What information should my business plan include?

What information should my business plan include?

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I’m in the process of doing a business plan but am swamped by information overload. Which information and how much detail should I include in the business plan?

The most critical information for any business plan is your vision and mission – the heart of who you are. Take time and effort over this part of your plan because this speaks to the core of everything your business is about and why you started it.

Your passion for your business becomes clear to the reader through the key words of your vision and your motivation behind starting your business is reflected in your mission statement.

This is what makes you, you, and why your business stands out from the crowd. These elements tell the reader this is where your business is headed.

  • It can excite a potential investor particularly where there is a “connect” with your dream.
  • It allows a marketing agency to properly understand your dreams and put together a package to successfully push your business into your target market.
  • It will speak to the heart of a potential employee, creating a desire to work for you and be a part of your team.

Your business plan also serves as a reminder to you the business owner of who and what you are about and in the tough times, it’s your bench mark, for things past, present and future.

6 important elements of a business plan

The guidelines below give you an overview of what the business is about, and demonstrate your research, planning and understanding.

 

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Bear in mind that even if the reader knew nothing about you or your business, that after they have read your business plan, they should have a good idea and enough information to begin making some informed decisions.

Broadly, cover the following:

  1. Business and industry information
  2. Type of legal entity
  3. Where you fit into the related industry
  4. Your product or service offering and what makes it unique
  5. Your target market – ie who is your customer
  6. Marketing – how you plan to reach your target market
  7. Broad operations and structure of your company
  8. Financial projections and requirements
  9. Personal investment into business
  10. Start-up requirements
  11. Expected returns

Each business plan is unique and specific to that business, so these are just some guiding principles. And, remember that your business plan should be viewed as a living document that you need to keep up to date and relevant.

You’ll find a free business plan template here.

Darren Ryder
Darren Ryder is a business mentor at The Hope Factory, specialising in helping SMMEs establish and grow their businesses. He is passionate about South Africa and believes entrepreneurs will play a big role in our future economic development. Historically he has started and run his own business, having come out of full time ministry and 16 years in the manufacturing and textile industry, with a sales and analytical background.