• Search Search Please fill out this field.

Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

what should be included on a business plan

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that details a company's goals and how it intends to achieve them. Business plans can be of benefit to both startups and well-established companies. For startups, a business plan can be essential for winning over potential lenders and investors. Established businesses can find one useful for staying on track and not losing sight of their goals. This article explains what an effective business plan needs to include and how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document describing a company's business activities and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan can help keep the executive team focused on and working toward the company's short- and long-term objectives.
  • There is no single format that a business plan must follow, but there are certain key elements that most companies will want to include.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Understanding Business Plans

Any new business should have a business plan in place prior to beginning operations. In fact, banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before they'll consider making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a business isn't looking to raise additional money, a business plan can help it focus on its goals. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article reported that, "Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical nonplanning entrepreneurs."

Ideally, a business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any goals that have been achieved or that may have changed. An established business that has decided to move in a new direction might create an entirely new business plan for itself.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and highlighting any potential obstacles to success. A company might also share its business plan with trusted outsiders to get their objective feedback. In addition, a business plan can help keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and priorities.

Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they often have some of the same basic elements, as we describe below.

While it's a good idea to provide as much detail as necessary, it's also important that a business plan be concise enough to hold a reader's attention to the end.

How to Write a Business Plan

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

Common Elements of a Business Plan

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, it's best to fit the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and attached as appendices.

These are some of the most common elements in many business plans:

  • Executive summary: This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services: Here, the company should describe the products and services it offers or plans to introduce. That might include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique benefits to the consumer. Other factors that could go into this section include production and manufacturing processes, any relevant patents the company may have, as well as proprietary technology . Information about research and development (R&D) can also be included here.
  • Market analysis: A company needs to have a good handle on the current state of its industry and the existing competition. This section should explain where the company fits in, what types of customers it plans to target, and how easy or difficult it may be to take market share from incumbents.
  • Marketing strategy: This section can describe how the company plans to attract and keep customers, including any anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. It should also describe the distribution channel or channels it will use to get its products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections: Established businesses can include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses can provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making.

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should aim to entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its uniqueness and potential for success.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can take many forms, but they are sometimes divided into two basic categories: traditional and lean startup. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These plans tend to be much longer than lean startup plans and contain considerably more detail. As a result they require more work on the part of the business, but they can also be more persuasive (and reassuring) to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans are short—as short as one page—and provide only the most basic detail. If a company wants to use this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or a lender requests it.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan is not a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections to begin with. Markets and the overall economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All of this calls for building some flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How Often Should a Business Plan Be Updated?

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on the nature of the business. A well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary. A new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers to give a quick explanation of its business. For example, a brand-new company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide yet.

Sections can include: a value proposition ; the company's major activities and advantages; resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital; a list of partnerships; customer segments; and revenue sources.

The Bottom Line

A business plan can be useful to companies of all kinds. But as a company grows and the world around it changes, so too should its business plan. So don't think of your business plan as carved in granite but as a living document designed to evolve with your business.

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

  • How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps 1 of 25
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example 2 of 25
  • Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Create One 3 of 25
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained 4 of 25
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One 5 of 25
  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills 6 of 25
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One 7 of 25
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Meaning, Types, Impact 8 of 25
  • How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan 9 of 25
  • Business Startup Costs: It’s in the Details 10 of 25
  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks 11 of 25
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons 12 of 25
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites 13 of 25
  • Starting a Business with No Money: How to Begin 14 of 25
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Business Credit 15 of 25
  • Equity Financing: What It Is, How It Works, Pros and Cons 16 of 25
  • Best Startup Business Loans for May 2024 17 of 25
  • Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros and Cons, and Differences From an LLC 18 of 25
  • Partnership: Definition, How It Works, Taxation, and Types 19 of 25
  • What Is an LLC? Limited Liability Company Structure and Benefits Defined 20 of 25
  • Corporation: What It Is and How To Form One 21 of 25
  • Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide 22 of 25
  • Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide 23 of 25
  • How to Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business: Essential Tips 24 of 25
  • How to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business: A Comprehensive Guide 25 of 25

what should be included on a business plan

  • Terms of Service
  • Editorial Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your Privacy Choices
  • Credit cards
  • View all credit cards
  • Banking guide
  • Loans guide
  • Insurance guide
  • Personal finance
  • View all personal finance
  • Small business
  • Small business guide
  • View all taxes

You’re our first priority. Every time.

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

What is a business plan?

1. write an executive summary, 2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. summarize how your company operates, 10. add any additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them over the next three to five years. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan that will offer a strong, detailed road map for your business.

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness

A business plan is a document that explains what your business does, how it makes money and who its customers are. Internally, writing a business plan should help you clarify your vision and organize your operations. Externally, you can share it with potential lenders and investors to show them you’re on the right track.

Business plans are living documents; it’s OK for them to change over time. Startups may update their business plans often as they figure out who their customers are and what products and services fit them best. Mature companies might only revisit their business plan every few years. Regardless of your business’s age, brush up this document before you apply for a business loan .

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your business offers and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description. This should contain basic information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, write a little about the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

what should be included on a business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the coming years.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain how the financing will help your business grow and how you plan to achieve those growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity your business presents to the lender.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch that new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

» MORE: How to write a successful business plan for a loan

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

Include details about your sales and distribution strategies, including the costs involved in selling each product .

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

Accounting software may be able to generate these reports for you. It may also help you calculate metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

Before the end of your business plan, summarize how your business is structured and outline each team’s responsibilities. This will help your readers understand who performs each of the functions you’ve described above — making and selling your products or services — and how much each of those functions cost.

If any of your employees have exceptional skills, you may want to include their resumes to help explain the competitive advantage they give you.

Finally, attach any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere. That might include:

Licenses and permits.

Equipment leases.

Bank statements.

Details of your personal and business credit history, if you’re seeking financing.

If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are some tips to write a detailed, convincing business plan:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business bank loan or professional investment, someone will be reading your business plan closely. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

On a similar note...

Find small-business financing

Compare multiple lenders that fit your business

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.

START YOUR ECOMMERCE BUSINESS FOR JUST $1

  • Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content

A magazine for young entrepreneurs

what should be included on a business plan

The best advice in entrepreneurship

Subscribe for exclusive access, how to write a business plan (tips, templates, examples).

what should be included on a business plan

Written by Jesse Sumrak | May 14, 2023

Comments -->

Business plan graphic

Get real-time frameworks, tools, and inspiration to start and build your business. Subscribe here

Business plans might seem like an old-school stiff-collared practice, but they deserve a place in the startup realm, too. It’s probably not going to be the frame-worthy document you hang in the office—yet, it may one day be deserving of the privilege.

Whether you’re looking to win the heart of an angel investor or convince a bank to lend you money, you’ll need a business plan. And not just any ol’ notes and scribble on the back of a pizza box or napkin—you’ll need a professional, standardized report.

Bah. Sounds like homework, right?

Yes. Yes, it does.

However, just like bookkeeping, loan applications, and 404 redirects, business plans are an essential step in cementing your business foundation.

Don’t worry. We’ll show you how to write a business plan without boring you to tears. We’ve jam-packed this article with all the business plan examples, templates, and tips you need to take your non-existent proposal from concept to completion.

Table of Contents

What Is a Business Plan?

Tips to Make Your Small Business Plan Ironclad

How to Write a Business Plan in 6 Steps

Startup Business Plan Template

Business Plan Examples

Work on Making Your Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan FAQs

What is a business plan why do you desperately need one.

A business plan is a roadmap that outlines:

  • Who your business is, what it does, and who it serves
  • Where your business is now
  • Where you want it to go
  • How you’re going to make it happen
  • What might stop you from taking your business from Point A to Point B
  • How you’ll overcome the predicted obstacles

While it’s not required when starting a business, having a business plan is helpful for a few reasons:

  • Secure a Bank Loan: Before approving you for a business loan, banks will want to see that your business is legitimate and can repay the loan. They want to know how you’re going to use the loan and how you’ll make monthly payments on your debt. Lenders want to see a sound business strategy that doesn’t end in loan default.
  • Win Over Investors: Like lenders, investors want to know they’re going to make a return on their investment. They need to see your business plan to have the confidence to hand you money.
  • Stay Focused: It’s easy to get lost chasing the next big thing. Your business plan keeps you on track and focused on the big picture. Your business plan can prevent you from wasting time and resources on something that isn’t aligned with your business goals.

Beyond the reasoning, let’s look at what the data says:

  • Simply writing a business plan can boost your average annual growth by 30%
  • Entrepreneurs who create a formal business plan are 16% more likely to succeed than those who don’t
  • A study looking at 65 fast-growth companies found that 71% had small business plans
  • The process and output of creating a business plan have shown to improve business performance

Convinced yet? If those numbers and reasons don’t have you scrambling for pen and paper, who knows what will.

Don’t Skip: Business Startup Costs Checklist

Before we get into the nitty-gritty steps of how to write a business plan, let’s look at some high-level tips to get you started in the right direction:

Be Professional and Legit

You might be tempted to get cutesy or revolutionary with your business plan—resist the urge. While you should let your brand and creativity shine with everything you produce, business plans fall more into the realm of professional documents.

Think of your business plan the same way as your terms and conditions, employee contracts, or financial statements. You want your plan to be as uniform as possible so investors, lenders, partners, and prospective employees can find the information they need to make important decisions.

If you want to create a fun summary business plan for internal consumption, then, by all means, go right ahead. However, for the purpose of writing this external-facing document, keep it legit.

Know Your Audience

Your official business plan document is for lenders, investors, partners, and big-time prospective employees. Keep these names and faces in your mind as you draft your plan.

Think about what they might be interested in seeing, what questions they’ll ask, and what might convince (or scare) them. Cut the jargon and tailor your language so these individuals can understand.

Remember, these are busy people. They’re likely looking at hundreds of applicants and startup investments every month. Keep your business plan succinct and to the point. Include the most pertinent information and omit the sections that won’t impact their decision-making.

Invest Time Researching

You might not have answers to all the sections you should include in your business plan. Don’t skip over these!

Your audience will want:

  • Detailed information about your customers
  • Numbers and solid math to back up your financial claims and estimates
  • Deep insights about your competitors and potential threats
  • Data to support market opportunities and strategy

Your answers can’t be hypothetical or opinionated. You need research to back up your claims. If you don’t have that data yet, then invest time and money in collecting it. That information isn’t just critical for your business plan—it’s essential for owning, operating, and growing your company.

Stay Realistic

Your business may be ambitious, but reign in the enthusiasm just a teeny-tiny bit. The last thing you want to do is have an angel investor call BS and say “I’m out” before even giving you a chance.

The folks looking at your business and evaluating your plan have been around the block—they know a thing or two about fact and fiction. Your plan should be a blueprint for success. It should be the step-by-step roadmap for how you’re going from Point A to Point B.

Button to visit the free training for starting a side hustle

How to Write a Business Plan—6 Essential Elements

Not every business plan looks the same, but most share a few common elements. Here’s what they typically include:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Overview
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Financial Strategy

Below, we’ll break down each of these sections in more detail.

1. Executive Summary

While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it’s the section you’ll write last. That’s because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager.

Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what’s inside the business plan.

Your executive summary highlights key points of your plan. Consider this your elevator pitch. You want to put all your juiciest strengths and opportunities strategically in this section.

2. Business Overview

In this section, you can dive deeper into the elements of your business, including answering:

  • What’s your business structure? Sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.
  • Where is it located?
  • Who owns the business? Does it have employees?
  • What problem does it solve, and how?
  • What’s your mission statement? Your mission statement briefly describes why you are in business. To write a proper mission statement, brainstorm your business’s core values and who you serve.

Don’t overlook your mission statement. This powerful sentence or paragraph could be the inspiration that drives an investor to take an interest in your business. Here are a few examples of powerful mission statements that just might give you the goosebumps:

  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
  • InvisionApp : Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.
  • TED : Spread ideas.
  • Warby Parker : To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

3. Products and Services

As the owner, you know your business and the industry inside and out. However, whoever’s reading your document might not. You’re going to need to break down your products and services in minute detail.

For example, if you own a SaaS business, you’re going to need to explain how this business model works and what you’re selling.

You’ll need to include:

  • What services you sell: Describe the services you provide and how these will help your target audience.
  • What products you sell: Describe your products (and types if applicable) and how they will solve a need for your target and provide value.
  • How much you charge: If you’re selling services, will you charge hourly, per project, retainer, or a mixture of all of these? If you’re selling products, what are the price ranges?

4. Market Analysis

Your market analysis essentially explains how your products and services address customer concerns and pain points. This section will include research and data on the state and direction of your industry and target market.

This research should reveal lucrative opportunities and how your business is uniquely positioned to seize the advantage. You’ll also want to touch on your marketing strategy and how it will (or does) work for your audience.

Include a detailed analysis of your target customers. This describes the people you serve and sell your product to. Be careful not to go too broad here—you don’t want to fall into the common entrepreneurial trap of trying to sell to everyone and thereby not differentiating yourself enough to survive the competition.

The market analysis section will include your unique value proposition. Your unique value proposition (UVP) is the thing that makes you stand out from your competitors. This is your key to success.

If you don’t have a UVP, you don’t have a way to take on competitors who are already in this space. Here’s an example of an ecommerce internet business plan outlining their competitive edge:

FireStarters’ competitive advantage is offering product lines that make a statement but won’t leave you broke. The major brands are expensive and not distinctive enough to satisfy the changing taste of our target customers. FireStarters offers products that are just ahead of the curve and so affordable that our customers will return to the website often to check out what’s new.

5. Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis examines the strengths and weaknesses of competing businesses in your market or industry. This will include direct and indirect competitors. It can also include threats and opportunities, like economic concerns or legal restraints.

The best way to sum up this section is with a classic SWOT analysis. This will explain your company’s position in relation to your competitors.

6. Financial Strategy

Your financial strategy will sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. It’ll explain how you make money, where your cash flow goes, and how you’ll become profitable or stay profitable.

This is one of the most important sections for lenders and investors. Have you ever watched Shark Tank? They always ask about the company’s financial situation. How has it performed in the past? What’s the ongoing outlook moving forward? How does the business plan to make it happen?

