The best way to look at a business plan is to see it as a specific plan to solve a unique problem. That is the only way to make it fly. A lot of ‘copying’ and ‘pasting’ shamelessly have made the “amazingness” of business plans a bye word. Just like any unique individual, no two business plans are the same. Some plans exist to get investment. Some are supposed to support loan applications.
The first thing in any plan is the need (not the executive summary). Are you solving a problem? If you are not planning to solve one, think again. Then, it must be realistic. This involves getting all the facts right – market survey, feasibility studies, lab tests, competition, government regulations etc. Needless to say, there must be room for assumptions but it shouldn’t be much. It also must state the people that are responsible for what and what action. What are their strengths as a team and as individuals?
A great business plan should also give a detailed explanation of how to track surveys, deadlines, forecasts, budgets and metrics. What do you have is one question most SMEs do not put into context? This is a tricky question that involves monetizing everything and counting in the intangible assets (copyright, trademarks, patents and goodwill). The final and most important question is how do you want to spend your resources. If you are not able to answer these questions, the plan is still incomplete. Lastly, write your executive summary.