Contents

Simple Business Plan Outline for Organizing Your Plan

A business plan is a crucial tool for any entrepreneur or business owner. It serves as a roadmap for achieving success and guides decision-making. However, creating a business plan can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unsure where to start. That’s why we’ve developed this simple business plan outline to help you organize your thoughts and ideas effectively.

1. Executive Summary:

This section provides a concise overview of your business plan. It should highlight the main points, including your business concept, target market, goals, and financial projections.

2. Company Description:

Here, you’ll provide detailed information about your company, including its structure, legal status, and mission statement. Use this section to explain your unique selling proposition and how your products or services cater to the needs of your target audience.

3. Market Analysis:

This section involves conducting thorough research on your industry, target market, and competitors. Identify your target customers, their preferences, and needs. Analyze your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and determine how you can differentiate yourself in the market.

4. Organization and Management:

Outline your organization’s structure and the roles and responsibilities of your team members. Highlight the qualifications and expertise of your management team, as well as any advisors or mentors.

5. Products or Services:

Provide in-depth information about your products or services. Describe their features and benefits and explain how they fulfill customer needs. Discuss any proprietary technology or intellectual property that sets you apart from competitors.

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6. Marketing and Sales Strategy:

Explain your marketing and sales approach and how you plan to attract and retain customers. Define your target market segments, and outline your pricing, distribution, and promotional strategies. Include a sales forecast to demonstrate your revenue projections.

7. Financial Projections:

This section is crucial for demonstrating the financial viability of your business. Include projected income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets for at least three years. Use realistic assumptions and consider various scenarios to evaluate your business’s financial health.

8. Funding Request:

If you’re seeking funding, clearly outline the amount you need and how you intend to use it. Describe your current funding sources, such as personal savings or loans, and any potential investors or lenders you’ve approached.

9. Appendix:

Include any supporting documents that are relevant to your business plan, such as resumes, contracts, market research, or licenses. These attachments should provide additional information without being repetitive.

By following this simple business plan outline, you can effectively organize your plan and convey your ideas concisely. Remember, a well-written and well-structured business plan not only helps you attract investors and lenders but also serves as a blueprint for your business’s success.

A Simple Business Plan Outline to Build a Useful Plan

When starting a business, having a well-thought-out business plan is necessary for success. It guides your strategy, prepares you for obstacles and risks, and increases your chances of success.

However, starting a business is often the hardest part. What information do you need? How detailed should each section be? How should the plan be structured?

These are important questions that can be answered by following a business plan outline.

What is a business plan outline?

A business plan outline is similar to a template. It lists the common sections that all business plans should include.

A traditional business plan includes an executive summary, an overview of your products and services, market research, a competitive analysis, a marketing and sales strategy, company details, financial projections, and an appendix.

Why is a business plan outline important?

A business plan outline ensures that you include all necessary information for a complete plan.

However, depending on your goals, you may not need all of this information immediately. If you’re seeking investors or funding, you’ll need to include everything. But if you’re using the plan to test an idea or run your business, a one-page plan may be more suitable. This simpler and faster approach can be updated regularly.

If you’re unsure about which plan is right for you, check out our guide explaining the differences and use cases for each plan type.

10 key sections in a standard business plan outline

No matter the type of business plan you create, these are the ten basic sections to include. Download our free template to get started on your own plan as you follow this outline.

A Simple Business Plan Outline to Build a Useful Plan

1. Executive summary

Write the executive summary last, as it is a brief section that highlights key points from your business plan.

Summarize the problem and solution, target market, team, and financial forecasts. Keep it brief and entice your audience to learn more.

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Remember, this is the first impression, so spend time getting it right.

2. Products and services

Start by describing the problem you solve and how your product or service addresses it.

If you’ve made progress selling your solution, mention it (traction). Include intellectual property or patents if relevant.

3. Market analysis

Discuss your target market and how it’s changing. Include the market size and potential customer segmentation.

4. Competition

Describe your competition or explain how customers currently solve the problem. Detail your strengths and weaknesses and how you differentiate.

5. Marketing and sales

Outline your marketing and sales plans, including market position, activities, channels, and pricing strategy.

6. Operations

Describe your facilities, technology, and supply chain if relevant to your business.

