All entrepreneurs and business owners should have a business plan. The very process of developing your plan helps you understand they type of business you’d like to build, and the action plan which you will need to follow.
However, there’s only one time when EVERY entrepreneur and business owner develops a business plan. That’s when they need to raise funding. Since virtually all lenders and equity investors require a formal business plan.
To help you out, below is my proven business plan template detailing the 11 key sections to include in your plan.
1. Cover Page
As simple as this seems, include a cover page with your contact information so potential investors can easily reach you.
2. Executive Summary
If investors don’t like your Executive Summary, they won’t read any further, so this section is critical.
Concisely describe what your business does and what market need it solves. Of critical importance, describe your “unique success factors,” which are the 4-7 reasons why your business will be successful.
Also show your topline financial projections and amount of money you are seeking to raise here.
3. Company Overview
In this section, give a profile of your company. Answer questions such as where you are located, when you were formed, and what is your legal entity form.
Also discuss the stage of your company: what successes has your company already achieved?
4. Industry Analysis
In the Industry Analysis section, you will detail the market in which you are competing, how large it is, and what trends are affecting it.
5. Customer Analysis
Here you will identify who your target customers are and their needs. Get as specific as you can with regards to the demographic and psychographic make-up of your customers.
6. Competitive Analysis
In this section, identify your competitors and their key strengths and weaknesses.
Importantly, identify your competitive advantages, that is, why you can be more successful than the others.