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It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish and who is the audience.That said, after having written and reviewed hundreds of business plans, I feel there are four key sections used in almost all situations, and these are augmented by additional sections depending on the circumstances.Therefore, it is advisable to have an introductory page in your financial plan explaining in plain English the key assumptions and how each one was determined.
First is figuring out how big the market is: You need to know if there will be sufficient customers to buy your product or service so you can generate satisfactory revenue.
The second is to describe your potential or ideal customer so you will know how to reach that market when conducting your outreach.
For many, tackling this section last is fine because it’s the one plan element that most entrepreneurs dread.
They frequently feel like they have hit a wall when it comes to writing this section, and they blame it for holding up their business plan.
The reason this section gets so much attention is that it might be the only section the reader looks at when making a decision to go forward or stop.
Key Parts Of A Business Plan
To paraphrase an old proverb, “you can tell the quality of a business plan from its executive summary.” The executive summary is the ultimate elevator pitch where you introduce the idea, provide background, talk about approach and results, and convey confidence that you will be successful.
The point of the competitive analysis section is to make sure you understand what you are up against.
This section should list about five competitors and their strengths and weaknesses, like operating hours, accessibility, pricing, return policy, marketing budget size, reputation, product delivery policy (is it provided free, at cost, or not at all), complementary products and services, current/outdated versions (which might also apply to current/outdated styles), and buying quantities (which may equate to lower or higher costs).
These four key sections are the executive summary, marketing plan, key management bios, and financial plan. This is one of the shortest sections of a business plan, but the one you should spend the most time working on.
Whether your business plan is 5 or 30 pages, an executive summary must recap all of the material in your plan in only two pages.