What needs to be in your business plan?
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The length and content of your business plan can vary depending on the nature and complexity of your business, as well as the audience you are targeting.
There is no specific mandated length for a business plan, but it’s generally best to keep it concise and focused while providing all the necessary information.
A typical business plan can range from 15 to 30 pages, but some may be shorter or longer.
Having set up my own businesses and assisted many others on the setting up of theirs I have picked up a few tips on what makes a good business plan.
Here is a handy framework to help you determine the appropriate length for your business plan.
This section should be a concise overview of your entire business plan. It should be brief, usually no more than two pages. The summary is a high-level overview of the key points and highlights of the business plan to follow.
The primary purpose of an executive summary is to provide busy executives, stakeholders, or readers with a quick understanding of the main ideas, findings, recommendations, or proposals contained within the document without having to read the entire document.
Provide an overview of your business, its history, mission, and vision. Don’t go too in depth here – overview is key! This section can typically be 1-2 pages.
Discuss your target market, industry trends, competition, and market research findings. A market analysis is a crucial component of a business plan that provides a detailed examination of the market in which a business operates.
It involves gathering and analysing information about the industry, target market, competition, and other factors that can impact the success of the business.
The primary purpose of a market analysis in a business plan is to help the business owner or entrepreneur make informed decisions about their product or service, marketing strategies, and overall business strategy.
Marketing and sales strategy
Describe your marketing and sales plans, including your target audience, marketing channels, and sales tactics. The marketing and sales strategy section of a business plan outlines how a company intends to promote, sell, and distribute its products or services to its target market.
This section can range from three to five pages. It is a critical component of the business plan, as it demonstrates how the business plans to attract customers, generate revenue, and achieve its growth objectives.
Of course, I would always advise speaking with a marketing team in order to ensure you have a clear and detailed marketing strategy from the start.
Products or services
Explain in detail what you offer, your unique selling points, and how your products or services meet customer needs. 2-4 pages are usually sufficient.
Introduce the key members of your team, their roles, and their qualifications. This section can typically be 1-2 pages.
Discuss your day-to-day operations, production processes, and logistics. This one is self – explanatory really but it’s important to cover all the areas of your business in a concise way. This section can vary but is often 2-4 pages.
Include financial projections, such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
The financial plan section of a business plan is crucial for providing a detailed overview of the financial aspects of your business. It demonstrates the viability and sustainability of your business model and helps investors, lenders, and stakeholders understand the financial implications of your business strategy.
This section may be five-10 pages, depending on the complexity of your financial model.
Include any additional information, such as charts, graphs, market research data, resumes of key team members, and other supporting documents. This section can vary in length.
Remember that the key is to provide enough information to convince investors, lenders, or stakeholders that your business is viable and has a solid plan for growth, but not to overwhelm them with unnecessary details.
Tailor the length of your business plan to the needs of your audience and the complexity of your business. It’s also for you of course, to have a clear plan from the start of your business helps with knowing exactly where you want to take it.
Remember it’s not set in stone, it can be adapted as you grow and change as a business.