Answer all of these questions in your financial strategy so that your audience doesn’t have to ask. Go ahead and include forecasts and graphs in your plan, too:

  • Balance sheet: This includes your assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • Profit & Loss (P&L) statement: This details your income and expenses over a given period.
  • Cash flow statement: Similar to the P&L, this one will show all cash flowing into and out of the business each month.

It takes cash to change the world—lenders and investors get it. If you’re short on funding, explain how much money you’ll need and how you’ll use the capital. Where are you looking for financing? Are you looking to take out a business loan, or would you rather trade equity for capital instead?

Read More: 16 Financial Concepts Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Startup Business Plan Template (Copy/Paste Outline)

Ready to write your own business plan? Copy/paste the startup business plan template below and fill in the blanks.

Executive Summary Remember, do this last. Summarize who you are and your business plan in one page.

Business Overview Describe your business. What’s it do? Who owns it? How’s it structured? What’s the mission statement?

Products and Services Detail the products and services you offer. How do they work? What do you charge?

Market Analysis Write about the state of the market and opportunities. Use date. Describe your customers. Include your UVP.

Competitive Analysis Outline the competitors in your market and industry. Include threats and opportunities. Add a SWOT analysis of your business.

Financial Strategy Sum up your revenue, expenses, profit (or loss), and financial plan for the future. If you’re applying for a loan, include how you’ll use the funding to progress the business.

What’s the Best Business Plan to Succeed as a Consultant?

5 Frame-Worthy Business Plan Examples

Want to explore other templates and examples? We got you covered. Check out these 5 business plan examples you can use as inspiration when writing your plan:

  • SBA Wooden Grain Toy Company
  • SBA We Can Do It Consulting
  • OrcaSmart Business Plan Sample
  • Plum Business Plan Template
  • PandaDoc Free Business Plan Templates

Get to Work on Making Your Business Plan

If you find you’re getting stuck on perfecting your document, opt for a simple one-page business plan —and then get to work. You can always polish up your official plan later as you learn more about your business and the industry.

Remember, business plans are not a requirement for starting a business—they’re only truly essential if a bank or investor is asking for it.

Ask others to review your business plan. Get feedback from other startups and successful business owners. They’ll likely be able to see holes in your planning or undetected opportunities—just make sure these individuals aren’t your competitors (or potential competitors).

Your business plan isn’t a one-and-done report—it’s a living, breathing document. You’ll make changes to it as you grow and evolve. When the market or your customers change, your plan will need to change to adapt.

That means when you’re finished with this exercise, it’s not time to print your plan out and stuff it in a file cabinet somewhere. No, it should sit on your desk as a day-to-day reference. Use it (and update it) as you make decisions about your product, customers, and financial plan.

Review your business plan frequently, update it routinely, and follow the path you’ve developed to the future you’re building.

Keep Learning: New Product Development Process in 8 Easy Steps

What financial information should be included in a business plan?

Be as detailed as you can without assuming too much. For example, include your expected revenue, expenses, profit, and growth for the future.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a business plan?

The most common mistake is turning your business plan into a textbook. A business plan is an internal guide and an external pitching tool. Cut the fat and only include the most relevant information to start and run your business.

Who should review my business plan before I submit it?

Co-founders, investors, or a board of advisors. Otherwise, reach out to a trusted mentor, your local chamber of commerce, or someone you know that runs a business.

Ready to Write Your Business Plan?

Don’t let creating a business plan hold you back from starting your business. Writing documents might not be your thing—that doesn’t mean your business is a bad idea.

Let us help you get started.

Join our free training to learn how to start an online side hustle in 30 days or less. We’ll provide you with a proven roadmap for how to find, validate, and pursue a profitable business idea (even if you have zero entrepreneurial experience).

Stuck on the ideas part? No problem. When you attend the masterclass, we’ll send you a free ebook with 100 of the hottest side hustle trends right now. It’s chock full of brilliant business ideas to get you up and running in the right direction.

Launch your side hustle training

About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Related Posts

His Ecommerce Funnel Generated $70M Last Year

His Ecommerce Funnel Generated $70M Last Year

How Do You Launch a Product?

How Do You Launch a Product?

Why Erin Deering Sold Swimwear Sensation Triangl

Why Erin Deering Sold Swimwear Sensation Triangl

How Suneera Madhani’s Rejected Pitch Led to a Billion-Dollar Startup

How Suneera Madhani’s Rejected Pitch Led to a Billion-Dollar Startup

When to Quit Your Job and Go All-in on Your Side Hustle

When to Quit Your Job and Go All-in on Your Side Hustle

How to Choose the Right Color for Your Logo: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

How to Choose the Right Color for Your Logo: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

How becx’s Becky Verma Gained the Confidence to Become an Entrepreneur

How becx’s Becky Verma Gained the Confidence to Become an Entrepreneur

How the D’Amelios Built an Empire Using TikTok

How the D’Amelios Built an Empire Using TikTok

Almost Failed Startups: What You Can Learn from 8 Startups That Made It Big

Almost Failed Startups: What You Can Learn from 8 Startups That Made It Big

How to Implement AI in Your Business from Consultant Nat Choprasert

How to Implement AI in Your Business from Consultant Nat Choprasert

Self-Made Mogul Emma Grede on Building SKIMS and Good American – Exclusive

Self-Made Mogul Emma Grede on Building SKIMS and Good American – Exclusive

20 Reasons to Start Your Own Business Today

20 Reasons to Start Your Own Business Today

The Horror Stories and Surprises from Nathan Chan’s 500 Founder Interviews

The Horror Stories and Surprises from Nathan Chan’s 500 Founder Interviews

Dany Garcia on Building Her Business Empire with Dwayne Johnson

Dany Garcia on Building Her Business Empire with Dwayne Johnson

The 12 Best Business Startup Books Every Entrepreneur Needs

The 12 Best Business Startup Books Every Entrepreneur Needs

FREE TRAINING FROM LEGIT FOUNDERS

Actionable Strategies for Starting & Growing Any Business.

Don't Miss Out! Get Instant Access to foundr+ for Just $1!

1000+ lessons. customized learning. 30,000+ strong community..

what should be included on a business plan

  • Sources of Business Finance
  • Small Business Loans
  • Small Business Grants
  • Crowdfunding Sites
  • How to Get a Business Loan
  • Small Business Insurance Providers
  • Best Factoring Companies
  • Types of Bank Accounts
  • Best Banks for Small Business
  • Best Business Bank Accounts
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Bank Accounts for Small Businesses
  • Free Business Checking Accounts
  • Best Business Credit Cards
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Business Credit Cards for Bad Credit
  • Build Business Credit Fast
  • Business Loan Eligibility Criteria
  • Small-Business Bookkeeping Basics
  • How to Set Financial Goals
  • Business Loan Calculators
  • How to Calculate ROI
  • Calculate Net Income
  • Calculate Working Capital
  • Calculate Operating Income
  • Calculate Net Present Value (NPV)
  • Calculate Payroll Tax

12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)

' src=

Starting and running a successful business requires proper planning and execution of effective business tactics and strategies .

You need to prepare many essential business documents when starting a business for maximum success; the business plan is one such document.

When creating a business, you want to achieve business objectives and financial goals like productivity, profitability, and business growth. You need an effective business plan to help you get to your desired business destination.

Even if you are already running a business, the proper understanding and review of the key elements of a business plan help you navigate potential crises and obstacles.

This article will teach you why the business document is at the core of any successful business and its key elements you can not avoid.

Let’s get started.

Why Are Business Plans Important?

Business plans are practical steps or guidelines that usually outline what companies need to do to reach their goals. They are essential documents for any business wanting to grow and thrive in a highly-competitive business environment .

1. Proves Your Business Viability

A business plan gives companies an idea of how viable they are and what actions they need to take to grow and reach their financial targets. With a well-written and clearly defined business plan, your business is better positioned to meet its goals.

2. Guides You Throughout the Business Cycle

A business plan is not just important at the start of a business. As a business owner, you must draw up a business plan to remain relevant throughout the business cycle .

During the starting phase of your business, a business plan helps bring your ideas into reality. A solid business plan can secure funding from lenders and investors.

After successfully setting up your business, the next phase is management. Your business plan still has a role to play in this phase, as it assists in communicating your business vision to employees and external partners.

Essentially, your business plan needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the needs of your business.

3. Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

As a business owner, you are involved in an endless decision-making cycle. Your business plan helps you find answers to your most crucial business decisions.

A robust business plan helps you settle your major business components before you launch your product, such as your marketing and sales strategy and competitive advantage.

4. Eliminates Big Mistakes

Many small businesses fail within their first five years for several reasons: lack of financing, stiff competition, low market need, inadequate teams, and inefficient pricing strategy.

Creating an effective plan helps you eliminate these big mistakes that lead to businesses' decline. Every business plan element is crucial for helping you avoid potential mistakes before they happen.

5. Secures Financing and Attracts Top Talents

Having an effective plan increases your chances of securing business loans. One of the essential requirements many lenders ask for to grant your loan request is your business plan.

A business plan helps investors feel confident that your business can attract a significant return on investments ( ROI ).

You can attract and retain top-quality talents with a clear business plan. It inspires your employees and keeps them aligned to achieve your strategic business goals.

Key Elements of Business Plan

Starting and running a successful business requires well-laid actions and supporting documents that better position a company to achieve its business goals and maximize success.

A business plan is a written document with relevant information detailing business objectives and how it intends to achieve its goals.

With an effective business plan, investors, lenders, and potential partners understand your organizational structure and goals, usually around profitability, productivity, and growth.

Every successful business plan is made up of key components that help solidify the efficacy of the business plan in delivering on what it was created to do.

Here are some of the components of an effective business plan.

1. Executive Summary

One of the key elements of a business plan is the executive summary. Write the executive summary as part of the concluding topics in the business plan. Creating an executive summary with all the facts and information available is easier.

In the overall business plan document, the executive summary should be at the forefront of the business plan. It helps set the tone for readers on what to expect from the business plan.

A well-written executive summary includes all vital information about the organization's operations, making it easy for a reader to understand.

The key points that need to be acted upon are highlighted in the executive summary. They should be well spelled out to make decisions easy for the management team.

A good and compelling executive summary points out a company's mission statement and a brief description of its products and services.

Executive Summary of the Business Plan

An executive summary summarizes a business's expected value proposition to distinct customer segments. It highlights the other key elements to be discussed during the rest of the business plan.

Including your prior experiences as an entrepreneur is a good idea in drawing up an executive summary for your business. A brief but detailed explanation of why you decided to start the business in the first place is essential.

Adding your company's mission statement in your executive summary cannot be overemphasized. It creates a culture that defines how employees and all individuals associated with your company abide when carrying out its related processes and operations.

Your executive summary should be brief and detailed to catch readers' attention and encourage them to learn more about your company.

Components of an Executive Summary

Here are some of the information that makes up an executive summary:

  • The name and location of your company
  • Products and services offered by your company
  • Mission and vision statements
  • Success factors of your business plan

2. Business Description

Your business description needs to be exciting and captivating as it is the formal introduction a reader gets about your company.

What your company aims to provide, its products and services, goals and objectives, target audience , and potential customers it plans to serve need to be highlighted in your business description.

A company description helps point out notable qualities that make your company stand out from other businesses in the industry. It details its unique strengths and the competitive advantages that give it an edge to succeed over its direct and indirect competitors.

Spell out how your business aims to deliver on the particular needs and wants of identified customers in your company description, as well as the particular industry and target market of the particular focus of the company.

Include trends and significant competitors within your particular industry in your company description. Your business description should contain what sets your company apart from other businesses and provides it with the needed competitive advantage.

In essence, if there is any area in your business plan where you need to brag about your business, your company description provides that unique opportunity as readers look to get a high-level overview.

Components of a Business Description

Your business description needs to contain these categories of information.

  • Business location
  • The legal structure of your business
  • Summary of your business’s short and long-term goals

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section should be solely based on analytical research as it details trends particular to the market you want to penetrate.

Graphs, spreadsheets, and histograms are handy data and statistical tools you need to utilize in your market analysis. They make it easy to understand the relationship between your current ideas and the future goals you have for the business.

All details about the target customers you plan to sell products or services should be in the market analysis section. It helps readers with a helpful overview of the market.

In your market analysis, you provide the needed data and statistics about industry and market share, the identified strengths in your company description, and compare them against other businesses in the same industry.

The market analysis section aims to define your target audience and estimate how your product or service would fare with these identified audiences.

Components of Market Analysis

Market analysis helps visualize a target market by researching and identifying the primary target audience of your company and detailing steps and plans based on your audience location.

Obtaining this information through market research is essential as it helps shape how your business achieves its short-term and long-term goals.

Market Analysis Factors

Here are some of the factors to be included in your market analysis.

  • The geographical location of your target market
  • Needs of your target market and how your products and services can meet those needs
  • Demographics of your target audience

Components of the Market Analysis Section

Here is some of the information to be included in your market analysis.

  • Industry description and statistics
  • Demographics and profile of target customers
  • Marketing data for your products and services
  • Detailed evaluation of your competitors

4. Marketing Plan

A marketing plan defines how your business aims to reach its target customers, generate sales leads, and, ultimately, make sales.

Promotion is at the center of any successful marketing plan. It is a series of steps to pitch a product or service to a larger audience to generate engagement. Note that the marketing strategy for a business should not be stagnant and must evolve depending on its outcome.

Include the budgetary requirement for successfully implementing your marketing plan in this section to make it easy for readers to measure your marketing plan's impact in terms of numbers.

The information to include in your marketing plan includes marketing and promotion strategies, pricing plans and strategies , and sales proposals. You need to include how you intend to get customers to return and make repeat purchases in your business plan.

Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan

5. Sales Strategy

Sales strategy defines how you intend to get your product or service to your target customers and works hand in hand with your business marketing strategy.

Your sales strategy approach should not be complex. Break it down into simple and understandable steps to promote your product or service to target customers.

Apart from the steps to promote your product or service, define the budget you need to implement your sales strategies and the number of sales reps needed to help the business assist in direct sales.

Your sales strategy should be specific on what you need and how you intend to deliver on your sales targets, where numbers are reflected to make it easier for readers to understand and relate better.

Sales Strategy

6. Competitive Analysis

Providing transparent and honest information, even with direct and indirect competitors, defines a good business plan. Provide the reader with a clear picture of your rank against major competitors.

Identifying your competitors' weaknesses and strengths is useful in drawing up a market analysis. It is one information investors look out for when assessing business plans.

