A business plan contents page will cover the important topics that should be included in a business plan. A business plan is a strategy for how the business will operate and can also be utilized for the marketing and production of a new product or service. The strategy will look to the future and attempt to figure out what the company or product will be like. A business plan also serves the following purposes:

  • Make financial projections
  • Establish a budget
  • Determine and calculate risk
  • Strategize on how to manage risk
  • Predict how money will be spent
  • Predict how revenue will be earned
  • Prioritization of business goals
  • Label main assumptions

Contents

A business plan should be utilized for any type of company, whether it is a small business or a nonprofit. The type of company will determine what elements should be present in the business plan.

Startups often rely heavily on financial support from investors. Established companies that have been achieving their goals will indicate similar content in their business plan. The business plan, in these cases, is designed to illustrate to investors the following information:

  • Good business leads
  • Competency of employees
  • Employee comprehension of product, the market, and competitors
  • Thorough planning and company strategy
  • Forecasted investor returns

A company that has not been performing as anticipated should cover these topics in the development of a business plan:

  • The company understands why they have performed poorly
  • The company has developed a promising game plan on how to improve
  • The company the resources and skill to carry out the new game plan

A government agency or nonprofit organization will have a similar business plan to that of a business that offers a service or sells a product. Government agencies and nonprofits also offer a service to a specific market or customer base and must operate within a strict budget. Like a startup that relies on investor dollars, these organizations must find funding to offset the cost of expenses.

Business Case

People are often confused by how a business plan and business case are different and how they work together. Simply put, the business plan is an overview of the company, while the business case focuses on a single action and its consequences. The business case will answer questions such as, what will be the likely financial consequences for choosing this versus that? What are the crucial non-financial results of either choice? Can you rationalize this investment?

To better understand the differences, take a look at the following examples:

  • The business plan will predict performance, especially financially. The business case will predict financial and non-financial impacts of a particular action.
  • The business plan focuses on the company goals. The business case focuses on the company goals for a specific step and the results of said step.
  • The business plan centers on the business model, including company earnings, anticipated market, and competitor behavior. The business case centers on the earnings, market, and competitor behavior of an action.
  • The business plan assesses overall performance in sales, margins, and profits. The business case assesses specific fiscal metrics, such as the return of investment or net present value. A business case also assesses the non-fiscal results.

Formatting

The business plan follows a specific format that is divided into three main sections: the business concept, marketplace, and finances.

Begin with the cover page. The cover page must include the company name, logo, contact person, address, phone number, date of incorporation, state of incorporation, and a confidentiality and nondisclosure statement. The table of contents should include all the sections of the business plan and what page to find a certain section.

Following the table of contents will be the executive summary. This will be the first section read, so ensure that it stands out and is strongly written. The executive summary will describe the company and determine what stage the company is currently in. Also, include details about the company's strategy, customer base, marketing efforts, the background of the management team, and expected revenue and profits.

The body of the plan should include the following sections: background and purpose, market analysis, product or service development, marketing, financial data, organization structure and management, ownership, risk factors, and the conclusion. Each of these sections will include additional subsections where further details can be discussed. A table of appendices, referencing back to key concepts, will be the last section of the business plan.

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