The 3 Most Important Sections of Your Business Plan
Small business owners spend countless hours writing business plans that are used for numerous reasons including: internal strategic planning, capital raising efforts, and even business plan competitions. Different sections of the business plan are important for different purposes, but there are 3 parts of a business plan that are important no matter the intended purpose of the plan.
Executive Summary - The executive summary is the first two pages of your business plan and should be used to intrigue and compel the reader to ask for more detail. If you don’t have a powerful executive summary it does not matter how great the rest of your business plan is because no one will even read it. Choose your words carefully in the executive summary. After each section you should ask yourself “So What?” Every word must have purpose in the executive summary.
Business Model - Whether your business plan is for your own internal use, a banker, or for an outside investor, your business model must be clear and concise. If you have a complicated business model you need to dumb it down to a one or two sentence statement. A great example is Google. Google has a complicated business model, and yet you can sum it up with the following sentence, “Google provides users with a free access to information in exchange for the ability to display relevant advertisements.” Similarly, you should simplify your business model into an easy to understand statement.
Cash Flow Projections - Cash is king for you, for your banker, and for your potential investor, so your cash flow projections will be a vital piece of your business plan regardless of its ultimate purpose. Your revenues may be growing 100% year over year, but if you run out of cash your business will cease to exist. You may need to utilize a free small business counselor at your local SCORE or Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to assist you in creating cash flow projections. Your tax dollars have already paid for your local SBDC counselors, so take advantage of their valuable services.
Depending on the purpose of your business plan some sections may not provide adequate value for you to justify spending significant time and resources in their development. There are 3 sections of every business plan that will be valuable to its users no matter the purpose: the executive summary, the business model, and your cash flow projections. So remember to focus on these three sections as you go through the business planning process.
Make sure to check out my website, www.theexecutiveplan.com, and receive free guides, templates, examples, videos and articles on How to Write a Powerful Business Plan Executive Summary.
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