Business Plan Sections --

There are 6 sections every business plan must have, even though there is not one perfect business plan template that suits every business. That’s why business owners and entrepreneurs get extremely frustrated trying to use business plan software programs. It’s a simple fact that no business plan template works as a catch-all for every business.

Many times each of the 6 sections is broken down to include multiple sub-sections. The sections and sub-sections can be organized differently from business plan to business plan depending on what content should be highlighted to ensure the best ‘pitch’ for a particular business.

Here’s a rundown of the 6 sections that I include in every business plan regardless of the desired outcome of the business plan (investor funding, bank loan, IPO):

– 6 Sections Every Business Plan Must Have –

Section 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Your executive summary should be a brief overview of the next 5 sections described below. Keep it short (1-3 pages max.), but include all the key highlights about your business. Since it’s really the ‘highlight reel’ of your business plan, you really should write your Executive Summary last. Yes, it’s the first section, but seriously write it last.

Section 2. COMPANY OVERVIEW

Your Company Overview should be a quick snapshot of 1) what you do; 2) what stage you’re at now; 3) where you plan to go; and 4) how you plan to get there. Most of these will be explained in more detail in the coming sections.

Here are the subsections that I generally use within the ‘Company Overview’ section:

CURRENT STATUS
THE COMPANY VISION
MANAGEMENT (optional here, depending on if you want to highlight your management team early on)
THE COMPANY OPPORTUNITY

Section 3. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

This section is a no-brainer. You should be detailed in your descriptions of your products and services.

Section 4. INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

The main objective of the Industry Overview section is to convey to a potential investor that you really know your market. However, when researching and writing this section it’s an opportunity to really work on your financial projections by review your customer demographics and competition.

Here are the subsections that I generally use within the ‘Industry Overview’ section:

TARGET CUSTOMERS
COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

Section 5. PLAN OF OPERATIONS

Now it’s time for you to show a potential investor that you have a game plan to actually make a profit and grow your business. You need to list out the phases of your development, launch, sales strategy, and growth strategy. And, include milestones with deadlines and costs for each phase or milestone.

Here are the subsections that I generally use within the ‘Plan of Operations’ section:

OPERATIONAL MILESTONES
SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
GROWTH STRATEGY
MANAGEMENT (if not included in the Company Overview section)

Section 6. FINANCIAL SECTION

Many times an investor or bank will skim the first 5 sections of your business plan and turn to the financials right away. All detailed financial sections should include these sub-sections:

FINANCIAL OVERVIEW
STARTUP EXPENSES AND CAPITALIZATION
PROFIT AND LOSS STATEMENTS
BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS
KEY ASSUMPTIONS

Section 7. APPENDIX (Optional)

I say that there are 6 sections every business plan must have, but I usually include an Appendix as Section 7. An Appendix isn’t always necessary, but if your business plan turns out to be over 30 pages, you should consider taking out some of the more detailed descriptions and add them as appendices.

For more helpful articles on how to write your own business plan, please visit: https://petekremer.com

Author's Bio: 

Over the last 10 years I have worked for multiple startups as well as at a securities law firm where I wrote and edited business plans everyday. As a result, I have developed a suite of services that is truly tailored to helping new entrepreneurs and small businesses.

It is my goal to really understand your vision, and then develop a business plan that tells your business’ story backed by market research. I thoroughly enjoy brainstorming together, creating together and developing solid business strategies for each business I work with.

Throughout my years of business consulting and being a business plan writer I have changed with the times and broadened my suite of services. I have created many websites for startups and small businesses that are clean and functional in design, and focus on a customer engagement web strategy.