Business Plan Length: How Long Should a Business Plan Be?

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Business Plan Length
The body of a business plan should be between 15 to 25 pages. In addition to this, your plan should have an Appendix that includes your complete financial projections and other supporting information.

Fifteen to 25 pages is enough room to explain your business’ vision and excite readers to support your company. Importantly, your business plan is not supposed to answer every question someone might possibly have about your business. Rather, it is to give the reader a solid understanding of your business, and allow them to make an informed decision as to whether they should meet with you to take next steps such as to fund or partner with your business.

Having written thousands of business plans over the past 20+ years, Growthink’s business plan consultants have found 15 to 25 pages of text to be the sweet spot. Any more and the time-constrained investor will be forced to skim certain sections of the plan, even if they are generally interested, which could lead them to miss essential information. Any less and the investor will think that the business has not been fully thought through, or will simply not have enough information to make an investment decision.

These essential components, taken from our best business plan template, are as follows:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Overview
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Customer Analysis
  5. Competitive Analysis
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Operations Plan
  8. Management Team
  9. Financial Plan
  10. Appendix

Business plans, like other marketing communications documents, should be visually appealing and easy-to-read. This can be accomplished by using charts and graphics and by formatting the plan for readability. Effectively using these techniques will enable the investor to more quickly and easily understand the company’s value proposition within fewer pages.

While a business plan writer should make the body of document between 15 and 25 pages, the Appendix can be used for supplemental information, thus potentially making your full plan longer.

The Appendix should include a full set of financial projections, and as appropriate, technical and/or operational drawings, partnership and/or customer agreements, expanded competitor reviews, and lists of key customers among others.

If the Appendix is long, if you a printing it out, a divider should be used to separate it from the body of the plan, or a separate Appendix document should be prepared. These techniques ensure that the investor is not handed a thick plan, which will make them queasy before even opening it up.

To summarize, the goal of your plan is to create interest – not to have an investor write you a check.

In creating interest, the full story of your company need not be told. Rather, the plan should include the essential elements regarding why an investor should invest and spend more time examining the business opportunity.

The shorter length does not mean that your plan should take less time to prepare. Rather, the entire process will take more time. As Mark Twain once said, “If I had more time, I would write a shorter story.”

So, in answering how long should a business plan be, you can keep it short, yet quite compelling and comprehensive. While condensing your plan to a concise, strong document is challenging and time consuming, fortunately the rewards are significant.


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