
  • Provide an overview of your advisory board or external support.

5- Detail the Product or Service Line:

  • Describe your products or services in detail.
  • Highlight the features, benefits, and unique selling points.
  • Explain how your offerings meet the needs of your target market.

6- Develop a Marketing and Sales Strategy:

  • Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to reach your target audience.
  • Outline your sales process, distribution channels , and pricing strategy.
  • Include a sales forecast and customer acquisition plan.

7- Specify Funding Request (if applicable):

  • Specify the amount of funding you are seeking (if any) and how you plan to use it.
  • Justify the funding request with clear financial projections and a solid business case.

8- Prepare Financial Projections:

  • Prepare detailed financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
  • Provide assumptions and methodologies used for financial forecasts.
  • Demonstrate your business’s profitability and financial viability.

9- Include an Appendix:

  • Include supplementary materials such as resumes, permits, contracts, market research, or any other relevant documents.
  • Keep this section optional but use it to provide additional context.

10- Review and Revise:

  • Review your business plan thoroughly for clarity, consistency, and completeness.
  • Seek feedback from mentors, advisors, or potential investors.
  • Revise the plan based on feedback and ensure it aligns with your business goals.

Remember, a business plan is a dynamic document that should be revisited and updated regularly to reflect changes in your business environment. It serves as a roadmap for your business and a valuable tool for communicating your vision to others.

Types of Business Plans

Startup business plan:.

A comprehensive document crafted by entrepreneurs to outline the vision, mission, target market, competition analysis, financial projections, and strategies for launching and operating a new business.

Feasibility Business Plan:

A plan designed to assess the viability of a business idea or project by analyzing market demand, potential challenges, financial feasibility, and overall sustainability before committing resources.

One-Page Business Plan:

A condensed version of a traditional business plan, focusing on key elements such as the business concept, target market, value proposition, marketing strategy, and financial projections—all presented on a single page.

What-If Business Plan:

A flexible and dynamic plan that explores various scenarios and outcomes based on changing factors or assumptions. It helps businesses anticipate challenges and adjust strategies accordingly.

Growth Business Plan:

Tailored for businesses aiming to expand, this plan outlines strategies for scaling operations, entering new markets, launching products or services, and includes financial projections to support growth initiatives.

Operations Business Plan:

Geared towards day-to-day activities, this plan details operational procedures, resource allocation, supply chain management, and other aspects essential for the smooth functioning of the business.

Strategic Business Plan:

A long-term plan outlining the organization’s mission, vision, core values, and strategic initiatives. It guides decision-making, sets priorities, and aligns the company toward achieving overarching objectives.

The purpose of a business plan

A business plan is not a static document with a limited shelf life; rather, it evolves alongside the company it represents. It serves as a dynamic tool that adapts to changing market conditions, emerging opportunities, and evolving strategic priorities. Here’s a closer look at its continuous relevance:

  • Guiding the Business ( Business Concept/Business Idea and Strategy ) : A business plan serves as an internal guide that helps entrepreneurs and management teams set clear objectives, develop business strategies, and make informed decisions. It provides a framework for prioritizing tasks, allocating resources, and monitoring progress toward achieving business goals.
  • Securing Financing: One of the primary reasons for creating a business plan is to secure financing from lenders, investors, or banks. A well-prepared plan presents a compelling case for why the business is a viable and profitable investment. It includes financial projections, market research, and a clear explanation of how the funds will be used to achieve growth.
  • Attracting Investors: For startups and early-stage companies, attracting equity investors is often crucial for rapid growth. A comprehensive business plan not only showcases the business opportunity but also outlines how investors can potentially realize significant returns on their investment. It highlights the company’s unique value proposition and competitive advantage.
  • Setting Goals and Objectives: Business plan s articulate both short-term and long-term objectives for the company. Specific, measurable, and time-bound goals are essential for motivating employees, aligning efforts, and tracking progress. Objectives can encompass revenue targets, market share goals, expansion plans, and more.
  • Managing Operations: Business plans include detailed operational plans, covering aspects such as production processes, supply chain management, inventory control, quality assurance, and logistics. These operational details ensure that the business runs smoothly and efficiently.
  • Market Analysis: Comprehensive market research within the business plan helps the company understand its target market, customer demographics, and competitive landscape. This knowledge enables the business to adapt to changing market conditions and identify opportunities for growth, product development, or market expansion.
  • Communicating the Vision: A well-crafted business plan communicates the company’s mission, vision, and values to both internal and external stakeholders. This clarity fosters a shared sense of purpose among employees and resonates with customers and partners.
  • Risk Management: Business plans identify potential risks and challenges that the company may encounter. By acknowledging these risks upfront, the plan can outline strategies for risk mitigation or contingency plans. This proactive approach helps the business better navigate unforeseen challenges.
  • Measuring Progress: A business plan serves as a benchmark for assessing the company’s performance and growth. By comparing actual results to the plan’s projections, the business can identify areas where it is excelling and areas that require adjustment. Regularly measuring progress is crucial for making data-driven decisions.
  • Exit Strategy: In some cases, especially for entrepreneurs and investors, a business plan includes an exit strategy. This strategy outlines how the business owners plan to realize their investment, whether through selling the company, going public, or transitioning leadership to others.
  • Competitive Adaptation: In the face of a constantly changing competitive landscape, a well-maintained business plan allows a company to regularly assess its competitive position. It aids in identifying emerging competitors, market shifts, and areas where the business can gain a competitive edge.
  • Performance Measurement: By providing a baseline for projected financials and key performance indicators (KPIs), a business plan becomes a tool for measuring actual performance against expectations. This ongoing evaluation enables the organization to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
  • Resource Allocation: As a company grows, it often requires additional resources such as capital, personnel, or technology. The business plan assists in rationalizing and justifying resource allocation decisions to support expansion or address operational challenges.
  • Innovation and Adaptation: In today’s rapidly changing business environment, adaptation and innovation are essential. A business plan encourages a culture of adaptability by fostering discussions on new opportunities and strategies for staying ahead of industry trends.
  • External Engagement: Externally, the business plan remains a valuable tool for engaging with investors, partners, lenders, and other stakeholders. It provides a transparent and comprehensive view of the company’s past performance and future potential.

Important External Tasks of a Business Plan

A business plan holds significance beyond its internal utility, as it acts as the company’s calling card in external contexts. Primarily, it serves as a persuasive tool for potential investors, bolstering the chances of securing essential financing, whether during startup or later stages for marketing initiatives or product development. Additionally, a well-crafted business plan proves valuable in negotiation discussions with potential key partners and regulatory bodies, enhancing the stability of current and future business relationships with customers and suppliers alike.

Here are some significant external tasks associated with a business plan:

  • Securing Financial Support: One of the primary external objectives of a business plan is to attract external financing from investors or lenders. A well-prepared plan should clearly communicate the company’s financial requirements and how those funds will be utilized to achieve its objectives.
  • Presenting to Investors: If you are seeking investment from angel investors, venture capitalists, or private equity firms, you must effectively present your business plan . This entails pitching your business to potential investors, highlighting key aspects of your plan, and addressing their inquiries and concerns.
  • Applying for Financing or Grants: If you intend to secure loans or grants to fund your business, your business plan will be a crucial component of your application. It should demonstrate your capacity to repay loans or meet grant criteria, as well as how the funds will drive growth.
  • Negotiating Partnerships and Collaborations: When pursuing partnerships, joint ventures, or alliances with other businesses, a business plan can outline the strategic advantages and potential outcomes of the collaboration. This is vital for persuading potential partners of the value of working together.
  • Ensuring Regulatory Compliance: Depending on your industry and location, you may need to submit your business plan to regulatory agencies for approval or compliance. This is particularly common in sectors like healthcare, finance, and energy.
  • Obtaining Licenses and Permits: If your business requires specific licenses or permits to operate, your business plan may be requested during the application process to demonstrate your readiness and compliance with regulations.
  • Facilitating Mergers and Acquisitions: In mergers or acquisitions, both the acquiring and target companies may need to provide business plans to potential investors or lenders involved in the transaction. This aids in evaluating the financial viability and strategic fit of the merger or acquisition.
  • Attracting Strategic Partners: In addition to traditional investors, you may seek to attract strategic partners who can offer resources, expertise, or distribution channels. You r business plan should compellingly illustrate why potential partners should collaborate with your company.
  • Preparing for an IPO (Initial Public Offering): If your long-term strategy includes taking your company public, a comprehensive business plan is essential to attract public market investors. It must provide a detailed view of your company’s financial health, growth potential, and market position.
  • Undergoing Due Diligence: When external parties consider investing in or partnering with your company, they often conduct due diligence. Your business plan should be precise and comprehensive to withstand scrutiny during this process.

