How To Write A Business Plan
Writing a business plan is a tedious task, but your efforts should pay off regardless of whether you are seeking financing. Writing the plan generally will provide the business owner with added clarity, focus, and knowledge regarding their target market, target consumer, and the status of their competition. Part 1 of this article explores your cover page, executive summary, and table of contents. The cover page will provide the reader with his or her first impression about your professionalism and standards. The Table of Contents will indicate how well you organized your plan. And most importantly, your executive summary will determine whether the reader will continue reading the rest of your plan. For this reason, these three elements of your business plan must be "perfect" both in substance and presentation.
Business Plans - The Cover Page
You are probably saying to yourself: How complicated can a cover page be? Well, you might be surprised at how many business owners leave crucial information off the cover page. The purpose of a cover page is to tell the reader what he or she is about to read and how to reach the writer. Your cover page is also a way to get your business plan noticed out of the 100s or 1000s of plans sitting in the pile. The Cover Page to your business plan should say the words "Business Plan," and should include:
- your name and business name
- your company logo
- the date
- your contact information, including: address, telephone number, facsimile number, and email address
The Table of Contents Is A Guide
Your Table of Contents should provide the reader with a quick and easy way to navigate your business plan. Each page of your business plan should be numbered and the table of contents should include page numbers. After you assemble your plan and number your pages, go back to the table of contents and insert the correct page numbers. Be sure to list headings for major sections as well as for important subsections.
The Executive Summary Is The Most Important Section Of A Business Plan
The Executive Summary is by far the most important part of your business plan. Although it is often the first part read, you should prepare it last. The Executive Summary should be a one to three page clear, concise, and enticing snap shot of your entire business backed by supporting industry statistics, market research, and other information.
Writing a Business Plan, Part II