Have All Your Ducks in a Row

So your ready to write that business plan. You've taken the time to do your research, you've jotted down plenty of notes, and you've put on a fresh pot of coffee. "Why the coffee?", you ask, well because unless you've done this a few times it might take you a few minutes. When writing a business plan you should stick to the standard format. Here is our list of subtitles or section headers for your business plan. Each section is self explanatory but we want to hit on the top tips in each one.

Cover Page

  • Keep this page professional looking and informative
  • Should contain a confidentiality script to announce to the reader the information within is confidential

Table of Contents

  • We don't think we need to delve any further

Executive Summary

  • Be sure to include your company's origin, goals, unique advantage, 3/5 year forecast, financial requirements, management team, and exit strategy

Company Description

  • Supply the history of the company, any patent information, organizing information, particular dates, and monies invested

Products/ Service

  • provide every single detail about your product or service here, features, advantages, and drawbacks.
  • Investors typically are not interested in one-product companies so be sure to include future extensions of the product line.
  • Include details around the manufacturing of the product, seeing that it usually adsorbs most of the costs.


  • Illustrate a picture of your industry. An investor should be able to see the increasing market for your product/service


  • State your marketing goals, plan, & strategy on how your going to market your business.
  • Include every aspect such as website, email marketing, advertising, internal sales force, direct sales force, social media, and public relations

Management/ Ownership

  • Identify your team members along with their experience, accomplishments and responsibilities.
  • Place in the forefront the personnel that are key in your business being successful.


  • Please be honest here. This section is for you to compare or "size-up" your competitors
  • You will be able to brand your self from others and see what really sets your business apart from theirs as well as identify your strengths, weaknesses, and resources.

Financial Statements/ Projections

  • Honestly forecast your finances & understand you might not acquire "Bill Gates Status" within the year (or with in the next 3-5 years for that matter).
  • Include your balance sheets, income statements, cash flow projections, and financial history of your business

Your not quite finished yet. You need to get the truth and sometimes it hurts.

What you have now is just a draft. You need to circulate it to a few people people to get their honest opinions. Your looking for a blunt review and "red pen marks" all over your plan. Did you underestimate costs? Did you make absurd assumptions? Or did you completely go overboard with your optimism? Most importantly would they take the time to invest in your company?