When is a Business Plan Needed

When starting a new business, it makes sense to write a business plan . A strong business concept helps you find investors and convince big business figures, investors, or banks of your business idea.

In addition, a business plan forces a start-up to confront the strengths but also weaknesses of its business idea. However, an already existing company can equally benefit from a business plan. Many companies often lack a clearly recognizable strategy or guidelines against which success can be measured.

A business plan also leads to more transparency in entrepreneurial decisions and is necessary for an already existing company when raising outside capital and investors. An increasing number of investors and capital providers demand the submission of such a plan, thus making a strong business concept so important.

  • Startup Phase : A business plan is essential when starting a new venture as it helps define your business concept, target market, and competitive strategy. It outlines your initial funding requirements, revenue projections, and expected milestones, providing a roadmap for the early stages of your business.
  • Securing Financing : Whether you’re seeking a bank loan, angel investment, venture capital, or crowdfunding, a detailed business plan is a prerequisite. It should include financial forecasts, an analysis of your industry and competitors, and a clear description of how the funds will be used to grow the business.
  • Strategic Planning : Regularly updating your business plan is crucial for strategic planning . It allows you to assess your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) and adjust your strategies accordingly. It provides a long-term vision and helps align the organization’s efforts toward common goals.
  • New Product or Service Launch : Before launching a new offering, a business plan helps you research the market, understand underserved customer needs, and determine the product’s unique selling points. It outlines your marketing and sales strategy, pricing structure, and expected return on investment.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions : In mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions, a business plan is used to evaluate the financial viability and strategic fit of the deal. It provides insights into the target company’s operations, revenue streams, and potential synergies with the acquiring company.
  • Partnerships and Alliances : When exploring collaborations with other businesses, a business plan outlines the mutual benefits and objectives of the partnership. It clarifies roles and responsibilities, risk-sharing arrangements, and how the partnership aligns with each party’s strategic goals.
  • Regulatory Compliance : Certain industries, like healthcare, finance, and energy, require businesses to submit comprehensive business plans to regulatory authorities. These plans demonstrate compliance with industry-specific regulations and provide transparency in operations.
  • Licensing and Permits : When applying for licenses or permits, particularly in regulated industries such as food service, healthcare, or construction, a business plan may be necessary to prove that your operations meet safety, health, and environmental standards.
  • IPO (Initial Public Offering) : Making a company public is a complex process. A thorough business plan is crucial to attract public investors. It should provide historical financial performance, future growth prospects, and a clear value proposition for potential shareholders.
  • Crisis Management : In times of financial distress or operational challenges, businesses may develop a crisis management or turnaround plan. This specialized business plan outlines the steps needed to stabilize the company’s finances, restructure operations, and restore profitability.

Example of Business Plan Structure

Generally, there are no fixed guidelines as to how a business plan should be structured. Business concepts heavily depend on the recipient of the business plan and the orientation and structure of the company. The following bullet points are therefore only to be understood as basic building blocks that must be adapted to the individual situation.

1. Business Concept/Business Idea and Strategy:

  • Illustrate your business concept, including the idea and methods for successful implementation.
  • Include a timeline for implementing the concept.
  • Optionally, provide information about your company and headquarters.

2. Company Description:

  • Provide detailed information about your company, including its name, location, legal structure, and history.
  • Explain your business’s purpose and the problems it aims to solve.
  • Describe your target market and your business’s role within it.

3. Target Market:

  • Market volume and potential.
  • Growth potential.
  • Barriers to entry and market restrictions.
  • Supplier positioning.
  • Relevant laws and regulations.
  • Competitor analysis (strengths, weaknesses, product range).
  • Identifying potential customers.

4- Operational Plan:

  • Describe your business’s day-to-day operations, including location, facilities, equipment, and technology.
  • Explain your supply chain, production processes, and quality control.
  • Address any regulatory or compliance requirements.

5. Products and Services:

  • Describe your products or services, highlighting how they differentiate from competitors.
  • Unique Selling Proposition.
  • Customer Benefits.
  • Competitive Advantages.
  • Innovation or optimization of existing products.
  • Patent or property rights.

6. Marketing and Sales Planning:

  • Outline your marketing strategy and timetable.
  • Specify market entry plans.
  • Set company goals related to market leadership, market share, revenue, and brand awareness.
  • Discuss sales policy, pricing policy, and communication policy & advertising.
  • Address sales methods, future developments, and pricing strategy justification.

7. Management, Employees, and Organization:

  • Highlight management skills, qualifications, and key team members.
  • Emphasize industry knowledge, social skills, previous successes, and professional experience.
  • Mention personnel development strategies.
  • Describe the organizational structure, focusing on procurement, development, production, sales, and administration.

8. Opportunities and Risks:

  • In the ‘Opportunities’ section, showcase the potential of your business idea and the conditions for exploiting that potential.
  • Address risks comprehensively, demonstrating a detailed and critical approach.
  • Include potential risk scenarios and proposed solutions.

9. Financial Planning:

  • Present concrete financial figures derived from previous analyses and plans.
  • Profit Planning: Include a profit and loss statement (P&L).
  • Balance Sheet: Provide an overview of assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Liquidity Plan: Compare expenditures with available funds.

10. Appendix:

  • Include necessary documents like commercial register excerpts, business registrations, shareholder agreements, and legal forms.
  • Attach CVs and references of key team members.
  • Include relevant financial spreadsheets, patents, permits, licenses, brochures, leaflets, and organizational charts or graphs.

Reasons for Business Plan Failures

  • Lack of Market Research: Failing to thoroughly understand the target market and its needs can lead to products or services that don’t resonate with customers.
  • Inflexibility: A rigid plan that doesn’t adapt to changing market conditions or feedback from customers can become obsolete quickly.
  • Overly Optimistic Projections: Unrealistic financial projections can mislead investors and hinder the business’s ability to meet expectations.
  • Poor Execution: Even the best plan will fail without proper execution. A lack of skilled team members, resources, or a clear execution strategy can doom a business.
  • Ignoring Competition: Ignoring or underestimating competitors can lead to a business being unprepared for market competition.
  • Insufficient Funding: Underestimating the capital required to launch and sustain the business can lead to financial troubles.
  • Inadequate Marketing: Without effective marketing, even great products or services may go unnoticed by potential customers.
  • Ignoring Customer Feedback: Not listening to customer feedback and adjusting the business accordingly can result in products or services that don’t meet market needs.

Connecting The Dots: Importance of Business Model Canvas in Business Plan

Integrating the Business Model Canvas (BMC) into a traditional business plan is a pivotal process in crafting a comprehensive and highly effective business strategy . The Business Model Canvas , with its visual and succinct approach, offers a distinctive viewpoint on your business model. It functions as a complementary tool to the in-depth components of a traditional plan, strengthening your strategic capabilities. You can download it now.

