business plan: what to include

step by step
October 5, 2021

In this order, you will include the following sections in your business plan.

  1. Cover Page and Table of Contents
    1. Cover Page should contain the name of your business and your contact information. If you have a logo, it should go on the cover.
  2. Executive Summary
    1. Briefly summarize the entire business plan on a page. Describe the company, your product, and why you started the company. Include your chief competitors and why your product will succeed against them. If relevant, discuss the economic climate vis-à-vis your customers and products.
  3. Company Description
    1. The company description should include a mission statement, the company principals, any strategic partners, and your corporate structure.
    2. For example:

      Mission Statement: To create and sell quality footwear that customers will find both stylish and functional

      Principal Members: Asia Volochuk - owner, president; Ade Obu - co-owner, chief product officer; Joann Smith - head product innovation

      Legal Structure: XYZ, inc is an S Corporation, incorporated in Montreal, Canada

  4. Market Plan and Analysis
    1. An industry overview and outlook
    2. A competitive analysis of your indirect and direct competitors
    3. Any differentiation in sector and niche
    4. Information on your target market
    5. The company’s marketing strategy and how it will make your company stand out
  5. Organization and Management
    1. The organization and management section should itemize your company’s management structure and give insight on the team behind the business. Many business plans provide an organizational chart, a structure description, and salary forecasts.
    2. If the goal of your business plan is to get funding, it's wise to make sure that your management plan includes an advisory board as a management resource.
  6. Service or Product
    1. Business plans often itemize their entire product line with the planned or current pricing structure.
    2. The service or product section should also include your product/service’s estimated lifecycle, and any research and development completed, in progress or planned.
    3. It should also include a description of any trademarks, patents, or other intellectual property rights, if applicable.
  7. Marketing and Sales
    1. How will customers find out about your products?
    2. What will your sales channels and methods be?
    3. What is your pricing strategy?
    4. What is your growth strategy?
  8. Financing Analysis
    1. Income statements
    2. Cash flow statements
    3. Capital expenditure budgets
    4. Balance sheets
  9. Funding Request
    1. Your current funding needs.
    2. Any future funding requirements over the next five years.
    3. How you intend to use the funds you receive.
    4. Any strategic future financial plans.
  10. Appendix
    1. Principals’ resumes
    2. Tax returns
    3. Relevant real estate documents
    4. Processing flowchart
    5. Letters of intent to purchase from buyers
    6. Advertisement and marketing materials
    7. Relevant training certificates
    8. Sales forecast
    9. Personnel plan
    10. Profit and loss statement
    11. Balance sheet

Written By Isabelle Ofume