Strategic Business Plan Outline for Small Business
Do you know how to start a business plan outline? Here is a small business plan outline sample you can use.
The significance of a business plan to a business is similar to that of a driver to a vehicle. Without a driver, the car would not move. This article therefore focuses on a standard business plan outline with the aim of guiding business owners and investors on what a good business plan should contain. Although all the important steps and guidelines to writing a business plan are provided, proper implementation rests solely with the business owner/investor.
A well prepared business plan in most cases wins the much desired funding from investors and financial institutions. But before this, a thorough study of the business plan is carried out to see if the contents are valid and if there is a future for the business. Yes! The future of a business can be seen from the business plan. Therefore, a shabbily written business plan will most certainly result in a haphazard business. This is why it becomes necessary to commit every resource to ensuring that the business plan is well written. This simple business plan outline gives the necessary guidance.
Writing a standard business plan requires planning. By planning, we mean a painstaking process of brainstorming, organizing and implementation. During the brainstorming session, the type of business and how the business should be organized is carefully thought out. The resulting ideas from the brainstorming session and then organized in an orderly manner to eliminate confusion. The implementation process has to do with the writing of these plans, using this standard business plan outline as a template. Let’s jump to the details of this standard business plan outline;
The Executive Summary
Just as the name suggests, the executive summary is a summary of the entire business plan. It is usually advised that the executive summary should not be written first, but should instead come last so as to capture or summarize the entire business plan. Caution should be exercised here, as a shabbily written executive summary may result in the entire business plan being rejected. Whenever a business plan is being reviewed by lenders or investors, this section draws the most interest.
Because it is a summary of the business, anything short of the required content can immediately put off the investor or borrower, as the viability of the enterprise can be seen from here. Here, the contents should include the target market, the needs being satisfied by the business, the financial projections, and the marketing strategies. This section should also contain the origin of such business. It should be compelling enough to hold your reader’s attention.
The Products and Services
A standard business plan should contain the products and services offered by the business. Because businesses are mostly structured to satisfied customer needs, the type of need should be stated alongside the products. The products should be elaborately described as to encourage an explicit imagination of the product. Same should be extended to the product. The products and services speak volumes about the business; hence, special focus should be given to clearly defining them.
The Target Market
To effectively compete, a standard business plan should provide the most essential details of its target population/market. It may include such factors as the demographic spread of the target population, customer choices, the segment of the population (either households, the youth, the elderly, or corporate organizations) etc. This is part of the requirements a standard business plan should contain.
Competition (Competitive Advantage)
Identifying competition is vital to the success of the business. Knowing your competition enables the business to identify the strengths as well as the weakness of its competitors, and take full advantage of this. This brings us to the competitive advantage of the business. Competitive advantage comes only after the competition has been fully identified.
The marketing plan exposes the marketing strategies to be adopted in attracting higher sales and increased patronage. It also includes the various marketing tools to be used. Some of these may include the internet, social media, promotion, the publicity and advert strategies among several others. To write a small business plan, this is a necessary part.
This may consist of a team of professionals who are highly skilled as well as non professionals with low skills. The roles each of these plays in the success of the business should be clearly stated. The expertise or skill level of each of employee should be captured. This includes the employees specific role/roles in the business.
The Financial Plan
The entire business rests or is supported by the availability of cash. The financial plan covers this aspect, as the cash flow of the business is adequately captured. From the cash flow, It can be immediately detected if a business will face funding challenges or not. It is also a way of gauging how well a business is doing financially. Here, the sales projection, the balance sheet, and the break-even should all be captured. This is a strong requirement for any standard business plan.
This standard business plan outline provides the needed guidance on writing a good business plan with minimal difficulties. Following the format provided, this standard business plan outline can greatly contribute to producing a well-written business plan.