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Top 10 Components of a Business Plan

Components of a Business Plan

Whether you’re planning to open a shop that makes the best coffee  or you want to sell eco-friendly office supplies, you’ll need to explain why your business is necessary and how it’ll differ from its competitors. That’s where your business plan comes in. It provides investors, lenders and potential partners with an understanding of your company’s structure and goals. If you want to gain the financial autonomy to run a business or become an entrepreneur, a financial advisor can help align your finances.

1. Executive Summary

Your executive summary should appear first in your business plan. It should summarize what you expect your business to accomplish. Since it’s meant to highlight what you intend to discuss in the rest of the plan, the Small Business Administration suggests that you write this section last.

A good executive summary is compelling. It reveals the company’s mission statement, along with a short description of its products and services. It might also be a good idea to briefly explain why you’re starting your company and include details about your experience in the industry that you’re entering.

2. Company Description

A company description includes key information about your business, goals and the target customers that you want to serve. This is where you explain why your company stands out from other competitors in the industry and break down its strengths, including how it offers solutions for customers, and the competitive advantages that will give your business an edge to succeed.

3. Market Analysis

This is where you show that you have a key understanding of the ins and outs of the industry and the specific market you plan to enter. Here you will substantiate the strengths that you highlighted in your company description with data and statistics that break down industry trends and themes. Show what other businesses are doing and how they are succeeding or failing. Your market analysis should also help visualize your target customers. This includes how much money they make, what their buying habits are, which services they want and need, among other target customer preferences. Above all, the numbers should help answer why your business can do it better.

4. Competitive Analysis

Components of a Business Plan

A good business plan will present a clear comparison of your business vs your direct and indirect competitors. This is where you prove your knowledge of the industry by breaking down their strengths and weaknesses. Your end goal is show how your business will stack up. And if there are any issues that could prevent you from jumping into the market, like high upfront costs, this is where you will need to be forthcoming. Your competitive analysis will go in your market analysis section.

5. Description of Management and Organization

Your business must also outline how your organization is set up. Introduce your company managers here and summarize their skills and primary job responsibilities. An effective way could be to create a diagram that maps out your chain of command.

Don’t forget to indicate whether your business will operate as a partnership, a sole proprietorship or a business with a different ownership structure. If you have a board of directors, you’ll need to identify the members.

6. Breakdown of Your Products and Services

While your company description is an overview, a detailed breakdown of your products and services is intended to give a complementary but fuller description about the products that you are creating and selling, how long they could last and how they will meet existing demand.

This is where you should mention your suppliers, as well as other key information about how much it will cost to make your products and how much money you are hoping to bring in. You should also list here all relevant information pertaining to patents and copyright concerns as well.

7. Marketing Plan

This is where you describe how you intend to get your products and services in front of your target customers. Break down here the steps that you will take to promote your products and the budget that you will need to implement your strategies.

8. Sales Strategy

This section should answer how you will sell the products that you are building or carry out the services that you intend to offer. Your sales strategy must be specific. Break down how many sales reps you will need to hire and how you will recruit them and bring them on board. Make sure to include your sales targets as well.

9. Request for Funding

If you need funding, this section focuses on the amount of money that you need to set up your business and how you plan to use the capital that you are raising. You might want to include a timeline here for additional funding that you may require to complete other important projects.

10. Financial Projections

Components of a Business Plan

This final section breaks down the financial goals and expectations that you’ve set based on market research. You’ll report your anticipated revenue for the first 12 months and your annual projected earnings for the second, third, fourth and fifth years of business.

If you’re trying to apply for a personal loan or a small business loan, you can always add an appendix or another section that provides additional financial or background information.

Bottom Line

Every company is different so your business plan might look nothing like another entrepreneur’s. But there are key components that every good plan needs to have, and it’s always a good idea to provide a clear and accurate summary of your business goals in your business plan.