The synergy between these two strategic instruments not only facilitates communication but also empowers you to analyze and adjust your business strategy with precision, ultimately fostering a pathway to success. In the following discussion, we delve into the significance of bridging the gap between these two potent tools within the domain of business planning. Here’s why the Business Model Canvas is essential within the context of a business plan:

  • Visual Representation: The Business Model Canvas provides a visual framework that allows you to quickly grasp and convey the fundamental elements of your business model. This visual clarity is especially valuable when presenting your business concept to potential investors, partners, or team members.
  • Concise Overview: While a traditional business plan can be lengthy and detailed, the BMC offers a concise summary of key components, including customer segments, value propositions, channels, revenue streams, and cost structures. It distills complex business concepts into a simplified format, making it easier to communicate and understand.
  • Iterative Planning: The BMC encourages an iterative approach to business strategic planning . It enables you to experiment with different business model hypotheses and make adjustments as you gather feedback and insights. This agility is vital, especially for startups and businesses in rapidly evolving markets.
  • Focus on Value: The Business Model Canvas places a strong emphasis on understanding customer needs and value creation . It prompts you to identify your unique value propositions and how they address customer pain points, aligning your strategy with customer-centric principles.
  • Holistic View: By using the BMC, you’re prompted to consider all aspects of your business model, from customer acquisition to revenue generation and cost management. This holistic perspective helps identify potential gaps, dependencies, and opportunities that might be overlooked in a traditional plan.
  • Alignment and Coordination: The BMC fosters alignment among team members and stakeholders. It’s a collaborative tool that encourages discussions about the business model, ensuring that everyone shares a common understanding and vision. This alignment is critical for execution.
  • Integration with Traditional Plan: While the BMC is an excellent starting point, it can be seamlessly integrated into a traditional business plan. The insights and clarity gained from the BMC can inform and enrich the sections of the plan related to products/services, target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
  • Efficiency: The BMC saves time and resources, particularly in the early stages of planning when you’re exploring different business model scenarios. It allows you to focus on the most critical aspects of your strategy before diving into the details.
  • Adaptability: In a rapidly changing business environment, having a flexible and adaptable business model is essential. The BMC’s modular structure makes it easier to pivot or adapt your strategy in response to market shifts, competitive pressures, or emerging opportunities.

In summary, a business plan is a multifaceted and indispensable tool for businesses at every stage of their journey. It serves as a compass, guiding strategic decisions, securing essential financing, and attracting potential investors. Its ongoing relevance is a testament to its adaptability, enabling businesses to measure performance, allocate resources, and manage risks effectively. Beyond its practical utility, a business plan is a communication tool, conveying a company’s vision and objectives to both internal teams and external stakeholders. It is a dynamic and ever-evolving document that empowers businesses to navigate uncertainties, foster innovation, and drive sustainable growth, making it an indispensable companion in the pursuit of business success.

Frequently Asked Questions

1- how does a business plan relate to usiness strategy.

A business plan is closely intertwined with a company’s business strategy. The plan lays out the specific actions and tactics required to achieve the strategic goals of the business. It provides a roadmap for implementing the chosen strategy, outlining how resources will be allocated, what markets will be targeted, and how the business will position itself in the competitive landscape.

2- Is a business plan necessary if I already have a solid business strategy?

Yes, a business plan is still essential, even if you have a well-defined strategy. It serves as the detailed execution plan for your strategy, providing clarity on how you will achieve your strategic objectives. It also helps you anticipate challenges, manage risks, and secure financing or investments by demonstrating the viability of your strategy.

3- Can I use the Business Model Canvas in place of a business plan for a startup?

While the Business Model Canvas is an excellent tool for conceptualizing and validating your business model, it is often not a substitute for a comprehensive business plan , especially when seeking financing or investments. Startups may begin with Canvas to clarify their model but should eventually develop a full business plan to provide in-depth financial projections, market analysis, and operational details.

4- How often should I update my business plan to align with my evolving strategy?

It’s advisable to review and update your business plan regularly, typically at least once a year. However, major changes in your business environment, such as shifts in market conditions or strategic pivots, may require more frequent updates. Keeping your plan current ensures it remains a relevant and effective tool for guiding your business.

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10 Essential Components of a Business Plan and How to Write Them

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Ayush Jalan

  • January 4, 2024

12 Min Read

10 Essential Business plan components and How to Write Them

A business plan is an essential document for any business, whether it’s a startup or an established enterprise. It’s the first thing any interested investor will ask for if they like your business idea and want to partner with you. 

That’s why it’s important to pay attention when writing your business plan and the components inside it. An incomplete business plan can give the impression that you’re unqualified—discouraging investors and lenders. 

A good business plan reduces ambiguity and communicates all essential details such as your financials, market analysis, competitive analysis, and a timeline for implementation of the plan. In this article, we’ll discuss the 10 important business plan components. 

10 Important Business Plan Components

A comprehensive and well-thought-out business plan acts as a roadmap that guides you in making sound decisions and taking the right actions at the right times. Here are its key components and what to include in them.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is one of the most important parts of a business plan. It’s the first thing potential investors will read and should therefore provide a clear overview of your business and its goals.

In other words, it helps the reader get a better idea of what to expect from your company. So, when writing an executive summary of your business, don’t forget to mention your mission and vision statement.

Mission statement

A mission statement is a brief statement that outlines your objectives and what you want to achieve. It acts as a guiding principle that informs decisions and provides a clear direction for the organization to follow.

For instance, Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It’s short, inspiring, and immediately communicates what the company does.

A mission statement should be realistic, and hint towards a goal that is achievable in a reasonable amount of time with the resources you currently have or are going to acquire in the near future.

Vision statement

While a mission statement is more actionable and has an immediate effect on the daily activities of the company, a vision statement is more aspirational and has a much broader scope.

In other words, it highlights where the company aims to go in the future and the positive change it hopes to make in the world within its lifetime.

2. Company description

Company description Steps: 1) Overview 2) Products & Services 3) Company history

The second component of your business plan is the company description. Here, you provide a brief overview of your company, its products or services, and its history. You can also add any notable achievements if they are significant enough for an investor to know.

A company overview offers a quick bird’s-eye view of things such as your business model, operational capabilities, financials, business philosophy, size of the team, code of conduct, and short-term and long-term objectives.

Products and services

The products and services part of your company description explains what your business offers to its customers, how it’s delivered, and the costs involved in acquiring new customers and executing a sale.

Company History

Company history is the timeline of events that took place in your business from its origin to the present day. It includes a brief profile of the founder(s) and their background, the date the company was founded, any notable achievements and milestones, and other similar facts and details.

If you’re a startup, you’ll probably not have much of a history to write about. In that case, you can share stories of the challenges your startup faced during its inception and how your team overcame them.

3. Market analysis

Market analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan provides an in-depth analysis of the industry, target market, and competition. It should underline the risks and opportunities associated with your industry, and also comment on the attributes of your target customer.

Demographics and segmentation

Understanding the demographics of your customers plays a big role in how well you’re able to identify their traits and serve them.

By dividing your target audience into smaller and more manageable groups, you can tailor your services and products to better meet their needs.

You can use demographics such as age, gender, income, location, ethnicity, and education level to better understand the preferences and behaviors of each segment, and use that data to create more effective marketing strategies.     

Target market and size

Understanding your target market lies at the core of all your marketing endeavors. After all, if you don’t have a clear idea of who you’re serving, you won’t be able to serve well no matter how big your budget is.

For instance, Starbucks’ primary target market includes working professionals and office workers. The company has positioned itself such that many of its customers start their day with its coffee.

Estimating the market size helps you know how much scope there is to scale your business in the future. In other words, you’re trying to determine how much potential revenue exists in this market and if it’s worth the investment.

Market need

The next step is to figure out the market need, i.e., the prevalent pain points that people in that market experience. The easiest way to find these pain points is to read the negative reviews people leave on Amazon for products that are similar to yours.

The better your product solves those pain points, the better your chances of capturing that market. In addition, since your product is solving a problem that your rivals can’t, you can also charge a premium price.