7. Milestones and metrics

Set important goals (milestones) and describe the roadmap for achieving them. Define key metrics to measure business performance.

8. Company overview and team

Provide an overview of your business, owners, state of registration, and any historical background. Include key team member summaries and roles. Mention any positions to fill.

9. Financial plan and forecasts

Include sales forecasts, profit and loss, cash flow projections, and balance sheet. Describe assumptions for your projections. Highlight funding needs and use of funds.

10. Appendix

Include additional information to support specific elements of your plan, such as financial statements, resumes, patents, credit histories, or marketing examples.

Detailed business plan outline

For greater insight into planning sections, refer to this outline, which can help you develop a business plan tailored to your needs. Focus on sections relevant to your business.

*Optional sections

Executive summary

Company Purpose / Mission Statement

Briefly describe your business’s purpose or mission.

Problem We Solve

Summarize the problem you solve and the market need.

Our Solution

Describe your product or service that addresses the problem.

Target Market

Identify your customer base most likely to purchase your offering.

Team

Briefly describe your business’s key members.

Financial Summary

Provide an overview of revenue goals and profitability.

Traction*

Highlight initial progress if you’ve started selling your solution.

Funding Needed*

Describe the capital you require for your business.

Products & Services

Problem worth solving

Thoroughly describe the problem you intend to solve.

Our Solution

Provide a detailed description of your product or service.

Traction*

Describe initial evidence of customer interest or sales.

Intellectual Property/Patents*

Outline relevant intellectual property or patents.

Regulatory Requirements*

Explain any required government approvals and their timeline.

Future Products and Services*

Discuss potential future offerings.

Target Market

Market Size & Segments

Estimate potential customers and segment them based on characteristics.

Market Trends*

Describe consumer behavior, financial trends, and relevant factors.

Market Growth*

Predict changes in your target market’s size.

Industry Analysis*

Explain industry changes or adjustments.

Key Customers*

Highlight important customers your business relies on.

Future Markets*

Summarize market potential and your business strategy.

Competition

Current Alternatives

List potential competitors.

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Our Advantages

Explain why your target market is more likely to choose you.

Barriers to Entry*

Describe what makes it difficult for others to compete.

Marketing & Sales

Market positioning

Define your product’s or service’s position in the market.

Unique value proposition*

Highlight what sets your offering apart from the competition.

Marketing Plan

Outline your marketing and advertising strategy, budget, and goals.

Sales Plan

Describe your sales approach, self-serve or with a team.

Pricing Strategy*

Explain your pricing and how it compares to alternatives.

Distribution*

Describe how you reach customers, online or in stores.

SWOT Analysis*

Describe your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Operations

Location & Facilities

Include details about physical locations or facilities.

Technology

Highlight crucial technologies for your business.

Equipment & Tools

Describe any necessary equipment or tools.

Sourcing and fulfillment*

Explain procurement and supply chain if applicable.

Partners and Resources*

Describe key partners and their contributions.

Milestones and metrics

Milestones

Provide a roadmap of specific goals and objectives.

Key metrics

Outline performance measurements for your business.

Company overview and team

Organizational structure

Summarize your business’s legal structure.

Company history and ownership

Describe your business’s history and ownership details.

Management team

Introduce your team and their qualifications.

Management team gaps

Identify key positions to fill for business success.

Financial plan and forecast

Projected profit and loss

Estimate revenue, costs, and expenses.

Projected cash flow

Show cash movement in and out of the business.

Projected balance sheet

Detail assets, liabilities, and equity.

Use of funds

Describe how funds will be utilized.

Exit strategy

Sketch out a plan for exiting the business.

Appendix

Include additional information, such as charts and graphs.

Business plan outline FAQ

How do you organize your business plan?

There’s no set order, except for placing the Executive Summary first. Organize the rest based on your goals. If pitching investors, prioritize stronger sections. Otherwise, group related sections or follow this article’s outline.

Should you include tables and charts in your business plan?

Include bar charts and pie charts to visualize financial information. Cash flow analysis is crucial. Sales forecasts, income statements, and balance sheets are also important.

How long should your business plan be?

There’s no perfect length. Traditional plans range from 10 to 50 pages. If not seeking funding, a shorter plan may suffice.

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