Competitive Analysis Framework

The competitive analysis section clearly defines the notable differences between your company and your competitors as measured against their strengths and weaknesses.

This section should define the following:

  • Your competitors' identified advantages in the market
  • How do you plan to set up your company to challenge your competitors’ advantage and gain grounds from them?
  • The standout qualities that distinguish you from other companies
  • Potential bottlenecks you have identified that have plagued competitors in the same industry and how you intend to overcome these bottlenecks

In your business plan, you need to prove your industry knowledge to anyone who reads your business plan. The competitive analysis section is designed for that purpose.

7. Management and Organization

Management and organization are key components of a business plan. They define its structure and how it is positioned to run.

Whether you intend to run a sole proprietorship, general or limited partnership, or corporation, the legal structure of your business needs to be clearly defined in your business plan.

Use an organizational chart that illustrates the hierarchy of operations of your company and spells out separate departments and their roles and functions in this business plan section.

The management and organization section includes profiles of advisors, board of directors, and executive team members and their roles and responsibilities in guaranteeing the company's success.

Apparent factors that influence your company's corporate culture, such as human resources requirements and legal structure, should be well defined in the management and organization section.

Defining the business's chain of command if you are not a sole proprietor is necessary. It leaves room for little or no confusion about who is in charge or responsible during business operations.

This section provides relevant information on how the management team intends to help employees maximize their strengths and address their identified weaknesses to help all quarters improve for the business's success.

8. Products and Services

This business plan section describes what a company has to offer regarding products and services to the maximum benefit and satisfaction of its target market.

Boldly spell out pending patents or copyright products and intellectual property in this section alongside costs, expected sales revenue, research and development, and competitors' advantage as an overview.

At this stage of your business plan, the reader needs to know what your business plans to produce and sell and the benefits these products offer in meeting customers' needs.

The supply network of your business product, production costs, and how you intend to sell the products are crucial components of the products and services section.

Investors are always keen on this information to help them reach a balanced assessment of if investing in your business is risky or offer benefits to them.

You need to create a link in this section on how your products or services are designed to meet the market's needs and how you intend to keep those customers and carve out a market share for your company.

Repeat purchases are the backing that a successful business relies on and measure how much customers are into what your company is offering.

This section is more like an expansion of the executive summary section. You need to analyze each product or service under the business.

9. Operating Plan

An operations plan describes how you plan to carry out your business operations and processes.

The operating plan for your business should include:

  • Information about how your company plans to carry out its operations.
  • The base location from which your company intends to operate.
  • The number of employees to be utilized and other information about your company's operations.
  • Key business processes.

This section should highlight how your organization is set up to run. You can also introduce your company's management team in this section, alongside their skills, roles, and responsibilities in the company.

The best way to introduce the company team is by drawing up an organizational chart that effectively maps out an organization's rank and chain of command.

What should be spelled out to readers when they come across this business plan section is how the business plans to operate day-in and day-out successfully.

10. Financial Projections and Assumptions

Bringing your great business ideas into reality is why business plans are important. They help create a sustainable and viable business.

The financial section of your business plan offers significant value. A business uses a financial plan to solve all its financial concerns, which usually involves startup costs, labor expenses, financial projections, and funding and investor pitches.

All key assumptions about the business finances need to be listed alongside the business financial projection, and changes to be made on the assumptions side until it balances with the projection for the business.

The financial plan should also include how the business plans to generate income and the capital expenditure budgets that tend to eat into the budget to arrive at an accurate cash flow projection for the business.

Base your financial goals and expectations on extensive market research backed with relevant financial statements for the relevant period.

Examples of financial statements you can include in the financial projections and assumptions section of your business plan include:

  • Projected income statements
  • Cash flow statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Income statements

Revealing the financial goals and potentials of the business is what the financial projection and assumption section of your business plan is all about. It needs to be purely based on facts that can be measurable and attainable.

11. Request For Funding

The request for funding section focuses on the amount of money needed to set up your business and underlying plans for raising the money required. This section includes plans for utilizing the funds for your business's operational and manufacturing processes.

When seeking funding, a reasonable timeline is required alongside it. If the need arises for additional funding to complete other business-related projects, you are not left scampering and desperate for funds.

If you do not have the funds to start up your business, then you should devote a whole section of your business plan to explaining the amount of money you need and how you plan to utilize every penny of the funds. You need to explain it in detail for a future funding request.

When an investor picks up your business plan to analyze it, with all your plans for the funds well spelled out, they are motivated to invest as they have gotten a backing guarantee from your funding request section.

Include timelines and plans for how you intend to repay the loans received in your funding request section. This addition keeps investors assured that they could recoup their investment in the business.

12. Exhibits and Appendices

Exhibits and appendices comprise the final section of your business plan and contain all supporting documents for other sections of the business plan.

Some of the documents that comprise the exhibits and appendices section includes:

  • Legal documents
  • Licenses and permits
  • Credit histories
  • Customer lists

The choice of what additional document to include in your business plan to support your statements depends mainly on the intended audience of your business plan. Hence, it is better to play it safe and not leave anything out when drawing up the appendix and exhibit section.

Supporting documentation is particularly helpful when you need funding or support for your business. This section provides investors with a clearer understanding of the research that backs the claims made in your business plan.

There are key points to include in the appendix and exhibits section of your business plan.

  • The management team and other stakeholders resume
  • Marketing research
  • Permits and relevant legal documents
  • Financial documents

Was This Article Helpful?

Martin luenendonk.

' src=

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

How to write a business plan in 12 steps (2024 edition)

Updated 18 April 2024 • 12 min read

This guide breaks down how to write a business plan, step-by-step, detailing what your document needs to include and what you need to think about to make your business plan as persuasive as possible.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is an essential document that can provide immense value for new and existing companies of all sizes. It is an overview that includes an outline of your business, its key objectives and plan for achieving important goals.

This information can be used to communicate strategic actions to internal teams and also attract interest from potential partners and investors . However, writing a business plan can be a lengthy and involved process. For many, using a business plan template can be a good way to get started.

For best results, you’ll need to do a lot of thinking and planning before you start writing your business plan. This way you have all the information and resources you need at your fingertips and won’t be under time pressure to come up with something at the last minute. After all, a well-thought-out business plan can help you avoid generic information and set your company up for success.

Download your free business plan template .

Why write a business plan?

Writing your business plan helps to get your strategy nailed down and onto the page. A plan that stays in your head is probably going to be full of unrealistic assumptions and biases, whereas a strategically thought-out and organised approach forces you to notice your blind spots and find a way forward.

If you’re looking for financing, a bank or investor needs to be persuaded by your business proposal and the opportunity to work with you. Therefore, a well-written business plan can help provide potential financial partners with the confidence that your business can become profitable. Your business plan gives them a comprehensive view of all aspects of your business and details your strategy for achieving your goals.

What are the main sections of a business plan?

Whatever your line of work, your business plan will generally need to provide the following:

An executive summary

A business overview

The market opportunity

Your products/services

How to write a business plan

Make sure you cover each of the following steps when preparing your document:

1. Write an executive summary

This section of your business plan should be 1–2 pages in length and enables potential financiers or partners to get an overview of what your business does and – most importantly — what the opportunity is for them. If they’re interested in the opportunity, they’ll conduct their own due diligence - and this will start with going through your business plan and financials.

It’s a good idea to write your executive summary last, when you’ve clarified your thinking around every section of the document. As an overview section, you don’t want to add any new content that isn’t in your business plan. Aim to keep this summary succinct and engaging by using simple, plain language, as this is much more persuasive than complicated or academic wording.

Use sub-headings and bullet points to help your most important information stand out, especially as busy executives may simply scan your executive summary and use this to decide whether they want to find out more.

What to include in an executive summary?

Make sure you include details on:

What your business does

What the opportunity is

What your unique selling points / differentiators are

How much funding you’re looking for

What the funding will be used for

How you'll succeed

Remember, you’re providing the big picture overview of your business - the detail is in the rest of the document and in the appendices.

2. Write your business overview

This section of your business plan needs to be more than just a list of what your business does. Its purpose is to excite those you’re hoping will work with you or help to fund your business.

Information to address includes:

What's the purpose of your business?

What problem does your business’ product or service solve?

What niche could it fill?

What’s different about your offering?

How are you better than anyone else at what you do?

Consider what your customer value proposition is by deciding what you want to achieve and what your number 1 benefit is for your customer.

3. Identify your USP

Think about what your unique selling points (USP) or differentiators are, and what proof-points you can provide to back them up.

For example, you can use terms like “market-leading” but if you don’t provide any evidence to back up your claims, your reader will take them with a big pinch of salt!

You should certainly reference any awards or endorsements that position you as the best person to provide your product or service, as well as any client testimonials. Make sure you include any education or experience that makes you an expert in your field as well.

4. Describe the market opportunity

Show you understand your industry, market and where you fit in it. While no-one can predict the future, offer up where you think the opportunity is for your business and make sales projections based on that. 

For example, imagine your business is selling personalised cookies - there's little competition in your area and you see your market opportunity to create designs for all calendar and holiday events. You expect to increase sales by 30% in one year and 50% in three years, driven primarily by word-of-mouth referrals.

Make sure you also consider macro trends that may create opportunities for you, such as social, environmental, or technological changes that may affect buying behaviour.

5. Include a SWOT analysis

Whatever your business strengths or opportunities, they’ll always be known and unknown weaknesses and threats; there’s no such thing as certainty in business or in life!

However, you can demonstrate that you’ve examined your business through different lenses and have a thorough understanding of it by doing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.

Don’t worry about drawing attention to your business’ shortcomings - every opportunity has them and it’ll give investors and partners confidence in you that you won't bury your head in the sand. Naturally, it's important that you specify what you’re going to do to address these weaknesses and counter these threats.

Here are some areas you can think about to get started: reputation, technology, location, experience, staff, overheads, competition, suppliers and price.

6. Present a competitor analysis

Let’s face it, no matter what industry you’re in, or what you’re selling, there’s going to be other businesses offering the same thing. But instead of worrying about the competition, use this as a positive opportunity to up your game and work out the unique advantages you have that will keep you competitive.

Identify your top 3 competitors and analyse what they're doing well and where they’re coming up short. Try to be as objective as possible and identify how to differentiate yourself from them.

You should also look into who the industry leaders are and what the benchmarks are for your industry so that you can set yourself targets for continuous improvement.

7. Create a customer persona

A customer persona is a fictional person who represents your company's ideal customer. Naturally, the persona can be based on a real person - the more you get to know your ideal customer, the more targeted and successful your marketing efforts will be.

To create a customer persona, you need to conduct research into your ideal customer’s age, sex, income, employment, daily activities, interests and hobbies. If you’re feeling unsure about your customer persona, you may need to give your ideal customer further thought and download the customer persona template to get started.

8. Write your marketing strategy

When you’ve created your customer persona, you need to work out how you’re going to reach them. Do they hang out on social media apps, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn? Or are they more used to local, traditional marketing like free local papers or high foot traffic areas?

Once you’ve figured where your audience is likely to hang out, you can outline your strategies for promoting and advertising your products or services in the next 12 months.

Make a list of the marketing channels you’ll use to achieve your advertising strategy and be sure to include your budget. How much can you set aside for advertising? And where are you most likely to see a return on your efforts? Paid ads on Facebook? Half or full paid spreads in an industry magazine? Or even a direct mail out? 

For more structured help around this, check out free course: Business 101 | Get social with your business on Facebook . 

9. Design your customer retention strategy

Business success relies heavily on the relationship you’re able to build with your customers. What techniques will you use to keep them coming back? Consider the following:

What can your business do to increase the number of repeat customers? 

Does your business have a referral or loyalty program? 

Do you have a post-purchase follow up in place?

Will you use surveys to track customer satisfaction?

What ways can you continue delivering outstanding service?

Is there a way to continue educating and adding value to your customers?

10. Present your financials

Most people who are looking at investing their time and/or money in your business will want to see your financial statements - your performance to date and your projections over the short and medium term. They'll also want to know how much you’ve received in funding to date and what these other sources of funding are - including your own investment.

Current finances

You need to show how your business has performed financially over the last year, highlighting metrics such as positive cashflow , net profit and assets.

Financial forecasts

You should also provide a balance forecast projecting total assets, total liabilities and net assets over 1, 2 and 3 years, and a profit and loss forecast for the same periods detailing gross profit /net sales, total expenses and net profit/loss. Finally, you should also provide a cash flow forecast month by month over the next year.

It’s also a good idea to speak to an expert like an accountant or bookkeeper about your finances and get advice on how best to present them in this all-important section of your business plan.

11. Detail how much funding is needed

Naturally, you also need to be very clear about how much money you’re looking for and what you plan to do with it. If you’re looking for a loan , you need to detail what it’s for, over what period it’ll be repaid, and what collateral you have to secure it.

12. Propose an exit strategy

Any financial stakeholder in your business will want a return on investment. If you’re pursuing this type of funding, you should include some detail on your proposed exit strategy . For example, do you want to sell the company at some point or go public?

Similarly, you should outline your succession plan so the business can continue to operate if you decide to step away from it. Likewise, you need a plan for what happens if the business loses money and can’t sustain itself. Documenting this means that everyone is on the same page and potential investors have this information upfront.

Frequently asked questions about writing a business plan:

When to write a business plan.

Typically, entrepreneurs write their business plans within the first year of operations. A business plan is a tool that helps business owners refine their strategy, attract partners and financiers, and grow their business.

If a business plan is written too soon, it may lack the substance that comes with time in the market. However, it’s important to note that a business plan isn't a static document - it can and should change as the business evolves.

How long should your business plan be?

There are no hard and fast rules around how long your business plan should be - it just needs to include all the relevant information. Aim for clear, concise sections and build a business plan that is as easy to read and navigate as possible.

Using a business plan template can help you make sure you have everything covered off, while also having a document that looks as professional as possible. Make sure you run a spelling and grammar check too - any sloppy errors can undermine your credibility.

What’s a business plan on a page?

It’s important to write your business plan as it helps to embed your strategy - as well as communicate what you’re about to potential partners or investors. When you have a comprehensive business plan you can easily adapt it to suit different audiences. For example, a full business plan is essential for raising capital but a business plan on a page may be enough for potential partners or employees.

What do venture capitalists look for in a business plan?

