The business plan consists of a narrative and several financial worksheets. The narrative template is the body of the business plan. It is divided into several sections. Work through the sections in any order that you want, except for the Executive Summary, which should be done last. Skip any sections (s) that do not apply to your type of business. When you are finished writing your first draft, you’ll have a collection of small essays on the various topics of the business plan. Then you’ll want to edit them into a smooth-flowing narrative.
The total document should not exceed 25-30 pages in WORD and a few Excel spreadsheets.
The real value of creating a business plan is not in having the finished document in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of researching and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, study and research if you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically. It takes time now, but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later.
This following business plan template is a generic model suitable for all types of businesses. However, you should modify it to suit your particular circumstances. In addition wherever it talks about existing company and existing customers, achievements, etc., in case, you are just starting then talk about the proposed company, customers that you will get and milestones that you propose to achieve, etc.
It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and re-thinking your ideas and assumptions. But then, that’s the value of the process. So make time to do the job properly. Those who do, never regret the effort. And finally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.
A Business Plan usually covers the following broad topics (we will show you a detailed template that will expand these topics out further. But please note that IT IS NOT A MUST TO USE THIS TEMPLATE or to cover all the sections, or to use it in exactly the same style or manner. You will be fine as long as you cover these broad topics):
1. Cover page: Includes the Company name, address, telephone, email and website and the names of all the BODs and team members. If the company is to be formed then mention the information on a proposed basis. 2. Executive Summary: Write this last. It’s just two-three pages of highlights of the rest of the plan. 3. Company Description: This describes the basic current business of the company. How was the company founded, how has it made money (outline the business model – who pays who?) List out the customers and what problem do you solve for them. This section should also discuss your channel strategy (who sells for you – how does your product reach the target customers). Also describe your major achievements so far. If the company is to be formed then mention the information on a proposed basis. 4. Products and/or Services: Describe what you’re selling so far. Focus on customer benefits and why do they buy from you. If your products/services have not been offered in the markets so far then mention the information on a proposed basis. 5. Market Analysis: You need to know your market, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them. Who are your current customers and why do they buy from you. Who else solves the same problem? How are you different from your competitors? If your products/services have not been offered in the markets so far then mention the information on a proposed basis. 6. Strategy: Describe what is the business long-term direction, which markets should a business compete in and what kinds of activities are involved in such markets? (Markets; scope), how can the business perform better than the competition in those markets (Advantage)? What resources (skills, assets, finance, relationships, technical...