Business Plan Outline

Many resources are available in books and online for formatting a business plan, and you should use whichever one you find appealing and relevant to your operation. Below is one example, and in the pages ahead we will elaborate on some sections that are not self-explanatory or have not already been covered in this guide.

  1. Cover Page
    1. Name, address and contact information of the business
    2. Names, titles, address of the owners
    3. Month and year completed
  1. Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
    1. A brief summation of the concept and how you plan to achieve it. The executive summary is written last since you are summarizing all the other sections.
  1. Background Information
    1. Concept
    2. Mission Statement
    3. Business Model Statement
    4. What will be special about your concept/business?
    5. What market do you intend to serve?
    6. How can you serve the market better than the competition?
  1. Description of product(s) and/or services
    1. Features of proposed product(s) and/or services
    2. Benefits to your target audience
    3. Production plans
    4. Future product(s) and/or services
  1. The Market Plan
    1. Description of the industry
    2. Current and future industry trends
    3. Business fit within the industry
    4. Audience profile
    5. Size of the audience
    6. Audience trends
    7. Identification and evaluation of direct and indirect competitors and their strengths, weaknesses
    8. Your competitive advantage — your unique value proposition
    9. Marketing strategies — branding, promotion, distribution
  1. Management and board structure and organization
    1. Describe management team and/or board and their strengths and weaknesses
    2. Roles, duties and responsibilities of the management team
    3. Will you have to train people? Use volunteers?
    4. Describe the organizational structure, who will do what? Include an org. chart
  1. Business Operations
    1. Location
    2. VIrtual or physical space?
    3. Have you filed required legal paperwork?
    4. Fiscal sponsorship or 501(c)(3)
  1. Financial Plan
    1. Startup costs
    2. Business needs/capital equipment list
    3. Cash-flow projections — revenue and expense projections for three years with assumptions. NOTE: INN recommends that founders plan to spend 50% of their total resources in their first year on the business side, as a rule of thumb, and 50% on editorial efforts.
    4. Projected balance sheet
  1. Conclusion
    1. Reiterate feasibility of concept
    2. Launch plan (Optional: If you already have developed a detailed tactical plan for your startup and growth, you may attach it to the business plan.)
    3. Support documents (providing details that some funders or participants may have requested but that are not core parts of the business plan.)

RESOURCES: One Page Business Plan book, SCORE business plan template