Venture capitalists invest money into businesses with the goal of achieving a return on their investment within the short to medium term. As a result, they’re looking for an attractive market opportunity, a clear point of differentiation, a strong management team, a proven track record, solid financials and, importantly, an exit opportunity.

Where to go for help or more information?

There are many great resources out there to help you fine-tune your business strategy and write your business plan. The Australian Government has a comprehensive website dedicated to supporting businesses at all stages of their journey.

You can also get help from Business Enterprise Centres , business advisors, accountants and fellow business owners. MYOB also has a list of business advisors who can give you feedback on your business plan, so your venture has the very best chance of success. 

Related Guides

How to get a business loan arrow right, how to find investors: a guide for startups arrow right, business models: definitions, types and key components arrow right.

Full Scale

In this blog...

Two hands holding a tablet with a stylus pointing to a screen displaying graphics related to a business plan, with the text "Business Plan Creation" above.

What Should a Business Plan Include?

A business plan serves as a roadmap to successfully launch a business. It helps you overcome the challenges you might experience in your industry. Learn how to create and use a business plan for your startup.

One of the most fatal mistakes that aspiring entrepreneurs make in launching a startup is forgetting a business plan . You wouldn’t launch a ship at sea without establishing its routes and the direction you’ll steer it to. Without proper planning, your ship will end up adrift or worst, dramatically sink when the tides hit. And in a volatile commercial industry, the tides are constantly changing.

Avoid common startup mistakes by creating a business plan. A business plan not only strengthens your foundation but also helps you navigate the ever-changing field of business. Chances are your customers’ preferences will change over time and you have to keep up with them. Hence, a business plan also changes accordingly.

But how exactly do you create a business plan ? Is there a template to follow? Should you enlist the help of other experts to write it? Today, we’ll look into what should be included in your business plan and how it should be written. The first step is by understanding what it is and what it is for.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is an official company document that breaks down all the goals of a business and how to achieve them. It basically lays out the groundwork for your idea to come alive. It’s often referred to as the “blueprint of the business”, summarizing your goals.

Although there are many ways to write it, its key point usually discusses the financial, marketing, and operational strategies of the business.   

What is it for?

A business plan serves as a guide for a growing company. It’s a consistent reference for business owners and stakeholders to base critical decisions on. It’s especially useful for early-stage startups to attract investors. When a company doesn’t have a proven track record, it can lay out its full potential instead.

Not only is the business plan useful for the initial launching of a business, but it also helps with pivotal changes. Since the market is perpetually changing, it’s crucial that your plan also evolves with it. Hence, the goals and methods of achieving will be updated. In some cases, a whole new plan is created if the company wants to drastically move in a new direction.   

What’s included in a Business Plan

Although there’s no fixed formula for writing a business plan, there are some identifiable key points. These are generally the items factored in its creation:

1.     Executive Summary

The executive summary outlines the whole plan. You start with a clear introduction of who you are, what you sell, and what your ambitions are as a business. This section includes your mission statement, product description, and the basic overview of your company’s structure. It should also include your financial plans.   

2.     Business Description

The business description provides detailed information about your industry. It must describe its current outlook as well as its profit potential. You will go into detail about your target market and other organizations or businesses you cater to. Also, this section briefly discusses what problem the business is trying to solve.  

3.     Market Analysis

A business must have a firm understanding of its target market and should be able to prove its sustainability. The market analysis provides trends and studies about the target consumers—their size, demographics, buying power, and frequent activities. This section also touches briefly on the competitors.

4.     Product Development

Investors need a clear idea of how you would create and maintain your product. The development plan section contains the details of the product’s design; its production methods, lifecycle, marketing, and development budget. This includes the overall strategy of how it will be sold in the market.

5.     Marketing Strategies

The product is only as good as how much it will sell. Therefore, this section describes how you will present your products and services to the market. This will discuss your marketing campaigns, distribution channels, and types of media you’ll tap into. You will summarize how you intend to reach your customers and pitch your products to them.

6.     Operations and Management

Your investors need an overview of how the business functions. The operations plan highlights the logistics of the company such as team responsibilities, division tasks, and operational expenses. This helps track down who is responsible for certain areas of the business.  

7.     Financial Plans

Money mobilizes the idea. Hence, it’s important to keep an accurate record of where it’s going. This section shows the company’s monetary plans and its future projections. This includes financial statements, balance sheets, and third-party business transactions. For startups, it will mostly contain the target profit and estimates of expenses.    

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

Now that we have an idea of the business plan template , it’s time to learn how to write it effectively. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re writing one for your business.

  • Keep it concise. It serve as a guide for the company and the investors. It needs to be easy to understand and direct to the point. You can’t afford to waste a reader’s time by creating a 100-page business plan. Instead, aim for a summarized version of your plan, only highlighting the important points and outlining the rest.
  • Avoid jargon. Ensure that everyone, especially investors, can understand your business plan. Do not include complex jargon in your content. Save the technicalities for the experts and simplify the terms in explaining your ideas.
  • Keep it up-to-date. As previously mentioned, business plans are not static. Over time, a lot of things in the industry will change and might make your original plans obsolete. Frequently update your business plan according to what’s new in the field and with new methods you’re employing. Remember, a business plan is only useful if it’s still relevant.  

Build your Business

Business plans are important when you’re starting your business from scratch. However, the success of your business still heavily relies on their execution. A lot of startups fail because they can’t push through with what was proposed in the business plans.

More than just articulating your ideas, you need to do a lot more to make them come to life. For one, you’ll need the capital to kick things off and make everything operational. Second, you’ll need to hire the best people to run your operations. Lastly, you have to find investors to sustain your business.

One way to ensure that your business plan is properly executed is by enlisting the help of business experts. Full Scale is an offshore software development company that specializes in helping startups.

We can provide the talent and resources needed to begin your operations. Whether you need project managers, marketing specialists, or technical experts; we’ve got them all. We’ll take care of all the processes of recruitment and management so you can focus on your core competencies.

Ready to begin your entrepreneurial journey? Get your FREE consultation today!

Learn More about Offshore Development

Copyright 2024 © Full Scale

what should be included on a business plan

Everything that you need to know to start your own business. From business ideas to researching the competition.

Practical and real-world advice on how to run your business — from managing employees to keeping the books.

Our best expert advice on how to grow your business — from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers happy and having the capital to do it.

Entrepreneurs and industry leaders share their best advice on how to take your company to the next level.

  • Business Ideas
  • Human Resources
  • Business Financing
  • Growth Studio
  • Ask the Board

Looking for your local chamber?

Interested in partnering with us?

Start » business ideas, the definitive guide to writing a startup business plan.

Our guide covers all the components of your startup business plan and explains why startups have unique business plan needs.

 Man thinking about business plan

To understand what should be included in a business plan, you have to understand who the plan is for and what stage of your business you’re in. If you’ll be taking a business plan to a financial institution as part of a loan application, you’re going to want a more traditional plan. These tend to be on the longer side and should be as detailed as possible, without getting too technical.

If you’re in the early planning stages of your business or just want something to show to a few angel investors, you might consider a startup business plan format, which will be more of a summary of key points. That might only be one page long but should still hit on all the major highlights and goals of the business.

According to the Small Business Administration, the length of your business plan should be long enough to accomplish three goals: (1) excite the financing source, (2) prove that you truly understand the market, and (3) fully detail the execution strategy.

Regardless of length, your business plan must get across why you are passionate about your company and why you think it will succeed. You should have a command of your market, your subject area and be authoritative. You should include market data and financial projections, but not come across overly dry. You want the readers of your business proposal—even bank loan officers—to see your commitment to your goals and the emotional connection you have formed to your business idea. At the same time, you want your plan to appear factual and professional.

Startup business plan requirements

If you’re writing a business plan for a bank or lending institution, consider including the following major components in your plan. Keep your plan in a binder with numbered pages and provide a table of contents to make it easy to follow.

Executive summary. This is a brief (1-2 page) explanation of what your company is, what it does and why it will be successful. Although this summary will come first in the plan, you should write it last so that you have all the information to draw from. Not succinctly summarizing your business idea is one of the biggest mistakes that can be made in a business plan. If you don’t hook your reader with your executive summary, that person is not going to want to keep reading. Here are some of the pieces to include:

  • The mission statement — a short statement summing up your business and explaining your product or services
  • A brief overview of the structure of your company and the leadership team
  • Some basic financial information, such as banking relationships and any investors
  • A summary of your company growth and any financial highlights
  • Company facts like number of employees, date founded and location

Mission statement. Although this is a part of the executive summary section, the mission statement deserves a separate callout because you’ll need to carefully craft your message. The statement needs to pack a punch, but remain a tight and coherent thought. Mission statements should be written in the present tense, and answer questions like who your customers are, what values are important to your business and what marker you’ll use to decide if your company is successful.

Market analysis. In your company description you started to explain why your company is a good idea. Your market analysis is where you’ll back up those statements with an authoritative understanding of your industry and target market. Address why your competitors are successful and prove that you know why what they’re doing is working. You also need to establish why your idea is better or will be more successful. The market analysis section should be between 9 and 22 pages long. In this section, include information like:

  • Trends and themes in your industry
  • A description and size of your target market
  • Your pricing and gross margin targets
  • Industry risks
  • Key personnel
  • Five-year projected revenues

If you need help with market research there are several free tools available. The U.S. Census is obviously data rich and can help you answer questions about the size of specific industries and businesses and which products in your industry are growing. The U.S. Census also offers Economic Indicator data that can help you digest what’s going on in different industrial sectors.

The SBA offers a tool called Sizeup that helps you process data points to get details on your competition, figure out where your competitors are located and where there might be gaps in the market. It’s important to remember that having a similar business plan as a competitor doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be successful. It’s possible that two similar businesses can thrive, but you should be able to explain why the market you are entering is conducive to that.

Your business plan must get across why you are passionate about your company and why you think it will succeed.

You should also be able to prove that you know the customers to whom your business caters and be able define and research their habits. Know when they buy, how often they buy or how often they will need your service.

Company description. A good way to describe your company is by answering this question: What problem does your company solve? That can help determine who your customers are and what advantages your company has over your competitors. The question will also lead you to explain and highlight the expertise of your team and the benefits of your physical location. A company description is an easy place to show your commitment and passion for the company as well as boast your company's strengths.

Organization and management. Here’s another place to show your team’s competence and explain the passion behind your business. This is where you’ll outline who is running your company, how it’s structured and what you all bring to the table. The main components to include are:

  • An organizational chart
  • The name of all owners and percentages they own
  • Resumes of some of your key staff/leaders
  • The legal structure of your business (i.e., an LLC, a partnership, etc.)

Marketing and sales. It’s not enough to simply say you have a great product. In a traditional business plan, you have to explain how you intend to get this great product or service to the right customers. You should convey how your strategy is going to evolve once you have more (or any) customer data. Still, you should lay out a roadmap for how to start and potential opportunities to attract and retain customers. Consider including the following:

  • An explanation of your business model and how your product leads to revenue
  • How and when you will introduce new products or services
  • Potential new territories for your company to enter
  • The plan to boost sales on a particular product
  • Potential long-term relationships with other companies or clients
  • The possibility of price increases
  • Improvements to your product or your processes for manufacturing or delivery
  • Ideas for advertising and social media strategy

Service or product line. In this section you will need to again answer what your company does and what you’re selling. You can go into more detail about what sets your product and company apart from your competitors, as well as how you target customer benefits. Some items to include are:

  • The life cycle of your product
  • Information on any copyrights, patents and any other ways you protect your intellectual property
  • Any non-disclosure or non-compete agreements
  • Any research and development you’ve done

Funding request. If the goal of your business plan is to secure an investment or a loan, then this is where you’ll explain how much funding you need and why. In addition, you want to explain how you will pay off your debt. Also include any information that would majorly impact your future financial situation, like plans to take the company public or sell the company.

Financial information. It might seem obvious, but in your financial projections you want to show that your business is strong. If you have an established business, this is where you’ll include cash flow statements, income statements and balance sheets as well as collateral that you could put up against a loan. You should also discuss how the business is being funded and your current costs. Also, make sure that the projections clearly match up to your funding requests, avoiding overreaching. This section of your business plan should also have some heft, possibly as long as 12 to 25 pages.

Some of the documents you should provide include:

  • Current financial data of all owners
  • Financial data from the past three years, such as balance sheets and profit and loss statements
  • A list of all your debt, including what you owe and to whom
  • A five-year forecast of income and expenses
  • A certification or review letter from a financial advisor saying that your information meets generally accepted accounting principles

Appendix. This section is for any supporting documents that can be used to support your plan statements. Consider including credit histories, the resumes of your staff or key leaders, product pictures, permits, patents or other relevant contracts.

Startup business plan template

For a startup business, it might be worthwhile to look at a less involved version of a traditional business plan. A popular one is the Business Model Canvas developed by Alex Osterwalder. The idea of the canvas is to explain your business model in a simple way to relevant parties, such as partners and potential investors.

Here are the main components of the Canvas model:

Key partnerships. Discuss the other businesses or services required to run your new business. This can include suppliers, contractors, manufacturers or other partners that are necessary for your company to operate.

Key activities. Format a list of how your business will gain an advantage in your industry through your chosen business model. You should highlight what makes your company more effective at reaching your target customer than your competitors.

Key resources. List your important business assets which may include staff, capital or intellectual property. These are the things that will make your chosen business model successful and help you deliver to your customer.

Value proposition. This is a good place to showcase your passion as well as your understanding of your market. You should make a compelling case for why a customer would choose you over the competition.

Customer relationships. Describe a customer’s experience working and interacting with your business. Address both customer acquisition and customer retention.

Customer segments. Explain who your customers are. You’ll want to give a clear sense of your target market and who is being served by your business. Be specific.

Channels. Describe how you will communicate with your customers and why those methods are effective. Most businesses use a mix of channels and optimize them over time.

Cost structure. Address how your company will reduce cost, maximize value and make money on your product or service. Be honest about the most significant costs that you anticipate facing.

Revenue streams. List all the revenue opportunities in your plan, including the product or service you're selling, advertising space for sale and membership fees.

See Also: Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here .

what should be included on a business plan

Subscribe to our newsletter, Midnight Oil

Expert business advice, news, and trends, delivered weekly

By signing up you agree to the CO— Privacy Policy. You can opt out anytime.

