6 Easy Steps to Developing a Business Plan Outline [ Free Download]

developing a business plan outline and format
developing a business plan outline and format

From the post, Business Plan Sample, we were made to think that a business plan has to follow a standard format. Actually, not every business needs that professional outlook. Some businesses just require an outline for themselves and their team members. In this article, we have the steps to developing that business plan for your small business.

What usually deters entrepreneurs from developing a business plan outline is the time to do so. They believe a business plan format takes a lot of time to develop. In addition, many are afraid that their brilliant idea isn’t so brilliant on paper after all.

Taking time out to research and write a plan makes you identify risks and possible roadblocks. Business plans are essential to identifying and overcoming obstacles on your path so you can build a successful empire.

6 Steps to Developing and Writing a Business Plan Outline

Before you can develop a business plan, there are researches that are ought to be carried out and information needed for the outline to help the business succeed.

Here are 6 easy steps to developing a business plan;

Read and Research Effectively

To write that perfect plan, you must know your company, your product, your competitors, and the market.

That is to say, it is mandatory to know everything you can about your business and the industry you are entering. Read everything you can about your industry and talk to your audience.

William Pirraglia, a retired senior financial and management executive said: “Consider spending twice as much time researching, evaluating and thinking as you spend actually writing the business plan”.

What is the purpose of your plan?

In our earlier article, we explained that a business plan can serve various purposes.

It can be used as a fundraiser to attract investors, as a business roadmap to plan for a business’s future, etc. Your business plan should depict whatever the business plan is being drafted for.

However, if you want to attract investors, you will have to write a plan that targets them so it will have to be as clear and concise as possible.

When you define your plan, make sure you have defined its goal as well.

Create a company profile

In developing a business plan, you need a company profile.

Your company profile includes the history of your organization, what products or services you offer, your target market and audience, your resources, how you’re going to solve a problem and what makes your business unique.

Document all aspects of your business

The basic objective of a business is to make profits. Investors want to make sure that your business is going to make them money.

Because of this expectation, investors want to know everything about your business. To help with this process, document everything from your expenses, cash flow, and industry projections. Also, don’t forget seemingly minor details like your location, strategy and licensing if needed.

Have a strategic marketing plan

Let us simplify this step a bit.

Your marketing plan should have an objective phase and the implementation stage.

In the objectives section of your marketing plan, you focus on ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the marketing tasks. The implementation section focuses on practicals. The ‘how’ of the marketing tasks; how you intend to achieve those objectives.

For example, a typical marketing objective includes:

  • Introducing new products
  • Increasing the market for existing products
  • Entering new markets
  • Boosting sales. Be specific.
  • Entering into long-term contracts with some clients
  • Raising prices without cutting into sales figures
  • Enhancing manufacturing and product delivery

The ‘how’ for introducing a new product will be;

  • What exact steps do I need to introduce a new product? Is the product wholly manufactured by me or assembled? etc

Make the Plan Customer-based

The potential readers of a business plan are different people, ranging from bankers and venture capitalists to employees. And each reader has certain interests.

Because of this, make sure that your plan can be modified depending on the audience reading your plan. However, keep the modifications limited. This means that when sharing financial projections, you should keep that data the same.

For example, bankers will be more interested in balance sheets and cash-flow statements, while venture capitalists will be looking at the basic business concept and your management team. The manager on your team, however, will be using the plan to “remind themselves of objectives.

The data will be the same but the explanation varied.

developing a business plan outline

Developing a Business Plan Outline

A business plan format consists of 8 main sections.

Read Also: Why you need a Mentor as a Startup

The format highlighted briefly.

  • Executive summary – A synopsis of your business
  • Company description – Describes what you do
  • Market analysis – Research on your industry, market, and competitors
  • Operational plan – Daily activities of the company
  • Organization and management – Your business and management structure
  • Service or product – The products or services you’re offering
  • Marketing and sales – How you’ll market your business and your sales strategy
  • Financial projections and plan – Information like balance sheets. How much money you will need for the next 3 to 5 years.
  • Appendix – An additional section that includes résumés and permits

Do download the PDF below to get the full details on the outline and what to include or leave out. Each section of the business plan has been discussed extensively.


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