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Essential Elements for a Strong Business Plan

Having a strong business plan is key for a successful startup business. Not only is it absolutely essential to present a well prepared, professional plan to prospective investors, but it also represents the master plan for your business: its creation, its day-to-day activity and its success. Below is information that you should include in your business plan.

Cover Page

Using your business letterhead with the company’s logo makes a nice cover page. Also include: the name of the company, the name of the owner or directors and contact details such as address and phone number.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is where you introduce your business and describe the products and/or services of your company clearly and concisely. You should also define your target audience and describe your ideal customer or client. Include your vision for your company’s future in a 3-5 year projection.

Company Description

Your company description is what informs readers and potential investors of your business model. Your mission statement is another important element of the business description, along with a more detailed description of your company’s products or services. You may also introduce top-level employees in this section. Conclude with the qualities that you believe will make you and your business a success.

Market Research

This is where you must show that you fully understand your industry. Include an analysis of who your competitors are and what advantages you have over them, a detailed description of your target audience and special legal requirements that are relevant to the industry. A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is also included in this section.

Product/Service Line

After another description of the company’s product or service, give the details of your pricing structure. Here it is also very important to include the intellectual property rights for your product or service and to mention any research and development processes that are either in progress or in the planning stages.

Marketing and Sales

Describe how your company plans to grow and how it will advertise. Also, how it plans to reach customers.

Financial Projections

This section could be a bit intimidating but it is necessary to show that your company will meet all economic obligations if you plan on seeking outside investment. Ideally, this section should include projection statements for: profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet and breakeven analysis. (Check out our blog post about best business grants in Australia)

Starting a new business is an exciting venture but one that could be overwhelming. Having a strong business plan is a huge step in the right direction.

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