By continuing on our website, you agree to our use of cookies for statistical and personalisation purposes. Know More

Welcome to CO—

Designed for business owners, CO— is a site that connects like minds and delivers actionable insights for next-level growth.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce 1615 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20062

Social links

Looking for local chamber, stay in touch.

Customer login

Tax Pro login

Business tips

Learn How to Craft a Successful Business Plan (Even with No Experience)

10 Minute Read

Copy Article URL

Take the First Step in Learning How to Write a Business Plan, Even with No Experience

Antonio Del Cueto, CPA

May 8, 2024

what should be included on a business plan

Imagine your business as a spaceship blasting off into uncharted territory. It may sound exciting, but without a precise flight plan, that thrilling journey could end in a fiery crash. Similarly, most businesses don't fail because of bad ideas. They fail because they lack a clear roadmap.

This article will guide you through the process of crafting a business plan that's more than just numbers on a page. Learn the secret formulas that propel businesses from mere concepts to thriving realities.

what should be included on a business plan

Reimagining Traditional Business Plan Components

Executive summary with interactive elements.

Transform the executive summary into a dynamic experience using multimedia elements such as videos and interactive timelines. These components help demonstrate the business’s mission and goals, making it more attractive to would-be investors and potential customers.

Flexible Organizational Structures

Suggest designing an adaptable organizational framework that evolves according to strategic business needs and operational demands. This is especially beneficial for entrepreneurs who might need to navigate changes without a background in HR or traditional management.

Navigating Financial Management Without a Background

Simplified accounting tools.

For many new entrepreneurs, managing finances can feel overwhelming. Leveraging simplified digital accounting tools can significantly reduce this stress by automating most of the routine bookkeeping tasks. These tools are particularly beneficial for those without a financial background, making it easier to focus on other aspects of entrepreneurship.

  • Automation : Choose tools that automate entries for sales, purchases, and payroll transactions, ensuring accuracy and saving time.
  • User-Friendly Dashboard : Opt for software with an intuitive interface that simplifies financial tracking and report generation. This feature is essential for entrepreneurs who need to quickly access financial data without navigating complex menus.
  • Integration Capabilities : It’s important to invest in software that integrates with other business tools (e.g., inventory management systems, e-commerce platforms) to streamline all financial processes.
  • Scalability : As your business grows, you’ll need accounting software that can adapt to more complex financial demands without requiring a complete overhaul.

Further reading: Mastering Accounting for Tech Companies: The Ultimate Guide to Industry Accounting in the Technology Sector

Understanding business taxes.

A basic understanding of business taxes is essential for any entrepreneur, including those running a nonprofit or other types of organizations. Here are key elements your business plan should focus on:

  • Fundamental Tax Responsibilities : Clearly outline what taxes the business is liable for, such as income, payroll, and sales taxes. This information should be specific to your business's location and structure.
  • Maximizing Deductions : Include information on how to identify and claim relevant deductions to minimize tax liability. For example, if your business has significant equipment expenses or if you’re renting office space, you should know how these affect your taxes.
  • Seeking Professional Advice : While basic tax guides are helpful, consulting with a tax advisor or strategist can provide tailored advice that ensures compliance and optimizes tax benefits. This step is integral for complex situations or where the tax implications could significantly impact business finances.

Further reading: Maximizing Your Small Business Tax Benefits: 2023 Tax Year Strategies & New Reporting Changes

Budgeting made easy.

Budgeting effectively is a core skill every business owner should develop to ensure financial stability and facilitate growth. Here’s how to incorporate straightforward budgeting strategies into your business operations:

  • Expense Tracking : Start by categorizing expenses to track where every dollar is going. Categories might include rent, salaries, marketing, and web design. This clarity helps in making informed spending decisions.
  • Financial Forecasting : Use historical data to predict future spending needs and income . This is especially important for planning major investments or when scaling operations.
  • Regular Financial Reviews : Conducting regular reviews of your budget will help you stay on track and make necessary adjustments in response to financial performance or changing market conditions.
  • Budgeting Tools : Recommend specific budgeting tools that are designed for small business needs. These tools should provide visual representations of financial data, making it easier to digest and act upon.

Each of these sections should be detailed in the business plan to demonstrate a thorough understanding and proactive management of financial aspects. This approach not only helps in securing funding (e.g., from banks or venture capital) but also in managing day-to-day financial operations efficiently.

Building Strategic Partnerships and Collaborative Networks

Cross-industry alliances.

Engaging in cross-industry alliances is a strategic move that can drive substantial business growth and innovation. These partnerships leverage complementary strengths and resources, offering a multitude of benefits:

  • Innovation through Diverse Expertise : Combining knowledge and resources from different sectors can catalyze innovative solutions that neither partner could develop alone. For instance, a tech startup could collaborate with an established manufacturing firm to optimize production processes using advanced technology, resulting in a competitive edge in the market.
  • Access to New Markets : Each industry has its unique customer base. By forming alliances, businesses can bridge their offerings to new audiences. A successful example could involve a collaboration between a software development company and a telecommunications firm to introduce a new tech product to a broader audience, utilizing the telecom firm's extensive customer network.
  • Resource Sharing : Strategic partnerships allow for the sharing of critical assets such as technology, marketing channels, and expertise, leading to cost savings and enhanced product offerings. This might involve sharing R&D facilities or co-branding efforts for joint marketing campaigns.
  • Enhanced Credibility and Brand Perception : Partnering with reputable firms in other sectors can significantly boost a company's credibility and strengthen its brand image, attracting more customers and potential investors.

Documenting cross-industry alliances in a business plan must specify the objectives, expected outcomes, and the nature of the collaboration. Include specific information on how these alliances align with the business’ strategy and how they contribute to achieving the company’s goals.

Customer Involvement in Product Development

Integrate customer feedback into the product development process for aligning products with market needs and enhancing customer satisfaction. This strategy not only improves product-market fit but also fosters customer loyalty:

  • Direct Feedback for Better Products : Involving customers early in the development process ensures that the final product meets actual user needs and solves relevant problems. This can be achieved through methods like crowdsourcing ideas, beta testing new products, and incorporating user-generated content and suggestions into product design.
  • Build Customer Loyalty : Customers who participate in the product development lifecycle are more likely to develop a deeper connection with the brand, increasing their likelihood of becoming repeat buyers and brand advocates.
  • Agile Feedback Loops : Utilizing customer feedback during product testing phases allows for quick iterations and adjustments, greatly enhancing the product’s relevance and appeal upon launch.
  • Unlocking New Ideas : Customers often see different uses for a product or identify missing features that can lead to significant innovations, helping a company stay ahead of competitors.

The business plan must include a dedicated section outlining how customer feedback will be integrated into product development processes. This section should also include pricing strategies informed by customer input to ensure market competitiveness.

For businesses seeking funding or partnership, a well-crafted business plan is essential. Including sections like Cross-Industry Alliances and Customer Involvement showcases a comprehensive approach to strategic planning and market engagement.

For simplicity and clarity, especially when presenting to potential investors, consider summarizing key strategies in a one-page overview within the larger business plan. This not only highlights the strategic vision but also ensures that readers can quickly grasp the core elements of your plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Clarity is Key : Craft a clear, concise business plan to create financial projections and ensure a solid foundation.
  • Know Your Audience : Tailor your plan to engage stakeholders, addressing related topics like brand awareness.
  • Research Matters : Thorough market research strengthens your plan, supporting its solidity.
  • Financial Focus : Develop realistic projections for revenue and expenses to fortify your business plan.
  • Stay Adaptable : Flexibility is key to evolve strategies, including those for brand awareness, to maintain relevance.

How can Taxfyle help?

Finding an accountant to manage your bookkeeping and file taxes is a big decision. Luckily, you don't have to handle the search on your own.

At Taxfyle , we connect small businesses with licensed, experienced CPAs or EAs in the US. We handle the hard part of finding the right tax professional by matching you with a Pro who has the right experience to meet your unique needs and will manage your bookkeeping and file taxes for you.

Legal Disclaimer

Tickmark, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax or accounting advice or recommendations. All information prepared on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on for legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal, tax or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The content on this website is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.

what should be included on a business plan

Was this post helpful?

Did you know business owners can spend over 100 hours filing taxes, it’s time to focus on what matters..

With Taxfyle, the work is done for you. You can connect with a licensed CPA or EA who can file your business tax returns. Get $30 off off today.

Want to put your taxes in an expert’s hands?

Taxes are best done by an expert. Here’s a $30 coupon to access to a licensed CPA or EA who can do all the work for you.

Is this article answering your questions?

Thanks for letting us know.

Whatever your questions are, Taxfyle’s got you covered. If you have any further questions, why not talk to a Pro? Get $30 off today.

Our apologies.

Taxes are incredibly complex, so we may not have been able to answer your question in the article. Fortunately, the Pros do have answers. Get $30 off a tax consultation with a licensed CPA or EA, and we’ll be sure to provide you with a robust, bespoke answer to whatever tax problems you may have.

Do you do your own bookkeeping?

There’s an easier way to do bookkeeping..

Taxfyle connects you to a licensed CPA or EA who can take time-consuming bookkeeping work off your hands. Get $30 off today.

Why not upgrade to a licensed, vetted Professional?

When you use Taxfyle, you’re guaranteed an affordable, licensed Professional. With a more secure, easy-to-use platform and an average Pro experience of 12 years, there’s no beating Taxfyle. Get $30 off today.

Are you filing your own taxes?

Do you know if you’re missing out on ways to reduce your tax liability.

Knowing the right forms and documents to claim each credit and deduction is daunting. Luckily, you can get $30 off your tax job.

Get $30 off your tax filing job today and access an affordable, licensed Tax Professional. With a more secure, easy-to-use platform and an average Pro experience of 12 years, there’s no beating Taxfyle.

How is your work-life balance?

Why not spend some of that free time with taxfyle.

When you’re a Pro, you’re able to pick up tax filing, consultation, and bookkeeping jobs on our platform while maintaining your flexibility.

Why not try something new?

Increase your desired income on your desired schedule by using Taxfyle’s platform to pick up tax filing, consultation, and bookkeeping jobs.

Is your firm falling behind during the busy season?

Need an extra hand.

With Taxfyle, your firm can access licensed CPAs and EAs who can prepare and review tax returns for your clients.

Perhaps it’s time to scale up.

We love to hear from firms that have made the busy season work for them–why not use this opportunity to scale up your business and take on more returns using Taxfyle’s network?

Antonio Del Cueto, CPA

by this author

Share this article

Subscribe to taxfyle.

Sign up to hear Taxfye's latest tips.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to Taxfyle's Terms of Service , Privacy Policy , and am opting in to receive marketing emails.

Get our FREE Tax Guide for Individuals

Looking for something else? Check out our other guides here .

By clicking download, I agree to Taxfyle's Terms of Service , Privacy Policy , and am opting in to receive marketing emails.

File simpler.

File smarter., file with taxfyle..

2899 Grand Avenue, Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Copyright © 2024 Tickmark, Inc.

AICPA SOC 2 Compliant

The 5 Key Elements Of A Good Business Plan

22 January 2020

Although some Founders are sceptical about planning too far ahead for their businesses, preparing a solid business plan is necessary for many purposes.

what should be included on a business plan

As any founder knows, the only sure thing about running a growing company is change.

In fact, your business plan is perhaps the thing that will change most often throughout your entrepreneurial journey.

Although some Founders are sceptical about planning too far ahead for their businesses, preparing a solid business plan is necessary for many purposes, including, but not limited to:

  • Raising finance through investment;
  • Applying for a business loan;
  • Budgeting for the long and short term;
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of how your business works.

Perhaps even more important than preparing a business plan, is making sure that this is updated for each of the small and big changes that your company will go through as it grows and evolves.

Different companies require different types of business plan. Depending on your business model, your revenue structure and many other factors.

However, there are 5 elements of a business plan that are absolutely key to making sure that the reader understands how your company works and plans on growing.

Download our editable Business Plan Template

It includes a complete structure , detailed instructions on how to write each section and tips on how to tweak it for each specific use .

By submitting this form I understand and accept that Finerva will contact me and store my data according to the Privacy Policy & Terms.

1. Executive Summary

The Executive Summary represents the reader’s first impression of your business

The Executive Summary is the first section of your business plan, and also the last one you should write. It represents the reader’s first impression of your business . As a result, it will likely define their opinion as they continue reading the business plan.

A good Executive Summary includes key facts about your business such as:

  • Business & product description;
  • Current positioning & targeting;
  • Financial outlook & requirements;
  • Past and future achievements & goals.

However, the most important function that a great Executive Summary serves is communicating to the reader why they should read the rest of the business plan , and why you want them to.

2. Business Overview

After the Executive Summary, a business plan starts with a comprehensive explanation of what your business proposition is and how it relates to the market where your company operates.

In this section of the business plan, you should explain precisely:

  • what your company does;
  • what are its products or services;
  • in which market it operates;
  • who are its customers.

When describing your business, you should make sure to that the reader knows what kind of market environment your business operates in, but also how it can thrive in such an environment from a competitive point of view.

For some very niche or particularly innovative sectors, this may mean that you need to inform the readers about specific market dynamics .

In these cases, make sure that you clarify what is considered ‘the industry standard ‘ in your sector, the selling points that current players are competing on and how your business is positioned relative to them.

Make sure to include:

  • Your mission statement;
  • The philosophy, vision and goals of your company;
  • Your industry and target audience;
  • The structure of your business, detailing your customers, suppliers, partners and competitors;
  • Your products and services and the problem they solve;
  • Unique Selling Point(s).

If the company already has a well-defined product or service, this section can be divided into Company Description and Products & Services .

3. Sales & Marketing Strategy

This section of the business plan requires a deep understanding of your market space and how your business positions itself within its niche and competes with existing players .

Within your Sales & Marketing strategy, you should outline:

  • A definition of your target market – include its size, existing and emerging trends and your projected market share;
  • An assessment of your market – this should summarise how attractive your target market is to your company and why, Porter’s Five Forces or the more recent Six Forces Model are useful tools to define this;
  • Threats & Opportunities – you can use a SWOT Analysis to present these;
  • Product/Service Features – once you have thoroughly described your product/service, make sure to highlight its Unique Selling Points, as well as any complementary offerings and after-sale services;
  • Target Consumers – whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, it’s a good idea to include an ideal customer profile to describe exactly what niche(s) you are going to target;
  • Key Competitors – research and analyse any other players inside or outside your market whose offering might compete with you directly or indirectly;
  • Positioning – explain in a short paragraph how your company differentiates from your competitors and how it presents itself to your target niche;
  • Marketing Plan & Budget – outline the marketing and advertising tactics you will use to promote your business, giving an overview of your brand and of the communication elements that support it;
  • Pricing – explain how your pricing strategy fits within the competition and how it relates to your positioning;

A very common mistake that should be avoided is writing that you have no competition. Instead, you should show your efforts in researching your competitors and assessing how they could threaten your business .

