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Writing an Effective Business Plan: Page 8 - The Outline

By Julie King |

Page 8 - The Outline

There is no one outline that will work for all business plans. The outline you will use for your business will depend on the type of business, the stage of business, and the reason for preparing a business plan. Nonetheless, there are some standard items included in every plan. Here is a look at one sample outline.

Non-Disclosure Statements
Statement of Purpose
Executive Summary

  1. Company Description
    1. Nature of the business
      1. The Industry
      2. Marketplace Needs
      3. Method(s) to Satisfy Those Needs
    2. Unique Competencies

  2. Market Analysis
    1. Industry Description and Outlook
    2. Target Market
    3. Market Consultation
    4. Competition (SWOT)
      1. Identification
      2. Strengths
      3. Weaknesses
      4. Opportunities
      5. Threats

  3. Marketing and Promotion
    1. Overall Marketing Strategy
      1. Strategy
      2. Communication
    2. Ongoing Market Evaluation

  4. Sales
    1. Customer Profile
      1. Today's Customer
      2. Tomorrow's Customer
    2. Sales Strategies
      1. Sales Force
      2. Sales Activities

  5. Management and Ownership
    1. Company Structure and Policy
    2. Key Management and Operating Personnel
    3. Legal Structure
    4. Owners
    5. Expert Advisors

  6. Economics of the Business
    1. Revenue Models
    2. Balance Sheet
    3. 3 Year Cashflow Forecast
    4. Worst Case Contingency Plan


When selecting the outline, ask yourself why your are preparing your plan. If you are preparing your plan for a bank, the above outline should work well. If, on the other hand, you are preparing it for an equity investor, you may want to present the ownership and management first, as this is a critical factor that equity investors will use to make their final decision.

Once you have an outline that you want to work with, the real work begins. Writing a business plan is not an easy task, but it is a valuable process that will help you prepare your company for success.

Click on a link to go directly to that page of the article.

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: An Overview
Page 3: Why Plan?
Page 4: The Executive Summary
Page 5: Business Data
Page 6: Financial Data
Page 7: Supporting Data
Page 8: The Outline

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