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The 10 Key Components of a Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky Components of a Business Plan Step By Step Advice

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1 million entrepreneurs and business owners write business plans. These plans have been used to raise funding and grow countless businesses.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

From working with all these businesses, we know there are 10 elements in any great business plan. Providing a comprehensive assessment of each of these components is critical in attracting lenders, angel investors , venture capitalists or other equity investors.

Get started with a title page that includes your company name, logo and contact information, since interested readers must have a simple way to find and reach out to you. After that be sure to include the 10 parts of a business plan documented below.

The 10 Key Business Plan Components

The 10 components or sections of a business plan that you must include are as follows:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary provides a succinct synopsis of the business plan, and highlights the key points raised within. It often includes the company’s mission statement and description of the products and services. It’s recommended by me and many experts including the Small Business Administration to write the executive summary last.

The executive summary must communicate to the prospective investor the size and scope of the market opportunity, the venture’s business and profitability model, and how the resources/skills/strategic positioning of the company’s management team make it uniquely qualified to execute the business plan. The executive summary must be compelling, easy-to-read, and no longer than 2-4 pages.

2. Company Analysis

This business plan section provides a strategic overview of the business and describes how the company is organized, what products and services it offers/will offer, and goes into further detail on the business’ unique qualifications in serving its target markets. As any good business plan template will point out, your company analysis should also give a snapshot of the company’s achievements to date, since the best indicator of future success are past accomplishments.

3. Industry or Market Analysis

This section evaluates the playing field in which the company will be competing, and includes well-structured answers to key market research questions such as the following:

To conduct this market research, do research online and leverage trade associations that often have the information you need.  

4. Analysis of Customers

The customer analysis business plan section assesses the customer segment(s) that the company serves. In this section, the company must convey the needs of its target customers. It must then show how its products and services satisfy these needs to an extent that the customer will pay for them.

The following are examples of customer segments: moms, engaged couples, schools, online retailers, teens, baby boomers, business owners, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of business you operate as different segments often have different needs. Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. With regards to psychographic variables, discuss whether your customers have any unique lifestyles, interests, opinions, attitudes and/or values that will help you market to them more effectively.

5. Analysis of Competition

All capable business plan writers discuss the competitive landscape of your business. This element of your plan must identify your direct and indirect competitors, assesses their strengths and weaknesses and delineate your company’s competitive advantages. It’s a crucial business plan section.

Direct competitors are those that provide the same product or service to the same customer. Indirect competitors are those who provide similar products or services. For example, the direct competitors to a pizza shop are other local pizza shops. Indirect competitors are other food options like supermarkets, delis, other restaurants, etc.

The first five components of your business plan provide an overview of the business opportunity and market research to support it. The remaining five business plan sections focus mainly on strategy, primarily the marketing, operational, financial and management strategies that your firm will employ.

6. Marketing, Sales & Product Plan

The marketing and sales plan component of your business plan details your strategy for penetrating the target markets. Key elements include the following:

7. Operations Strategy, Design and Development Plans

These sections detail the internal strategies for building the venture from concept to reality, and include answers to the following questions:

8. Management Team

The management team section demonstrates that the company has the required human resources to be successful. The business plan must answer questions including:

9. Financial Plan

The financial plan involves the development of the company’s revenue and profitability model. These financial statements detail how you generate income and get paid from customers,. The financial plan includes detailed explanations of the key assumptions used in building the business plan model , sensitivity analysis on key revenue and cost variables, and description of comparable valuations for existing companies with similar business models.

One of the key purposes of your business plan is to determine the amount of capital the firm needs. The financial plan does this along with assessing the proposed use of these funds (e.g., equipment, working capital, labor expenses, insurance costs, etc.) and the expected future earnings. It includes Projected Income Statements, Balance Sheets (showing assets, liabilities and equity) and Cash Flow Statements, broken out quarterly for the first two years, and annually for years 1-5.

Importantly, all of the assumptions and projections in the financial plan must flow from and be supported by the descriptions and explanations offered in the other sections of the plan. The financial plan is where the entrepreneur communicates how he/she plans to “monetize” the overall vision for the new venture. Note that in addition to traditional debt and equity sources of startup and growth funding that require a business plan (bank loans, angel investors, venture capitalists, friends and family), you will probably also use other capital sources, such as credit cards and business credit, in growing your company.

