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How to create a Business Plan

What is a Business Plan

A business plan is a live document that provides a road map that you follow to start up a business or to review your prospects in the business world. It brings together, sources and essential elements of knowledge to understand business and achieve financial and personal success.

Here are some of the sections of a business plan. Some of these sections may not be required. Our suggestion is for you do the financial data and financial requirements first and then move through the other sections next; leaving the Executive Summary to last.

4 Tips and Reminders for Business Planning

  1. Some of these sections may not be required.
  2. Our suggestion is for you to do the financial data and financial requirements first.
  3. Move through the other sections next.
  4. Leave the Executive Summary to last.

Table of Contents

This will be the road map to guide readers through the business plan.

List the number of each section and give your business plan page numbers. These should be numbered 1; 1.1; 1.2; and so on.


Your business plan should outline the purpose of the document. Whether it is for a new or revised product and service, or whether it relates to a brand new business.


Include a brief history of the existing business or its performance to date:

  1. Current products and services.
  2. Current customer base.
  3. Previous and current business performance.
  4. Factors influencing the current business position.
  5. Business objectives.
  6. Key staff and their work experience.
  7. Current mission.
  8. Legal entity.
  9. Capital structure.
  10. Professional advisers.

Executive Summary

The executive summary needs to capture the condensed version of the business plan concisely. It should include:

  1. The unique features of the products and or services.
  2. The skills and capabilities of the management team.
  3. The sales and profit forecast.
  4. Key financial data including assets.
  5. Investments required and the expected return on investment.

Products & Services

  1. Competitive advantage.
  2. Proprietary position.
  3. When you will be ready to start selling the new products or services?
  4. Development costs.

Market Opportunity

This section should outline the following key elements for the market opportunity:

  1. The size of the market that you will be offering your products and services to, and how it is segmented.
  2. Growth trends to the target market (e.g. level of investment in your market segments, forecast of growth, and the target market on a historic basis).
  3. The level of competition should be outlined on a market segment basis.
  4. If the investment is into a market that is new to the business – then the cost of entry should be considered, how difficult is it for new entrants to get established in the marketing?

Differentiation in Target Markets

The unique functional differentiators attributable to the proposed product and service:

  1. Functional differentiators – which products are unique versus the competition.
  2. Technical, architectural differentiators – which are advanced and ahead of the competition.
  3. Support differentiators – aspects of the customer support approach that are strong versus the competition.
  4. Negative differentiators – where the product or service is likely to be challenged.
  5. Competitive positioning – an analysis of the competitive position of the product or service referenced to the five key buyer criteria: functionality, technology, service and support, business profile and cost of ownership.

Marketing Objectives

State the market segments that are to be targeted for the initial business plan period:

  1. Projected market volumes.
  2. Market share should be broken down by segment.
  3. The pricing model should also be referenced.

Product Plan

Here, you define the functionality of the product you are taking to market. The elements of functionality defined should include:

  1. The business processes to be covered by the functionality of the product.
  2. The product features.
  3. Product control strategy.
  4. Product release schedule.

Development, Sourcing and Production Plan

This section should describe how the product and services are to be sourced:

  1. Whether they are to be manufactured or sourced from external suppliers.
  2. Research and development plans related to the product development.
  3. Production and launch.

Sales Plan

The sales plan should focus primarily on the target sales volumes, and how these sales will be achieved – via internal sales force and or alliance partners.

The following should be included:

  1. Definition of the typical sales cycle.
  2. Target sales volumes.
  3. Lead generation plan, describing the various marketing communications methods to be adopted.
  4. The sales personnel plan including sales target, skills required and recruitment and training plan.
  5. The alliance partner strategy if appropriate.

Support Plan

The support plan outlines how the product or service is to be delivered, including the support required during the sales cycle.

The support programmes required during the sales, implementation and post-implementation stages should be described:

  1. Resource requirements for the support programmes across the sale and delivery cycle.
  2. Skills requirements for the required staff resources.
  3. Recruitment and training plan for staff support resources.
  4. The support facilities required (e.g. product demonstration and presentation, hardware and software).

Management & Staff Capabilities

This section should describe the skills and capabilities of the management team and key staff that will influence the success of the business plan:

  1. Key staff and any recruitment needs.
  2. Retention strategies.
  3. Reward systems.
  4. Training plans.


The assumptions used in the preparation of the business plan needs to be recorded. Assumptions around:

  1. Costs.
  2. Product availability.
  3. Resource availability.

Pricing Plan

Describe the model for the product and or services that are the subject of this business plan.

  1. Proposed price positioning in the target market.
  2. The price model (user based / module pricing) for the product.
  3. Pricing support programmes, including ongoing annual maintenance.

Financial Plan

Estimates of the whole life costs of the products and or services development and introduction to the market:

  1. Cost elements diarised over the plan period.
  2. Capital and revenue costs.
  3. Intended budget sourcing for each category.
  4. Which part of the organisation is funding the cost elements.
  5. How the investment is to be funded from external sources.
  6. Revenue and profit projections for the period should be covered in the business plan.

Implementation Plan

The implementation plan should detail all the milestones associated with development of the product and or service you want to launch to the market.

  1. Timescales.
  2. Development phases.
  3. Milestones in each phase.
  4. Main approval points for progression from one phases to another.
  5. Any major dependencies.

E-commerce Website

Buying a Domain name and Hosting Plan will give you some of the right tools to build an online presence. You may need to employ a website designer, or you can use templates from your hosting provider.

You should include all costs associated with building or developing a website in the financial plan.


  1. CVs of the key team members.
  2. Technical data.
  3. Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Licences, and Designs.
  4. Details of professional advisors.
  5. Audited accounts.
  6. Consultant’s reports.
  7. Market surveys.
  8. Details of orders on hand.
  9. Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Considerations for new businesses

If the business plan relates to a brand new business then the following areas should be added to those covered above:

Ownership of the organisation

Define the legal status of the businesss:

  1. Sole Trader.
  2. Partnership.
  3. Limited Liability.
  4. Directors.
  5. Shareholders.

Business Objectives

This section should define short-term and long-erm business objectives and should state how they are going to be measure.

Financial Plan

The new business financial plan section should include:

  1. Anticipated start-up costs.
  2. Funding required from investors, including bank borrowing.
  3. Return on Investment (‘ROI’) projections.


By completing these steps in your preparation of a business plan, you should have a document that you can present to business advisors, lenders, etc. Do remember it is a live document, so it should be updated as you progress through your business.

If you require assistance to help you build your business plan or develop your business, please us the contact form by clicking the button below!

Keywords: Business Coaching and Planning.

Keyword MSV: coach, coaching, business, entrepreneur, planning, business development, how to write a business plan, how to start a business, how to start your own business, how to start a business, how to make a business plan, what is a business plan.

Author: Glynis McQueen-Simon.

Publish date: 28/09/2022.

Buyer Persona: startups, existing.