Business Plan Template

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									Generic Business Plan
This is a template for creating a company’s business plan. It can be used for any type of
business entity, for both informative and investment purposes. This template includes
the necessary sections for a business plan, including an executive summary, company
overview, marketing plan, organizational structure and financial projections. By following
the written instructions, you will be able to create an effective business plan customized
to your company.
This is a template for a generic business plan. It can be used for all types of companies
(partnership, LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship) in any industry and for both
informative and investment purposes. It is an easy to follow guide allowing you to
present to the reader in a clear and concise fashion the nature of your business, its present
status and future prospects, in both a text and financial format. The business plan format
has evolved over time, requiring you to present your company’s “story” in a manner
fitting the times – more like an extended “pitch” meeting than a detailed study. That is
not to say that the business plan format here is not all encompassing. It just allows you
the ability to present your company’s history, nature, future prospects, etc. in a manner
suitable to today’s overburdened, information saturated readership.

Take the time to carefully put together the various components needed to prepare a well
crafted business plan. Read through the various chapters of this template several times
before commencing your writing. Discuss your plan of action with fellow management,
key employees, mentors, an accountant and attorney if you have access to them, and
other individuals you trust for guidance. Then carefully write each chapter as set out here,
except leaving for last, as stated, the Executive Summary. Send the first draft of the plan
to at least 3-4 individuals that you feel can best give you input into the process. Be
prepared to spend a considerable amount of time thinking about, preparing, discussing
and rewriting the plan, especially if you have not prepared a plan before.

The real value in preparing a business plan is to allow you the time and effort to really
dig into the overall (both macro and micro) workings of your company. Things/matters
that you never (or hardly ever) thought about in the past will be revealed to you, whether
they are insignificant or crucial to your understanding of your company. You’ll find the
process of preparing the plan grueling and tedious at times, but in the end, well worth the
time and effort expended.

Good luck!

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                               COMPANY NAME

                               BUSINESS PLAN

Property of:
Company Name:



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                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary                                  Page 3

Industry Background                                Page 4

Company Overview                                   Page 5

Services/Products                                  Page 6

Marketing Plan                                     Page 7

Operations                                         Page 8

Intellectual Property                              Page 9

Strategic Alliances                                Page 10

Business Structure & Organization                  Page 11

Risk Factors and Regulatory Compliance             Page 12

The Investment                                     Page 13

Financial Projections                              Page 14

Appendices                                         Page 15

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This is the most important section in your business plan. Often the reader will not bother
reading the remainder of the plan if he/she is not enthused, from reading this section,
about your company and its prospects. In fact, the reader may not get past the first
paragraph if you don’t “grab” him/her almost immediately!

This section should be a maximum of two pages. You must be specific, clear and concise,
yet encompass all of the major topics you’ll deal with in the remainder of the plan. Think
of this as a five minute “pitch” session. Don’t attempt to include everything here, just the
main points that you feel will “tell your story” in an abbreviated, yet convincing manner.
In particular, if this plan is used as an investment proposal, be sure to state clearly the
nature of the investment and how the investor will be repaid. Write this section last, and
spend an inordinate amount of time and effort on it, for it will pay off handsomely in the

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The industry your company is situated in, its history and present position in the
marketplace, and your company’s position within this industry is discussed in this
section. The use of statistics (and /or charts, graphs, etc) to present as positive a picture as
possible is helpful. You want to stress the importance of this industry in connection to the
marketplace you’re involved in (or better yet worldwide marketplace), and its exceptional
prospects for growth in the near future (again statistics are helpful in “painting” a clearer
picture). Also, how does your company fit into the overall prospects for growth in this
industry? Be concise, specific and convincing-generalities tend to limit the effectiveness
of your presentation.

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After the Executive Summary, this section is second in importance in enlightening the
reader on your company and its prospects. In three to four paragraphs, you need to inform
the reader of the nature of your business, your marketing and sales plan, basic business
structure and organization, how your make (or plan on making ) your money (revenue
model), and how you plan on expanding/growing in the future. Everything you state in
the succeeding chapters, from your services/products to the inherent risks and regulations
affecting your business, must be encapsulated in a few short paragraphs to give the reader
a sound underpinning of the fundamentals of your company’s operations.