10. Appendix

The appendix is used to support the rest of the business plan. Every business plan should have a full set of financial projections in the appendix, with the summary of these financials in the executive summary and the financial plan. Other documentation that could appear in the appendix includes technical drawings, partnership and/or customer letters, expanded competitor reviews and/or customer lists.

Find additional business plan help articles here.

Expertly and comprehensively discussing these components in their business plan helps entrepreneurs to better understand their business opportunity and assists them in convincing investors that the opportunity may be right for them too.

In addition to ensuring you included the proper elements of a business plan when developing your plan always think about why you are uniquely qualified to succeed in your business. For example, is your team’s expertise something that’s unique and can ensure your success? Or is it marketing partnerships you have executed? Importantly, if you don’t have any unique success factors, think about what you can add to make your company unique. Doing so can dramatically improve your success. Also, whether you write it on a word processor or use business plan software , remember to update your plan at least annually. After several years, you should have several business plans you can review to see what worked and what didn’t. This should prove helpful as you create future plans for your company’s growth.

Download The 10 Key Components of a Business Plan Here

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Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Business Plan Template & Guide for Small Businesses

13 Key Business Plan Components

We've built a comprehensive guide to the major parts of a business plan for you. from elements like the executive summary to product descriptions, traction, and financials, we'll guide you on all of the key sections you should include in your business plan..

December 14th, 2022    |    By: The Startups Team     |    Tags: Planning

As is the case with most big projects, crafting a business plan is one of those things that takes an incredible amount of diligence and no shortage of courage. After all, your business idea is probably more than just some passionless money-making ploy — it’s your dream that you’re getting ready to lay bare for the world to scrutinize!

Never fear!

We have 4 sample business plans here to make it all less scary.

Components of a Business Plan

If you approach this with a firm understanding of what key information to include in each section of your business plan and know how each section works together to form a cohesive, compelling, and — above all — persuasive whole, it will make the writing process a whole lot less daunting.

We’re about to help you do exactly that by deconstructing each of the core components of your business plan one at a time and showing you exactly what information you should present to your readers so when all is said you done, you can walk away confidently knowing you’ve penned the most effective business plan possible.

As we learned in the “ What is a Business Plan? ” article, a business plan generally consists of the following sections:

Executive Summary

Company Synopsis

Market Analysis / Overview

Product (How it Works)

Revenue Model

Operating Model

Competitive Analysis

Customer Definition

Customer Acquisition

Management Team

Financial Statements

Let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Executive Summary

In the same way that a great movie trailer gives you a basic understanding of what the film is about while also enticing you to go check out the full-length feature, your Executive Summary serves as an overview of the main aspects of your company and business plan that you will discuss in greater length in the rest of your plan.

In other words, your Executive Summary is the highlight reel of your business plan.

Remember, you’re not giving away every last little detail about your company and business opportunity right up front. Just enough of the “good parts” to both inform and intrigue your reader to dig in further.

You do this by presenting a concise, 1-sentence outline of the following information:

Mission Statement

A “big idea” statement that introduces why your company exists, what it does for your customers, and why it matters.

Product/Service Summary

A brief description of your company’s products or services, with a special emphasis on what makes them unique.

Market Opportunity Summary

A quick explanation of the one or two key problems and/or trends your product/service addresses, and how it translates to a big opportunity for your company (and investors ).

Traction Summary

Highlight a few of the biggest accomplishments that you have achieved and describe how those accomplishments lay the groundwork for what’s to come.

Outline the next objectives or milestones that you hope to meet and what it means for the growth of your company.

Vision Statement

What is the scope or “big picture vision” of the business you are trying to build? If you’re in tech, are you trying to build the next Nest? If you’re in food and beverage, are you aiming to be the next Chipotle? In other words, how big is this company going to get, and why should an investor/partner/hire be excited to be a part of it?

