7 Components of a Strong Business Plan
April 03, 2017
By Yesenia Cardona, CPA, MSA
Starting and running a successful business is not something you do by the seat of your pants. It takes careful planning and analysis. Here are 7 things to include when creating your business plan.
- Summary – Review the current state of the business, your mission, and factors that will make your company successful. Give a brief history, product/service offerings, and your future plans. Make note of funding needs and potential sources.
- Company Overview – Indicate how your products and/or services fill a need in the market. List different customer groups that could benefit from your offerings. What are your advantages/disadvantages in the 4Ps: product, price, promotion and place?
- Industry Analysis – Provide an overview of your industry and its 3-5 year outlook. Is it growing, shrinking or flat? Who is your target market, and who is meeting their needs now? Analyze competitors’ market share, along with their strengths and weaknesses, location and pricing. Determine if any government regulations will impact your business and the compliance costs.
- Organizational Leadership – Give a brief bio of the company’s owners and leaders. List who is responsible for each area. This is best represented by an organizational chart. How is the organization organized? Is it incorporated, a partnership, or some other structure?
- Offerings – Describe your products and/or services and how they will benefit the consumer. Include information on unique processes or technologies you use, intellectual property you own, and what you have in the R&D pipeline.
- Sales and Marketing – Outline how you will inform potential customers of the products (ads, salesforce, social media), where the product will be offered (retail stores, Amazon), and how you will get the product to them (direct sales, wholesalers, distributors). This step also should include a strategy on growing the business.
- Financial Analysis – Include a sales and profit history, as well as realistic projections for 3 to 5 years.