What to Include and Not to Include on Your Business Plan

Every business needs a blueprint and a structure. When applying for loans or other forms of funding, investors will ask for a business plan as part of the vetting process. The proposal is not the only important aspect of a pitch, but it is still critical in the path to a healthy and viable business. At its most basic, the document details the strategies and goals of a new or established company. Within the binding, there should be provisions for expected obstacles and a breakdown of necessary capital. When assembled properly, the plan can be a very impressive manuscript that will attract quality investors and employees. Conversely, it can also be the downfall of an otherwise perfect pitch.


Include: The Financial Section

The financial section will be of extreme interest to anyone who wants to invest in the enterprise. If the business has not yet begun making revenue, include income and cash flow projections as well as break-even analysis. Depending on the complexity of the financials, it may be prudent to consult with a licensed accountant. If the company is established, the section should have verifiable income and balance sheets. Regardless, this portion needs to display some sort of growth model.


Do Not Include: Unedited Work

The most common downfall for a business plan is not poor ideas. It is poor presentation. Incomplete work has no place within this professional text. Every piece of text as well as each graphic should be edited to ensure relevance and eliminate typos. Basic grammar rules must be followed, and pay attention to details such as consistent fonts and margins. Make sure all charts are appropriately labeled. Proofread the plan multiple times before giving it to investors.


Include: The Industry Section

Include a valid analysis of relevant industries. Potential partners want to know that company leaders are educated about their field and are adequately prepared for future obstacles. Describe the intended audience and analyze likely competitors. In this section of the business plan, the writers should make a point of distinguishing the company as better or more efficient than other similar enterprises.


Do Not Include: Too Little or Too Much Detail

While a business plan should allow for growth and expansion, it must be fairly easy to understand. Most, if not all, questions regarding the daily operations and function of the company should be answered in the document. Thus, do not be too vague. Additionally, don’t overload investors with overly technical details. If such information is relevant, put it in the appendix. Partners want to be confident in who they are giving money to, but they don’t need a lesson in computer code or clean water production.

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