A word of advice:

While your Executive Summary is the first piece of content people will read in your business plan, it’s usually a good idea to write this section last so you can take a step back after you’ve written everything and have a better sense of which high-level information you want to pull from the rest of your plan to focus on here.

First impressions are everything!

2. Company Synopsis

The Company Synopsis section is where you provide readers with a more in-depth look at your company and what you have to offer.

Before your readers will ever bother caring about things like your marketing strategy or your financial assumptions, they’ll want to know two absolutely fundamental details that will set up the rest of the plan that follows:

What painful PROBLEM are you solving for your customers?

What is your elegant SOLUTION to that problem?

You might have the most revolutionary product the world has ever seen, but if you don’t take the time to carefully articulate why your product exists in the first place and how it helps your customers solve a pain point better than anything else out there, nothing else in your business plan really matters from the reader’s perspective.

If you spend the majority of your time on any one part of your business plan, take the time to really nail this part. If you can build an engaging story around the problem that your audience can relate to, it makes the payoff of your solution statement all the more powerful.

When considering how to position your problem in the context of your business plan, think to yourself: what is the single greatest problem my customers face? How do other solutions in the market fail to alleviate that problem, thus creating a major need for my product?

Once you’ve thoroughly explained the problem you’re setting out to solve, it’s time to tell investors how your product/service solves that problem beautifully.

The goal here is less about describing how your product or service actually works (you’ll get to that in the “How It Works” section later) than it is about communicating how your solution connects back directly to the problem that you just described.

Key questions to consider:

What is the product/service you’re offering?

In what way does it solve my customers’ most painful problem?

What impact does my solution have on my customers’ lives?

How does my product/service effectively address the biggest shortcomings of other solutions currently in the market?

Conduct thorough market research to identify your target market to offer you competitive advantages against your competition.

3. Market Overview

While your problem and solution statements help set the stage and provide readers with insight into why you’re starting this company in the first place, clearly defining your market will allow you to call attention to the trends and industry conditions that demonstrate why now is the time for your company to succeed.

You’re going to want to supplement your own expertise with plenty of evidence in the form of market statistics and research to show readers that you’re not only an expert when it comes to your product, but your industry as well. Your goal here is to help illustrate:

The SIZE of the market opportunity your company is positioned to address

The amount of GROWTH occurring in your market

The TRENDS driving the demand for your solution

The SUCCESS STORIES happening with similar companies in your industry

Market Size & Growth

Indicating to your readers that your problem addresses a big enough market will play a huge role in how excited they’ll be about getting involved in helping your company. This is where you’ll want to put your research cap on and start uncovering some numbers that help your reader better understand:

How big the market is (locally/nationally/internationally)

Approximately how much revenue it generates every year

If it’s growing

How much it’s expected to grow over the next 5-10 years

What recent emerging trends have you developed your product/service in response to?

Are there any new technologies that have emerged recently that make your product/solution possible? Are there any specific brands or products you can point to that illustrate the demand for products/services like (but not too like) yours?

Examples of Trends

An increasing number of consumers are “cutting the cord,” replacing traditional cable subscriptions with subscriptions to services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO NOW.

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, there is a growing demand for products that empower them to stay safe and maintain their independence for longer.

Consumers are increasingly seeking food options that feature locally-sourced ingredients.

The emergence of image recognition technology for smartphones.

Industry Success Stories

Are there any examples of similar companies that investors have supported that you could point to? Are there any recent acquisitions (examples of larger companies buying up companies similar to yours) that could bolster the case for your own exit strategy ? Are there any similar companies that have recently IPO’d (gone public)?

Your product will have direct and indirect competitors you will find during market analysis in your business plan.

4. Product (How it Works)

You used your Company Synopsis section to cover why your new product delivers crazy value to your customers by breaking down the ways that it benefits your customers and meets a highly specific need for them.

Now it’s time to use your Product or How it Works section to get into the finer details around the mechanics of how it does so.

This might sound like they’re one and the same. Not exactly. And here’s a good way to distinguish this.

