Posted by: bevmeldrum | October 23, 2007

Common Questions About Business Plans – What Do I Include?

As much as you can. Although there is no one agreed structure for a Business Plan the structure of the document is really important. By giving your Business Plan a very clear structure and a table of contents you are making the job of reading your Business Plan much, much easier for whoever is reading it.

In our experience anyone who has ever read funding applications, loan applications or even job applications finds that applications that are badly organised with no structure become irritating for the reader, and this often means that they will not make it further in the process. Consider the poor funder, from a national funding body, who was presented with a funding application and supporting documentation in a supermarket carrier bag as loose sheets.

One way around this is to use a template that someone else has designed. There are a number out there that have been designed specifically for social entrepreneurs. Let someone do the hard work of deciding what to put into the Business Plan. You can always add in headings, or even take them away if they are just not relevant. Or what might be even more powerful, in some circumstances, is to leave the section in and use the opportunity to describe why it is not relevant to you at this time.

Here is the template that we use in Business Plan Writer: Social Enterprise Version. It is not definitive – you will find other templates with other contents headings.

What we have done is to arrange the headings in a way that reflects how many people approach the task of business planning – starting with the grand ideas – the vision, adding more and more details with each section until you reach the numbers.

It will give you a good start.

1 Executive Summary

2 Introduction

2.1 Vision
2.2 Mission
2.3 Social Impact
2.4 Aims and Objectives
2.5 Keys to Success
2.6 Highlights

3 The Organisation

3.1 Legal Structure/Ownership
3.2 Organisational Structure
3.3 Board/Trustees
3.4 Management Team
3.5 Management Team Gaps
3.6 Staff
3.7 Volunteers
3.8 Operations
3.8.1 Policies and Procedures
3.8.2 Monitoring and Evaluation
3.8.3 Quality

4 Products (Goods and Services)

4.1 Portfolio of Products
4.2 Future Products
4.3 Fulfilment
4.4 Partnerships

5 The Market

5.1 Trends in the Market
5.2 Competitors
5.2.1 Competitor Group #1
5.2.2 Competitor Group #2
5.2.3 Competitor Group #3
5.2.4 Competitor Group #4
5.3 Market Growth
5.4 Market Segmentation
5.5 Market Needs
5.5.1 Customer Type #1
5.5.2 Customer Type #2
5.5.3 Customer Type #3
5.5.4 Customer Type #4
5.6 Positioning Statement

6 The Marketing Plan

6.1 Branding
6.2 PR and Publicity
6.3 Online Presence

7 Financials

7.1 Pricing Strategy
7.2 Financing/Funding Strategy
7.3 Sales Forecast
7.4 Cash Flow
7.5 Profit and Loss
7.6 Balance Sheet
7.7 Financial Assumptions

8 Appendices

8.1 Organisational Chart
8.2 SWOT Analysis
8.3 Risk Analysis



  1. […] Bev Meldrum Did a great write-up today on formorethanprofit.wordpress.comHere’s a snippet: […]

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