To better identify the needs of your target customers, it helps to take into account things such as local cultural values, industry trends, buying habits, tastes and preferences, price elasticity, and more.

4. Product Summary

The product summary section of your business plan goes into detail about the features and benefits that your products and services offer, and how they differ from your competitors. It also outlines the manufacturing process, pricing, cost of production, inventory, packaging, and capital requirements.

5. Competitive analysis

Unless you’ve discovered an untapped market, you’re probably going to face serious competition and it’s only going to increase as you scale your business later down the line.

This is where the competitive analysis section helps; it gives an overview of the competitive landscape, introduces your immediate rivals, and highlights the current dominant companies and their market share.

In such an environment, it helps to have certain competitive advantages against your rivals so you can stand out in the market. Simply put, a competitive advantage is the additional value you can provide to your customers that your rivals can’t—perhaps via unique product features, excellent customer service, or more.

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6. Marketing and sales plan

what is business plan and its components

The marketing and sales plan is one of the most important business plan components. It explains how you plan to penetrate the market, position your brand in the minds of the buyers, build brand loyalty, increase sales, and remain competitive in an ever-changing business environment.

Unique selling proposition

A unique selling proposition (USP) conveys how your products and services differ from those of your competitors, and the added value those differences provide.

A strong USP will stand out in a competitive market and make potential customers more likely to switch to your brand—essentially capturing the market share of your rivals.

Marketing Plan

Your product might be unique, but if people don’t even know that it exists, it won’t sell. That’s where marketing comes in.

A marketing plan outlines strategies for reaching your target market and achieving sales goals. It also outlines the budget required for advertising and promotion.

You may also include data on the target market, target demographics, objectives, strategies, a timeline, budget, and the metrics considered for evaluating success.

Sales and distribution plan

Once people are made aware of your product, the next step is to ensure it reaches them. This means having a competent sales and distribution plan and a strong supply chain.

Lay out strategies for reaching potential customers, such as online marketing, lead generation, retail distribution channels, or direct sales.

Your goal here is to minimize sales costs and address the risks involved with the distribution of your product. If you’re selling ice cream, for example, you would have to account for the costs of refrigeration and cold storage.

Pricing strategy

Pricing is a very sensitive yet important part of any business. When creating a pricing strategy , you need to consider factors such as market demand, cost of production, competitor prices, disposable income of target customers, and profitability goals.

Some businesses have a small profit margin but sell large volumes of their product, while others sell fewer units but with a massive markup. You will have to decide for yourself which approach you want to follow.

Before setting your marketing plans into action, you need a budget for them. This means writing down how much money you’ll need, how it will be used, and the potential return you are estimating on this investment.

A budget should be flexible, meaning that it should be open to changes as the market shifts and customer behavior evolves. The goal here is to make sure that the company is making the best use of its resources by minimizing the wastage of funds.

7. Operations plan

The operations plan section of your business plan provides an overview of how the business is run and its day-to-day operations. This section is especially important for manufacturing businesses.

It includes a description of your business structure, the roles and responsibilities of each team member, the resources needed, and the procedures you will use to ensure the smooth functioning of your business. The goal here is to maximize output whilst minimizing the wastage of raw material or human labor.

8. Management team

At the core of any successful business lies a dedicated, qualified, and experienced management team overlooking key business activities. 

This section provides an overview of the key members of your management team including their credentials, professional background, role and responsibilities, experience, and qualifications.

A lot of investors give special attention to this section as it helps them ascertain the competence and work ethic of the members involved.

Organizational structure

An organizational structure defines the roles, responsibilities, decision-making processes, and authority of each individual or department in an organization.

Having a clear organizational structure improves communication, increases efficiency, promotes collaboration, and makes it easier to delegate tasks. Startups usually have a flatter organizational hierarchy whereas established businesses have a more traditional structure of power and authority.

9. Financial Plan

Financials are usually the least fun thing to talk about, but they are important nonetheless as they provide an overview of your current financial position, capital requirements, projections, and plans for repayment of any loans. 

Your financial plan should also include an analysis of your startup costs, operating costs, administration costs, and sources of revenue.

Funding requirements

Once an investor has read through your business plan, it’s time to request funding. Investors will want to see an accurate and detailed breakdown of the funds required and an explanation of why the requested funds are necessary for the operation and expansion of your business.

10. Appendix

The appendix is the last section of your business plan and it includes additional supporting documents such as resumes of key team members, market research documents, financial statements, and legal documents. 

In other words, anything important or relevant that couldn’t fit in any of the former sections of your business plan goes in the appendix.

Write a Business Plan Worth Reading

Starting a business is never easy, but it’s a little less overwhelming if you have a well-made business plan. It helps you better navigate the industry, reduce risk, stay competitive, and make the best use of your time and money.

Remember, since every business is unique, every business plan is unique too, and must be regularly updated to keep up with changing industry trends. Also, it’s very likely that interested investors will give you feedback, so make sure to implement their recommendations as well.

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About the Author

what is business plan and its components

Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.

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A Business Plan is a Roadmap for a Business to Achieve its Goals

What is a business plan? Definition, Purpose, and Types

In the world of business, a well-thought-out plan is often the key to success. This plan, known as a business plan, is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies , and financial projections. Whether you’re starting a new business or looking to expand an existing one, a business plan is an essential tool.

As a business plan writer and consultant , I’ve crafted over 15,000 plans for a diverse range of businesses. In this article, I’ll be sharing my wealth of experience about what a business plan is, its purpose, and the step-by-step process of creating one. By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of how to develop a robust business plan that can drive your business to success.

What is a business plan?

Purposes of a business plan, executive summary, business description or overview, product and price, competitive analysis, target market, marketing plan, financial plan, funding requirements, lean startup business plans, traditional business plans, how often should a business plan be reviewed and revised, what are the key elements of a lean startup business plan.

  • What are some of the reasons why business plans don't succeed?

A business plan is a roadmap for your business. It outlines your goals, strategies, and how you plan to achieve them. It’s a living document that you can update as your business grows and changes.

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These are the following purpose of business plan:

  • Attract investors and lenders: If you’re seeking funding for your business , a business plan is a must-have. Investors and lenders want to see that you have a clear plan for how you’ll use their money to grow your business and generate revenue.
  • Get organized and stay on track: Writing a business plan forces you to think through all aspects of your business, from your target market to your marketing strategy. This can help you identify any potential challenges and opportunities early on, so you can develop a plan to address them.
  • Make better decisions: A business plan can help you make better decisions about your business by providing you with a framework to evaluate different options. For example, if you’re considering launching a new product, your business plan can help you assess the potential market demand, costs, and profitability.

What are the essential components of a business plan?

The Essential Components of a Business Plan

The executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, even though it’s the last one you’ll write. It’s the first section that potential investors or lenders will read, and it may be the only one they read. The executive summary sets the stage for the rest of the document by introducing your company’s mission or vision statement, value proposition, and long-term goals.

The business description section of your business plan should introduce your business to the reader in a compelling and concise way. It should include your business name, years in operation, key offerings, positioning statement, and core values (if applicable). You may also want to include a short history of your company.

In this section, the company should describe its products or services , including pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other relevant information could include production and manufacturing processes, patents, and proprietary technology.

Every industry has competitors, even if your business is the first of its kind or has the majority of the market share. In the competitive analysis section of your business plan, you’ll objectively assess the industry landscape to understand your business’s competitive position. A SWOT analysis is a structured way to organize this section.

Your target market section explains the core customers of your business and why they are your ideal customers. It should include demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and geographic information about your target market.

Marketing plan describes how the company will attract and retain customers, including any planned advertising and marketing campaigns . It also describes how the company will distribute its products or services to consumers.

After outlining your goals, validating your business opportunity, and assessing the industry landscape, the team section of your business plan identifies who will be responsible for achieving your goals. Even if you don’t have your full team in place yet, investors will be impressed by your clear understanding of the roles that need to be filled.

