A business plan outline is an initial overview of what goes into the business plan.
An outline is created as the first draft and is likely a result of a “napkin” discussion or some other non-formal gathering of ideas. There are several methods to do this initial draft; one practical approach is to do a whiteboard capture of the business team’s ideas and thoughts and to write these down in an electronic format so the business plan outline can be formalized into an actual business plan formatted structure.
Before creating a business plan outline, gather information on the following points:
- Focus of the business
- The business team
- Business goals
- Why the business should exist
- Analysis of potential success
- Key competitive threats
- Industry trends
- Risk avoidance and challenge management
After gathering your information, organize it into a business plan outline like the one below:
- What the business is
- Who is the business team
- What is the ownership and the legal formation of the business
- Why is the business going to succeed – Additional thoughts for proof of concept;
- Contingency plans
- Additional Opportunities
- Sources of Revenue and the operational costs of providing the products/services
- Marketing Plan Overview
- Operational Plan overview
- Capital investments needed and how to achieve funding
- Personnel Resources
- Future plans for the business.
This list is fairly comprehensive and can be shortened for the first draft. It is essential to make the exercise of business planning a fun and productive activity and not another chore for the management team or the owner.
When working on your business plan format, do not expect to follow the above step sequentially. Business planning is not a linear process meaning it is necessary to initiate many thought processes simultaneously.
Although gathering and organizing the information for your business plan outline may seem daunting, once you get started it can be a fun and enlightening process. Not to mention the benefits that it will bring to your business.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: