Business Plan Table of Contents
Executive Summary…A one page capsule summary of your plan that highlights the most important elements. It must contain the following descriptive (in brief summary form) paragraphs…
- Mission Statement
- The Business
- The Product/Service
- The Market
- The Financial Requirements
- The Staff
- The Opportunity & Objectives
Funding Requirements…Tell the banker or investor exactly what you need, when you need it, how it will be secured, and how it will be repaid.
Situation…The status of things now. This sets the stage for the business plan to unfold. In one sentence bullet format, describe the national situation of your industry, the regional situation, the local situation, the product or service situation, and your situation. Don’t say what you will do. Just say what is or what was. The facts. Just the facts.
Opportunity…In one sentence bullet format, talk about the opportunities presented by the situation.
Objectives…In one sentence bullet format, talk about the opportunities presented by the situation and the opportunities. You may want to have a separate page for Specific Goals to be Achieved.
History & Existing Programs…A one page description and history of the company. Include a brief explanation of the status of existing products or services offered. If you manufacture or distribute something, describe it here. If you have inventory, you may want to consider a separate page to discuss cost, backlog and turnover.
The Big Idea, Product or Service…The heart of what this plan is structured around. This is the page you sell your concept, business, scheme or process. Be brief, and have a strong lead in and exit. It must have impact.
Company Niche…Where do you fit in the total marketplace? How are you different? Who will you be serving that others have overlooked? Where will you fill needs that others have not?
Customer Profile...A description of who you will serve or who will buy your product (business types or people types). Describe the characteristics that make them candidates to buy. Show how many of them there are.
Customer Services…What special services or service are you providing to your customers that separates you from others?
Suppliers…Who will you be dealing with, and how is the flow of supplies and product assured? If you get big orders, can you deliver?
Trends…What are the trends in your industry? Where do you fit into and embrace the future of your industry?
Profitability & Operational Plan…Nuts and bolts.
- How will your business operate?
- Where are the profit centers?
- How will you monitor and ensure their profitability?
- How will you identify, attract and sell your target audience?
- What tools will you need?
- What percentages of your business will come from what product?
- What percentages of your business will come from what customer?
- How will you make those goals become reality?
- What role will the CEO play and what will his specific sales goals be?
- Who are you up against?
- What are their strengths?
- Where are they vulnerable?
- How do you match up?
- What are your tactical advantages?
- How will you address their strengths?
Financial Statements – Past…Balance sheets and income statements for at least the past two years.
Financial Projections – one year/three years…Present the most realistic projections you can come up with. If your sales are made before your cash is collected, you must show sales in a separate area from collections (cash in) to present a fair and honest picture of cash flow and profitability. Be prepared to explain this projection sheet to everyone, especially the banker.
Break-even Analysis – this year…Same as the projection sheet except that a lower number of sales are projected to get closer to the survival point.
Use of Proceeds…A breakdown of how the money you seek to raise will be spent. List the equipment, supplies, inventory, advertising, and operating capital. You don’t need detail, but the list must be complete.
Management…A capsule biography of the key players. Stress related experience that will support the opportunities for your business to succeed.
Summary…Recap the ten most important aspects in the success factors of this plan. Emphasize key benefits and support from outside sources.
Exhibits…An area that contains supporting evidence which substantiates everything you’ve said in the main body of the plan.
Purchase Orders, Patents, Trademarks…If applicable, copies of face only.
Support Article or Evidence…The bigger the publication, the stronger the evidence. Get two if possible. Other evidence…brochures, ad copies, marketing pieces. Be selective.
Local and National Articles…Not as strong as national, but good if you or one of your customers are the subject.
Customer Letters of Support…The bigger the names, the more credibility.