Before venturing into any business undertaking, you have to draft a business plan to guide you through. The plan basically contains the steps and strategies you intend to make use of to get you there. A business plan outline template will guide you through the whole process of drafting the plan.
Business plan outline templates
A business plan outline template basically offers support to the processes you need to actualize a business plan. It contains a framework or outline of the various topics you will have to supply information about. Some plans even have questions that trigger you to find the relevant answers. By answering these questions diligently, you will be able to take care of every bit of the facts necessary to come up with a wholesome plan. Also, a person who has never drafted a template of this kind before will also find it handy as it breaks down the otherwise complex concepts into simpler doses.
How to write a business plan outline
Step i: draft an executive summary
Start by drafting an executive summary. This basically summarizes the entire structure and purpose of the business. It states in a nutshell what the business intends to do throughout its lifespan. Lastly, it also shows cause whether the business shall diversify at a later date.
Step ii: spell out the company structure
The outline goes a step further to spell out the company structure and ownership. Under this, it also displays information about the ownership, shareholders, management, and the operational base. In case the company is already in existence, the outline will give a little bit of its history.
Step iii: list down the products and services portfolio
At this stage, the outline lists down the products and the services that the company endeavors to handle or present for sale. Here, the plan lists the products and follows each of them with a small description to let a reader know much about them. Some plans may even attach photos of the products altogether.
Step iv: delineate your target market
Obviously, there must be a set target you are after in your business operations. A business plan also captures that. It delineates the target market accordingly. This it does by segmenting the market with regards to income, geographic and democracy. In this way, it is possible for you to channel your marketing efforts accordingly.
Step v: outline your business strategy
Lastly, you now have to outline your business strategy. This refers to the manner in which you intend to enter the market and take on your competitors. It touches on your pricing, overall marketing plan, potential risks and their planned mitigation, and the key assets in your possession.
Tips for writing a business plan outline
- Determine the specific purpose of your business plan. Business plans come in diverse shades and forms. That is because they are drafted to serve unique purposes. As a first step, you have to determine the specific purpose for which you have deemed it appropriate to draft that particular plan.
- Maintain a simple and straightforward tone. For the sake of easier understanding, you have to maintain a simple and straightforward tone. Avoid using too overly verbose languages to convey what you have in your mind. Break down long sentences to simpler and short ones. Do not forget to punctuate the sentences to prevent misunderstandings.
- Describe the company and its portfolio succinctly. Now to the core of the business, ensure that you describe the company and its portfolio succinctly. This is the main part of the business plan. You, therefore, have to treat it with a fair degree of care. Be comprehensive and thorough in order not to leave any ‘stone unturned’.
- Lay bare your marketing plan and research. Other than describing the company and its portfolio, you also have to lay bare your marketing plan and research. This refers to the exact way in which you plan to enter the market and take on your competitors. The information you provide here forms the bedrock against which the plan is eventually executed.
- Customize the plan to the specific needs of your audience. Throughout the entire process, you have to customize the plan to meet the specific needs of your target audience. Remember, we started out by saying that business plans serve different purposes and are aimed at different audiences. You do not want to use a language that your readers can hardly comprehend.