Business - Business Plans

What goes in a business plan? The body can be divided into four distinct sections:

1) Description of the business 2) Marketing 3) Finances 4) Management

Addenda should include an executive summary, supporting documents, and financial projections. Although there is no single formula for developing a business plan, some elements are common to all business plans. They are summarized in the following outline:

Elements of a Business Plan

1. Cover sheet
2. Statement of purpose
3. Table of contents
I. The Business:

A. Description of business
B. Marketing
. Competition
. Operating procedures
. Personnel
. Business insurance

II. Financial Data:

A. Loan applications
. Capital equipment and supply list
C. Balance sheet
. Breakeven analysis
. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements)
*Three-year summary
*Detail by month, first year
*Detail by quarters, second and third years
*Assumptions upon which projections were based
. Pro-forma cash flow

III. Supporting Documents:

  • Tax returns of principals for last three years Personal financial statement (all banks have these forms)
  • For franchised businesses, a copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor
  • Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
  • Copy of licenses and other legal documents
  • Copy of resumes of all principals
  • Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.
Selected Web Sites:

United States Small Business Administration
Maintain and strengthen the nation's economy by aiding, counseling, assisting and protecting the interests of small businesses and by helping families and businesses recover from national disasters., Network
The internet's only business-focused search engine and directory that contains more than 400,000 listings within 25,000 industries, products, and service subcategories. contains the largest single collection of free sample business plans online. It has helpful tools and know-how for managing your business. includes practical advice on planning, interactive tools, and a panel of experts who have answered more than 1,400 questions from people like you.

Center for Business Planning
Website that features online interactive business consulting, small sample business plans, and outlines. It also features business planning software, strategy insights and advice, and further resources for business planning or business consultants.
A website that provides free articles, newsletters, and tools about starting your own business. It also includes free sample business plans and templates and the "how-to's" of starting a business. "By Entrepreneurs, For Entrepreneurs."