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Components of a business plan

Components of a Business Plan

The business plan is a statement of:

  • Where the business and market is currently at - a situation analysis
  • What business you are in - a strategic audit
  • Where you want to be - your objectives
  • How you are going to get there - the path you’ll take.

The main sections of a business plan are:

  • The business overview - includes a mission statement (including vision and values), your objectives, a summary of what the business does, how it has developed, where you want to go, and in what timeframe.
  • The marketing plan - includes an analysis of the market in which your business will be operating, and a marketing strategy - that is, what marketing and promotional activities you intend to implement and when, and your marketing objectives (e.g. increasing customer numbers, introducing new products). The marketing plan may also include a detailed sales plan and communication plan.
  • The human resources requirements - detailing the staffing needs, including the skills and experience of each team member and tasks and responsibilities.
  • The operational plan - which looks at insurances, legal requirements (e.g. registrations, permits), OHS and risk assessment, equipment needs, suppliers and inventory control, delivery and channel management.
  • The financial plan - a statement of current finances and projections, including cash flow analysis, sales forecasts, expenses, break even analysis, taxation requirements, trading terms and warranties, industry and competitor pricing policies, set up costs, and financing sources.
  • An action plan - which shows the tasks and activities you’ll undertake to achieve the goals and objectives of your business plan.

These key elements of the business plan are interdependent and should be effectively integrated. For example, a marketing strategy may be a social media advertising campaign. This strategy would have been identified through a potential customer information search. The cost of this campaign will appear in the financial plan, and the resources required would be documented in the operational plan.

A business plan needs to be tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. It’s not about just filling in a business plan template; your business plan needs to be customised to your requirements, it needs to be flexible and nimble so that it can be adjusted as your business operations and business needs change.

We have included in the Downloads section an example of a more detailed business plan for you to consider, along with a template for you to start creating your own plan at your leisure.

Case study

Jordan has completed her Business Model Canvas including her customer segments and has now started on developing her business plan. Using the documents and links in the download area, try filling out your own Business Model Canvas and Business Plan using the templates provided.

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This article is from the free online course:

Online Business: Planning for Success

RMIT University