What You’ll Learn at Business Plan Boot Camp – Day 3

As the last “instructional” session of the High Tech Rochester Business Plan Workshops, this class sort of wrapped everything up, and placed an emphasis of the actual writing of a business plan and its components. Most of what was discussed was a review of what had been taught in previous sessions, but the workshop leader showed where exactly that information fits into the business plan.

Getting a walk-through on the writing process of a business plan helped to drive home the point that you need to first determine who  the “user” of the business plan is – whether it will be viewed by investors, bankers, the management team, or all three – in order to tweak the components of the plan to fit that user. Investors and bankers will most likely want to see more intricate financials in your plan than your management team, for example, who may refer more to other aspects of the business plan. There are essential components that should be in every business plan:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Background
  • Product/Service Description
  • Competition Analysis
  • Management Team
  • Market Analysis
  • Distribution Channels
  • Financials
  • Appendices/Exhibits

But again, these components can be placed in any order you feel is necessary to best tell the story of your business and how you have achieved or plan to achieve success. They also may vary according to what type of business you have, how long it has been in existence, etc. As was stated in the last workshop, there is no single “right” outline.

In summary, a business plan should generally be 20 pages in length – this includes the executive summary, but excludes any appendices or exhibits. While the appendices can include information not in the business plan itself, they should still be focused, including only information that has been referred to in the plan, and should not be more than 15 pages. As always, spell-checking and proofreading is key. You shouldn’t be afraid to lean on the use of a template, business plan-writing software, or other resources to ensure that you’re including all the necessary elements, just remember that is is more than acceptable tailor the plan to suit the needs of your business and your audience.

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Co-founder of Bizplancompetitions.com. 2009 graduate of Nazareth College (Rochester, NY) who enjoys riding horses and motorcycles (in that order).
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