Home » Business » Home-Based Business

The 7 Sections to a Business Plan

Mar 19, 2008
Does the mere idea of writing a business plan seem over whelming? Do you want to put a plan in place, but do not know where to start?

Let's break it down into to manageable pieces - 7 pieces to be exact. Create each section of your plan in this order:

1. Introductory Elements
2. Business Description
3. The Market
4. Development & Production
5. Sales & Marketing
6. Management
7. Financials

Let's briefly look at what goes in each section.

1. Introductory Elements

This is the first step in this business plan. There are three elements that make up the introduction: your cover page, executive summary, and table of contents.

Your cover page should say the words "Business Plan," and includes: your name and business name, company logo, contact information and the date.

The executive summary is considered to be what most readers will go to first, so it has to be good. Write it last, using specific highlights and summarized points from other sections of your plan.

Your executive summary is just that - a summary - so it should be from one to three pages in length, no more. Make sure you include: your concept, financial features, financial requirements, current state of your business, when it was formed, principal owners, key personnel, and major achievements.

Your table of contents provides readers with a quick and easy way to navigate your plan. All pages of your plan should be numbered and the table of contents should reference those page numbers.

2. Business Description

A concise, easy-to-understand description of your company will make your plan stronger and will benefit you in: networking, making cold calls, and approaching the media for interviews and articles.

3. The Market

Cover the following in this section of your plan: customers, market size and trends, and your estimated sales.

If you're seeking capital for your home business, then this section needs to provide enough facts to convince an investor, potential partner or other reader that you can generate enough sales.

If you're creating your business plan to use as an internal document, go through the exercise of completing this section. Take the time to conduct all of the relevant research. Doing so will give you a far greater understanding of your customer and your market, which will enable you to build your business more effectively.

4. Development & Production

The Development & Production section of your plan includes: development status, production process, make or buy, location, cost of development, labor requirements, expenses and capital requirements.

5. Sales & Marketing

What strategy and tactics will you use to get customers to buy your products or services?

Sales and marketing is the weak link in many plans, so take your time with this section. A strong sales and marketing section can serve as a road map for you.

6. Management

Use this section to describe company management including the responsibilities and expertise of each person. Outline the areas in which you are strong (for example, marketing) and the areas where you will be using outside resources (for example, accounting). Do this even if you're writing your business plan as an internal document - it'll help you clarify for yourself where you may need additional resources.

7. Financials

In this section you back up what you've been saying about your business all along. You'll back it up with numbers - actually, with financial statements and forms. These financial statements and forms document the viability of your business - and its soundness as an investment.

A few additional comments:

If after reading the above you're still feeling overwhelmed about creating your business plan, then simply focus on the first section.

Start there. When you're done with the first section, move onto the second section. Simply take it one section at a time.
About the Author
Kimberly Anne is a seasoned businessperson with over 20 years of marketing experience. With a BA and a MBA, she has helped thousands of people start home businesses and achieve success. For more a complete business plan outline visit Kimberly's site www.all-about-home-businesses.com.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 127
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories