1. Cover Page
2. Executive Summary
3. Business Description
4. Market Overview
5. Customer Analysis
6. Competitive Analysis
7. Marketing Plan
8. Operations Plan
9. Human Resources Plan
10. Management Plan
11. Financial Plan

A business description outline includes a cover page, an executive summary, a business description, a market overview, a customer analysis, a competitive analysis, a marketing plan, an operations plan, a human resources plan, a management plan, and a financial plan.

Cover Page

This is a single sheet that includes:

  • The company's name, address, and phone number
  • The business website, the logo, and the name and title of the owners
  • The month and year the plan was created

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is the last part of the outline that you will write. It should be one or two pages and include an overview of your business and a brief summary of each section of the plan. Your goal is to give potential investors and other interested parties a clear picture of what your business does. Though it's brief and written last, it's still the most important part of your business plan.

Include the following information in your Executive Summary.

  • An explanation of what your business offers
  • Describe why other entities should choose to do business with you, including your likelihood of success, any unique qualifications that your team has, patents you own, and your market position.
  • A summary of projected financial data, including revenues, expenses, and profits for at least five years

Business Description

This section of your outline should include:

  • Your mission statement
  • Business history
  • The legal structure of your company
  • When the business was established
  • Where the headquarters is located
  • A description of what products and services your business offers

Market Overview

In the Market Overview section of your outline, describe how your business operates and generates a profit. A high-level description of the current trends in your industry, the economic conditions, and the competition you face is helpful. Tell the reader who your customers are, describing their demographics.

Your goal for the Market Overview section is to give the interested party a clear vision of the size and characteristics of your territory. For example, if your business is a restaurant, you should talk about the other eating establishments in your area and state how many restaurants in your area serve each type of cuisine available.

Customer Analysis

This section of your outline has two parts. The first describes your target customer. Gender, economic status, age, location, education, and marital status are all relevant. The second part of the customer analysis describes your customers' need for your product or service.

Competitive Analysis

The Competitive Analysis section of the outline has three subsections:

  • Direct competition. This is a description of companies in your area that offer the same business and provide them in the same manner as your business. For example, if you own an Italian restaurant, then other Italian restaurants are your direct competition.
  • Indirect competition. These companies fill the same need as your business but in a different manner. Using our Italian-restaurant example, French restaurants would be your indirect competition.
  • Competitive advantages. Tell the reader why your company can successfully compete with your direct and indirect competition.

Marketing Plan

The Marketing Plan section of the outline has four parts:

  • Products and services. Give details on your products and/or services.
  • Pricing. Describe your pricing structure and how it compares to that of your competitors. Include a discussion of your position in the market.
  • Promotions. This section discusses how you will draw in new customers. Radio advertising, online ads, and press releases are some possible options to describe in detail.
  • Distribution. Your distribution plan lays out all the ways that customers can buy your products and services. Include your physical storefront if you have one, as well as your online store.

Operations Plan

The operations plan describes how you develop and manufacture your products. This section also includes a detailed description of your accounts payable, receivables, recordkeeping, and inventory control. You should also cover your insurance plans, safety and security, and management of your facilities.

Human Resources Plan

A comprehensive human resources plan should cover the structure of your management team, your strategy for developing the team, and job descriptions for various positions in your company.

Management Plan

The management plan includes three sections:

  • Team members. This section describes the members of your team and their experiences.
  • Gaps in your team. Describe the roles you still need to fill on your team.
  • Board members. If you are governed by a board of directors, list the members along with their biographies.

Financial Plan

Last but not least is your financial plan. Include your most recent profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and income projections.

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