In the financial plan section,established businesses should provide financial statements , balance sheets , and other financial data. New businesses should provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years, and may also request funding.

Since one goal of a business plan is to secure funding from investors , you should include the amount of funding you need, why you need it, and how long you need it for.

  • Tip: Use bullet points and numbered lists to make your plan easy to read and scannable.

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Types of business plan.

Business plans can come in many different formats, but they are often divided into two main types: traditional and lean startup. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says that the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

Lean startup business plans are short (as short as one page) and focus on the most important elements. They are easy to create, but companies may need to provide more information if requested by investors or lenders.

Traditional business plans are longer and more detailed than lean startup business plans, which makes them more time-consuming to create but more persuasive to potential investors. Lean startup business plans are shorter and less detailed, but companies should be prepared to provide more information if requested.

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A business plan should be reviewed and revised at least annually, or more often if the business is experiencing significant changes. This is because the business landscape is constantly changing, and your business plan needs to reflect those changes in order to remain relevant and effective.

Here are some specific situations in which you should review and revise your business plan:

  • You have launched a new product or service line.
  • You have entered a new market.
  • You have experienced significant changes in your customer base or competitive landscape.
  • You have made changes to your management team or organizational structure.
  • You have raised new funding.

A lean startup business plan is a short and simple way for a company to explain its business, especially if it is new and does not have a lot of information yet. It can include sections on the company’s value proposition, major activities and advantages, resources, partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

What are some of the reasons why business plans don't succeed?

Reasons why Business Plans Dont Success

  • Unrealistic assumptions: Business plans are often based on assumptions about the market, the competition, and the company’s own capabilities. If these assumptions are unrealistic, the plan is doomed to fail.
  • Lack of focus: A good business plan should be focused on a specific goal and how the company will achieve it. If the plan is too broad or tries to do too much, it is unlikely to be successful.
  • Poor execution: Even the best business plan is useless if it is not executed properly. This means having the right team in place, the necessary resources, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Unforeseen challenges:  Every business faces challenges that could not be predicted or planned for. These challenges can be anything from a natural disaster to a new competitor to a change in government regulations.

What are the benefits of having a business plan?

  • It helps you to clarify your business goals and strategies.
  • It can help you to attract investors and lenders.
  • It can serve as a roadmap for your business as it grows and changes.
  • It can help you to make better business decisions.

How to write a business plan?

There are many different ways to write a business plan, but most follow the same basic structure. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  • Executive summary.
  • Company description.
  • Management and organization description.
  • Financial projections.

How to write a business plan step by step?

Start with an executive summary, then describe your business, analyze the market, outline your products or services, detail your marketing and sales strategies, introduce your team, and provide financial projections.

Why do I need a business plan for my startup?

A business plan helps define your startup’s direction, attract investors, secure funding, and make informed decisions crucial for success.

What are the key components of a business plan?

Key components include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, products or services, marketing and sales strategy, management and team, financial projections, and funding requirements.

Can a business plan help secure funding for my business?

Yes, a well-crafted business plan demonstrates your business’s viability, the use of investment, and potential returns, making it a valuable tool for attracting investors and lenders.

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what is business plan and its components

Small Business Trends

How to create business plan: examples & free template.

This is the ultimate guide to creating a comprehensive and effective plan for your new venture. In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a well-crafted business plan is an important first step to securing funding, attracting partners, and navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.

This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

what is business plan and its components

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Embarking on the journey of creating a successful business requires a solid foundation, and a well-crafted business plan is the cornerstone. Here is the process of writing a comprehensive business plan and the main parts of a winning business plan . From setting objectives to conducting market research, this guide will have everything you need.

Executive Summary

business plan

The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Small Business Deals

Think of it as an elevator pitch in written form: it should be compelling enough to engage potential investors or stakeholders and provide them with a clear understanding of what your business is about, its goals, and why it’s a promising investment.

Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

business plan

In the Overview and Business Objectives section, outline your business’s core goals and the strategic approaches you plan to use to achieve them. This section should set forth clear, specific objectives that are attainable and time-bound, providing a roadmap for your business’s growth and success.

It’s important to detail how these objectives align with your company’s overall mission and vision. Discuss the milestones you aim to achieve and the timeframe you’ve set for these accomplishments.

This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

  • Introducing three new products within the first two years of operation.
  • Achieving annual revenue growth of 30%.
  • Expanding our customer base to over 10,000 clients by the end of the third year.

Company Description

business plan

The Company Description section is your opportunity to delve into the details of your business. Provide a comprehensive overview that includes your company’s history, its mission statement, and its vision for the future.

Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business stand out in the market. Explain the problems your company solves and how it benefits your customers.

Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

business plan

Defining Your Target Market is critical for tailoring your business strategy effectively. This section should describe your ideal customer base in detail, including demographic information (such as age, gender, income level, and location) and psychographic data (like interests, values, and lifestyle).

Elucidate on the specific needs or pain points of your target audience and how your product or service addresses these. This information will help you know your target market and develop targeted marketing strategies.

Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.

Market Analysis

business plan

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

This analysis will enable you to spot market opportunities and anticipate potential challenges. Include data and statistics to back up your claims, and use graphs or charts to illustrate market trends.

This section should demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the market in which you operate and that your business is well-positioned to capitalize on its opportunities.

Example: The market for eco-friendly technology products has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%. As consumers become increasingly aware of environmental issues, the demand for sustainable solutions continues to rise.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

business plan

A SWOT analysis in your business plan offers a comprehensive examination of your company’s internal and external factors. By assessing Strengths, you showcase what your business does best and where your capabilities lie.

Weaknesses involve an honest introspection of areas where your business may be lacking or could improve. Opportunities can be external factors that your business could capitalize on, such as market gaps or emerging trends.

Threats include external challenges your business may face, like competition or market changes. This analysis is crucial for strategic planning, as it helps in recognizing and leveraging your strengths, addressing weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and preparing for potential threats.

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

  • Innovative and eco-friendly product offerings.
  • Strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
  • Skilled and experienced team with expertise in technology and sustainability.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited brand recognition compared to established competitors.
  • Reliance on third-party manufacturers for product development.

Opportunities:

  • Growing consumer interest in sustainable products.
  • Partnerships with environmentally-focused organizations and influencers.
  • Expansion into international markets.
  • Intense competition from established technology companies.
  • Regulatory changes could impact the sustainable technology market.

Competitive Analysis

business plan

In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.

By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to develop strategies to differentiate your business and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Example: Key competitors include:

GreenTech: A well-known brand offering eco-friendly technology products, but with a narrower focus on energy-saving devices.

EarthSolutions: A direct competitor specializing in sustainable technology, but with a limited product range and higher prices.

By offering a diverse product portfolio, competitive pricing, and continuous innovation, we believe we can capture a significant share of the growing sustainable technology market.

Organization and Management Team

business plan

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Showcasing your team’s background, skills, and accomplishments instills confidence in investors and other stakeholders, proving that your business has the leadership and talent necessary to achieve its objectives and manage growth effectively.

Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

business plan

Describe the products or services your business offers, focusing on their unique features and benefits. Explain how your offerings solve customer pain points and why they will choose your products or services over the competition.

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Example: EcoTech offers a range of eco-friendly technology products, including energy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers, and smart home devices that optimize energy usage. Our products are designed to help customers reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

business plan

In this section, articulate your comprehensive strategy for reaching your target market and driving sales. Detail the specific marketing channels you plan to use, such as social media, email marketing, SEO, or traditional advertising.

Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

This section is critical to convey to investors and stakeholders that you have a well-thought-out approach to market your business effectively and drive sales growth.

Example: Our marketing strategy includes digital advertising, content marketing, social media promotion, and influencer partnerships. We will also attend trade shows and conferences to showcase our products and connect with potential clients. Our sales strategy involves both direct sales and partnerships with retail stores, as well as online sales through our website and e-commerce platforms.

