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The following are recommended components of your business plan, although the order in which you write and present these sections can be subject to change: You may want to include supporting documents to back up statements or decisions you've made. These supplemental materials might include resumes of your managers, credit reports, copies of leases or contracts, or letters of reference from people who can attest that you are a reputable and reliable business person.Build in metrics to your business plan so that you can use the document internally to help manage your business going forward.
It's one of the first documents that a loan officer will want to see.
In addition, an angel or venture capital investor will want to not only see and read the plan before providing funding, but they'll try to poke holes in your business plan and quiz you about things you should have addressed.
For the purpose of financing, you may add certain sections to your business plan, including background and historical information about the business and a description of the management team leading the organization.
"Show investors how they are going to make money," Berry says.
How to Write a Business Plan: Reasons to Write a Business Plan For those of you just starting a business, writing a business plan is a crucial first step.
It can help you describe your product or service, detail your marketing strategy, and lay out your sales and operational forecasts—including the ever important cash-flow projection so as to keep your business on track for profits.The reason is that each business is unique and, therefore, each business plan should be a unique document to be truly worthwhile to the business.A business owner should also be fully invested and fully aware of every aspect of the plan.We share it with the team constantly, but it is never done," says Tim Berry, president and founder of Palo Alto Software, maker of Business Plan Pro software, who blogs at "When your business plan is finished, your company is finished."The following pages will help you understand why you should write a business plan, components to include in a business plan, and how to use the plan internally to meet your business goals.It's a way that different people can work together on a team," Berry says. Humans like to have a way to measure themselves and track their own progress toward goals rather than being completely subject to someone's guess later as to how they've done."There are scores of websites these days on the Internet that offer to sell business plans for or more, designed to let you enter your company name and specifics and generate a plan.These are about as valuable as the paper they're printed on, says Berry.That said, there are some general guidelines and structures that most business plans should follow.Lay out the text simply using an easy-to-read font, in an obvious outline, with a table of contents and topic headers.This is the exit strategy."If you're developing a plan involving a business loan, then your lenders are going to want something slightly different.They will want to see a section detailing collateral, or assets to pledge against the loan.