There’s no easy path to becoming an entrepreneur. However, there are resources that can help pave the way smoothly so you can get off on the right foot.
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Products and Services
- Market Analysis
- Financial Plan
Every entrepreneur needs a business plan, no matter how big or small, simple, or complex their idea may be. Fortunately, there are a vast number of free templates available online that are designed to guide you in the right direction. But each business is different, and a template may be confusing if you’re not sure what information goes where. Our business plan outline is designed to help you fill in your plan and make it as appealing as possible to investors, partners, and anyone else who may be interested In Your Idea.
As this is the first section, it’s the most important one. Your executive summary will create an instant impression, and it needs to encourage people to keep reading. Potential investors and business partners must be given an overview of what you’re offering, so you need to include:
● What your business is
● What product or service you will be rendered
● How your business will grow
● How profitable it will be
● How much funding and assistance you need
This section introduces the company and management team. The content will differ depending on if you need funding for a new business or an existing business. An established business may have more roles fulfilled, but that’s to be expected.
In this section you’ll need to include:
The structure and ownership—This include listing the shareholders so that investors can do their research if they deem necessary. You can also state any additional resources and skills that the shareholder will provide.
Management—This will show a wide range of skills and experience that you have available to back your business.
You need to disclose where the company is registered and what the legal structure is—This gives an idea of how big the business is and its tax implications.
History (For existing businesses)—As the name implies, you’ll need to share all important business information in this section, including how long you have been operating and business milestones. You’ll also need to disclose any difficulties you may have experienced.
Location—You need to tell the investor where your business will be located. For example, in a mall or office park. Provide the address if you have secured premises.
Your product or service forms the foundation of your business and will be the key to success. Be specific in what you will offer, and the customers you’re targeting. You can also include how you plan on reaching your target market.
You need to understand the market you’re planning to enter and have the knowledge to understand what customers need, and are looking for. Plus, you need to identify your competition, and how you’ll corner the market.
Items to include:
● The size of the market
● Your demographic
● Your target market
● The need for your product
● Your competition and how you plan on competing
● Barriers to entry—factors that have made it difficult for businesses to enter the market and how you plan to work around them
● Regulations and laws related to your business, and how you will comply
This section looks at how you view the market, how you plan to approach it, and why your approach will be successful. Strategic planning will play a major role here, as it defines your direction.
Aspects to include:
● Your competitive edge—what makes you different?
● Pricing—how does it compare to existing options; will it ensure a profit and how did you go about setting it. If you have done research and testing, be sure to include it.
● Marketing plan—this is how you plan on reaching your audience and converting this engagement into sales.
● Milestones and goals—what are you looking to achieve, and in what timeframe?
● Identify potential business risks and how you plan to approach them should they arise.
As the name implies, this sets out how you will operate, starting with your staff. How many people will you employ, and are you looking to grow this number? Support your staffing numbers with facts and figures.
You’ll need to identify the assets you’ll need, as well as your intellectual property, and how you plan to protect it. Everything that adds value to your business is at risk of being damaged, copied, or shared with competitors, and you need to mitigate this.
Next will be your suppliers. Include details of the requirements and cost estimates wherever possible to support this.
You need to be able to prove that your business will be profitable, stable, and able to generate income. You need to convince investors that they will receive a return on their investment sooner rather than later.
If you have an existing business, you’ll need to supply your financial statements for the last three years to support this. You can add this to the appendix section.
If you’re a new business, you’ll have to list your funding sources, and how much you received from each.
You may want to speak to a financial advisor or someone with financial industry experience to ensure you include all the necessary information here. You’ll need to add potential risks, your sales forecast, your cost structure, and your breakeven point. If there’s any operating leverage, you’ll need to include it too.
Here you’ll add any supporting documents to support your business plan that provides a deeper insight into your business. These documents can be mentioned in the plan but added as appendixes to keep the document streamlined. Those who wish to view the appendixes can do so, and you won’t bog down your plan with too much information.
Using a business plan template can make the process simple and straightforward. It offers the basics and gives you the flexibility needed to customize it according to your needs. Good luck with your new venture!