Business plans usually consist of eight (8) sections as itemized below: Cover Page, Executive Summary, Table of Contents etc.
It is useful to have one or two page Executive Summary of the Plan. The Executive Summary is placed in front of the completed plan after the Cover Sheet.
A Table of Contents is also useful in guiding the readers. However the Summary and Table of Contents are to be written after you must have completed the entire business plan.
Sections Of The Business Plan
1. Introduction To The Business Plan
This section contains the following:
- Name of the Business
- Purpose of the Business
- Legal form of the Business
- Business Owner(s)
- Amount and type of loan required
- Period loan will be repaid
- Purpose of the loan
- Expected results
2. Description Of The Business
In this section, you need to describe the basic idea about your business and how the idea came into being. Why do you think the market need your product/service? Which group of people will you offer your product or service? What are the appealing features of your business over that of your competitors and why do you think you will be successful?
- Detailed description of the business
- Research done on the business
- Appealing factors of the business
- Factors that will determine the success of the business.
3. Description Of Product Or Services
This section will contain the product(s) or services you will offer to the public. Specify the products and how they are produced. How are they compared to similar products or services? Here you will also specify the quality of your products, differences as compared with those of your competitors.
4. Key Personnel And Other Staff
In this section of the plan, itemize the key people that will be involved in the production and operation of your business. What are their qualifications and experience? If you are the sole operator, what are your experiences, qualifications and skills?
- Organization structure
- Job description of each employee
- Resumes (CVs) of Key personnel.
5. Marketing And Sales
This section will contain the following information: Who are your target market? How many people are there in the locality? What do you have to offer that is different from your competitors? What are the channels of promotion? What are your prices? What other marketing elements will distinguish your business?
- Advertising and Promotion
- Sales and Credit Terms
- Other marketing elements
- Estimated Sales
Materials And Sources Of Suppliers
The purpose of this section is to determine what materials you will need for the business and where you will get them. Without regular supplies it will be difficult if not impossible to produce your goods for sale e.g. A bakery will not be able to bake without a regular supply of flour.
Equipment And Tools
Here you will have to list all equipments that you will need in the enterprise. Details and specifications of the equipments should be included. If possible, you can include a proforma invoice from the suppliers of the equipments as this is required by the Banks in evaluating application for credit.
This section is necessary for businesses involved in production or assembling of products. Wholesalers, Retailers or Service businesses should skip this part of the plan.
The purpose of the section is to explain the production process step by step from raw materials to finished product.
This section will answer the following financial questions:
- If you have a product, how much does it cost to produce?
- What are your monthly expenses?
- What will you spend on advertisement, promotion and marketing of your product?
- How much will your equipments cost?
- How much do you have to sell monthly to cover your costs?
- What do you expect your expenses to be for the next twelve months?
- Sources and Uses of Funds
- Proforma Balance Sheet
- Profit and Loss (Income) Statement
- Proforma Cash Flow
- Break-Even Analysis
- Major Risks and Assumptions
8. Supporting Documents/Appendices
This is the last section of the business plan where supporting documents plus other useful information are attached. If you claim in the plan that you have a piece of land, you should attach a photocopy of the C of 0, title or registration in your name.
Samples of supporting documents in the Appendix are:
- Resumes of Key Personnel
- Past Financial Statements ( for existing businesses)
- Price quotations of equipments
- Brochures of Equipments
- C of O or Title of property
- Lease contract of land or building
- Business registration papers
- Addresses of Suppliers
- Personal Awards or certificates of Skills