Writing a Business Plan

There are hundreds and hundreds of books, opinions, blogs and outlines for how to write a business plan.  TechonomicMan’s is below.  Note, this is extremely brief and each section requires some discussion and thought.  You should have lots of questions after reviewing it.  Feel free to post a question or send me an email: wbarz@nep.benfranklin.org

1)         Executive Summary (write this last)

            This should be no more than two (2) pages.  Have one paragraph for each major section of the business plan and each paragraph should briefly summarize the big point from each section.

2)         Company Introduction

This should be one (1) page.  It should describe the company mission or vision.  It should describe where the company is incorporated and in what manner.  Where is it located?  When it was formed.

3)         Market Overview

This should be 2 or 3 pages.  It should describe the nature of the customers and how many there are and why they have a problem that your product or service can solve.  It should describe the types of things that influence their decision to purchase a product or service like yours.  [NOTE: This is not the place to begin describing your product.  The section is titled “Market Overview”….stick to the subject.]

4)         Competitive Environment

This should be 1-2 pages.  This section describes how the market is currently solving the problem.  What do customers buy now and why is it inadequate.  [NOTE: This is not the place to begin describing your product.  The section is titled “Competition”….stick to the subject.]  This is not only about individual competitors, but the nature of how the market for your product or service works.  Is there legislation changing the competitive environment? Is there emerging technology that will impact it.  Do NOT provide a competitor by competitor analysis.  This section should broadly describe the dynamics of how competitors compete for the customer dollars.

5)         Our Market Offering

This should be 2-3 pages.  This section, at long last, you can describe what your product does and what BENEFITS it offers a market place that is clearly not being well served by your competition.  Do not provide significant amounts of technical detail.  That can all be provided later if the reader is interested.  This section should be dedicated to describing how your product will be described by customers.

6)         Marketing and Sales Strategy

This section should be 3-4 pages.  Note that it is the longest section.  You need to describe here how you’re going price and how it is positioned in the marketplace against the competition.  What channels for promotion will you use?  Will you advertise?  Will you participate in tradeshows?  Will you use a direct sales force, reps, VAR’s, partners….basically from whom will customers place their orders?

7)         Operations and Management

This section should be 2-3 pages.  This is the section that describes to the reader what will be happening inside the company.  Will it manufacture its own products or will stuff be outsourced?  What will the company do to achieve a competitive advantage in the market with regard to operations?  Intellectual property development?  R & D investments?  This is also where a brief background of the management team and any outside KEY advisors are briefly identified.  You should also provide an org. chart as you envision it getting to in a 3 or 5 year timeframe.  The stuff in this section helps substantiate the financial assumptions in the next section.

8)         Financial Projections

This should take up 3-4 pages.  1 of those pages should be descriptions of the assumptions that will match up, almost line-by-line with items in the financial projections.  Projections should include, a monthly cash flow for year one and annual for 3 years;  an annual income statement for three years; and an annual balance sheet for 3 years.

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