What Your Business Plan Needs to Include

Creating a business plan is a key part of starting a business. Because they reflect the style of the owner and the type of product or service offered, plans do not all look the same. A plan being shown to a potential lender has specific requirements not necessary for the initial version of a plan. There are, however, sections that need to be included no matter what the business or intended audience.


Executive Summary

Don’t be intimidated by the word executive. This summary includes a general overview of the company and its goals. Think of it as a way to introduce the reader to the business idea.


Company Description

In this section, business owners clearly describe the purpose of the business, what markets it is targeting, and how it stands out from the competition. Even if the name of the business seems self-explanatory, it is important to go into detail about the services offered and what makes this business stand out from the competition.


Market Analysis

This is where the business owner discusses industry outlook, specifics of the target market, size of that market, pricing, margins, and more. This is the section that highlights the potential financial viability of the business. Realistic, researched numbers in this section increase the chances the business will succeed. This is the part of the business plan that potential investors and lenders look at closely. Be prepared to show the sources and reasoning behind the numbers used when creating the analysis.


Organization & Management

Especially for a new business, this can be a simple and straightforward section. Use an organizational chart with descriptions to capture who is responsible for what in the company. This is also a good opportunity for all partners in a business to gain a clear understanding of what is expected. Included in this section is a description of the company’s legal classification.


Service or Product Line

This business plan section contains in-depth details about what the business is about and why it will attract customers. It is important to clearly describe the product or service’s value and provide extra examples about what makes this business different from the competition.

The style of plans varies from business to business. But no matter what the product or service being offered, a business plan needs to include an executive summary, a thorough company description, quality market analysis, a description of the organization, and in-depth details of the service or product being offered.