Writing a Business Plan

Writing a business plan can be challenging for most entrepreneurs. Business plans are “projected” 3-5 year roadmap that outlines where you intend to take your company. From humble beginnings to grow, make money, manage risk and sell the business when hitting retirement age. Having meticulously gone through every business plan submitted to us at Prestige Capital Partners, we outline major parts of a business plan that has made an impact with our funders.

Knowing how to structure and write an effective business plan is your biggest chance of getting your project seen by any funder. The business plan template written below can be used for any business be it for a large project or for a small business. It is worth time, money and effort paying out for a professional who provides a business plan service as they ‘go with a fine tooth comb’ and iron out mistakes and see areas where it can be improved.

How To Write A Business Plan

We previously wrote about the importance of writing an eye catching executive summary. Writing a business plan that is packed with credible sources, factual information and relevant presentations will get seen in an instant. This business plan template has been written from a startup prospective. If you are in the view of growing or expanding your business, you can refer back to this in time and see the developments and reassess your goals.

Here are the common core elements to a successful business plan and how it can influence any lender. Every funder who reads a business plan wants to know how your business project can benefit people, how you plan to make money to pay them back (and what you can offer them) They can determine a projects value by using accounting skills, financial ratios and risk equations.

Writing A Business Plan

A business plan is required by all lenders. The structure of the business plan will look more or less similar to the one below but the information you provide will be project specific (whether you need startup funding or looking to grow or expand.) The purpose of it is to help you think about your business set up, what evidence you need, and how to maximize your change of getting funded. You are welcome to use this business plan as a guideline for your own business proposal.

Just remember that the whole point of writing a business plan is that you are being proactive and addressing market changes and demand. By writing a business plan, you can always refer back to it. Some elements can be taken out but used for your reference in the future.This template defines each section of a business plan. If you can add more features, that’s great!

Executive Summary

For more information about the executive summary, please visit this executive summary link.

This is the first section to be seen by a funder, it gives the funder an overview of your project (first impression) and the intent to accomplish your goals. Whilst the executive summary may be the most important part of your business plan, it might be a good idea to hold off on writing this until you’ve worked through the rest of your business plan (as your business may have to adapt to new concepts or ideas.)

 1.0  Executive summary

1.1  Objectives

1.2   Mission Statement

1.3   Keys to Success


Business Plan Format

Use the first five sections as your extended elevator pitch. You should explain in depth; the goals of your project and how you will satisfy the needs of your target market. Your company description also explains the competitive advantages that you believe will make your business a success.

 Company Summary

2.1   Company Ownership – Name of Project Principle(s) and CV / Is it a joint venture?

2.2  Company Location and Facilities

2.3  Legal Representations and Registered Company Address

2.4  Brand Identity and Awareness

2.4.1  Core Competencies

2.5  Business Law and Register Business License(s) and Permits

  • Trademarks
  • Patent
  • Power purchase agreement / Take off agreement
  • Government Licenses

Management Summary

Show a structured personnel table like a ‘who is who’ of your company’s team and directors.

3.0  Management Team

3.1   Organizational Structure Presentation

3.2   Management Team – Qualified team experience

3.3   Management Team Gaps – Areas of expertise

3.4  Staff and vital personnel

  • Qualifications
  • Training
  • Level of experience
  • Communications

Project/Business Description

How are you going to serve or fill the void of the target market?

4.1   Full Business Description

4.2   Competitive Strength Comparison

4.3   Sales Literature

4.4   Fulfillment

4.5   Technology – Using or adapting green, efficient technology?

4.6   Future Services – Company projections, what are your goals/ targets? Look at your business now and where it can go.

Company Research

5.0  Market Analysis Summary and Research

Market analysis is another integral part of the business plan structure and can be taken in three distinct accounts. It is a method used

  • By investors to look at the market which can determine whether it is going up or down, in order to make investment decisions.
  • By marketers to analyze the target market of their clients and determine the best courses of action to take to improve sales and profitability.
  • For customers – Buyer Profile
    • Who are they?
    • Demographics
    • Buying power and affordability

It is essential to know your business market, research and analysis is vital for business success. For small businesses you might want to do trial runs /marketing campaigns / polls / questionnaires to see if your product is viable and fills a market need. For large projects, a feasibility study is helpful to the funder.

5.1  Market Segmentation Presentation – Market Analysis Table / Charts / Presentation

5.2    Target Market Segment Strategy

5.2.1   Market Needs – Benefits, uniqueness, frequency and severity of the market need

5.2.2   Market Trends

5.2.3   Market Growth – Can your company be flexible, meet new demands, provide additional services.

5.3     Service Business Analysis

5.3.1   Business Participants

5.3.2   Distribution

5.3.3   Competition and Buying Patterns

5.3.4   Main Competitors

Internet Marketing Strategy

6.0  Web Plan Summary

You don’t have to worry about this part if you already have an existing website. By factoring the costs, it will strengthen your application and intention to source customers. It shows that marketing your business online is another benefit.