Logistics and Operations Plan

business plan

The Logistics and Operations Plan is a critical component that outlines the inner workings of your business. It encompasses the management of your supply chain, detailing how you acquire raw materials and manage vendor relationships.

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

Quality control measures are essential to maintain product standards and customer satisfaction. This plan assures investors and stakeholders of your operational competency and readiness to meet business demands.

Highlighting your commitment to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction underlines your business’s capability to maintain smooth, effective operations even as it scales.

Example: EcoTech partners with reliable third-party manufacturers to produce our eco-friendly technology products. Our operations involve maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring quality control, and managing inventory.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

business plan

In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.

Ground these projections in solid assumptions based on your market analysis, industry benchmarks, and realistic growth scenarios. Break down revenue streams and include an analysis of the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and potential investments.

This section should also discuss your break-even analysis, cash flow projections, and any assumptions about external funding requirements.

By presenting a thorough and data-backed financial forecast, you instill confidence in potential investors and lenders, showcasing your business’s potential for profitability and financial stability.

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Example: Over the next three years, we expect to see significant growth in revenue, driven by new product launches and market expansion. Our financial projections include:

  • Year 1: $1.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $200,000.
  • Year 2: $3 million in revenue, with a net profit of $500,000.
  • Year 3: $4.5 million in revenue, with a net profit of $1 million.

These projections are based on realistic market analysis, growth rates, and product pricing.

Income Statement

business plan

The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.

Regularly reviewing and analyzing your income statement allows you to monitor the health of your business, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make data-driven decisions to optimize profitability and growth.

Example: The income statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

  • Revenue: $1,500,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold: $800,000
  • Gross Profit: $700,000
  • Operating Expenses: $450,000
  • Net Income: $250,000

This statement highlights our company’s profitability and overall financial health during the first year of operation.

Cash Flow Statement

business plan

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

By including a cash flow statement in your business plan, you demonstrate your ability to manage your company’s finances effectively.

Example:  The cash flow statement for EcoTech’s first year of operation is as follows:

Operating Activities:

  • Depreciation: $10,000
  • Changes in Working Capital: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Operating Activities: $210,000

Investing Activities:

  •  Capital Expenditures: -$100,000
  • Net Cash from Investing Activities: -$100,000

Financing Activities:

  • Proceeds from Loans: $150,000
  • Loan Repayments: -$50,000
  • Net Cash from Financing Activities: $100,000
  • Net Increase in Cash: $210,000

This statement demonstrates EcoTech’s ability to generate positive cash flow from operations, maintain sufficient liquidity, and invest in growth opportunities.

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

business plan

1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.

2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your business plan, gather as much information as possible about your industry, competitors, and target market. Use reliable sources and industry reports to inform your analysis and make data-driven decisions.

3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

5. Be flexible and adaptable: A business plan is a living document that should evolve as your business grows and changes. Be prepared to update and revise your plan as you gather new information and learn from your experiences.

6. Use visuals to enhance understanding: Include charts, graphs, and other visuals to help convey complex data and ideas. Visuals can make your business plan more engaging and easier to digest, especially for those who prefer visual learning.

7. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your business plan with mentors, industry experts, or colleagues and ask for their feedback. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and strengthen your plan before presenting it to potential investors or partners.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

The template is divided into the following sections:

  • Mission statement
  • Business Overview
  • Key products or services
  • Target market
  • Financial highlights
  • Company goals
  • Strategies to achieve goals
  • Measurable, time-bound objectives
  • Company History
  • Mission and vision
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Pain points
  • Industry trends
  • Customer needs
  • Competitor strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Competitor products and services
  • Market positioning
  • Pricing strategies
  • Organizational structure
  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Management team backgrounds
  • Product or service features
  • Competitive advantages
  • Marketing channels
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Promotional activities
  • Sales strategies
  • Supply chain management
  • Inventory control
  • Production processes
  • Quality control measures
  • Projected revenue
  • Assumptions
  • Cash inflows
  • Cash outflows
  • Net cash flow

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a strategic document that outlines an organization’s goals, objectives, and the steps required to achieve them. It serves as a roadmap as you start a business , guiding the company’s direction and growth while identifying potential obstacles and opportunities.

Typically, a business plan covers areas such as market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and organizational structure. It not only helps in securing funding from investors and lenders but also provides clarity and focus to the management team.

A well-crafted business plan is a very important part of your business startup checklist because it fosters informed decision-making and long-term success.

business plan

Why You Should Write a Business Plan

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

  • Attract Investors and Secure Funding : A well-written business plan demonstrates your venture’s potential and profitability, making it easier to attract investors and secure the necessary funding for growth and development. It provides a detailed overview of your business model, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies, instilling confidence in potential investors and lenders that your company is a worthy investment.
  • Clarify Business Objectives and Strategies : Crafting a business plan forces you to think critically about your goals and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for success. This process helps you refine your vision and prioritize the most critical objectives, ensuring that your efforts are focused on achieving the desired results.
  • Identify Potential Risks and Opportunities : Analyzing the market, competition, and industry trends within your business plan helps identify potential risks and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and expansion. This insight enables you to develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities, positioning your business for long-term success.
  • Improve Decision-Making : A business plan serves as a reference point so you can make informed decisions that align with your company’s overall objectives and long-term vision. By consistently referring to your plan and adjusting it as needed, you can ensure that your business remains on track and adapts to changes in the market, industry, or internal operations.
  • Foster Team Alignment and Communication : A shared business plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page, promoting clear communication, collaboration, and a unified approach to achieving the company’s goals. By involving your team in the planning process and regularly reviewing the plan together, you can foster a sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability that drives success.

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:

  • Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company’s mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs clarify their vision, secure funding from investors, and create a roadmap for their business’s future. Additionally, this plan identifies potential challenges and opportunities, which are crucial for making informed decisions and adapting to changing market conditions.
  • Internal Business Plan: This type of plan is intended for internal use, focusing on strategies, milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation. It serves as a management tool for guiding the company’s growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision. The internal business plan also helps identify areas of improvement, fosters collaboration among team members, and provides a reference point for measuring performance.
  • Strategic Business Plan: A strategic business plan outlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them, providing a clear roadmap for the company’s direction. It typically includes a SWOT analysis, market research, and competitive analysis. This plan allows businesses to align their resources with their objectives, anticipate changes in the market, and develop contingency plans. By focusing on the big picture, a strategic business plan fosters long-term success and stability.
  • Feasibility Business Plan: This plan is designed to assess the viability of a business idea, examining factors such as market demand, competition, and financial projections. It is often used to decide whether or not to pursue a particular venture. By conducting a thorough feasibility analysis, entrepreneurs can avoid investing time and resources into an unviable business concept. This plan also helps refine the business idea, identify potential obstacles, and determine the necessary resources for success.
  • Growth Business Plan: Also known as an expansion plan, a growth business plan focuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business. It includes market analysis, new product or service offerings, and financial projections to support expansion plans. This type of plan is essential for businesses looking to enter new markets, increase their customer base, or launch new products or services. By outlining clear growth strategies, the plan helps ensure that expansion efforts are well-coordinated and sustainable.
  • Operational Business Plan: This type of plan outlines the company’s day-to-day operations, detailing the processes, procedures, and organizational structure. It is an essential tool for managing resources, streamlining workflows, and ensuring smooth operations. The operational business plan also helps identify inefficiencies, implement best practices, and establish a strong foundation for future growth. By providing a clear understanding of daily operations, this plan enables businesses to optimize their resources and enhance productivity.
  • Lean Business Plan: A lean business plan is a simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and cost structure. It is perfect for startups looking for a flexible, adaptable planning approach. The lean business plan allows for rapid iteration and continuous improvement, enabling businesses to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions. This streamlined approach is particularly beneficial for businesses in fast-paced or uncertain industries.
  • One-Page Business Plan: As the name suggests, a one-page business plan is a concise summary of your company’s key objectives, strategies, and milestones. It serves as a quick reference guide and is ideal for pitching to potential investors or partners. This plan helps keep teams focused on essential goals and priorities, fosters clear communication, and provides a snapshot of the company’s progress. While not as comprehensive as other plans, a one-page business plan is an effective tool for maintaining clarity and direction.
  • Nonprofit Business Plan: Specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, this plan outlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation. It helps secure grants and donations while ensuring the organization stays on track with its objectives. The nonprofit business plan also helps attract volunteers, board members, and community support. By demonstrating the organization’s impact and plans for the future, this plan is essential for maintaining transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within the nonprofit sector.
  • Franchise Business Plan: For entrepreneurs seeking to open a franchise, this type of plan focuses on the franchisor’s requirements, as well as the franchisee’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is crucial for securing a franchise agreement and ensuring the business’s success within the franchise system. This plan outlines the franchisee’s commitment to brand standards, marketing efforts, and operational procedures, while also addressing local market conditions and opportunities. By creating a solid franchise business plan, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and grow their franchise, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with the franchisor.

