Some Key Elements of a Complete Business Plan are:
- Opportunity Available (idea)
- Business Description (Ownership, place of business, etc…)
- Product(s) / Service(s)
- Marketing / Promotions (How you will distribute product/service, generate sales)
- Business Structure and Management (job descriptions, responsibilities, etc.)
- Financial requirements (to start up the business, expected return, etc.)
- Should be exciting as a stand-alone summary of your plan in a nutshell.
Business Concept (Company Overview)
A brief but detailed description of your business concept.
Description of the Industry
There are two types of research – Primary (Surveys, Questionnaires) and Secondary (Sources include the Internet, libraries, articles, StatsCan, NECO’s Business Planning Links, etc.)
- Industry outlook, growth potential and trends.
- Markets and Customers – number, characteristics that describe them
- Competitive Companies – their market share, strengths/weaknesses, profitability
- National and Economic trends (population shifts, consumer trends, economic indicators, the ‘big picture’)
Description of the Business Venture
Product / Service – characteristics, quality.
Target Market – typical customers identified by groups, buying patterns – how much, how often, when – wants and needs.
Key Success Factors for the Industry (Competitive Advantage) – ex. Price (Competitive Advantage used by Walmart), Location (Key Factor of Success for Corner Stores), Uniqueness (Key Success Factor for gift or craft shops). – with your Competitive Advantage identified, how large is your potential target market for sales?
Promotion Strategy – How will you reach your target market to strategically promote your Product/Service and Sales. – Price, Product, Place and Promotion.
How do you plan on marketing your product and/or service? A detailed description including target markets & demographics and budgets should be added to the overall business plan.
Financial Statements & Projections
It is said that the common mistake among start-up businesses is that they overestimate start-up costs, and underestimate cash-flow needs. Make sure to allocate adequate resources to cash-flow requirements so that your ship isn’t sunk by costs you haven’t foreseen. Financial forecasts can be a very important aspect to your planning.
Cash-flow forecast: elements involved
- estimated sales (with notes to explain)
- estimated start-up costs
- estimated on-going costs (variable and fixed)
- displayed month by month
Note: Variable costs are costs that vary with sales, such as advertising or delivery costs. Fixed costs, such as rent stay fixed no matter how much sales increase or decrease.
Income statement forecast: elements involved
- summarizes income and expenses on a yearly basis
Balance sheet forecast: elements involved
- estimated assets required and contributed (equity)
- estimated loans required to finance assets and business start-up
Production/Service and Operations Plan
- Description of Principal Products/Services
- Patents or trademarks held
- Franchise or licensing agreements and regulatory, certification, or other requirements
- Time and schedule for the implementation of your business
- Describe your target market and prospective customers in terms of geography and customer profile
- Principal factors consumers consider in the purchase of products like yours
- Outline the principal benefit received from your firm
- Describe how target market might be broken down into segments
- Describe weekly, monthly, seasonal, or other sales patterns.
- Indicated what is really unique about your product/service
- Lay out a schedule of milestones or significant events for the implementation of your business and a timetable for completion
- Indicated who will be responsible for the completion of each task.
- Develop an organization chart indicating who is responsible for each of the major areas of activity in your business
- listing each function and indicate the name of the individual who will perform that function
- Include a brief resume of each of these individuals
- If your is a new venture, indicate your estimate of the start-up financial requirements of your business
Ownership and Management Structure
- Describe the ownership of your business (Sole proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation)
- Province complete information regarding your professional advisors (accountant, lawyer etc.)
- Indicate the compenstaiton to be received by each member of your management team
- Indicated what collateral or other security you are prepared to provide to the prospective lender or investor