Business Plan Tools & Guidelines

Business Plan Outline and Content

Business Plan OutlineA business plan outline must contain extensive details on the cash flow but most of all on the business plan implementation.

When making a business plan outline we cannot provide the magic recipe that will work for every plan. We can only mention the main areas to be covered and analyzed. As a previous article shows, business plans differ not in essence, but in form, according to their application.

Focus of a Good Business Plan

  • summary
  • mission statement
  • competitiveness of product or service on the market
  • principal steps required to ensure success
  • market analysis
  • financial analysis revealing a first-class break-even analysis

Investors will also interested in an exit strategy. An exit strategy gives the investor the assurance that he is dealing with a responsible entrepreneur who has calculated the risks and offers a guarantee for recovery of the financial outlay. Many business plan outlines contain such a strategy.

The expository section should balance the prospective section, to highlight the main points of interest.

Standard Business Plan Outline Sample

  1. Executive summary, an abstract of the entire plan. This must present:
    • the mission of the company
    • the proposed objectives
    • a brief description of the product or products
    • the people behind the business
    • a step-by-step plan for success
    • a profit forecast
    • an estimate of the funds necessary
    • a well-phrased request for funding
  2. Company description
    • ownership
    • a start-up plan for new companies and a company history for existing companies
    • location details
  3. Product or service
    • brief description of product or service. If possible, this should be non-technical
    • competitiveness on the market
    • technology
    • prospects for new future products or services
  4. Market Analysis Components
    • market size, needs, trends
    • customers
    • competitors
  5. Strategy and implementation
    • strategies planned
    • marketing strategy: pricing, promotion, distribution
    • sales strategy: forecast
    • assignments and milestones
  6. Management team
    • presentation
    • gaps
    • personnel plan
    • expansion plans
  7. Financial analysis
    • key indicators
    • break-even analysis
    • profit-and-loss forecast
    • cashflow forecast
    • balance-sheet forecast
    • business ratios
    • long-term plans and risk analysis

The organization of your own business plan may well follow a different order from the one presented here.

Business Plan Outline and Content