6.1   Website Marketing Strategy – It is a good idea to include this in your financials!

6.2   Development Requirements – Software use apps/browsers and usability on specific device(s)

Bench Marking

**1) This section is accredited, see below.

7.0 Provide a strategy and implementation summary of your business, market and competitors. Analyzing your competitors business can create more opportunities for your business. Bench marking is a good way to compare and measure your business processes and performance with other top companies in the industry.  Some points to consider are:

  • New Business Entrants – Like for like business
  • Supplier and Buyer Power
  • Threat of New Markets

SWOT Research

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By definition, Strengths (S) and Weaknesses (W) are considered to be internal factors over which you have some measure of control. Also, by definition, Opportunities (O) and Threats (T) are considered to be external factors over which you have essentially no control. – Management Study Guide

7.1     Strength – What factors build and enhance your business? how does it compare to your competition?

7.1.2   Weakness – Can you turn your weaknesses around? Will it take time or money? What opportunities are there to turn it into a strength?

7.1.3   Opportunity – Create new markets or exploit existing markets – can it involve disruptive technology?

7.1.4   Threat (This can include risk assessments) Can you adapt to PEST threats? How severe is it?

7.2   Strategy – Regulations, Support, Provisioning

7.3   Value Proposition

7.4   Competitive Edge

7.5   Marketing Strategy

7.5.1   Positioning Statements

7.5.2   Pricing Strategy

7.5.3   Promotion Strategy

7.5.4   Distribution Strategy

7.5.5   Marketing Programs

7.6  Sales Strategy

7.6.1   Sales Forecasting

  • Sales Forecast Table
  • Sales Monthly Chart
  • Sales by Year Chart

7.6.2   Sales Programs

7.7     Strategic Alliances – Supply chain to buyer demand

7.8     Milestones Presentations – Milestone Table and Charts

PEST Research

 

8.0 This concerns the macro environment of your business.

Measured Risks: Analysis and measurement of Weakness. Prepare and evaluate these factors to outline strength (and opportunities)

8.1   Political risk assessments

8.2  Economical factor – Sustainability years ahead, can it adapt to new changes. How much demand and will prices vary.

8.3  Environmental factor – How the business impacts the environment through manufacturing and distribution. Don’t just think of the local community but what happens to the after sale of your products. Are your product recyclable or reusable?

8.4  Social-Cultural factor – These address the impact on demographic and culture of the local community.

8.5  Technological factor – New product innovations. Are the products disruptive or do you rely on new innovations? Are your products using new materials or technology or just a development of technologies in use?

 

 Financial Plan

9.0  Project Financials

This section is an in-depth financial report about your project. The numbers here should stack up. This should be an approximate figure of expected returns on your project. Research and assess why your project is financially viable. Key elements that you should include are:

  • Cost to set up your project (Capital Requirements)
  • Financial history / anticipated projections / Turnover
  • Marketing Costs
  • Insurances
  • Anticipated turnover/revenue generated
  • Profit/Loss for the first 5 years
  • Cost Of Employment (wages and training)
  • Business ratios and/or a break-even analysis
  • Feasibility Study
  • Proof of Funds
  • Use of funds

9.1   Start – Up Funding Presentation

9.2   Important Assumptions including cost of substitutes

9.3   Key Financial Indicators – Cost benefit Analysis

9.4    Breaking Even Analysis Table / Chart / Presentation

9.5   Projected Profit and Loss Log……

  • Profit Monthly
  • Profit Yearly
  • Gross Margin Monthly

9.6   Projected Cash Flow… Cash Flow Presentation

9.7   Projected Balance Sheet… Balance Sheet Table

9.8   Other Business Ratios…

9.9   Long Term Plan…Devise a plan for long term stability and possible future developments

9.10  The Investment Offering… (Equity stake suggestion)

9.11   Valuation… Investment Analysis

9.12   Use of Capital… The funder will require receipts/proof of payments

9.13   Payback…Payback Period – Exit Strategy

Appendix

Additional documents relating to the project or business.

Business Plan Rejections

Funders are more likely to reject an application rather than a business plan. Here are the reasons why your business plan could possibly be rejected by us.

  • Unclear explanation of the project
  • Incomplete descriptions of project intent
  • Mistakes within the business plan
  • Management History
  • Weak analysis of project competition
  • Failure to describe a sustainable competitive advantage
  • Misleading information
  • Unrealistic projections and figures

Business Plan Service

You are welcome to use this guide to structure your business plan. Formatting your business plan correctly will maximise your chance at getting your project funded. If you require help with your business plan we can put you in  contact with one of our partners, be aware that Prestige Capital Partners does not provide this service.

Current permissions: You have the right to access our executive summary and business plan page where you are allowed refer to both pages as a template to design and structure your own business plan. Currently we do not except copying of images on either page or copying of these documents to provide content for other websites.

Writing a Business Plan was last modified: April 7th, 2017 by Denise