Let’s say you were building a subscription box service for pet flea treatment. In your Company Synopsis section, you’d probably spend your time talking about how your solution conveniently spares pet owners the hassle of remembering to make a vet appointment, traveling to the clinic, and waiting to talk with the vet just to pick up Scrambles’ medication.

In your How it Works section, on the other hand, you’d shift your focus to describing how your customers have the ability to choose from a variety of brand name medications, set their own delivery schedule, enjoy 2-day delivery, and gain real-time support 24/7 from a team of industry experts.

What are some of your product’s key features ?

How will customers actually use your product or service?

Is there any technology underlying your solution you will need to explain in order for readers to fully understand what your company does and how it works?

If your product or service has some sort of proprietary element or patent at the core of what makes it work, you might be a bit hesitant to show your hand for fear that someone might run off with your idea. While this is a completely understandable concern, know that this pretty much never happens.

That being said, you can still give your readers a clear idea of how your product or service works by explaining it through the lens of how it relates to the problems that your customers face without giving up your secret sauce.

Put another way, you don’t have to explicitly tell your readers the precise source code to your new app, but you will want to call attention to all of the great things it makes possible for your customers.

5. Revenue Model

It’s the age-old question that every business owner has had to answer: how will your company make money?

If you’re just starting out , clearly defining your framework for generating revenue might seem like somewhat of a shot in the dark. But showing investors you have even a cursory idea of how you will convert your product or service into sales is absolutely fundamental in lending credibility to your business plan.

You’ll want to determine the following:

Revenue Channels

Are you leveraging transaction-based revenue by collecting one-time payments from your customers? Are you generating service revenue based on the time spent providing service to your customers? Are you following a recurring revenue model selling advertising and monthly subscriptions for your mobile app?

What are your price points and why have you set them that way? How does your pricing compare with similar products or services in the market?

Cost of goods sold, otherwise known as COGS, refers to the business expenses associated with selling your product or service, including any materials and labor costs that went into producing your product.

Your margin refers to the profit percentage you end up with after you subtract out the costs for the goods or services being sold. If you purchase your inventory for $8 per item from a supplier and sell them for $10, for example, your margin on sales is 20%.

Why is this revenue model the right fit for this product/market/stage of development?

Are there any additional revenue sources that you expect to add down the line?

Have you generated any revenue to date? If so, how much?

What have you learned from your early revenue efforts?

If you haven’t started generating revenue, when will you “flip the switch”?

6. Operating Model

Where your Revenue Model refers to how you’re going to make money, your Operating Model is about how you’re going to manage the costs and efficiencies to earn it.

Basically, it’s how your business will actually run. For this component, you’ll want to focus on the following:

Critical Costs

Your Critical Costs are the costs that make or break your business if you can’t manage them appropriately. These essentially determine your ability to grow the business or achieve profitability.

Cost Maturation & Milestones

Often your Critical Costs mature over time, growing or shrinking. For example, it might only cost you $10 to acquire your first 1,000 users, but $20 to acquire the next 10,000. It’s important to show investors exactly where costs might improve or worsen over time.

Investment Costs

Investment costs are strategic uses of capital that will have a big Return on Investment (ROI) later. The first step is to isolate what those investment costs are.  The second step is to explain how you expect those investments to pay off.

Operating Efficiencies

What can you do from an efficiency standpoint that no one else can? It could be the way you recruit new talent, how you manage customer support costs, or the increasing value your product provides as more users sign up.

Your business plan should contain key elements such as a company description, financial projections, cash flow statements, and more.

7. Competitive Analysis

Now that you’ve introduced readers to your industry and your product, it’s time to give them a glimpse into the other companies that are working in your same space and how your company stacks up.

It’s important to research both your direct competitors (businesses that offer products or services that are virtually the same as yours) and your indirect competitors (businesses that offer slightly different products or services but that could satisfy the same consumer need).

A skimpy Competitor Analysis section doesn’t tell investors that your solution is unrivaled. It tells them that you’re not looking hard enough.

Pro tip: avoid saying that you have “no competitors” at all costs.