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You want to describe in detail the nature of your product(s) or service(s), its salient
features, benefits and attributes, its value to your customers, in terms understandable to
an individual/group with little or no knowledge of your industry. Avoid being overly
technical, as you can provide specific items (drawings, photos reports, etc.) either in the
Appendices section or on request.

Discuss the advantage(s) you have over your competition, stressing the “barriers to
entry” (unique technologies, cost of production, etc.) your company enjoys and how
you’re going to protect this position. Be very specific as to the nature of, say…the
uniqueness, proprietary nature, cost to compete, etc. of your product/service. How would
certain factors (i.e. technological considerations, government regulations) affect your
company and its position in the industry?

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First identify your customer base, the age group, gender, income level, and other specific
characteristics that make up your key demographic. Depending on whether you sell
directly to the ultimate consumer (b2c), or to another business (b2b), describe your
method(s) of distribution to your customer base. If more than one customer group,
identify and describe as above each of them.

Now identify the competition, both as to services/products and companies. Identify by
name your major competitors. Do not minimize their strengths. Instead, mention their
weaknesses, and why (and list the reasons) you have a major advantage over them despite
their position in your industry. Competition is always part of the marketplace-
acknowledge it, but let the reader know why you have the product/service to succeed
over the rest (and best). Be specific to assure your reader that your company possesses a
certain niche in the marketplace that gives you a clear advantage over the competition.

Now outline a marketing strategy that will (or does) allow you to exploit the niche you
have in the marketplace. Discuss your pricing policy, how you determined it, any recent
change in policy, its overall effectiveness to date and chances for success going forward.
Be sure to discuss your policy vis-à-vis your competition, and what role that placed in
determining an effective strategy.

What methods do you utilize to attract and keep your customer base? What size budget
have you allocated to promotional purposes (other than advertising) and how effective
has it been to date? How do you measure the effectiveness of your promotional activities?
Do you utilize an outside public relations firm to handle these activities?

How do you advertise your products/services? What methods have you found to most
effective? What various media (television, radio, internet, mobile, etc.) do you utilize
and how effective has each one been? How do you measure their effectiveness? What
other methods (trade shows, dealer incentives, etc.) do you utilize to promote your

What methods of distribution do you utilize to sell your products or services? Are you a
retail or wholesale company? Do you handle all sales “in house” via your own sales
personnel, or do you utilize outside representatives/agents? Or, do you go direct to the
consumer via digital methods, such as internet or mobile. In all cases, how do you (and
how often) do you “test” the quality and effectiveness of your advertising

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This section entails guidelines for primarily companies that either manufacture or
wholesale a product(s), though service providers will identify those items that have
relevancy to their mode of operations.

For those involved in managing manufacturing companies, discuss your entire
“production chain,” including production methods, inventory, legal and environmental
considerations, personnel and suppliers.

Discuss what countries you utilize to manufacture your products. List the reasons for
utilization, such as price, tax incentives, quality control, customer service, etc. Will
certain legal, environmental, political or economic considerations affect your production
choice(s) in the future? Do you source out possible new production outlets on a continual

Discuss your overall personnel policies, including number and type of employees,
methods for seeking out and securing outstanding employees, the competition to secure
and keep key employees, and plans for expanding the personnel role if any and why.

List the names of your key suppliers of inventory, your history with them, type of
inventory, reliability of suppliers, need for accessing new sources of inventory, and any
possible political or economic considerations that could affect your present inventory
sources in the future.

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List all of the various assets that your company owns that are included in the intellectual
property category. These include patents, trademarks, copyrights, photos, domain names,
proprietary information, etc. Be sure to include the names of appropriate regulatory
agencies and dates of registration for your copyrights, trademarks, etc. Discuss how the
copyrights, etc. provide your company with certain advantages over your competition,
particularly if it or they provide “barriers to entry” so vital for securing and maintaining
market position.

