A business plan is not a document you create once and store in your bottom drawer. It is a living guide that you should develop as your business grows and changes. Successful businesses review and update their business plan when circumstances change.
Even though the summary will be read first, it is easiest to write it last – providing an overview of the complete business plan. The aim is to draw the reader in, so what you include will depend on your audience. If you are seeking funding you need to really sell your business idea in the summary.
Taking the time out of your business to plan will give you a sense of control about the future of your business and pay off in the long run! Business planning can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, but many successful businesses look at it as an opportunity.
If you don’t have a specific immediate need to show a formal business plan to a banker or investor, then you are probably better off doing just a lean business plan, for your internal use only. To make the best impression on banks and investors, your business plan outline should be presented in the standard business plan format.