Why? Because while there may not be anyone exactly like you out there, if you say this, the investor is more than likely thinking one of two things: Either, “They don’t know what they’re talking about,” or, “If there’s truly no competition, is there even a market worth pursuing here at all?”

When you set out to identify your fiercest competitors, ask yourself this:

What products/services are my target customers using to solve this problem now?

What products/services could they potentially use to solve this problem now?

Identify at least three sources of competition and answer the following questions about each one:

Basic Information

Where is your competitor based? When was the company founded? What stage of growth is your competitor in? Are they a startup? A more established company?

How much revenue does your competitor generate each year? Approximately how many users/customers do they have? Have they received venture funding? How much? From whom?

Similarities & Differences

What are the points of similarity between your competitor and you in terms of the offering, price point, branding, etc?  What are the points of difference, both for the better and for the worse?

Strengths & Weaknesses

What are your competitors’ biggest strengths? What do you plan to do to neutralize those strengths? What are your competitors’ biggest weaknesses? How do they translate into an advantage for your company?

8. Customer Definition

The name of the game here is to know your audience !

This is where you show readers that you know who your audience is (who’s most likely to buy and use your product), where they are, and what’s most important to them. Are they price-conscious? Do they value convenience? Are they concerned about environmental impact? Do they tend to be early adopters of new technologies?

Once you have a good idea of your customer personas and demographics, you’ll want to explain how you’re designing your products/services, branding, customer service, etc. to appeal to your target audience and meet their needs.

Who are the people that your product/service is designed to appeal to?

What do you know about customers in this demographic?

Does your target audience skew more male or more female?

What age range do your target customers fall in?

Around how many people are there in this target demographic?

Where do your target customers live? Are they mostly city dwellers? Suburbanites?

How much money do they make?

Do they have any particular priorities or concerns when it comes to the products/services they buy?

9. Customer Acquisition

Now that we know who your customers are, the next question is — how do you plan on getting them ? This essentially refers to your marketing plan where you’ll go into detail about how you intend on raising awareness for your brand to expand your customer base .

Which channels will you use to acquire your customers? Direct sales? Online acquisition (paid ads, organic SEO, social, email)? Offline acquisition (newspaper, TV, radio, direct mail)? Channel partners (retailers, resellers)? Word-of-mouth? Affiliates?

Channel Cost Assumptions

There are hard costs associated with every customer acquisition channel. Yes, even social media. It’s your job here to forecast and compile all of the associated costs with a particular channel so that you can arrive at a preliminary budget for what it would cost to use this channel.

Are there specific subcategories of customers that you plan to target first?

Will you introduce your product in certain key geographic locations?

Are there specific components of your product offering that you will introduce to the market first?

Are there any existing brands that you are planning to partner with to increase brand awareness / expedite market penetration?

A traditional business plan should include your business description, the company's mission statement, capital expenditure budgets, and more.

10. Traction

Many investors see hundreds of deals every year.

If you want to stand a chance of making any sort of meaningful impression, it’s important to show them that your business is more than just an idea and that you’ve already got some irons in the fire.

Traction is a huge part of making that case.

When investors see that Founders are already making things happen, they think to themselves, “Wow, look at everything they’ve already accomplished! If they can do that much by themselves, just think what they can do with my money behind them!”

Here are some common categories of traction that can help emphasize your business is gaining momentum:

Product Development

Where are you in the product development process? Do you have a working prototype? Is your product already in the market and gaining customers?


Do you already have an established partner for production/manufacturing? How about distribution? Tell us about your relationships and what they can handle.

Early Customers & Revenue

Do you have any existing customers? If so, how many, and how fast is your customer base growing? Have you started generating revenue? If so, how much?

Testimonials & Social Proof

Do you have any client reviews or comments that can illustrate positive customer responses to your product/service? Has your product/service been reviewed/endorsed by any industry experts? Do you have any high-profile customers (celebrities or industry experts if it’s a B2C product, well-known brands if it’s a B2B product)


Have you secured partnerships with any established or notable companies or brands?

