To know what should be on a business plan, you first need to understand what a business plan is.

A business plan outlines the future goals of a business. It is a document that summarizes what you plan to do and how you are going to achieve your goals. Because there is much detail included in a business plan, it will likely be very lengthy.

How Long Are Business Plans?

Some business plans are more than 100 pages long. Generally, the larger the company, the bigger the business plan. Most business plans, however, are either 15 to 25 pages long, or 20 to 50 pages. Smaller businesses will oftentimes create miniplans, which are five to 10 pages in length. Large enterprises sometimes have multiple miniplans as part of their big business plans.

The nature of your company, as well as your particular reason for creating a business plan, will greatly impact how big or small it is. Take for example your business idea that is very simple. In this case, you may be able to create a business plan that is very small. On the other hand, though, if you have an idea for a business that is new to the industry, you will probably have to do a lot of explaining to convey your concept and idea, which will make the business plan extremely lengthy.

Business plans that are being created for the purpose of securing funding will usually be very long. Not only does this type of business plan include lots of explaining, but it also must be worded in a way that it convinces investors to make an investment. However, if you have already established relationships with some of your potential investors, a miniplan may suffice. A miniplan is also usually sufficient if you are using it for internal purposes only.

What Types of Business Plans Are There?

A business plan can be written down on paper or it can be typed up electronically. Many companies choose to create their business plans using PowerPoint decks. And while PowerPoint slides are great for giving presentations, a document-style business plan should still be created and available for potential investors to review.

Using a template is highly advised when creating a business plan. It will help ensure the plan appears professionally formatted, which is essential when presenting it to investors and financial institutions.

Why Should Business Plans Be Reviewed?

Regardless of whether you are seeking funding, a business plan needs to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Not only does reviewing the business plan provide you the opportunity to reevaluate your goals, but it also allows you to realign your strategic objectives according to the data you have collected during the prior year.

Projections and real-world numbers are almost never the same. Sometimes, goals are met without issue, while other times, they are never met at all. Reviewing your business plan allows you to pinpoint your company's weaknesses and strengths.

One of the most notable values of a business plan is that it allows you to explore the likelihood of success or failure without actually having to open the business. As you are creating a plan for the company, you can see if there are any flaws that would impact the business in a negative manner.

Many times, business plans reveal objectives that aren't realistic. They can also shine a light on the fact that a certain industry may consist of heavy amounts of competition that you hadn't considered.

What Should a Business Plan Include?

Your business plan is especially important if you are seeking financing. It will include a discussion of the industry your business is going to operate in, the structure of the company, the products and services you are going to offer, and how you intend to make a profit. The segments it should include are as follows:

  • Executive Summary
  • One to four pages illustrating your objectives and how you are going to achieve them
  • End with an overview

It should also detail the markets you plan to pursue. You will need to create a buyer persona and include it. This will outline who you are targeting, the demographics of your audience, and how you plan to market your products and services. You should also include a section that details how you plan to set yourself apart from your competitors.

It's also a good idea to include a background of your employees, including which positions your business will have and the types of people you want to fill them.

If you have questions about what should be on a business plan, you can post your legal need on the UpCounsel marketing place today.