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Basic Business Plan Outline | 8 most Important Elements To Include

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Last Updated: Oct 1, 2018

How do you write a business plan? Writing a business plan outline is a skill that any successful business owner or intending business owner needs to acquire. If it becomes too technical to learn how to write business plan step by step then an existing business owner or intending business owner must rely on the expertise of the best business plan writing service provider to get the job done. What is a business outline?

First, do you want to know what is a simple business plan? A business plan provides a veritable tool for a new business venture or an existing one to have a clearer picture of the nature of the business they operate or intend to operate and the steps, procedures to follow to achieve success in that business venture. Besides that, if a business does not have even a basic business plan for its operations when it comes to the time to access loans from banks, investors for the business, equity funding or any other means for raising funds then the business owner must seek a means to make financial projections for startups and how to build a business plan.
Therefore, this article focuses on knowing what needs to be included in a business plan?

Related: Put Up Your Own Business In Just 10 Days

Why You Need A Basic Business Plan Outline for your Business

  • It helps set the visual framework for your business.
  • It makes it easier to know how to go about marketing.
  • Helps you set realistic goals and projected balance sheet.
  • It creates a yardstick to measure progress or not.
  • It helps state the exact steps you need to take to get to your goals.
  • It makes it possible to see your Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) from the unset.
  • It makes it easier to set RACE (Research Action Communication Evaluation) to work.

8 most important things to include in your Basic Business Plan

Here are how to build a business plan and business tips to help:

Cover page

The cover page of business plan is as important as other pages in the business plan outline or main document. It is the first thing an investor or lender sees and it communicates in clear terms what the document talks about. Your cover page of business plan should contain the basic information such as the title, business name, contact phone numbers, e-mail, website and any other vital information. Please note that you will require a business plan cover letter asides the business plan when seeking investors or loans.

Please check our business plan examples for cover page of business plan, designs, and guide.

Business Summary or Executive summary business plan

The business summary of a basic business plan is also known as the Executive Summary. The next page after your title page is the Business or Executive Summary. When designing the business plan outline the first thing to put in place is the Executive summary business plan.

It is very important that your executive summary states clearly the intentions for the business plan in a precise, concise and business tone. It is also a synopsis of the whole business plan and should be between ½ to a single page long.

It is like an elevator pitch and should state who you are, your goals, aspirations ads what your product or service is in just a few lines. See business case example on my site.

Related: Business Plan Optimization With Business Intelligence

Brand Summary

When building a business plan you need to be able to state what separates and causes your business plan to stand out from the crowd. Strong brands offer strategic and consistent benefits and they communicate that using a visual identity amongst others. Your website, logo, font, graphic elements, business card, e-mail, signatures, landing page, writing style, pictures and more communicate your brand.

What should your brand say about you and how it should make the client feel about your business?
What’s your vision statement? It is the vision for your business in the long term. The vision statement helps identify where you intend seeing your business.

What’s your mission statement? It deals with how you plan on achieving your vision.
To sell your brand to your customers then you need to create a value proposition to help project your brand. The value proposition is a less than one minute pitch that gives the potential customer a reason to prefer you over the competitor. See business plan examples on our site.

Related: How A Different Perspective Can Improve Your Business

Client summary

Understanding and classifying who your customers are in a business plan outline could sometimes be challenging even for big businesses. You need to identify your target clients and clearly identify their needs, where to locate them, what they want and at what price.

You attract better-focused patronage from the right customer when you target and focus your client properly. You can explore things such as their demographics to help target your customers better. To write a good client summary then you need to research into your target market, understand their values, how they feel and things they grapple with to help you create a well-targeted message.

Financial Projections

You need to draw up financial projections for startups but it should only be after understanding your target market, set goals for the business and know market trends. Your financial projections for startups and for your business plan outline should cover a three to five year period. A financial projection is a very vital aspect of your company’s future when considering investors, equity, lenders or fundraising. It contains future and on-going financial costs and income the business needs.

Think about how your business will make money and identify the basic projections that determine how you generate income. How much funding or loans do you need to start, keep the business running and what to use the funds to do. It also talks about when the business will become profitable. See site for financial projections template.

Competitive Analysis

Now you should be getting better with how to write business plan step by step. At this point, you need to know and state who your competitors are, what they are up to and what makes them stronger than you as well as where you are stronger.

Take a look at your competitive advantage and why you could be more successful than the competitor. Find out their pricing, offerings, processes, etc. to guide your planning but not to copy them. Also, don’t let the more successful competitor intimidate you just use them to better your business and create your own brand to stand out.

Marketing Plan

You need to describe your brand position, products or services when building a business plan. Important to a marketing plan for business plan outline is the need for an effective promotion plan to help attract customers to your company; such as newspaper or online ads (social media, email marketing, etc.).
You can carry out a market research to understand potential customers buying patterns and what informs their purchase decisions.

One of the best business tips for you is that every business needs visibility. Small businesses fail not because they lack products but because they don’t have customers.

Business Goals

You need to define where your business should be in a few years, how much you should be earning to breakeven, become profitable and what you should be doing by then.

What are the specific ways you intend achieving what’s in your business plan outline? Use the SMART principle – Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound. What task will you carry out to achieve your goals? Provide timelines with specific numbers.

How do I write a business plan for a small business? This is a very crucial question to ask. See best business plan samples for new business startups.

Writing the best business plan outline or the entire business plan including the financial projections for startups cannot be a single time affair. Your business plan must be reviewed very often as the business grows, as the market evolves or as the business goals fail or exceed expectations. See business plan samples for new business startups or fundraising purpose on our site. Don’t forget to seek professional help with writing your business development plan when it’s beginning to look impossible or you can’t find the time for one yourself.

Read Next: 7 Fastest Growing Companies In America

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