• 20 hours
  • Hard

Free online content available in this course.

course.header.alt.is_video

course.header.alt.is_certifying

Got it!

Last updated on 10/26/21

The canonical Business Plan template

Log in or subscribe for free to enjoy all this course has to offer!

 

In this chapter, we will review all the different components in a Business plan template. As we have seen before, this document is very important to convince your audience of the suitability of your project, and to bring you a positive reaction. For example, the availability of funds, obtaining bank loans, supports, administrative authorization, commercial partnerships...

For this, you must have a very structured document to fulfill with the information required  by your audience.

By doing this work of presentation, you will also build a very useful document for yourself. Indeed, it will:

  • enable you to step back from your project

  • to gain the necessary agility by thinking through different scenarios

  •  and it also will enable you to quantify and plan more surely your resource requirements.

      

The structure of the business plan 

The structure of the business plan must include a minimum number of essential building blocks :

  • The executive summary, which will be your introduction to give the desire to learn more

  • The presentation of your commercial offer and your response to market

  • The general regarding  the market and competition

  • All relevant issues on legal, societal, economic, technological concerns

  • The Business Model

  • The value chain and your organization

  • The marketing and sales aspects

  • The resources available and the management team

  • The implementation plan and the next action decision plans

  • A review of opportunities and risks ahead

  •  The financial forecasts for your project

 

 

I propose now to review in detail each of these elements to understand the issues of each content. In each section, you will need to bring the answers to convince your audience that you are getting an opportunity, and the way to catch it.

 

The Executive Summary 

The Executive summary will define the interest of your proposal, the key issues of your project and your needs in terms of financial resources, means and ways to create interest, regarding your project.

 
As you have seen in previous chapters, many business plans are not read beyond the executive summary.
So the point is to make this section as relevant and attractive as possible.

The commercial offer and response to market

For your commercial proposal to the market, you must present your offer very clearly, and the value creation you will bring. 

Express relevant answers to the following questions:

  • What do you bring to potential users?

  • What will be your business revenue models ?

  • What will be the benefits of your offer for users ?

  • Why are you more efficient than your competitors, for example in terms of  competitive price, ease of use, time saving, availability?

Identify on what is based your value proposition: a new technology, an inspiration of an existing concept other hand, a better understanding of users ....

The marketing and competition 

In this section, you will have your target clients or users. Identify their behaviors and what they are waiting for, and take in account the current and future competition.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the existing market, to anticipate or to create?

  • As you saw in a previous Mooc, define the market you are addressing

  • What type of users are going to meet you? Is there any prescribers?

  • What are your competitors strengths and weaknesses ?

 

 Legal, societal, economic and technological concerns

Here you will have the environment around your project on regulatory, technological, demographic, economic, and other aspects that seems relevant.

You have to ask yourself what are :

  • the constraints and challenges,

  • opportunities,

  • threats around your project

For example:

will you benefit from new regulations that will ensure the promotion of your offer, make sure to catch new consumer trends, do you anticipate difficulties in terms of technological threats or as opportunities...

 

The Business model 

You now arrive at the definition of your business model, where you present the heart of your project. You must first formulate the key points of the value proposition of your offering. Then your value architecture, that is to say how you will arrange to create a viable and effective supply.

Finally you can present your profit equation, as the way you will ensure a return on the project, and compare the future profitability of your offer in proportion to the level of resources you have to gather.  These resources are the sources of funding for your investments and your potential working capital needs.

With the Business model, you will synthesize how you meet the key success factors for your project.

 

The value chain and your organization

In this section, there is to show in more detail how you are going to organize your company:

  • Will you outsource products or services ?

  • Do you have your own distribution network in stores or online or are you going to use intermediaries?

And more generally show how you position yourself in the industrial and commercial sector in your area. What are your potential partners in the chain, or those in need of your presence.

 
For example:
The major industrial players on cloud internet storage encourage incubators of entrepreneurs, for them to create applications for mobile projects using the cloud. These large groups look for emerging entrepreneurial projects, that will create new business opportunities.

 

The sales and marketing aspect

In this part, we must explain how you will communicate on  your offer to present a competitive proposal and significant value to cause attention, use or purchase. More precisely, how will you organize :

  • your commercial actions,

  • your promotions policy,

  • partnerships,

  • distribution agreements

  • ...

 

Resources and management team

In this part, you have to introduce your team and how it works. These following questions will help you to identify the elements. 

  • What resources do you have ? 

  • What are the team members, why did you decide to work together on this project, how do you form a dream team?

  •  With which skills, which complementarities?

We must feel a great story is about to begin, without being transparent on missing resources.

 

The implementation plan and the next action decision plans

Here, you must explain your operational implementation. This is also named the roadmap. For example : what are the next steps to launch your project on all commercial aspects, human resources, financial...

  • What are the next decisions following the obtaining of financial resources?

  • What are your next significant expenses : your recruitments, your digital investments, in equipments,…

 

The risks and opportunities

In this section, the point is to show what the possible horizons beyond the current situation, especially in terms of opportunities to grasp, your capacity to develop the initial business, but also potential risks which should appeared. 

 

The financial forecasts

In this part of the Business Plan, you must submit the financial elements over three years in detail and general forecasts for at least the next two years.

The financial part will include an income statement and breakeven assumptions, review of investments purchases, cash flow statement and the financial position through balance sheet.

You have to prove that everything you present before on your project is viable and relevant. You must show your interest and control on economic issues, and that your project will eventually bring a balance to create financial wealth whether in the form of profitability, financial strength, but also company value.

 

Conclusion 

To conclude this chapter, I would like to give you these tips:

  • Adapt the content of the business plan for your project, and the order in which you want to present the different parts.

  • You should always present the executive summary first and ending with the financial forecasts, but in between, you can choose an order of the parts that you think as most relevant.

  • Beyond this basic minimum frame, you can also add in the business plan, a part that is truly specific to the specifics of your project, but be careful to not make a document too detailed and too heavy.

  • Remember that it is difficult to obtain significant funding, you must make a difference in the quality of the business plan that you will present.

  • Remember also to include storytelling techniques, to make even more attractive your story and demonstrate that your project makes sense, and it would be a loss  for them to not being part of your story.

 

Remember the essential components of the Business plans.

Executive summary

What are the key issues of your project?

Commercial offer and its response to the market 

Is your offer competitive?

Market and competition

Do you meet any demand?

Legal environment, society, economics

What are the constraints and challenges?

Business Model Value Creation

How? Which economic model?

Value chain organization

How are you organized?

Marketing and sales

How will you communicate?

Resources and present management team

On what do you build?

Implementation plan

What are you next action action plans ?

Opportunities and Risks

What are the possible horizons?

Financial forecasts

Prove that your project is viable and relevant

 

Related ressources 

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement