Business Plan Outline

  • Overview/Executive Summary: can be one paragraph or more extensive as needed.
  • Description of the Business: purpose, goals, objectives.
  • Products/Services: What will the business be providing to its members and/or to the public? Consider whether this is different in the short term versus the long term.
  • The Market: Who are the potential customers, including, demographics (type and size of entity), geographic location, etc.
  • Marketing Plan: Advertising, public relations, reaching the potential members and/or the public. Be as specific as possible, e.g. how, when, and where will the marketing plan be implemented.
  • The Competition: Who are they, where are they, and how strong are their positions?
  • Cooperative Membership (if applicable): Describe classes of members, voting rights, and membership fees to join the coop (may be undetermined but perhaps ballpark numbers). What are the annual administrative fees or assessments and how are they determined?
  • Location & Size: Where is the business, what is the size or estimated size of the business, estimate of lease expenses, and projected growth (if applicable).
  • Organization/Management Team: What are their skills/experience? What is the structure and management of the business (short and long term)? If there will be a Board what are its responsibilities versus management and how will the two work together? How will the business operate day to day – include as much detail here as possible.
  • Employee/Personnel Needs: Include short term and in long term needs including outside contractors, consultants, if applicable.
  • Financing: How will you capitalize the business, e.g. bank financing, grants, investors, loans from third parties, loans from family/friends, membership fees, etc. Are there other sources of income for start-up or long term projects and if so, what are they?
  • Risk Analysis: What are the risks of starting the business, e.g. lack of community support, competitors, lack of adequate financing, lack of experience in running a company, etc. What happens if it doesn’t work?
  • Financial Projections:¬†Generally, you will want to have projections for 1-5 years. Of course, the longer the time period, the less accurate the estimates.
    • Start up cost: These include any capital requirements necessary to get the business going, e.g. office lease, employee expenses, legal/accountant, equipment lease or purchase, etc.
    • Operating expenses: Monthly, quarterly, annual expense projections for employees, equipment purchases, lease expense, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc.
    • Balance sheet projections: Assets/liabilities and equity, profit/loss projections, cash flow, income projections, and expense projections, etc.