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Summary Business Plan

26/07/2013

Summary Business Plan

How to Write a Summary Business Plan: A Few Don’ts

With that in mind, here are some suggestions for things to leave OUT of your summary business plan:

Excessive market research: ‘You need to do a tight analysis of your product or service and the competitors. But you should be able to summarize it into one page max.’
An overwritten product description: ‘You need to spend no more than a paragraph on this.’
Detailed finances: ‘Bottom line – How much money do you have? How much does it take to run the business? How much will you earn (hopefully)?’
How to Write a Summary Business Plan: The Essential Pieces

Turning to what you DO want to focus on:

1. Description: Kick off your plan with a one-page description of your business. Give a brief history of the business and its ownership structure by focusing on:

Who you are
What you do
Where you are
2. Vision Statement: Write a concise one- or two-paragraph vision statement, which gives your answer to the question: ‘What do we want this company to become over the next five to 10 years?’

3. Mission Statement: Lay the groundwork for your ‘brand promise’ in a one or two paragraph description of what your company will be to its customers.

4. Values: Provide a list of three to five core principles upon which you will build the business and stick to no matter what.

5. Goals: Make a list of three to five long-term goals that translate your company’s vision into specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific objectives.

6. Market research: Take the next two to three pages to briefly answer the following questions:

What do you know about your industry?
What do you know about your competition?
Who is your target customer and what do you know about them (i.e. demographics, buying patterns)?
6(a). Market differentiation: Take the next page to detail what makes your product or service unique in the market by answering questions like:

What makes you different from your competition that actually matters to your target customer?
What is your unique value proposition?
What is your big bold brand promise?
6(b). Marketing message: Based on the answers you outline above, take the next half page to explain the message you plan to communicate to your target market.

6(c). Marketing mix: Use the next page or so to detail the methods you will use to deliver that message.

6(d). Measurement: Follow the previous two sections with another half-page describing how you will measure the effectiveness of each of those delivery methods and, based on the results, adjust your plan accordingly.

7. Sales: Take the next full page to summarize your sales plan by answering these questions:

What is your overall sales process?
What are the specific steps in your process?
– How are leads generated?
– How are they researched/qualified?
– How do you get in front of your customer?
– How do you close the sale?

How will you achieve the optimal sales cycle?
8. Operations plan: Now, take one to two pages to answer the following questions:

How will you produce the product and/or deliver the service?
What are the logistics?
What business process will you employ?
What facility, equipment, and other resource needs are involved?
How will you assure and measure quality and customer satisfaction?
Who are the key players?
What are their backgrounds and qualifications?
What are their specific roles?
How will the business be organized (org. chart)?
9. Personnel Plan: Use one page to describe your ‘people’ plan by answering questions like:

What personnel are needed now to accomplish current goals?
How will the number of people needed change with the growth of the business?
10. Financial Plan: As noted earlier, keep the details about your financials brief, using the same narrative style you have been using throughout the plan. Then, use a footnote to alert readers that more detailed financial schedules and assumptions will exist in a separate document. To keep focused, consider telling your story by providing the following information:

Start-up costs, if applicable
Revenue projections with detailed assumptions
Three- to five-year cash-flow projections
Three- to five-year balance sheet projections
Sources and uses of funds if you are raising capital