A Sample Business Plan Outline

Remember, use this outline as a general guide only. Some parts may not apply to your business, some items important to your particular business might be missing.

The Executive Summary - The Executive Summary appears at the beginning of the business plan and gives the reader a quick, but informative overview of who you are as a person, what your business is all about and a brief, but convincing argument as to why you will successful. The executive summary is never longer than two pages. One page is preferable.

Description of the Business

1. Name of business, Location, Facility Description
2. Three or four top level goals
3. At least one strategy to go with each goal


1. Briefly describe what you will offer and why it is unique
2. Introduction to your market: The market being served (The Target Market)
3. Customer demand situation, Competitive Situation
4. Sales & Marketing - Where is the market going?


1. Type of Organization, its culture, how it will be operated
2. Who are the people in charge?

Financial Requirements

1. For what purpose is external financing required (if any)
2. Financial History of the business

Organization Description

1. Division of Responsibility, authority of each person and measurements of effectiveness
2. Organization chart (if applicable)
3. General Description of the Business, Historical Development
4. Legal Structure

The Product, Service or Product Line

Describe the present or planned product or service including:

1. Relative importance of various products
2. Comparison of competitors’ products
3. Current demand situation and the factors that affect demand
4. Product Life cycle analysis
5. Plans for new products or services in the future

Description of the Industry

1. Industry outlook overall, not just locally
2. Industry size - Nationwide, Statewide, Locally
3. Major Factors that affect this industry
4. Market share analysis
5. Social, Economic Technological or Regulatory trend
6. Principal markets - Where and to whom products will be sold
7. Description of the market and its major segments
8. Principal market participants and their past performance
9. Customer requirements and how you meet those requirements
10. Buying habits of customers and how you meet them
11. Description of your prospective customer - The Target Market
12. Description of the Competition
13. What do you do better?
14. How do you win customers?
15. What are your major competitive problems?
16. Why is competition good? What advantages does that give you?
17. Chart showing competitor strengths and weaknesses

Description of Major Customers

1. Percentage of total business
2. Duration and terms of major contracts

Description of your overall marketing strategy

1. Pricing Policy
2. Method of selling, distributing and servicing your product(s)
3. Advertising, Promotion, Public Relations
4. Geographic penetration - field support
5. Technology
6. Identify and describe any technological advantages your product has over competitors
7. Patent, Trademarks, Copyrights, trade secrets or other intellectual assets

Production/Operations Plan

1. Explain how you will produce, process and deliver your product or service
2. Physical facilities-own or lease?, size, is expansion possible?, are improvements needed?
3. Key suppliers
4. Labor/employee situation
5. Proprietary Manufacturing Processes
6. Cost breakdown and margin analysis
7. What advantages do you have over the competition
8. External analysis - present legal situation, pending legislation


1. Personal Resume(s) of the principals - In a small business, the personal background of the principals is extremely important. Emphasize skills and accomplishments.


1. Names, addresses, and other business affiliations of all owners, active or not

Key Personnel

1. Responsibilities
2. Brief job descriptions(one paragraph or so), resumes (if applicable)
3. Planned staff additions

Other Personnel

1. Number of employees, compensation plan
2. Planned additions

Accounting and Record keeping

1. Accounting Methods
2. Record keeping systems and who is responsible

Financial Backup Information

1. Historical - Balance sheet(s), Income statement(s) of cash flow, including balance sheet, income statement, cash flow history, and cash flow pro-forma.
2. Future Projections - Sales Plan-Where will sales come from? How will they grow over time? Cost of Goods, Margins Break-even analysis
3. Capital Investment Plan-What equipment will you need?
4. Source and Use of Funds - Identify ALL sources and major uses of financing
5. Pro-forma Cash Flow Statement - Minimum of two years forward on a monthly basis as well as up to five years forward on a quarterly basis
6. Any other documentation that might be pertinent


1. Identify bank and name of loan officer, CPA Counsel, Legal Counsel, Outside Management or Directors
2. Background financial information (previous years’ tax forms and supporting documents)
3. Attach resumes of principals (if applicable)
4. Catalogs, Sales Brochures or other collateral information
5. Relevant public relations material, newspaper articles about your business
6. Aged Accounts receivable
7. Current customer lists
8. Letters of commitment from present or potential customers
9. Market research data
10. Photographs of your facilities and / or plans for modification
11. Reference letters, Customer feedback letters

Courtesy of Small Business Development Centre

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