Writing a business plan can be confusing for first-time entrepreneurs. Our sample outline provides you with a skeleton framework for writing a solid and well-crafted business plan.

Writing a business plan can be confusing for first-time entrepreneurs. Our sample outline provides you with a skeleton framework for writing a solid and well-crafted business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary offers a succinct overview of your business plan, condensed into a few paragraphs. Write this last or you’ll end up writing your plan to suit your summary rather than the other way round.

Company outline

The company outline should include a range of information about your firm including a full history and details of its first few years, its legal establishment and current legal status, why the company was set up and any other relevant background information that may prove important.

Market strategies

This section provides extensive information on your target market, demographic and how your products fit into this market. You’ll need to demonstrate knowledge of where your customers are located, how you’re going to locate and appeal to them, and why they’re going to buy from you.

Competitor analysis

Outline what you have learnt about your competitors and how this information will be used to drive operational efficiency. You may wish to discuss ways in which you have avoided mistakes made by your competitors or ways in which you’ve learnt positive techniques from your competitors which you’ll use to meet your own goals.

Management team

This section gives key information on the key players in your business, specifically design-makers who will implement the measures outlined in the business plan. You may wish to include professional backgrounds, any academic or professional qualifications and areas of relevant interest.

Design and development strategies

This outlines the types of products and services you offer and how these benefit your customers, as well as chart their development and marketing with milestones highlighted. You may wish to include a budget for development which can be linked to the more in-depth financial data revealed in the Finances section. You may wish to also talk about any unique selling points that differentiate your products from competitors or focus on how your products fit into your target market.

Operations and management plan

The operations and management section outlines the company’s logistical operations such as delegation of responsibilities between individuals and departments, and the relative resource-intensity of separate projects/operations. In most cases you’ll need to supply financial tables including an operating expenses table and a cost of goods table.

Finances

This section is often the most time-consuming; you may need an accountant to help prepare the figures. Outline profit and loss accounts, cash flow, balance sheets, business ratios, one to three year revenue expectations, break-even analysis and any other key financial data that may have an impact on your bottom line in the short and long-term.