Basically a business plan should be designed to answer common questions a knowledgeable businessperson or banker would ask about your business. It documents your business idea and how it will work. It should be able to answer these questions:
- What needs are you trying to fulfill?
- Whose needs are you trying to fulfill? In other words, who will be your customers?
- Why will customers buy from your business? Do you have a special edge, something that differentiates you from your competition?
- How will you fulfill their needs? In other words, what products or service will you provide?
- How will you market to and reach prospective customers?
Your answers to this first group of five questions are the focus of your business model. In order to answer these questions you may need to perform detailed market research. There are many books to help you with that and other deep aspects of creating a business idea.
Next you need to show how you will be able to carry out this business model by answering a couple of additional questions.
Who are the key members of your management team? You should include biographies, which highlight accomplishments and the relevance of expertise and past work experience in this business. Don’t just stick in a few resumes and assume they will do for the biographical section. They won’t. A bio, unlike a resume, shows how the skill sets and experience of everyone on your team will support the execution of your business plan. While a resume can show off a star, a bio will demonstrate how this player fits into your business team. It’s like the difference between golf and baseball. In anything other than the smallest business, you can’t be a jack of all trades. You need to show you have a well-rounded management team that can cover all the bases.
What are the financial requirements of the business and how will you fulfill them? Here you need to develop a financial projection for the business that shows at a minimum the sources and uses of funds. Be sure to explain any jargon specific to your field, including spelling out acronyms.