A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.
Business planning is essential for the success of any business. A business plan provides direction, keeps you on track and is usually a requirement when you seek finance. Read Why do I need a business plan to find out how writing a business plan can assist your business.
A business plan is a living document that maps out the details of your business. It covers what your business will sell, how it will be structured, what the market looks like, how you plan to sell your product or service, what funding you’ll need, what your financial projections are, and which permits, leases, and other documentation will be required.
Business plans are decision-making tools. The content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience. For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization’s mission. Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization’s ability to repay the loan. Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.