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Every business can benefit from the preparation of a carefully written business plan. A business plan allows you to develop goals and strategies for your business. This guide will provide an outline in organizing your effort to gather and evaluate information about your business. As you gather information, you can begin the process of writing your business plan. By planning your business needs, you will develop an essential part of the business - its strategy.  Effectively completed, your business plan must identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that may affect your business and the strategy you will use to succeed.  This outline is intended to serve as a guide for an operational business plan written in a narrative format. It explores all aspects of a business operation. It will:


  • help you think through any project and ensure that you have considered all of your options and anticipated any potential difficulties;
  • convince potential lenders and investors that you are in control of the project and that their money will be safe with you;
  • serve as a road map for the success of your business.

The following outline lists key topics that should be included in narrative (story) form and standard financial statement format. Start with Section IV. Sections I-III will be written last. The final product should be tailored to fit your business circumstances and personality. Keep your copy in a three-ring binder so you can make revisions easily. If you provide copies of your plan to persons outside the company, give your plan a professional appearance by printing it on high quality paper and presenting it in a binder.
The following is a suggested outline of the material that should be included in your business plan. Every business plan is unique, as is every business. This guide was designed with a general purpose in mind; therefore, some things may not apply to your business. There may also be additional topics you may want to add specific to your business. Consult your counselor if you have any questions on what to include.

  1. Cover Sheet: it should include the name of the business, owner’s name, address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses for the business.
  2. Table of Contents: List major topics and page references.
  3. Executive Summary: while presented at the beginning of the plan, is the last section written. It is a condensed version of the entire business plan that must be able to stand on its own. It is not simply an introduction to the rest of the business plan. Bankers or investors who review many business plans may read only the Executive Summary. If the Executive Summary is not successful in gaining the banker’s or investor’s confidence, the plan may be rejected and may never be read in its entirety.
The Executive Summary should include:
  • The purpose of the plan (operating guide, loan request, prospectus for investors).
  • The type of business you own or propose to own and the current state of development.
  • The unique aspects of your product or service.
  • The business structure you have chosen (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
  • The names of the principals.
  • The amount of money you need to implement your plan and how it will be used.
  • The amount of money you are investing.
  • If you are requesting a loan, how you will repay the funds and the collateral that will be used to secure the loan.
  • A summary of the financial projections

4. Business: The business portion of the business plan provides an overview of your planned business operation. You should briefly describe your product/service and how you will maintain a sustainable competitive advantage. Include the regulations that apply to your business as well as the facilities and equipment you need to operate the business.

5. Management: The management plan of your business outlines the organizational structure that defines the lines of authority and the responsibilities of the key players, hired staff and outside consultants.

6. Market: The marketing plan includes information on the total market with an emphasis on your target market, competition and how you plan to make and promote your product/service available.

7. Financial Data: The financial section of your business plan will show past, current and projected financial activity. Documents that should be included are the sources and uses of funds statement, threeyear income projection and cash flow projection, notes and critical assumptions for the projections, and a break-even analysis

8. Appendix: The appendix should support the body of the business plan. You may choose to include marketing reports, brochures, an organizational chart, resumes, plant layout drawings, photos of the product, copy of purchase agreements, vendor cost estimates for equipment to be purchased, contractor estimates for renovation or construction, letters of support from customers, technical reports explaining your product, etc.

The following items should be included in the appendix for a loan proposal:

  • Company financial statements and tax returns for the past three years.
  • Ownership information including names of owners or stockholders (when appropriate).
  • A list of corporate officers.
  • Date and domicile of incorporation, date partnership agreement was signed.
  • Personal income tax returns of all owners.
  • Personal financial statement.
  • Insurance coverage including carrier, amount, and beneficiary, if applicable.
  • Quotes for equipment, construction, etc.
  • Store or production layout.

Business Plan Creator 

Business Plan Outline 

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