Intellectual Property

Do you have any patents for the technology or ideas behind your company?

Is your company name trademarked?

Press Mentions

Has your company been featured by any media outlets? Which ones?

11. Management Team

Your Management Team section is where you introduce your team and, if possible, explain how each team member’s background is highly relevant to the success of your company.

You may have gotten a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, but if you’re building the next hot dating app, that doesn’t really lend much credence to why you’re uniquely qualified for this particular product.

An ideal Management Team section shows investors that your team’s combination of skills, experience, relationships, and expertise make you the best group of people on the planet to drive the success of your company.

Each team bio should cover:

The team member’s name

Their title and position at the company

Their professional background

Any special skills they’ve developed as a result of their past experience

Their role and responsibilities at your company

It’s important to keep team bios focused and to the point: readers don’t need to know where you were born or what your favorite hobbies were growing up. They don’t even necessarily need to know what you studied in undergrad (unless what you studied in undergrad is super-relevant to what they’re doing at your company.)

Aim for around 3-5 sentences of good information on each team member.

12. Funding

Chances are you’re shopping your business plan around to secure capital for your project. If that’s the case , don’t forget to actually ask for the one thing you set out to achieve!

In fact, you’ll want to devote an entire section to your request for funding. This is your opportunity to tell investors:

What your funding goals are

How they can help you achieve those goals

What they have to gain from getting involved in your company

Funding Goal

How much funding do you need to move forward with your goals? How did you arrive at this figure?

What will investors get in exchange for their investment in your company?

Use of Funds

How will you use the funding that you secure from investors? Provide a very basic breakdown, either by amounts or by percentages, of how you plan to allocate the funds you receive. For example:

25%: R&D

25%: Marketing

25%: Product Development

25%: Key Hires

What key milestones will you and your company be able to achieve with the help of this funding?

Why Invest? / Conclusion

Wrap up your Funding section with by driving home why investors should get involved with your company. Is it the experience of your team? The originality of your product? The size of the market? Identify a few key factors that make your company a great opportunity from an investment perspective.

A financial plan is an essential part of any company's business plan. It's important for any established business to update these

13. Financials

At last, we’ve arrived at everybody’s least favorite section of the business plan: Financials !

Your Financials section comes last after what we’ll call the more “narrative”-driven content that makes up the vast majority of your business plan.

It’s here where you’ll present your various spreadsheets, charts, tables, and graphs that communicate to investors your projections for the company in dollars and cents over the next few years. And while this is a numbers-dominant section, you’ll still want to back-up all of your figures with either a quick intro or summary explaining how you got there.

Because despite the fact that some people underplay financials as merely a guessing game, it’s crucial to remember that investors are looking for estimates, not guesses.

Simply put, you want to build your financial forecasts on a series of assumptions that incorporate as many known parameters as possible. Indicate how you arrived at these assumptions (maybe you compared them against similar products in the market, for example).

Some common elements included in your Financials section are:

Income Statement

A financial statement that showcases your revenues, expenses, and profit for a particular period and whether or not your business is profitable at that point in time.

Balance Sheet

A summary of your business’s net worth at a particular point, breaking it into assets, liabilities, and capital.

Cash Flow Projection

An estimate of the amount of cash that is expected to flow in and out of your business. Your cash flow projection will give you a good idea of how much capital investment you need to secure.

Break-Even Analysis

Just like it sounds, your break-even analysis helps you determine when your total revenue equals your total expenses. In other words, your break-even point. The total profit here equals 0.

If this sounds intimidating, it’s because it kind of is. On the plus side, there are some great online tools available designed to help you create super sleek financials and still maintain your sanity.

We’ve spent time picking apart each core component of a business plan, and as it has probably become abundantly clear, each section is essentially its own in-depth presentation within the overarching plan itself.

While no two business plans will ever be exactly the same, the key takeaway here is that every great plan incorporates the same basic elements that give investors the information they need when determining whether your business idea has legs or not.

