Writing a Business Plan – What You Need To Include

A sound business plan is a necessary undertaking when considering starting a new business. Furthermore, your business plan should also accompany any loan or funding-related paperwork associated with your business startup. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will actually carefully review this plan if you decide to apply for a SBA loan, especially if you haven’t owned a business previously, in an effort to help determine if a business is viable and whether or not to proceed with the loan for that business. In fact, the SBA website even offers sample business plan templates that you can use to help make this step easier.

Here’s a quick synopsis of business plan elements:

Executive Summary
Your Executive Summary should be exactly that – a summary of the plan’s high points to be noted in the following pages. This can be drafted in outline form, with sub sections under each main heading, to help provide that quick overview. Typically, it’s best to write the other sections of the business plan before putting together an Executive Summary based on the rest of your plan and you can include page numbers for specific sections in the plan.

Business Overview
The Business Overview provides a detailed description of the business type, including type of business, location, business formation history, etc. If the business is part of a franchise, this is an ideal place to establish credibility of the franchise, such as years in operation, how many other franchises currently in operation, etc. You can also go ahead and share your business name, logo/brand look, and any initial materials such as vision statement, mission statement, etc.

Operations Plan
The Operations Plan should detail the physical set-up of the business and how it will function, including employees and job responsibilities.

Market Analysis
The Market Analysis should define who the target market is for your business and how that target market matches up with your business overview. Note: Market Analysis, if conducted early in the startup process, may help shape or further define your Business Overview.

Products and Services
Your Products and Services should be defined and explained. Include all products and services you expect to offer, including pricing. If production of any hard goods has already taken place, if you have a patent for a product, if you have done any product testing or focus groups, include all these details in this section.

Sales and Marketing
The Sales and Marketing section of your business plan should explain how you plan to go to market/get the word out about your business. Include any advertising, social media, public relations, community events or sponsorships, or community memberships you plan to pursue to help promote your business. Again, if opening a franchise, connect with your franchisor about ways they support your business’ sales and marketing with their established programs and include these in this section.

Competitive Analysis
Research and provide an overview of other businesses in your industry and especially within your immediate vicinity if you are opening a brick & mortar business. For example, if you’re opening a craft store right next to a big box retailer, you’ll need to explain why your business is unique and how it will compete against the big box guys.

Management Team
Provide a detailed overview of your Management Team to establish credibility and experience in your business’ industry. Someone who has worked for the big box retailer for 20 years and will be on your business team should be highlighted in this section. You can include the resumes of your high level team members in this section.

Financial Plan
Everything from startup costs to balance sheets should be included in the Financial Plan. Here you will identify the loan amounts needed to operate over the next 2-5 years and where those funds will be allocated (inventory, salaries, lease, equipment, marketing expenses, etc.).

Provide projected income statements and balance sheets for at least two or three years.

Tenet Financial Group can help determine your funding needs for your business and which type(s) of loan(s) you qualify for. Give us a call at 888-901-3335 x. 9 and speak with one of our Senior Consultants today!