Business plan contents

May 12, 2009

Many people have asked me for a template for a business plan and I have to answer, ‘there isn’t one’. Think about it, every business is different. They have different markets and market niches and are run by different people with different skills and levels of skills. How could you have a template? However, a better way of thinking about a business plan is that it is not one plan, but a collection of smaller plans and they key to making the business successful is to get the smaller plans to ‘hang together’ into one coherent action plan. In any business plan there will likely be the following sub plans:

A management plan
A operations plan
A marketing plan
A sales plan
An administration plan
A financial plan
An implementation plan
With an executive summary at the start

There may well be other sub plans relating to your specific business. The management plan outlines who is responsible for different aspects of the business, what their skills are and also a plan to address weaknesses. The operations plan outlines how the products/services/programmes will be put together, assembled, delivered etc. The marketing plan outlines the broad market segments applicable to your business and the market niches that you best fall into. The sales plan outlines what processes, techniques etc your business will adopt when dealing with clients on a one-to-one basis. Administration is vitally important and it is essential to get your systems set up early and correctly. The financial plan outlines projected sales, expenses, breakeven sales, cash flows forecast and trading statement, balance sheets etc. The implementation plan is useful at the start as it allows you to draw up a time line for your activities and allows you to prioritise your action. The executive summary is the last thing written but the first thing to appear in the document. There may be other sections for you to address separately.

Thinks about a business plan as having these different elements and then ask yourself how you can blend these different plans into one coherent action plan for your business. The ‘hanging together’ is a key element in a successful business plan and eventually, a successful business.


One Response to “Business plan contents”

  1. […] click on the links in Hains’ blog.  Also Check out Ken Germaine’s article title “Business Plan Contents” (discussing the need for a tailored business plan for each individual business).  […]

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