Now that you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and finally launch into the writing process , you can refer back to this as you start tailoring these elements to your specific business. If you find yourself getting hung up along the way, check out one of our many other resources on business planning to help you tackle this project head-on!

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what are the key components of business plan

What should a business plan include?

1. the executive summary, 2. a description of the business, 3. the market(s) the business will operate in, 4. a swot analysis.

5. Management team and personnel

6. The products or services offered

7. marketing.

8. A financial plan

The contents of a business plan

This is placed as number one on our list of components of a business plan , but it can easily be the final stage. That's because sometimes it's easiest to write your summary after you've covered all the other details.

A great summary is one of the key features of a business plan. It serves as an overview of your entire business and the elements surrounding it.

Be sure to outline succinctly the 5 "W"s (Who, What, Why, When, Where) as well as the mission statement . Think about why you started the business along with where you would like it to be in the future, how will you get there? Your mission statement is the start of creating a culture that people in your organisation will live and work by.

This section should contain details of things such as your goals and the customers you will service. What are the products and services you will offer to your customers? You'll need to provide an overview of them and how they will address customers' needs and wants?

You've come up with this great business idea , but how will it do in the market? Or, more importantly, what is the market for it? How well do you know the market? What does a typical buyer look like, what is their income level? Does the business have the hallmarks of disruptive innovation ?

This is the time to research and determine who your target market is and ask specific questions that relate to your product or service. Put you idea to the test. What have others done before you and what can you do differently and better? Analyse what information you've uncovered and outline it's potential impact in your plan.

Create a detailed list of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This needs to be done with an open and honest approach, keep emotions out of it, focus on being objective when analysing your business and those of your competitors.

Any strengths you uncover will represent internal, positive factors in your business that are within your control. Weaknesses are also internal, but are negative factors that need to be improved.

Both opportunities and threats are external factors. While opportunities will potentially positively impact on your business, threats represent negative factors beyond your control. For example, are there high barriers to entering the market? Does a competitor have the market cornered due to brand loyal customers? These could harm your enterprise, so you need to strategise for it in your plan.

SWOT analysis

5. The management team and personnel

Who will run the business, who are the directors in the business? What are the skills of the management team and how do their different responsibilities make maximum use of their abilities. What is the chain of command in terms of decision making?

Also use this section to identify how the management team, and taking on employees will help maximise strengths, while addressing identified weaknesses to help improve the business.

Finally, which of the UK's business structures will you choose to operate through?

In this section you need to detail what will be produced and how it will be sold. You should  explain how your product or service will meet a particular need in the marketplace, and how you'll get customers returning to make repeat purchases. Repeat custom is after all the lifeblood of many a good business.

Who will you rely on, in terms of suppliers, to help you assemble your products? What intellectual property, patents or copyright do you own, or might you be at risk of potentially infringing?

What is the branding to your business? What are the key messages you want to communicate with your target market and how will you go about reaching them? How will you achieve market share and at what cost in terms of your budget?

8. Let's talk money: A financial plan

Ideas are great, but how will you make them a reality and sustain a viable business. Creating a financial plan will give you the opportunity to address your financial concerns and talk money, think about start-up costs, financial projections , funding and investor pitches.

You'll need to list how much your start-up will cost, everything from stationary to leases should be outlined and balanced against your financial projections.

Don't fear change, your business plan isn't written in stone

It’s important to remember that your business plan isn’t written in stone. This is a document that you and your staff can improve and update as the business grows and changes. Your plan should be reviewed regularly.

Consider implementing a monthly review to track progress or make adjustments to your strategy. Accountability and motivation are key in making sure your goals are met, think about the people involved and what can you do to keep them inspired.

Wellers Logo Why Business Plans are Important at Each Stage of Your Business

This post was created on 26/06/2018 and updated on 18/02/2022.

Please be aware that information provided by this blog is subject to regular legal and regulatory change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within our website or guides (eBooks) as a definitive guide to the law on the relevant matter being discussed. We suggest your course of action should be to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author(s) of this blog.

what are the key components of business plan

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what are the key components of business plan


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