Free Business Plan Tips:
The 10 Key Sections to a Business Plan
Every business plan should address these ten sections, in more or less the following order:
1. Executive Summary: Describes the contents of the entire business plan, creating a mini, 1-2 page version of the document.
2. Company Overview: Background, legal structure, key products and services. Answers "what is this company?" and "where does the company operate?"
3. Industry Analysis: The industry, its size and nature, significant trends it is experiencing. Answers "what industry is the business competing in?"
4. Customer Analysis: Definition of your customers, segmentation into groups, demographics and descriptions of each group. Answers "who are the products or services for?" and "why is this business needed?"
5. Competitive Analysis: Definition of competitors, descriptions of the top 3 or so, company method to achieve competitive advantage. Answers "who will the company compete against?"
6. Marketing Plan: Brand definition, promotion strategy (methods you will use and how they will work), pricing strategy. Answers "how will the business reach customers?"
7. Operations Plan: Operations description, functional roles to fill, operational milestones. Answers "how will the business operate?"
8. Management Team: Bios and expertise of the key management members, hiring plan for additional management team members. Answers "who is starting and running the company?"
9. Financial Plan: Revenue and cost drivers, startup costs, key assumptions to the financial statements, financial summary for the first five years. Answers "when will the business break-even and become profitable?" and "why should I invest in this company?"
10. Appendices: Additional supporting documents, pro forma statements (generally quarterly for the first 3 years and annual for the first 5 years), resumes for management team.
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