Business plan format

Every business should have a business plan. Follow this simple format when writing one for your business.

If the business plan is just for you, it won't matter what it looks like. But lenders and investors will expect this general outline:

  • Title Page
  • Executive Summary
  • Table of Contents
  • The Business
  • Marketing
  • Financial Analysis
  • Operations
  • Supporting Documents

Title Page
Also called the cover sheet, this page looks like the title page of a book: name of company, address, telephone number and web site; names, titles and contact information for owners and officers; date the plan was prepared; who prepared it. Some entrepreneurs number each copy of the business plan to control external circulation of proprietary information.

Executive Summary
Although placed first in the plan, this page is written last and pulls everything together. It summaries what the business does, where it's heading, how it will get there and why it will succeed. If the plan is part of fund-raising, this summary tells how you'll use the money so that an investor's equity will grow or a lender's money will be repaid.

Some plans include a mission statement in the executive summary, others put it on a page by itself.

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