What should every business plan include, no matter what?
“1. Specific milestones, with deadline dates, spending budgets and a list of the people responsible for them. I’ve seen this called ‘weaving a MAT,’ with MAT standing for ‘milestones, assumptions and tasks.’ That normally goes into Section 5, Strategy and Implementation. Make the responsibilities specific for specific people, and make sure every task gets assigned to a single person with a name and a face. This section must describe how these different milestones are going to be tracked and measured.
2. Real cash flow. Your plan should show cash flow–either projected or actual or both–month by month for at least 12 months. Show where you’re getting money and how much, and show what you’re spending the money on. This is cash flow, not just profit and loss, and you have to understand how different cash flow is from profits. Profitable companies go under all the time, but companies with positive cash flow can pay their bills.
3. Focus. A business plan should establish your company’s priorities. Don’t try to do everything, and don’t try to please everybody.”