Using Business Plan Software

business plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan can be intimidating, but business plan software can streamline the process and help you produce a professional document. These tools offer a number of benefits, including guided step-by-step instructions, financial projections, and industry-specific templates. Here are the top 5 business plan software options available to help you craft a great business plan.

1. LivePlan

LivePlan is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features. It offers over 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, and the ability to track your progress against key performance indicators. With LivePlan, you can create visually appealing, professional business plans that will impress investors and stakeholders.

2. Upmetrics

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

Bizplan is designed to simplify the business planning process with a drag-and-drop builder and modular sections. It offers financial forecasting tools, progress tracking, and a visually appealing interface. With Bizplan, you can create a business plan that is both easy to understand and visually engaging.

Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.

5. Tarkenton GoSmallBiz

Developed by NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, GoSmallBiz is tailored for small businesses and startups. It features a guided business plan builder, customizable templates, and financial projection tools. GoSmallBiz also offers additional resources, such as CRM tools and legal document templates, to support your business beyond the planning stage.

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

The three main purposes of a business plan are to guide the company’s strategy, attract investment, and evaluate performance against objectives. Here’s a closer look at each of these:

  • It outlines the company’s purpose and core values to ensure that all activities align with its mission and vision.
  • It provides an in-depth analysis of the market, including trends, customer needs, and competition, helping the company tailor its products and services to meet market demands.
  • It defines the company’s marketing and sales strategies, guiding how the company will attract and retain customers.
  • It describes the company’s organizational structure and management team, outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure effective operation and leadership.
  • It sets measurable, time-bound objectives, allowing the company to plan its activities effectively and make strategic decisions to achieve these goals.
  • It provides a comprehensive overview of the company and its business model, demonstrating its uniqueness and potential for success.
  • It presents the company’s financial projections, showing its potential for profitability and return on investment.
  • It demonstrates the company’s understanding of the market, including its target customers and competition, convincing investors that the company is capable of gaining a significant market share.
  • It showcases the management team’s expertise and experience, instilling confidence in investors that the team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.
  • It establishes clear, measurable objectives that serve as performance benchmarks.
  • It provides a basis for regular performance reviews, allowing the company to monitor its progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • It enables the company to assess the effectiveness of its strategies and make adjustments as needed to achieve its objectives.
  • It helps the company identify potential risks and challenges, enabling it to develop contingency plans and manage risks effectively.
  • It provides a mechanism for evaluating the company’s financial performance, including revenue, expenses, profitability, and cash flow.

Can I write a business plan by myself?

Yes, you can write a business plan by yourself, but it can be helpful to consult with mentors, colleagues, or industry experts to gather feedback and insights. There are also many creative business plan templates and business plan examples available online, including those above.

We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .

Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

A typical business plan ranges from 20 to 50 pages, but the length may vary depending on the complexity and needs of the business.

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline is a structured framework that organizes the content of a business plan into sections, such as the executive summary, company description, market analysis, and financial projections.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

The five most common business plan mistakes include inadequate research, unrealistic financial projections, lack of focus on the unique selling proposition, poor organization and structure, and failure to update the plan as circumstances change.

What questions should be asked in a business plan?

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan focuses on the overall vision, goals, and tactics of a company, while a strategic plan outlines the specific strategies, action steps, and performance measures necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.

How is business planning for a nonprofit different?

Nonprofit business planning focuses on the organization’s mission, social impact, and resource management, rather than profit generation. The financial section typically includes funding sources, expenses, and projected budgets for programs and operations.

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what is business plan and its components

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9 Major Components of a Business Plan

what is business plan and its components

A business plan could be short, depending upon the nature of your business. On the other hand, it could be as long as several pages detailing each business operation and financial activity to be carried in the company. If you have a business plan for yourself and the team members, you can have a short one and restrict it to one or two pages.

But if you want each future business activity to be mapped out, then go for a lengthy one. 

It is not surprising that you can find business plan templates and ideal descriptions on the internet or in the books for entrepreneurs. But this doesn’t mean you can print those templates and fill in the blanks. Each business is different, and hence, a business plan cannot be the same for each business type.

So, even if you fill in all the boxes in the business plan template available on the internet, you will still be looking at holes in the future. So, gather knowledge from reputable sources, ask your mentors and field experts, and craft a customized business plan that is concrete yet flexible. 

Generally, there are seven to ten components in a business plan, and you can pick up in a way you want your business to thrive and flourish.

If you ask the basic yet essential components of a business plan, then they are enumerated as follows: 

1. Mission statement/Vision of the business undertaking

This is the topmost component of a business plan. It answers the critical question of why you have started this business venture. Why are you giving it a try? What is your mission statement? Where do you see yourself in the business industry after a few years? It is often called the Executive Summary, wherein you can discuss what you would like to do during this particular business activity. The Small Business Administration says that it could be overwhelming for the entrepreneurs to write this section in the beginning, and so they can postpone it to the end when they are more confident about what to write. 

2. A detailed description of the proposed company

Once you know why the business is to be started, the next task is to describe the undertaking you want to start. What are its objectives? What kind of business does it conduct, and who will be the target audience? Who are the stakeholders? To follow an old-school concept, you can conduct a SWOT analysis and write down the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges involved while having your company. Just remember that you need to be specified about your proposed company and not note down something abstract as “The company generates substantial revenue.”

3. A detailed description of the organisation type and management levels

Once you know how your company looks, it is important to choose a certain type, such as sole proprietorship, partnership concern, or a corporate. Please note that there is no ideal organization type; it all depends on how you would like to set up an organization. 

The next step is to outline the managerial levels and assign them responsibilities. This could be a bit challenging, so we suggest consulting a mentor or your team members. Remember that the appointments should be unbiased and true. If possible, draw an organizational chart as given in the management books. 

4. Study the market and note down the strengths and challenges involved 

You have a healthy company structure, and now is the time to know where you are currently operating. You can understand customer buying preferences when you evaluate the current market. How are the current companies making? Is there any chance you can stand out in the market due to your different products and services or a unique marketing strategy? While doing market analysis, you can determine your company’s position in the current market and figure out your target audience. Both of these factors are important to analyze which products or services you need to deal with and how to craft your marketing strategies. 

5. Study of the existing competitors to evaluate their threat level

Even if we say to ourselves that we do not care about what others think of us, this cannot be applied to the business world. You have to know what others are doing, who is succeeding in the industry, which strategies are they putting into action, and how can we re-draft our approaches to beat them. It is true that our mission statement does not specify beating the rivals, but we have to keep an eye on them. You need to perform competitor analysis to show how your business can stand up for its own, leaving behind all the competition in the market. 

