Business Plan Outline

[This is Typical Content of A Business Plan for A Large Company, 15-20 Pages]

“The simple key to the Business Plan is the planning itself…”

While each individual’s business plan will be different, there are common formats which can be used to

facilitate the on-going business planning process. The following outline is provided by the Wisconsin

Women’s Business Initiative Corporation as a easy-to-use outline.

I. Business Plan Summary

A. 1-3 page overview of the entire plan. (Typically written last.)

II. Personal Background Information

  • Personal Profile of Skills & Experience
  • Personal Financial Statement

III. Business Description

A. General description of the business.

  • Introduction of Business Idea
  • Business Goals & Objectives
  • Background & Trends on the Industry
  • Business “Fit” in the Industry

IV. Business Organization

A. Detailed picture of the company’s organization, operation & management.

  • Legal Form and Ownership
  • Location
  • Operating Information
  • Internal Systems & Controls
  • Management & Human Resources
  • Risk/Insurance Issues

V. Marketing Plan

A. Description of the product or service, target customers, and how sales will be made.

  • A Products/Services Description
  • General Description
  • Features & Benefits
  • Manufacturing Process
  • Plans for Future, Growth

B. Market Analysis

  • Customer Identification
  • Direct & Indirect competition
  • Market Potential
  • Market Niche

C. Marketing Strategies

  • Product or Service Lines
  • Positioning and Goals
  • Packaging
  • Pricing Structure
  • Placement/Distribution/Delivery
  • Customer Service & Sales
  • Promotional Strategy

VI. The company’s financial information including anticipated expenses, income and required capital (if any).

A. Investment Required for Start-Up

  • Start-up costs/needs
  • Financing required and access to funds

B. Cash Flow Projections

  • One year projections & explanation (monthly to show any seasonal variations)

    C. Other financial Statements

  • 3 years Balance Sheet projections [oftentimes an initial one is adequate]
  • Explanations & Assumptions
  • Historical financial statements (for existing business)
  • Personal Financial Statement of owners(s)
  • [3 years of profit and loss information-the 1st being by month and the 2nd and 3rd by quarters]

VII. A catch-all section that contains any supporting documents or information that will better describe the plan.

  • Resume
  • Letters of Reference
  • Letters of intent to Purchase (or, copies of contrast)
  • Copies of legal documents (leases, articles of incorporation, permits, licenses, etc.)
  • Tax returns
  • Photos, maps, floor plans
  • Sample menus, promotional materials, etc.
  • Organization chart, job descriptions
  • Other…

Small businesses can have much less information in a business plan.

Definition of A Small Business

A small business is generally defined as one with annual sales under $1 million and having less than 10 employees.

A small business loan would be an amount less than $250,000.

Business Plan Informational Needs

  1. Description of proposed product/service
  2. Who are your competitors and where do you rank in regard to pricing, quality, market share, and uniqueness?
  3. A detailed description of how the loan funds will be spent
  4. Personal financial information
  5. Projected income statement, balance sheet, and month to month cash flows for the first two years
  6. A detailed description of the skills, abilities and experience of the management team (even if the business is a sole proprietorship). Prior industry specific experience should also be addressed.
  7. Why will customers be attracted to your business? Who will be your targeted customer group and why will they buy your product or service?
  8. Define what you feel will be your biggest challenge and how you intend to overcome it?

A business plan for a small business loan should probably be no more than 10 pages, with 4 of the pages pertaining to financial statements.

The Business Plan (WWBIC) + Small Business information