4. Operations & Management

This section gives you the opportunity to explain to the reader how your company does things differently .

The people and processes that are allow your business to operate on a daily basis are the key to your competitive advantage . In fact, they help you build a better product, deliver it more efficiently or at a lower costs. Your Operations & Management must be able to successfully realise what you ‘promised’ in the previous sections.

Here, you must demonstrate how much you know about your business, so don’t leave out any relevant detail. Be concise but thorough, focus on two main points:

  • Production or Service Delivery;
  • Quality Control;
  • Credit policies;
  • Legal environment;
  • Organisational Structure – this is an overview of all the people involved in your business and their position in relation to each other. You should detail the experience of the existing team, as well as the roles that haven’t been filled yet. Include advisors and non-executive directors . Investors and banks will also look at this section to get an idea of salary costs. As these are normally a significant cost centre, don’t overestimate your staff needs.

5. Financial Plan

Your Financial Plan is possibly the most important element of your business plan . This is especially true if the business plan is aimed at investors or lenders.

This section includes projections, budgets and goals that are unique to each business. In particular, you should focus on explaining the assumptions on which you based your forecasts , more than on the forecasts themselves. Every good Financial Plan will include:

  • 12-month Profit & Loss Projection – A month-by-month forecast of sales, operating costs, tax and profits for the following year. Sometimes three years.
  • Cash Flow Statement & Forecast – This financial statement tracks the amount of cash that leaves or enters the business at any given time.
  • Breakeven Analysis – This is a cornerstone of your business plan. Here you should show what level of projected sales allows the business to cover its costs.
  • Capital Requirements – This point is fundamental as it shows investors what their money will be spent on. It should contain a summary of all the expenses for big purchases and day-to-day running costs.

The Financial Plan is usually followed by the Appendices. Here you should include detailed spreadsheets and calculations used to prepare the financial statements.

We help Founders write a solid business plan by supporting them with financial planning and forecasting .

Request a call to find out how we can help you.

The information available on this page is of a general nature and is not intended to provide specific advice to any individuals or entities. We work hard to ensure this information is accurate at the time of publishing, although there is no guarantee that such information is accurate at the time you read this. We recommend individuals and companies seek professional advice on their circumstances and matters.

what should be included on a business plan

Business Exit Planning

15 February 2023

Pre-exit planning accelerates the sale process, increases the likelihood of a successful business sale, and maximises the value received at closing.

White Paper : Exit, Leadership, Strategy, Tech and Valuation

Sign up for I am a Founder News

Join our community of 4,000 + Founders, Entrepreneurs & Advisors. Refreshingly simple financial insights to help your business soar.

By submitting this form I give permission for Finerva to contact me. Privacy policy.

What to Include in Your Business Plan Appendix

Overlapping files, folders, charts, graphs, and documents. Represents the information included in a business plan appendix.

Candice Landau

4 min. read

Updated May 10, 2024

While not required, a well-structured business plan appendix goes a long way toward convincing lenders and investors that you have a great business idea and a viable business.

This article will cover what to include in your appendix and best practices to make it a useful part of your business plan . 

  • What is a business plan appendix?

A business plan appendix provides supporting documentation for the other sections of your business plan .  

The appendix typically comes last and includes any additional documents, spreadsheets, tables, or charts that don’t fit within the main sections of your plan. 

What goes in the appendix of a business plan?

In general, here is some of the information you might include in your business plan appendix:

  • Charts, graphs, or tables that support sections of your business plan
  • Financial statements and projections
  • Sales and marketing materials
  • Executive team resumes
  • Credit history
  • Business and/or personal tax returns
  • Agreements or contracts with clients or vendors
  • Licenses, permits , patents, and trademark documentation
  • Product illustrations or product packaging samples
  • Building permit and equipment lease documentation
  • Contact information for attorneys , accountants, and advisors

You may include some, all, or none of these documents in your appendix. It depends on your business needs and who you share your business plan with. 

Similar to your executive summary , adjusting what’s in your appendix may be helpful based on the intended audience.

Brought to you by

LivePlan Logo

Create a professional business plan

Using ai and step-by-step instructions.

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

Business plan appendix best practices

Here are a few tips to help you create an appendix that supports your business plan.

Make it easy to navigate

If your appendix is more than a few pages long or contains a variety of documents, you may want to consider adding a separate table of contents.

Don’t forget security

If you share confidential information within the business plan appendix, you will also want to keep track of who has access to it. 

A confidentiality statement is a good way to remind people that the content you share should not be distributed or discussed beyond the agreed parties. You can include it as a separate page or as part of your business plan cover page .

Make the appendix work as a separate document

Given that the appendix is the last part of the business plan, it’s quite likely your readers will skip it. 

For this reason, it’s important to ensure your business plan can stand on its own. All information within the appendix should be supplementary. 

Ask yourself: if the reader skipped this part of my plan, would they still understand my idea or business model ? If the answer is no, you may need to rethink some things.

Connect the appendix to sections of your business plan

Make sure that anything you include in the appendix is relevant to the rest of your business plan. It should not be unrelated to the materials you’ve already covered. 

It can be useful to reference which section of your plan the information in your appendix supports. Use footnotes, or if it’s digital, provide links to other areas of your business plan.

Keep it simple

This is good general advice for your entire business plan. 

Keep it short. 

You don’t need to include everything. Focus on the relevant information that will give your reader greater insight into your business or more detailed financial information that will supplement your financial plan.

Free business plan template with appendix

Remember, your appendix is an optional supporting section of your business plan. Don’t get too hung up on what to include. You can flag documents and information you believe are worth including in your appendix as you write your plan . 

Need help creating your business plan? 

Download our free fill-in-the-blank business plan template with a pre-structured format for your appendix. 

And to understand what you should include based on your industry—check out our library of over 550 business plan examples .

Business plan appendix FAQ

How do you write an appendix for a business plan?

Gather relevant documents like financial statements, team resumes, and legal permits. Organize them logically, possibly mirroring your business plan’s structure. If long, include a table of contents, ensure each item is relevant, and focus on keeping it simple. If you’re sharing sensitive information, add a confidentiality statement.

Why is a business plan appendix important?

An appendix provides supporting evidence for your business plan. It keeps your main plan more concise, enhances credibility with additional data, and can house all-important business documents associated with your business.

What additional information would appear in the appendix of the business plan?

The following can appear in your appendix:

  • Financial projections
  • Marketing materials
  • Team resumes
  • Legal documents (like permits and patents)
  • Product details (like prototypes and packaging)
  • Operational documents (like building permits)
  • Professional contact information. 

LivePlan Logo

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Candice Landau

Candice Landau is a marketing consultant with a background in web design and copywriting. She specializes in content strategy, copywriting, website design, and digital marketing for a wide-range of clients including digital marketing agencies and nonprofits.

Start your business plan with the #1 plan writing software. Create your plan with Liveplan today.

Table of Contents

  • What goes in the appendix?
  • Best practices
  • Free template

Related Articles

what should be included on a business plan

10 Min. Read

How to Write a Competitive Analysis for Your Business Plan

The 10 AI Prompts You Need to Write a Business Plan

24 Min. Read

The 10 AI Prompts You Need to Write a Business Plan

what should be included on a business plan

How to Set and Use Milestones in Your Business Plan

what should be included on a business plan

How to Write the Company Overview for a Business Plan

The Bplans Newsletter

The Bplans Weekly

Subscribe now for weekly advice and free downloadable resources to help start and grow your business.

We care about your privacy. See our privacy policy .

Garrett's Bike Shop

The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.

LivePlan pitch example

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

what should be included on a business plan

Business plan concept flat illustration vector template stock illustration

Understand How to Use a Business Plan to Attract Talent and Investment

By Drew Moffitt • May 12, 2024

Understanding the purpose of a business plan is paramount for any entrepreneur or business owner. It lays the groundwork for successful operations and growth by defining goals, charting strategies, and preparing for financial needs. This article shows how a business plan can be your blueprint for success—structuring your vision, aligning your team, and communicating your value proposition to stakeholders and investors.

Key takeaways

  • A business plan is a critical strategic document that outlines long-term goals, provides direction, and is linked to faster growth in small businesses; it is vital for companies of all sizes to navigate their industry successfully.
  • Effective market analysis including industry, target audience, and competitor evaluations, is crucial in a business plan to guide marketing and sales strategies, adapt to customer preferences, and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Financial planning within a business plan involves detailed forecasts and assessments of funding needs, which are essential for informed decision-making, attracting investment, and guiding startups through their initial financial challenges.

The essence of a business plan

Business plan target with team discussion to achieve target goals with to do list task and calendar icon

A business plan is more than a formality; it’s the lifeblood of strategic vision and long-term success. It’s a strategic guide that paints a clear picture of your company’s future, outlining the vision, goals, and strategies that are the heartbeat of your entrepreneurial dreams. 

Crafting this plan is not just an exercise; it’s a foundational step in the business planning process that can significantly increase the likelihood of your business’s success. It sets critical long-term goals and paves the way forward. In essence, a well-crafted business plan embodies your business concept.

Owners of small businesses, especially existing businesses, who embrace comprehensive business planning experience a remarkable 30% faster growth, a testament to the tangible benefits of meticulous strategizing and the guidance of a business consultant.

Mapping out your business journey

Consider a business plan as your company’s roadmap, a detailed chart that guides your every move and provides a refuge in times of uncertainty. It’s the tool that compels you to think through your business idea meticulously before committing significant investments, ensuring that every step you take is calculated.

Whether you’re a vibrant startup seeking funds, a well-established corporation, or a large conglomerate adapting to market changes, a good business plan is your ally in navigating the business waters. For established companies, business plans help maintain a sharp focus on both immediate tasks and distant horizons, ensuring that every member of the team knows the direction and the destination. Recognizing the importance of this tool, many entrepreneurs often find themselves thinking, “I need a business plan.”

Startups, especially the growing number working remotely , need strongly aligned team and leadership planning to ensure harmony when it comes to scripting the business plan.

Clarifying vision and strategy

Your business plan’s executive summary is the beacon that shines light on your company’s mission or vision statement, value proposition, and long-term goals, ensuring everyone from the executive team to the stakeholders is aligned and focused on core objectives. It’s a strategic document that directs long-term decisions, covering a span of three to five years, offering a bird’s-eye view of the entire business and laying out clear goals essential to avoid wasting time and resources.

The ‘Summary and Objectives’ section of your business plan acts as a clarion call, providing direction and inspiring action towards achieving those milestones. For those working remotely , it can highlight the value of the remote proposition, and their efficiency compared to traditional businesses. 

The power of market analysis

Businessman Plan Strategy and Business Meeting to Carry out the New Project Concept stock illustration

Embarking on the business journey without a thorough market analysis is like sailing without a compass. Collaboration apps like Kumospace enable you to gather data, discuss market changes and create your plans. 

The analysis is the cornerstone of your business plan, laying the foundation for carving out a niche and informing all subsequent marketing and sales strategies. It’s a trifecta of industry, target market, and competitive analysis, offering a panoramic view of the business terrain.

By recognizing trends and the market’s trajectory, your business becomes equipped for:

  • Predictive planning
  • Strategic agility
  • Adapting strategies as customer preferences evolve
  • Identifying competitive advantages

This allows you to stay ahead of the curve and make informed decision-making processes for your business.

Identifying your target audience

A target market analysis is your lighthouse, confirming the existence of a viable customer base for your product or service. It’s about understanding if potential customers will purchase at a price that fuels your business’s prosperity. By identifying who your customers truly are, you gain insights into their preferences, behaviors, and demographics, ensuring that every marketing dollar spent is a targeted arrow aimed at hearts ready to embrace your offerings.

Evaluating competitors and industry dynamics

Competitive analysis is the reconnaissance mission that informs you where your business stands in the grand scheme of the industry. It involves gathering intelligence on competitors’ sizes, market shares, and financial strengths, and crafting a map that reveals your competitive landscape. By understanding the dynamics of your industry, you can anticipate challenges and tailor your business plan to circumvent potential threats, ensuring a journey that’s as smooth as possible.

Financial planning and projections

Clipboard with Infochart Presenter with Document stock illustration

Financial planning is the rudder that steers your business toward fiscal prudence and stability. It encompasses the contemplation of:

  • Funding costs
  • Operating expenses
  • Projected income
  • Crafting a financial summary that lays bare your business’s economic reality

By dissecting the core financial statements - the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Cash Flow Statement - you gain a comprehensive understanding of your business’s financial health, which is indispensable for informed decision-making.

Estimating costs and revenue streams

Technology today offers sophisticated tools that help visualize and forecast expenses over time, sharpening the precision of your financial predictions. Automated procurement tools are the allies that aid you in identifying cost-saving opportunities, contributing to more accurate future cost projections.

For startups, financial projections are a beacon, guiding them through the rocky shoals of capital needs and focusing less on other elements like marketing or company culture at the outset. Resource planning is the linchpin in your business plan for budgeting purposes, ensuring that your financial resources are managed efficiently, and teams operate within parameters to meet or exceed goals.

Determining funding needs

When it comes to sourcing capital, your business plan is the golden ticket, revealing to investors and lenders the treasure map of how their capital will be deployed to ensure your business thrives. 

Banks and venture capital firms often regard a business plan as a litmus test, gauging the potential of their investments and lending opportunities. A formal business plan reflects serious commitment, and it is your declaration of dedication, not just to potential investors but to yourself as the architect of your business’s destiny.

For the new venture, raising capital provides a crystal-clear direction, helps cast a net to attract investors, and is the drumbeat that maintains business momentum. To calculate the necessary funding, determining the exact amount needed and how it will be allocated is crucial for effective capital utilization.

Crafting a winning marketing strategy

Presentation of inventory business performance indicators stock illustration

A winning marketing strategy is the wind in your sails, aligning your marketing activities with the overarching business objectives and ensuring a smooth journey toward your destination. It’s about fine-tuning the actionable steps of your marketing tactics, which must be crystal clear in your marketing plan to avoid drifting aimlessly.