6. The list of products and services your business will deal with

And here comes the vital component of a business plan – the products and services. You might be having an idea already in your mind, but you can alter it while doing the market analysis part. No worries about that! The more you understand customer behaviour, the better product or service you will offer to your target audience. 

In this part, you should discuss and write down all the specifications of your product or service, how you would be sourcing the materials, the list of suppliers, the cost-effective strategy, durability, and how these products and services will fulfil the demand. 

7. Financing options

How can you create a product with no money? That’s why the financing component is crucial and should not be taken for granted. Pen down the estimated amount of money you want to start a viable business and the sourcing options. 

8. Sales and Marketing strategies

Both of these similar-looking terms are used interchangeably, but they are different from each other. You need to set sales targets in your business plan and define a well-defined sales strategy. When it comes to marketing, you should analyze the different ways you can reach the target audience. Do not forget to assign a budget for these two important activities. 

9. Future projections

This component is about the milestones you want to achieve in your business life. You can create estimated costs for different business operations, including salaries to be paid to staff. You can also set financial goals on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis to know whether you have achieved a milestone or not. Be as realistic as possible during this step. You should not aim for infinity, and remember that it is your first year of business operations. 

So, these nine components are must-haves in a formal business plan. You can add more to this list but ensure that it aligns with the mission statement you specified in the beginning. 

The major components of a business plan are the executive summary, the business description, the market analysis, the competitive analysis, the product or service line, the sales and marketing plan, the management team, and the financial plan.

A business plan is an essential piece of any business, large or small. It is a road map for your business, and it outlines your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Without a business plan, it is difficult to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources and how to measure progress.

As the steps involved in creating a business plan will vary depending on the specific business and its goals. However, in general, the steps involved in creating a business plan may include conducting market research, defining the business’s goals and objectives, outlining the company’s product or service offering, developing a sales and marketing strategy, creating a financial projection, and more.

A business plan should always include a cover page, table of contents, executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, product/service line, sales and marketing strategy, management team, and financial projections.

As the format of a business plan will vary depending on the type of business, its size, and the stage of development it is in. However, there are some general principles that all business plans should follow, such as including an executive summary, an overview of the business, a description of the products or services offered, a marketing plan, a financial plan, and a management team

The executive summary is a summary of the main points of a business plan. It is typically written last, after the rest of the business plan has been completed. The executive summary should be no more than two pages long and should include an overview of the business, the business’s goals, and the key methods that will be used to achieve those goals.

The length of a business plan varies depending on the size and scope of the business. A simple business plan for a small business can be as short as five pages, while a more comprehensive plan for a larger business can be 30 pages or more.

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  3. 7 Key Elements to a Business Plan

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  4. How to Write a Business Plan

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COMMENTS

  1. Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One

    Fact checked by Vikki Velasquez What Is a Business Plan? A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to...

  2. Business Plan

    Components Examples Importance Business Plan vs Business Model Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Recommended Articles Key Takeaways A business plan is a critical document for any business - whether a start-up or a well-established one. It can be considered a self-written bible for the company.

  3. 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.

  4. The 12 Key Components of a Business Plan

    The 12 Key Components of a Business Plan There are 12 components of a business plan entrepreneurs must know as they lay out how their business will work. by Michael Keenan Entrepreneurs who create business plans are more likely to succeed than those who don't.

  5. Business Plan: What It Is + How to Write One

    A business plan is a written document that defines your business goals and the tactics to achieve those goals. A business plan typically explores the competitive landscape of an industry, analyzes a market and different customer segments within it, describes the products and services, lists business strategies for success, and outlines ...

  6. 13 Key Business Plan Components

    As we learned in the " What is a Business Plan? " article, a business plan generally consists of the following sections: Executive Summary Company Synopsis Market Analysis / Overview Product (How it Works) Revenue Model Operating Model Competitive Analysis Customer Definition Customer Acquisition Traction Management Team Funding

  7. Top 10 Components of a Business Plan

    Top 10 Components of a Business Plan - SmartAsset | SmartAsset Home Buying Retirement Financial Advisors Whether you're planning to open a shop that makes the or you want to sell eco-friendly office supplies, you'll need to explain why your business is necessary and how it'll differ from its competitors. That's where your business plan comes in.

  8. What is a Business Plan? Definition, Tips, and Templates

    The purpose of a business plan is three-fold: It summarizes the organization's strategy in order to execute it long term, secures financing from investors, and helps forecast future business demands. Business Plan Template [ Download Now] Working on your business plan? Try using our Business Plan Template.

  9. What is a Business Plan? Definition + Resources

    The business plan captures that opportunity you see for your company: it describes your product or service and business model, and the target market you'll serve. It also includes details on how you'll execute your plan: how you'll price and market your solution and your financial projections. Reasons for writing a business plan

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

    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?

  11. How To Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

    A business plan is a formal document (about 15-25 pages in length) that precisely defines a company's objectives in fine detail. It also describes how the company plans to achieve its goals. All companies — including startups and established institutions — create and use business plans.

  12. 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.

  13. 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)

    12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained) Martin Luenendonk Updated Oct 14, 2022 . Contents Starting and running a successful business requires proper planning and execution of effective business tactics and strategies.

  14. Components of a Business Plan

    What are the 10 Key Components of a Business Plan? The 10 sections or elements of a business plan that you must include are as follows: 1. Executive Summary The executive summary provides a succinct synopsis of the business plan, and highlights the key points raised within.

  15. What Is a Business Plan?

    What is a business plan? A business plan is a guide for a company that identifies its goals and outlines the steps for achieving those goals. Business plans help pinpoint a company's priorities and metrics while also holding employees accountable in their roles. When companies develop business plans, it allows employees at all levels to see the company as a whole enterprise.

  16. What Is A Business Plan?

    Simply stated, a business plan is a guide that conveys your business goals (both long-term and short-term), the business strategies you'll use to achieve them, the problems and competition that you'll face and the ways to solve and overcome them, the people you'll involve in your business, the organisational structure, the marketing and the posi...

  17. The 8 Key Components of an Effective Business Plan

    The plan typically includes sections about the business's description, market research, marketing and sales strategies, operations, management, and financial projections. Entrepreneurs use it to clarify their vision, secure funding, and measure progress.

  18. What Are the Basic Components of a Business Plan?

    The first component of a business plan is almost always the executive summary. This, however, should be the last section that you finish, after the other components have been researched and analyzed.

  19. Business Plan Roadmap: Building Your Path to Business Success

    Components of a Business Plan: What is Included in a Business Plan. Crafting a thorough and compelling business plan is a fundamental step for entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking to chart a successful course for their ventures. A well-structured business plan not only serves as a roadmap for your business's growth but also communicates your vision, strategy, and potential to investors ...

  20. 10 Essential Business Plan Components + Free Template

    10 Essential Components of a Business Plan and How to Write Them Business Plan Template Download Template Ayush Jalan January 4, 2024 12 Min Read A business plan is an essential document for any business, whether it's a startup or an established enterprise.

  21. What is a business plan? Definition, Purpose, & Types

    Funding requirements Types of business plan Lean startup business plans Traditional business plans How often should a business plan be reviewed and revised? What are the key elements of a lean startup business plan? What are some of the reasons why business plans don't succeed? FAQs What is a business plan?

  22. 10 Essential Business Plan Components

    Although the exact structure of business plans vary, my personal requirements for plans that I create and plans that I review for potential investments include the following 10 components: Mission ...

  23. How to Create Business Plan: Examples & Free Template

    4. Enloop. Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan.

  24. 9 Major Components of a Business Plan

    A detailed description of the proposed company Once you know why the business is to be started, the next task is to describe the undertaking you want to start. What are its objectives? What kind of business does it conduct, and who will be the target audience? Who are the stakeholders?

  25. US grounds some Boeing MAX planes for safety checks

    The FAA's decision is short of the global grounding of MAX jets almost five years ago following two deadly crashes, but it is another blow to Boeing as it tries to recover from crises over safety ...