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The Anatomy of a Business Plan

Written business plans are as varied as the companies that compile them.


Some plans run almost hundred pages whereas others barely fill a few sheets. some plans start with the executive summaries and others plunge right into the detailed descriptions of products and services. Some companies printed business plans on paper and some published their plans exclusively on the web. Some plans include page after page of financial projection, and others list only anticipated costs, expected revenues and projected profits.


Every business plan is written for a different reason and to obtain a different outcome; still, some plans are better than others. 


The following information will help you write a plan that will win high marks, or in many cases Investments!


Business plan contents from beginning to end

Business plans come in all shapes, sizes, formats - even colours - but they all share a similar framework. Let us look at the components presented in the order they generally appear, are common elements in most business plans:


Table of contents

This element is a guide to the key sections in your business plan and is especially useful if your plan exceeds 10 pages.


Executive summary

This section is a summary of key points in your business plan. You should incorporate it if your plan runs more than 10 pages and you want to convey important information upfront. because many readers dig no deeper than your executive summary, you may want to keep it clear, captivating and concise - In fact, try to keep it to less than 2 pages.


Company overview

This section describes your company and the nature of your business. It would include your company's mission and vision statements as well as descriptions of your values, your products or services, where is your company is unique, and what business opportunities give plan to seize.


Business environment

This section includes and analysis of your industry and the forces at work in your market; and in depth description of your direct and potential competitors; and a close look at your customers, including who they are, what they want, and how they buy products or services.

Think of this section in this manner - it describes everything that affects your business that is beyond your control!


Company description

In the section, include information about your management team, your organisation, your new or proprietary Technology, your products and services, your company operations, and your marketing potential.

 Focus on Areas where you have real advantages over your competition.

Company strategy

Here's where you detail your roadmap to the future :)

This section brings together the information about your business environment and your company's resources and then lays out a strategy for going forward. In this section, your analysis of the opportunities threats and uncertainty is that your business faces along with the ways you plan to avoid pitfalls and take advantage of those opportunities is also included.


Marketing plan

This section is where you describe how you plan to reach prospects, make sales, and develop a loyal clientele because customers and sales are essential to your company's success, this section is a major component of your business plan.


Financial Review/Projection

This section includes a detailed review of dollars and cents, including the state of your current finances and what you expect your financial picture to like in the future.

 It typically contains financial statements, including an income statement, your balance sheet, and a cash flow statement.


Action Plan

In this section, you will detail the steps involved in implementing your business plan, including the sequence of actions and how they align with your goals and objectives.


Annexures

This section may include detailed information that support your business plan. It could include analysis, reports, surveys, legal documents, product specifications, and spreadsheets that deliver a rounded understanding of your business plan but which are of interest to only a small number of your readers.


Not all the business plans include all the components listed. In fact, you will not find a Textbook example of written business plan.


That is why I have not given you any rigid business plan model in the article. 

Instead, I will share with you the information on how to develop each of the major components, advice on how business plans tends to work for different kinds of businesses, and ways you can organize and present materials in your written plan in my future articles.


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