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List and discuss your key relationships with other individuals/companies that you enjoy
in a joint venture, co-marketing, reseller, etc. arrangement. Be sure to stress how these
alliances provide advantages to your company that your competition does not have.
Demonstrate how these relationships will accelerate your growth, and enhance your
products/ services while leveraging your financial, sales and marketing resources.

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List and discuss your company’s legal status (sole proprietorship, corporation, LLC,
partnership, etc.), its executive team, Board of Directors, key employees, advisors and
consultants. Include bios on top executives (CEO, COO, CFO, CTO), the Chairman of
the Board, and other key employees and advisors. Include all professional affiliations,
including your attorney(s), accountant(s) and banking arrangements. Mention any
business loans and/or lines of credit established with a financial institution.

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Discuss all the significant risk factors the company faces in fulfilling the goals stated in
the business plan. These factors, which might be numerous depending on your company’s
status, include a start up or development stage company, intense competition, lack of
working capital, regulated industry with strict compliances, high risk industry, loss of
investment (see next chapter), etc. It would wise for you to seek the advice of an
attorney in connection with preparing this chapter.

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Discuss the nature of the investment, including its legal structure, amount of funds
sought, use of funds and your exit strategy.

Often a company will set up a specific legal entity in order to solicit funds from investors.
This can be, among others, a Private Placement Memorandum, which involves certain
state and federal regulations, or a Direct Public Offering, soliciting funds directly from
investors, involving simpler procedures and less cost than a full blown registered offering
INVESTMENT VEHICLE TO UTILIZE). Explain the details of the particular offering
being used.

Describe in detail the specific categories that will benefit from your use of funds. First
break down by category the use of funds. Then detail/category how and why the funds be
will utilized, why it will accelerate your growth, and enhance your products/ services
while leveraging your financial, sales and marketing resources. Your use of funds
analysis will allow the investor to

The “exit strategy” demonstrates to the investor a specific plan of action to return his/her
invested capital, and hopefully, provides a satisfactory return on their investment. The
various exit strategies include a second (or subsequent) round of financing, a public
offering (an “IPO”), or a sale, merger or acquisition that will enable the Company’s
investors to achieve a substantial return on their investment.

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The financial projections consist of a three year profit and loss projection, a three year
cash-flow projection and a list of assumptions. Taken together, these statements comprise
a reasonable estimate of your company's financial future. More important, the process of
“crunching the numbers” will improve your insight into the inner financial workings of
your company.

First prepare the three year cash flow projection on an Excel spreadsheet. The cash flow
projection will show whether your working capital is adequate and if you’ll need
additional capital infusion during this period of time. Begin with cash in bank that
assumes your receipt of the investment funds solicited in your offering. Consider
carefully all the income and expense items under the various categories (i.e. sales
revenues, interest income, general & administrative expenses, marketing/sales expenses)
before tackling this project. (NOTE: CONFERRING WITH A CPA/ACCOUNTANT IS
SUMMARY OF FORECAST ASSUMPTIONS to accompany and explain the previously
completed cash flow projections. Categories to use here include capital investment(s),
sales forecast, cost of sales, marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses.

Next prepare a three year profit and loss projection. This differs in several respects to the
cash flow projections. Cash flow projections show the company’s use of cash over the
period in question. The company’s income/loss projections show the company’s ability to
earn a profit (or loss) over the period in question. The income statement involves most of
the same categories as the cash flow projection except for noncash items such as
amortization and depreciation, as well as differs in the timing of cash receipts and
payments that affect the two projections differently.

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It is advisable to include certain documents and other materials needed to support the
statements in the business plan such as company press releases and articles, industry
press releases and studies, emails and/or letters of praise from customers, market research
studies. Avoid including anything of a proprietary nature such as blueprints, leases,
contracts or unpublished material. These items can be provided to interested parties upon
request and the signing of an NDA (Nondisclosure Agreement).

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