A well-articulated marketing strategy enhances your business’s understanding of its customers and polishes the lens through which you communicate your value proposition. Organized marketing teams, armed with clear marketing strategies, are the explorers who are most likely to find success in their campaigns.

Positioning Your Brand

Brand positioning is the flag you plant that tells the world who you are and what you stand for. It’s an essential part of your business plan that can significantly impact customer perception and loyalty. You achieve it by crafting clear value propositions and maintaining consistent brand messaging that resonates with your audience.

By understanding the demographics, income ranges, education, occupation, location, lifestyle, and purchasing motivations of your customers, you can hone your brand positioning strategies to create a lasting impression.

Selecting the right marketing tactics

Selecting the right marketing tactics requires a deep dive into your target audience's psyche and discerning the channels they frequent. Your marketing strategy, which includes choosing the appropriate tactics, should reflect your brand’s position, singing in harmony with your target audience’s needs while aligning with your company’s goals and budget.

Building a strong team

Vector of a multiethnic group of diverse people standing together stock illustration

A strong team is the crew that propels your ship forward, and building such a team is pivotal for any successful business. A business plan infused with passion and a clear vision can attract high-quality employees and inspire management and staff long after the hiring process is complete. It serves as a strategic roadmap for staffing needs, ensuring there is a clear plan for when to recruit and train new team members to avoid personnel shortages and guarantee smooth operations during expansion periods.

Attracting top talent

A well-developed business plan acts as a beacon to potential top talent, showcasing the company’s anticipated future and overarching goals, which are critical in attracting individuals looking for vision and growth. Top talent is drawn to companies with a compelling vision of success, effectively communicated through a detailed and strategic business plan.

The CEO’s commitment to the business plan and ability to articulate its realization lend reassurance to skilled individuals, influencing their decision to join a company that aligns with their aspirations and professional goals.

Aligning team goals and objectives

By sharing the business plan with team members, you ensure that everyone is rowing in the same direction towards the same objectives, fostering unity and purpose within the team. A business plan serves as a compass, clearly outlining the company’s objectives and enabling each team member to navigate their role toward a shared destination.

Engaging and empowering employees is crucial to achieving the strategic changes and objectives set forth in the business plan.

Adapting to change and growth

Business planning blueprint stock illustration

Change is the sea upon which businesses sail, and adapting to it is essential for maintaining a competitive edge and supporting business growth. Your business plan should evolve to reflect accomplished goals or shifts in company direction, ensuring the capability to respond to market shifts and seize new business opportunities. You can ensure your company remains agile and competitive by staying open to new business ideas.

A strategic plan that contemplates possible market scenarios and integrates technological advancements empowers businesses to adapt swiftly, preserving their competitive edge.

Embracing market shifts and opportunities

Embracing market shifts and opportunities is about cultivating a culture that views change as a chance to thrive, enhancing adaptability and resilience within the organization. Promoting agility and flexibility in the organizational structure allows for a quicker response to market changes, ensuring that your business is not left behind in the wake of industry evolution.

Regularly revising the business plan keeps a company in step with customer demand and market dynamics, fostering a readiness to pivot and provide more details when needed, especially in a lean startup environment.

Planning for expansion and scaling up

When charting a course for expansion and scaling up, it’s essential to tailor your business plan to address new challenges and opportunities that arise, with updated sales forecasts and financial projections guiding the allocation of resources and growth strategy.

For example, a business plan for acquisition should include cost estimations, integration schedules, and management requirements to ensure seamless growth and addition to the current operations.

As our journey through the anatomy of a business plan concludes, it’s clear that this document is much more than a set of written pages. It manifests your vision, a treasure map to untold success, and a strategic companion in the ever-evolving business landscape. From clarifying your entrepreneurial vision to outlining comprehensive market analyses, ensuring financial stability, crafting a winning marketing strategy, and building a formidable team to adapting to growth and change, the business plan stands as your navigator.

Let this be the wind that fills your sails, pushing you to set forth on your business voyage with a well-crafted business plan in hand. May it guide you to new horizons and inspire the confidence to pursue the success that awaits. Happy sailing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a business plan important for new businesses  .

A business plan is important for new businesses as it provides a strategic guide for the company's vision, goals, and strategies, and helps attract investors and raise capital. It serves as a roadmap for success.

How does a business plan help in market analysis?  

A business plan helps in market analysis by identifying profitable niches, informing marketing strategies, and providing insights into industry trends and competitive advantages.

What role does financial planning play in a business plan?  

Financial planning in a business plan is essential for estimating costs, projecting income, and ensuring financial stability by managing resources effectively.

How can a business plan attract top talent?  

By presenting a clear and compelling vision of the company's future and indicating a commitment to growth and success, a business plan can attract top talent who are seeking meaningful opportunities. This is a key factor for attracting skilled individuals. Using innovative tools like Kumospace for collaboration can also help a startup stand out. 

In what ways can a business plan be adapted for growth?  

To adapt a business plan for growth, it's important to customize it to address new challenges and opportunities, update sales forecasts, and lay out financial projections to guide expansion effectively.

Transform the way your team works from anywhere.

A virtual office in Kumospace lets teams thrive together by doing their best work no matter where they are geographically.

Headshot for Drew Moffitt

Drew leads marketing at Kumospace. Prior to joining Kumospace, he spent his career founding and operating businesses. His work has been featured in over 50 publications. Outside of work, Drew is an avid skier and sailor. A wholehearted extrovert, he organizes VentureSails, a series of networking events for founders and tech investors.

Suggested posts

Preview image for post: Kumospace Acquires Kosy Office

Posted by Yang Mou on August 16, 2023 Yang Mou • August 16, 2023

Kumospace Acquires Kosy Office

Preview image for post: Wave Goodbye to Wonder, and say hello to Kumospace: a seamless transition for your virtual event needs

Posted by Rad Aswani on June 6, 2023 Rad Aswani • June 6, 2023

Wave Goodbye to Wonder, and say hello to Kumospace: a seamless transition for your virtual event needs

Preview image for post: 15 Fun Virtual Games to Play with Groups Online

Fun & Events

Posted by Drew Moffitt, Sophia Kercher on February 13, 2023 Drew Moffitt, Sophia Kercher • February 13, 2023

15 Fun Virtual Games to Play with Groups Online

Preview image for post: Boost Employee Performance with Workplace Wellness Programs in 2024

Posted by Kyla Mintz on April 28, 2024 Kyla Mintz • April 28, 2024

Boost Employee Performance with Workplace Wellness Programs in 2024

Transform the way your team works..

IT Services

How to build a scalable IT budget

Ben Brigden - Senior Content Marketing Specialist - Author

How much business could your business do without IT?

These days, “none” is far and away the most common answer.

Yet many organizations struggle with how to approach spending and budgeting related to IT. Information technology may be the backbone of a business, but it usually isn’t front and center in strategic discussions and high-level decision-making. And whatever spending is happening, the budgeting process underneath it often doesn’t scale well.

We know that IT budgets are growing: 57% of CIOs expected their IT budgets to increase last year. An effective IT budget is about more than just spending more money. It’s about spending that money wisely — and determining how much money should be spent on IT in the first place.

How often should an IT budget be evaluated?  

Blog post image

Many organizations with established IT budgeting procedures evaluate that budget yearly. 

Why yearly? Because the process can be lengthy, involving numerous stakeholders and significant amounts of documentation. And the larger your organization, the more complex this business process gets. It’s not uncommon for the evaluation process to take months, so it’s impractical to shorten the budget lifecycle.

For IT services firms supporting clients in the IT budget evaluation and creation process, a yearly cycle can prevent overburdening your team and allow you to stagger clients throughout the calendar year.

Resource thumbnail

Easy client management for IT Services teams

Learn how Teamwork.com helps IT Services teams to optimize workstreams, automate manunal tasks, and securely centralize their client operations.

Discover Teamwork.com

Who should be involved in the process?   

Keeping the right stakeholders involved in the IT budgeting process helps ensure that the budget is holistic (covering everything necessary), realistic (within the company’s overall financial means), and well-managed (administered and allocated responsibly).

The personnel involved should include any of the following, where they exist:

Chief information officer (CIO)

Chief financial officer (CFO)

IT managers, IT directors, IT department heads

IT project managers and project leads

Representatives from major divisions/departments

If the organization has a project management office (PMO), that group should also play a role.

It’s worth noting that entities outside the CIO and IT domains play an increasing role in IT budgeting as the process gets democratized across lines of business. Teodora Siman, an IDC research manager , elaborates:

“We’re seeing more influence come from outside of IT, where the CIO orchestrates technology across the business, and [technology decisions] are a collaborative conversation with business leaders who are focused on outcomes and customer-centricity.”

Resource thumbnail

Spin up web projects faster

Our free website project planning template helps you keep track of timelines and smash your goals.

Use template

  • Key items to include in an IT budget

Organizations differ in where certain expenses fall in the budget, but most IT budgets should include at least these five areas:

Physical employee equipment: IT money is used to purchase laptops, desktops, printers, phones, networking equipment, servers, and other hardware.

Staff salaries: Employees within the IT department or division are typically paid out of the IT budget

Cybersecurity, backup, and disaster recovery (DR): Preventive expenditures here help to hedge against disasters, natural or otherwise.

Infrastructure and maintenance: Money is allocated to repair and upgrade devices and infrastructure and to pay for ongoing IT infrastructure operational costs (internet access, cloud services, software licenses, etc.).

IT project management: IT project management costs that are not accounted for in your overall project management budget should appear here.

How to plan a budget that serves the future of the organization  

Blog post image

Planning an IT budget can be relatively simple for a startup or small professional services firm, a massive months-long process at an enterprise level, or anywhere in between.

Whatever the size and scope of your IT budget planning, we’ve boiled the process down to six key elements. Below, we’ll provide clear, concise planning tips to help you create an IT budget to propel your organization forward.

Assess the current landscape (internal and external)

One key strategy for planning is considering the context around your IT budget. Is business booming? Is your industry more broadly in flux? Are you growing (and if so, how quickly)? Or is this a year where it’s clear the purse strings need to tighten?

And what about the technology landscape? We aren’t necessarily seeing quantum leaps in computing power at the individual user or device level. But consider the capabilities of AI and machine learning to churn through data or for generative AI to enhance workflows and extend human capacity.

Any successful IT budget needs to be grounded in these realities. They inform how much is likely to be available and what sorts of changes that budget needs to accommodate.

Integrate business objectives and cross-department goals

Next, remember that your IT budget isn’t an island or a destination. It’s a way to achieve goals and objectives. So make sure your budget doesn’t live in a silo. Instead, it should be built atop existing business objectives and priorities. 

Including business objectives and cross-departmental goals in budget planning ensures that your IT division is growing with, not against, the broader organization. By building your IT budget around the business’s core objectives, you can avoid unnecessary spending on IT projects that don’t further the mission.

This improves the organization’s financial health, affects employee morale and effectiveness, and can even advance market competitiveness. 

Resource thumbnail

Buyer's Guide for Professional Services Automation

Compare the top PSA platforms, see a detailed breakdown of key features, and get advice from industry experts on how to trial, shortlist, and onboard PSA successfully.

Read the guide

Set clear guidelines for expense categories

One principle is consistent for any kind of budgeting: the more clarity, the better.

It’d be preposterous to lump your entire IT budget into a single line item: you need to know where the money’s going more specifically than that. But true clarity requires more than a few vague expense categories. You’ll need to get as specific as possible and set clear guidelines with team members on what expenses go where.

With clearer and more numerous expense categories, it will be easier to understand IT spend after the fact, helping you create progressively more accurate IT budgets year after year.

Consider flexible purchase options

IT costs can be inconsistent and spiky: it’s easy enough to plan for an upgrade cycle on PCs for your workforce, but the cost of replacing a server is a different beast. Big technology investments are sometimes needed, and the larger your organization scales, the more unwieldy these IT expenditures can become.

So, as you plan your IT budget, consider flexible purchasing options for your IT investments, including fair market value leases, consumption-based billing, and installment payment agreements.

This is one reason so many organizations are turning to the cloud: procuring your computing and software needs from a cloud provider tends to flatten out these spikes. Managed IT service providers can provide a similar cost-leveling function, and in the right situations, this business model can deliver notable cost savings alongside better IT support and the broad expertise needed to meet diverse IT needs.

Use KPIs to monitor effectiveness

Next, make sure to track the effectiveness of your IT budget processes by tracking the right metrics. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help here, but the trick is finding the KPIs that deliver the right information in the right way.

For example, IT project team efficiency , on-time project completion percentage, average hardware age, software utilization rate, and a few dozen other measures could all be helpful — but not all are helpful all the time. 

Which KPIs are right for monitoring budget effectiveness depends on what your business is trying to achieve. Cost savings, increased efficiency, greater accuracy, and better customer responsiveness are all fantastic priorities, but they may compete against one another in some ways. 

So first, you must establish which priorities take precedence. Only then can you select the KPIs to help you measure progress on those priorities. 

Educate stakeholders about IT spending

Last, make sure you continually educate stakeholders in the IT budget about how spending works in IT. You’ll be working with people across a spectrum of specialties and skill sets, and not everyone will be a financial or IT expert. 

It’s up to you to invest in these stakeholders. By teaching them about the mechanisms for IT spending (such as those flexible purchase options), your budgetary goals, and the tools you’ll use to measure success, you’ll garner better support and get more useful feedback.

Manage your IT projects and budgets effectively with Teamwork.com 

For a successful overall IT strategy, businesses and IT leaders must prioritize the IT initiatives that best fit a company’s business goals and strategic needs — while staying within appropriate levels of IT spending.

Because while digital transformation is key to continued growth, it’s neither easy nor inexpensive.

For most professional services firms, managing IT projects and budgets well requires understanding and adhering to the business’s strategic plan and creating a technology roadmap that supports the overall business strategy. It also demands the ability to plan, visualize, strategize, organize, and ultimately execute projects well.

Teamwork.com is project management software that’s perfect for IT project management — including IT budgeting projects.

Resource thumbnail

The only all-in-one platform for client work

Trusted by 20,000 businesses and 6,000 agencies, Teamwork.com lets you easily manage, track, and customize multiple complex projects. Get started with a free 30-day trial.

