Standard Business Plan Outline [Sample]

Standard Business Plan Outline Template for Business

A business plan is an important determinant of how successful your business is going to be. When you fail to plan for your business, then you are already setting up yourself for failure. This is why it is absolutely necessary to have a business plan on ground before you start a business.

The first step to take in creating a business plan is drafting a standard business plan outline. A business plan outline is a brief summary of the main ideas the business plan is going to talk about. It highlights the main points that the business plan is going to cover.

A standard business plan outline is like the plan of the business plan. It helps gives you an overview of how the business plan is going to look like when it is done and helps to plan ahead and get all the necessary information you’ll need for the business plan.

So, for your business not to fail, you need to write a business plan and for you to write a viable business plan, you will first have to draft a standard business plan outline. A lot of people don’t know how to draft a standard business plan outline that will highlight all the essential details that is required.

If you are one of them, then you need not to worry because I am here to help you out. In this article, I am going to write a standard business plan outline that you can use as a template in drafting yours.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

It is essential for a standard business plan outline to have an executive summary. An executive summary is the general summary of the whole idea in the business plan. Some of the points that must be addressed in the executive summary include:

  • The Vision and Mission of the Business.

This talks about why you want to start the business, the direction you want the business to go and how you plan to arrive at that direction.

  • Your Offerings

This entails what you intend to offer your target market. It should be about the problem your business intends to solve for its potential customers, what makes your solution unique and how the problem will be solved in a way that your prospects will subscribe to.

  • The Target Market

This is a brief explanation about your target market. Who they are, their demographic and behaviour, why they will buy from you etc.

  • The Founder(s)

This should briefly explain who is/are the founder(s), their experience and qualifications and how these are going to help the business.

  • Financial Projections

This is a brief summary of the business financial plans. It addresses the expenses needed to start the business, how it is going to be spend and how it is going to be raised. It also talks about the revenues that the business is expected to generate and how it will be dispensed.

BUSINESS OVERVIEW

A standard business outline must highlight the business overview which is the overview everything that the business is about. Some of what should be contained in this section of a business plan are:

  • Brief history of your business.

This should explain how the business was started, what inspired you to start it, the date the business was established etc. Basically, it is about the what, why, who, when, where and how of the business

  • Legal Structure

This should explain the legal structure of your business- is it Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation or Limited Liability Company? It should also explain why you choose the legal structure for your business and how it is beneficial to your business.

  • Industry Overview

This should explain the industry your business is, why you choose that industry and how you plan to penetrate into that industry and establish a formidable business there.

  • The Team

This should talk about both the internal and external of your business workforce and even your board of directors,

PRODUCT AND SERVICE DESCRIPTION

This is a section of a standard business plan that specifically highlight and clearly describe the features and the benefits of your products in such a simple and precise way that your prospect will not find difficult to grasp. Here are some of what should be in your business product and service description:

  • The list of the varieties of products/services your business is offering
  • A detailed but simple description of everything your product or service is about
  • The highlights of the features of your product or service and how they will benefit the customers.
  • The uniqueness of your product/service- what it has that your customers cannot from other similar products in the market.
  • The solution your product/service is offering and how the customers will derive satisfaction from it.

MARKET ANALYSIS

A standard business plan outline ought to have a detail market analysis. A market analysis is the analysis of the market your business is operating in. This should include:

  • The market size

This should talk about the size of the market and how it will facilitate the growth of your business. It should also pinpoint the opportunities offered by the market that your business can take advantage of.

  • Market trends

This is about identifying the different changes that is happening in the market and the effects they are having on your business.

  • PEST Analysis

The PEST Analysis is a simple but very effective way of analyzing the market trend. It is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors that influences change in the market. In using PEST in analyzing the market trends, you will need to research on role of the roles they are playing and the effect they are having on the market.

  • Competitive Analysis

This should explain who your competitors are, what they are doing, the effect both positive and negative effects they have on your business and the edge you have over them. A good way to your competitive analyzing is by using SWOT Analysis.

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Strength. Find out and analyze your competitors’ areas of strength, weakness, opportunity and threat. This will help you to focus on the loopholes in the business of your competitors that you can leverage on instead of contending with them in their areas of opportunity and strength.

MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGY

An effective marketing and sales strategy is the backbone of every successful business. This explains why a standard business plan outline is not complete without it. The section shows how you going to market your products and services and generate recurrent sales.

Your marketing and sales strategy should outline the product or service you want to sell, who you want to sell it to, why you want to sell it to them, where and how you will sell it to them.

FINANCIAL PLAN

If you want business investors to take you serious, then you must include a financial plan in your business outline so that it can meet up to standard. This section should carefully detail the financial plans you have for every aspect of the business. It should contain the business budget and cash flow statements, assets and liabilities, expenditures and sales, revenue, profit made, and the sources of funding the business.

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