Like first introductions, your Executive Summary is the first glimpse the lender has of you and your company. It should be short, factual and informative. It should include the following and be no more than a page or one and one-half pages in length. It should include:
a description of your company
the product or service you provide
the unique opportunity your company is offering
how much money you are seeking
how you will pay it back and when
Table of Contents is a list of the major sections and subsections you may wish to include in your business plan. This list can be used in two ways:
As you begin writing, use this list to organize your thoughts and ideas into general categories
Use it a general reference to select headings when you create your final Table of Contents page.
Since every business plan is unique, you should use the Table of Contents as it refers to your particular business plan.
Table of Contents
Company Description-should outline your company’s basic background information and business concept. Explain in general terms who you are and what you do. Be sure the following information is included:
Product/Service Description-one of the most important parts of your business plan. It’s your chance to clearly explain your products or services, identify their features and benefits, and discuss what needs or problems they address in the marketplace. Be sure to include:
Description of your product/service
Advantages of product/service
Marketing Plan-Every good marketing plan has three (3) major parts:
a definition of your target market-It’s critical to clearly identify your target market in your business plan; investors expect it. Tell about your customers and describe their defining characteristics including; age, gender, geographic location, income bracket and buying similarities.
a detailed marketing plan-After you define your target market, you need to determine specifically how you will reach them. Outline the details and steps necessary to reach potential customers and convert them from prospects into paying customers. It is important to demonstrate to investors that you have identified specific marketing avenues to effectively sell your product or service.
a description of your competition-The competitive analysis section of your business plan is an objective overview and comparison between your company and your competitors. Begin by identifying your direct and indirect competition, what and you much they sell (in units and dollars), the number of years they have been in business and their market niche. Outline the strengths and weaknesses of each of you competitors from an unbiased perspective.
Operations Plan-The operations plan deals specifically with the internal operations and equipment necessary to produce your product or service. It should include:
Property Ownership/Lease Terms
Management Plan-Many investors base their entire investment decision on the management team behind the business. Investors expect a well-rounded team of professionals with experience in every function critical to the business. Your management section should clearly describe who each person is, why he or she is on your team, and what each person will do. This should include (if applicable):
Board of Directors/Advisors
Financial Plan-Your financial plan will be highly scrutinized by your business plan reader. All the ideas, concepts and strategies discussed throughout your entire business plan form the basis for, and should flow into your financial statements and projections in some manner. Financial statements and projections should follow Generally Accepted Accounting Standards and must (at a minimum) include:
one year by month sales (or projections if a new business)
cash flow statement
personal financial statement
Appendices to include:
Three (3) years of personal or business tax returns
accounts receivable/payable reports (if already in business)
business location site information (lease, traffic counts, etc.)