Try Teamwork.com for free

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • How often should an IT budget be evaluated?
  • Who should be involved in the process?
  • How to plan a budget that serves the future of the organization

Ben Brigden - Senior Content Marketing Specialist - Author

Ben is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Teamwork.com. Having held content roles at agencies and SaaS companies for the past 8 years, Ben loves writing about the latest tech trends and work hacks in the agency space.

what should be included on a business plan

8 types of IT projects and their business impact

what should be included on a business plan

8 new IT challenges businesses face in 2024

what should be included on a business plan

The definitive guide to website project management

what should be included on a business plan

The ultimate guide to creating a web design workflow

what should be included on a business plan

How IT project managers succeed with project management software

what should be included on a business plan

12 Web Dev Projects for Beginners & Intermediate

Parking and Transportation

Fleet services newsletter, may 2024, wex card’s expire on 5/31 – time to pick-up your new card .

WEX fuel credit card swaps have been slow so far, we still have a lot of new cards to give out. If you have not yet picked up your new card please make a plan to do so. All you need to do is bring your old card to our office and we will swap it out. The current cards expire at the end of May. Cards can be exchanged Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

New Decals for University Healthcare Vehicles

As part of the  new branding initiative of UI Healthcare, Fleet Services will be updating the decals of all healthcare vehicles. The process began on May 6 th , is ongoing, and should be complete in the next 6 months. The plan is to swap for the new branded decals at each vehicle’s next service appointment. 

Who is Considered a Pedestrian in Iowa?

Current law in Iowa defines a pedestrian as a person specifically on foot and does not include people in wheelchairs, riding scooters/skateboarding, or cyclists. Lobbyists and advocacy groups like, AARP Iowa, and the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center pushed to make the language of the law more inclusive. Late last week Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new law that changes the meaning of a pedestrian. The new definition adds some language and now includes “ a person using a pedestrian conveyance”   in addition to a pedestrian on   foot. A pedestrian conveyance is any human-powered device a pedestrian may use to move or move another person. It also includes electric motored devices as long as they produce less than 750 watts. The bill goes into effect on July 1st.  Check out the full article from CBS .

Driving in a Tornado – How to Stay Safe

Never try to outrun a tornado. According to AccuWeather, tornados can travel very quickly and do not follow road patterns. If you are driving and a tornado develops it is best to try to find shelter in a sturdy building. When there is no shelter nearby, experts recommend staying in your car, secured using your seat belt, putting your head down below the window, and covering your head with your hands or a blanket if you have one. If you can safely get to a low-lying area such as a ditch or ravine, basically lower than the roadway, then exit the car and lie down in the area and cover your head with your hands or use a protective covering like a blanket or tarp. Also avoid taking shelter under an overpass. The winds are higher in these openings and flying debris can still get to you. Check out the full article on tornado safety . 

Real ID – New Deadline to be Enforced

There is a new deadline for Real ID, it is now May 7, 2025. Just a little less than a year away. If you fly commercially or need access to federal facilities you will need a REAL ID or another federally approved ID like a passport. Take a look at the Iowa DOT’s info page . Please note, it can take up to 30 days to receive your REAL ID in the mail so plan ahead.

Fleet Services Severe Weather Protocol

When severe weather pops up and the sirens go off, we lock our doors and evacuate to the CAMBUS Maintenance Facility until we get the all-clear. If you have a reservation scheduled to pick up during a severe weather event, please call our office ahead of time. Our phones will be forwarded to a manager’s cell phone, and they will give you instructions to get your vehicle. We will also leave a sign on our door, so you know where we are.

Honest Mikes Used Cars

Vehicle sale season is on-going and we have a nice variety of vehicles at auction now and coming soon. Check out our GovDeals auction page to view what we currently have listed.

Fleet Factoid

According to Consumer Affairs, Louisiana is the state with the most incidents of road rage. To come up with their ranking, CA analyzed data on aggressive driving, rates of speeding/careless driving, tickets, accidents, fatalities, and traffic incidents involving gun violence, and assigned each state a “Road Rage” score. Iowa was ranked 39 th and New Hampshire was 50 th , having the nicest drivers. Check out the full article from Consumer Affairs . 

Coeur d'Alene Press Home

Life insurance should enhance, not thwart your estate plan

Life insurance is a valuable tool to protect your family, and potentially your business interests after your death. Your estate plan is the collection of legal documents that include directions about what should happen to your assets upon your death. Your estate plan could include either a Last Will and Testament or a maybe a Living Trust. One of the most common problems I discover when I review existing planning with clients or potential clients is the failure to coordinate the outcome of a will or trust and the outcome of life insurance proceeds. Let’s examine some of the potential problems this can create so that we can avoid them.

First, I regularly find that clients have all of their children named as the beneficiaries of their estate through a will or trust if their spouse does not outlive them, but their life insurance policy does not list their children as back-up beneficiaries. Or, perhaps the policy only lists one of their several children as beneficiary. This could be done purposely (perhaps one child is meant to receive all of the life insurance proceeds but will not receive as much as the other children from the other assets of the estate). More often, however, the life insurance beneficiaries have been named without any thought or understanding about the bigger picture of how the rest of the estate will be divided. This can lead to one or more children receiving a much larger share of inheritance than the others (which is perfectly fine if that is your intent, but you don’t want this to happen just because of poor planning). 

A nightmare scenario can occur in a blended family/second marriage situation where life insurance beneficiaries were never updated after a divorce, prior spouse’s death, or other life event changes. Whether or not an ex-spouse or ex-stepchildren can collect a life insurance payout after a divorce can be a very complicated legal question that will turn on multiple factors. These factors can include the terms of the policy, what state the policy was issued from, what state the couple lived in, what state the decedent died in, and the terms of the divorce decree. Figuring all of this out and fighting about it in probate court can easily cost thousands of dollars. That’s great for the attorneys involved, and bad for everyone else.

Another common problem I see specifically impacts clients who have living trusts set up in order to avoid the need for an estate to go through probate court after death. This issue occurs when the spouses have named one another as the primary beneficiary on a life insurance policy but have not listed anyone as the contingent or “back-up” beneficiary on the policy. When the second death occurs between the spouses (or if the spouses die simultaneously) there is no back-up beneficiary listed to claim the proceeds from the insurance company. In most policies this will result in the insurance company paying the proceeds of the policy to the “estate of the decedent.” So, what is so bad about that? Well, in this situation, the “estate of the decedent” means the deceased policy owner’s Probate Estate, NOT their trust. This means even though the deceased couple had gone through the cost and effort of setting up a trust to avoid having their estate go through probate, we will still have to go through a probate to deal with the life insurance proceeds. 

A final problem I see too often occurs when a will or trust sets certain rules or limitations on the distribution of inheritance for a beneficiary requiring the beneficiary to reach a specific age, or accomplish a certain life goal (usually education, or a perhaps period of time sober, etc.) before the beneficiary can directly receive their inheritance. The problem here occurs when a life insurance policy names that same person as a beneficiary of the life insurance proceeds. Those proceeds will be paid directly to that beneficiary without application of any of the prerequisite rules the policy owner established in their will or trust (because life insurance proceeds are not subject to the terms of a will or a trust). 

The good news is that all of these problems are avoidable with a little bit of good planning. A good estate planning attorney will do more for you than simply type up a few legal documents. Planning involves forward thinking, an understanding of the law, and a good view of the big picture. That’s what I offer when I help a client plan their estate. You should require nothing less. 

My law firm is currently offering free electronic, telephonic or in-person consultations concerning creating or reviewing estate planning documents and coordinating your planning with life insurance and retirement accounts.

Robert J. Green is an Elder Law, Trust, Estate, Probate, & Guardianship Attorney and the owner of Kootenai Law Group, PLLC in Coeur d’Alene. If you have questions about estate planning, probates, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, guardianships, Medicaid planning, or VA Benefit planning, contact Robert at 208-765-6555, [email protected], or visit  www.KootenaiLaw.com . 

This has been presented as general information and not as legal advice. Do not engage in legal decision-making without the advice of a competent attorney after discussion of your specific circumstances.

Share This Story

COMMENTS

  1. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  2. Write your business plan

    Common items to include are credit histories, resumes, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts. Example traditional business plans. Before you write your business plan, read the following example business plans written by fictional business owners.

  3. Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One

    Business Plan: A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business, usually a new one, is going to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written plan from a ...

  4. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It's also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. After completing your plan, you can ...

  5. Business Plan: What it Is, How to Write One

    Learn about the best business plan software. 1. Write an executive summary. This is your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services your ...

  6. How to Write a Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Sell your business and explain why it matters. Additionally, supplement your sell with a high level summary of your plan and operating model. However, don't go over one or two pages. Feel free to include the following as well: Business Name. Key Employees. Address.

  7. 13 Key Business Plan Components

    13 Key Business Plan Components. We've built a comprehensive guide to the major parts of a business plan for you. From elements like the executive summary to product descriptions, traction, and financials, we'll guide you on all of the key sections you should include in your business plan. December 14th, 2022 | By: The Startups Team | Tags ...

  8. How to Write a Business Plan (Tips, Templates, Examples)

    1. Executive Summary. While your executive summary is the first page of your business plan, it's the section you'll write last. That's because it summarizes your entire business plan into a succinct one-pager. Begin with an executive summary that introduces the reader to your business and gives them an overview of what's inside the ...

  9. What is a Business Plan? Definition + Resources

    A Harvard Business Review study found that the ideal time to write a business plan is between 6 and 12 months after deciding to start a business. But the reality can be more nuanced - it depends on the stage a business is in, or the type of business plan being written. Ideal times to write a business plan include: When you have an idea for a ...

  10. How to Write a Business Plan (Plus Examples & Templates)

    How to Write a Business Plan Step 1. Create a Cover Page. The first thing investors will see is the cover page for your business plan. Make sure it looks professional. A great cover page shows that you think about first impressions. A good business plan should have the following elements on a cover page:

  11. The 10 Components of a Business Plan

    Above all, the numbers should help answer why your business can do it better. 4. Competitive Analysis. A good business plan will present a clear comparison of your business vs your direct and indirect competitors. This is where you prove your knowledge of the industry by breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

  12. 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)

    Here are some of the components of an effective business plan. 1. Executive Summary. One of the key elements of a business plan is the executive summary. Write the executive summary as part of the concluding topics in the business plan. Creating an executive summary with all the facts and information available is easier.

  13. How to write a business plan in 12 steps (2024 edition)

    How to write a business plan. Make sure you cover each of the following steps when preparing your document: 1. Write an executive summary. This section of your business plan should be 1-2 pages in length and enables potential financiers or partners to get an overview of what your business does and - most importantly — what the opportunity ...

  14. Business Plan

    A business plan is a document that contains the operational and financial plan of a business, and details how its objectives will be achieved. It serves as a road map for the business and can be used when pitching investors or financial institutions for debt or equity financing. A business plan should follow a standard format and contain all ...

  15. 10 Important Components of an Effective Business Plan

    Effective business plans contain several key components that cover various aspects of a company's goals. The most important parts of a business plan include: 1. Executive summary. The executive summary is the first and one of the most critical parts of a business plan. This summary provides an overview of the business plan as a whole and ...

  16. What Should a Business Plan Include?

    1. Executive Summary. The executive summary outlines the whole plan. You start with a clear introduction of who you are, what you sell, and what your ambitions are as a business. This section includes your mission statement, product description, and the basic overview of your company's structure. It should also include your financial plans.

  17. A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Business Plan

    To understand what should be included in a business plan, you have to understand who the plan is for and what stage of your business you're in. If you'll be taking a business plan to a financial institution as part of a loan application, you're going to want a more traditional plan. These tend to be on the longer side and should be as ...

  18. Learn How to Craft a Successful Business Plan (Even with No Experience

    The business plan must include a dedicated section outlining how customer feedback will be integrated into product development processes. This section should also include pricing strategies informed by customer input to ensure market competitiveness. For businesses seeking funding or partnership, a well-crafted business plan is essential.

  19. The 5 Key Elements Of A Good Business Plan

    However, the most important function that a great Executive Summary serves is communicating to the reader why they should read the rest of the business plan, and why you want them to. 2. Business Overview. After the Executive Summary, a business plan starts with a comprehensive explanation of what your business proposition is and how it relates ...

  20. What to Include in Your Business Plan Appendix

    In general, here is some of the information you might include in your business plan appendix: Charts, graphs, or tables that support sections of your business plan. Financial statements and projections. Sales and marketing materials. Executive team resumes. Credit history. Business and/or personal tax returns.

  21. Business Plan Executive Summary Example & Template

    Bottom Line. Writing an executive summary doesn't need to be difficult if you've already done the work of writing the business plan itself. Take the elements from the plan and summarize each ...

  22. What Should You Include in a Business Plan?

    Include the following to have a comprehensive company description: Your company's legal structure (corporation, dual proprietorship) A short history of your company. A short overview of your company's business operations. The demands your company meets for customers. A list of your company's products, services, current customers and suppliers.

  23. Understand How to Use a Business Plan to Attract Talent and Investment

    For example, a business plan for acquisition should include cost estimations, integration schedules, and management requirements to ensure seamless growth and addition to the current operations. Summary As our journey through the anatomy of a business plan concludes, it's clear that this document is much more than a set of written pages. It ...

  24. How to build a scalable IT budget

    Key items to include in an IT budget. Organizations differ in where certain expenses fall in the budget, but most IT budgets should include at least these five areas: Physical employee equipment: IT money is used to purchase laptops, desktops, printers, phones, networking equipment, servers, and other hardware. Staff salaries: Employees within the IT department or division are typically paid ...

  25. Fleet Services Newsletter, May 2024

    The plan is to swap for the new branded decals at each vehicle's next service appointment. Who is Considered a Pedestrian in Iowa? Current law in Iowa defines a pedestrian as a person specifically on foot and does not include people in wheelchairs, riding scooters/skateboarding, or cyclists.

  26. Life insurance should enhance, not thwart your estate plan

    Life insurance is a valuable tool to protect your family, and potentially your business interests after your death. Your estate plan is the collection of legal documents that include directions ...

  27. 7 Things Your Social Media Plan Should Include

    That's why we're offering a free Zoom webinar called 7 Things Your Social Media Plan Should Include. You'll learn 7 practical things you should be doing to grow your business with social media. Register. Most business leaders feel overwhelmed when using social media to grow their business. Business leaders have to decide which platform ...