Writing A Business Plan

You might agree that writing a business plan can be challenging. Business plans are “projected” 3-5 year road map that outlines where you intend to take your company. From humble beginnings your idea might be to grow, make money, manage risk and sell the business when hitting retirement age. Below we outline major parts of a business plan that makes an impact with our funders.

Knowing how to structure and write an effective business plan is key to get 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. They ‘go with a fine tooth comb’ and iron out mistakes and see areas where plans 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 illustrations that best represents your business model. Our business plan template has been written from a startup prospective. If you are in the position of growing or expanding your business, you can refer back to this in time and see the developments and reassess your goals.

There are some common core elements to put into a business plan (eg; Company information and team, marketing plan and SWOT) It’s a good idea to structure the business plan with different titles per page and provide the lender as much detail about your project. Don’t be shy or hold back, this may count against you as they need to know everything. 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. It might be worth considering that if your project does involve patent technologies that aren’t currently registered, to do this before applying for funding.

Writing A Business Plan

A business plan is required by all lenders, you can not get a project funded without one.. 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 of the business plan template is to help you think about your business and you can think about including the whole product/service life cycle. What is your business set up? what evidence/facts do you have? Where do you see your market going and how does your product improve efficiency or is it innovative? 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 at any point in time. Some elements can be taken out but used for your reference in the future. You don’t have to go fancy with graphics and illustrations but it does help explain what your project idea and it processes. Writing a business plan takes a lot of time to perfect, it isn’t drawn up within a week. Lenders can see how much time was put into a business plan, they will more likely to reward people who put in the effort.  This template defines each section of a business plan after the cover and table of contents. 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 and the intent to accomplish your goals. Don’t underestimate the importance of an executive summary. Executive summaries plays an important part of your business idea because it gives a first impression of your business, it might be a good idea to hold off on writing this until you’ve worked through the rest of your business plan. It is possible that 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 next five sections as your extended elevator pitch. It’s might be an idea to 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
  • “Green” Certificates
  • Power Purchase Agreement / Take off agreement – (Read more about PPA’s in the Renewable Energy Finance post)
  • Government Licenses, Regulations, Legislation and Industry Standards

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  Vital personnel /Board Of Directors

  • 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   Fulfillment

4.4   Technology – Using or adapting green, efficient technology? Long lifecycle, opportunities to recycle. Parts to repair or addon features

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

4.6  Going Green – Can your business model operate in a circular economy (closed loop),  operations using clean energy? How easy is it to dispose and reuse product/material waste? Are you sourcing recycled materials or creting new materials?

Company Research | Marketing Strategy

5.0  Market Analysis Summary and Research

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

  • By investors to look at the market which can determine whether there is a trend and how your company is innovate in its approach 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.
  • Supply Chain Innovations – 3PL or 4PL outsourced service providers. Cutting out the “middleman”
  • 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   Supply Chain and 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

7.0 Provide a strategy and implement a 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, measure and analyze 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
  • Monthly Chart
  • Sales by Year Chart

7.6.2   Sales Programs and Literature

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. What are your measured risks? Provide analysis and measurement of weakness- Be truthful.  Prepare and evaluate these factors and outline strengths with opportunities as well as weakness and potential pitfalls.

8.1   Political risk assessments

8.2  Economical factor – Can you business be sustained, can it adapt to new changes and challenges? How much demand is there for your product and will prices vary?

8.3  Environmental factor – How does the business impact the environment? Do you support renewables and what are the effects through manufacturing and distribution channels. Don’t just think of the local community but the wider audience too especially if your product market is global. What happens to the after sale of your products? Are your product recyclable or reusable?

8.4  Social-Cultural factor – This section addresses 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
  • Can Include PPA here

9.1   Start up Funding | Business Expansion Presentation

9.11 Video | Sales pitch it might be worth noting that if you can negotiate on equity stake (if applicable), it may be another benefit to the funder.

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


Additional documents relating to the project or business.

  • Personnel
  • Balance Sheet
  • Risk Assessment
  • Feedback and Communications with customers.

Business Plan Rejections

Funders are more likely to reject an application rather than a business plan, One of our funders stated that only 1 of 11 projects get seen! That saying, it is worth every penny to pay for professional services or, work on your pitch to draw attention. Here are the reasons why your business plan could possibly be rejected.

  • 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. Please be aware that Prestige Capital Partners does not provide this service.

Current copyright 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. We do not allow any copying or downloading of images on either page as it is subject to copyright.