Why Following a Thorough Business Plan Outline is Important


Many business plans are written without considering all the necessary elements that should be included. Following a thorough business plan outline is helpful in ensuring that all of the elements are included and that the plan covers all of the important variables associated with your business. While a business plan outline is helpful, it is equally important to understand what each element of the plan entails and covers. Using a planning guide or business plan workbook is often useful in helping in the completion of a sound business plan.

A Comprehensive Business Plan Outline

Cover Page

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • Discussion of products/services
  • Overview of the business concept
  • Brief discussion of the market
  • Overview of the industry and competition
  • Marketing approach and strategy
  • Management structure and top personnel
  • Risk overview
  • Financial projections
  • Financing required

Goals and Strategies

  • General discussion of primary goals
  • List goals
  • General discussion of primary strategies
  • List strategies

The Company and its History

  • Description of the company
  • Brief discussion of its history

The Industry and Competition

  • Detailed description of the industry
  • General discussion of competition
  • Detailed discussion about competition

Products (or Services)

  • Overview of product(s)/service(s)
  • Patents, trademarks, copyrights
  • Detailed description of product(s)/service(s)
  • Discuss competitive advantage/differentiation

The Market

  • Description of the market
  • Size of the market
  • Market location(s)
  • Current and projected market trends


  • Review of market/marketing strategies
  • Discussion of branding/image development
  • Discussion of forecasted market share
  • Pricing strategies and price schedules
  • Selling approach
  • Distribution strategies and approach
  • Service and warranty plans
  • Promotional Plan Summary


  • Manufacturing/service delivery method
  • Labor requirement breakdown
  • Discussion of product/service cost(s)
  • Administrative/Technology Overview

Management and Organization Structure

  • Overview of management structure
  • Organization chart
  • Summary of individual backgrounds
  • Resumes of key management personnel

Critical Risks

  • Presentation of potential risks to the business
  • Discussion of risk mitigation strategies

Financial Information

  • Funding required
  • Current capitalization
  • How funds will be used
  • Income statements – three years
  • Balance sheets – three years
  • Cash flow statements – three years
  • List of assumptions used in projections


As mentioned, while following a business plan outline as you develop your plan is useful, having a more complete resource as a guide may make some sense. There are a number of business plan guides and tools available to help you write your business plan. Keep in mind, though, that not all are created equal and not all are sufficient to guide you properly. A simple Google search will unveil the guides that could be helpful to you. One key is to make sure you are thorough in the development of your plan. Another is to avoid critical mistakes when you write your plan. The outline above is a very helpful list of things you should consider including in your plan.

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I have always been a shopaholic. A lot of times my questions went unanswered when it came to retail questions, so I started Talk Radio News. - Caitlyn Johnson

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