Developing a business plan is not an easy task. It demands a great deal of thought before sitting down in front a blank sheet and beginning to write. In addition, the difficulty is increased because there isn’t an established standard on its content.

In any case, by analyzing successful business plans, we can set out a minimum needs on which to adapt the plan build to our business case. These common sections should be:

  1. Executive summary: It is the presentation letter of the plan, an extract of the description and distinguishing characteristics of the business. It is also necessary to briefly state the objectives, the investment required, the necessary resources and expected revenues. Although it is the first section, it should be written last.
  2. Concept, analysis and business definition: Firstly, we must analyze the internal and external context in which the business idea must be developed. Starting with a SWOT analysis (analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), the project’s mission and vision, differentiating characteristics and competitive advantages are written. It is also essential to detail the objectives to be pursued (remembering that they must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely – SMART) and the strategies proposed to achieve them.
  3. Market study: This deals with collecting and analyzing data and information about potential customers, competition and market characteristics. Sales and marketing definition strategies play a special role in its composition. The readers should get an idea, as close as possible, of the commercial viability of the proposed activity.
  4. Technical project: This describes the physical requirements of the production process or service. It describes the legal structure (companies and individuals), the necessary human resources and infrastructure, equipment and necessary technology. All of this with an extensive analysis of associated costs.
  5. Financial aspects: This section details the following aspects of the plan:
  • Investment analysis: This is a key aspect for the viability of the plan and it must include the set-up investment required and the sources of funding.
  • Income and outgoing projection: Realistically, these are required for the time the plan is projected should be detailed. Here it is fundamental to determine the break-even point where the income is equal to the costs; i.e., it is the point of activity where there are neither gains nor losses.
  • Financial study: A calculation of the investment recuperation period and of the return of the business (ROI Return of Investment) is developed. It’s about showing that the project is profitable.

Keep in mind that with the elaboration of a solid business plan, you will have laid the groundwork for the success of your company, but from then on the work begins. Sometimes, even if the planning has been excellent, businesses fail (you can read more in our post ‘5 Causes that can ruin your business’). All plans must establish a methodology for its monitoring, with review points and control indicators (KPI or key performance indicators).