Writing a Business Plan


Steps in the Process


As was evident from the Introductory segment of "Writing a Business Plan", there are a wide variety of formats that can be used in writing a plan. Included here is a broad outline of the type of information that should be included in the plan. Much of the content will be generated by the individual who is trying to make a case for going into business. At certain intervals, where appropriate, you will find resources that might come in handy to expand on those topics.

Business Overview
Products/ Services
Industry Overview
Marketing Strategy
Management and Staffing
Regulatory Issues
Financial Plan

Business Overview


Consult the guide, How to Find Company Information to find sources to answer these topics.

  • Business history
  • Vision and mission statements
  • Objectives
  • Ownership
  • Location and facilities

Products/ Services


If you are creating a business plan for a new business, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Products/services description
  • Key features
  • Production process
  • Future products/services
  • Comparative advantages in production

Industry Overview


Consult the guide, How to Find Industry Information to find sources to answer these topics:

  • Size of industry
  • Key product segments
  • Key market segments
  • Purchase process and buying criteria
  • Description of industry participants
  • Key industry trends
  • Industry outlook

Marketing Strategy


Consult the guide, Conducting Marketing Research, to find sources to answer these topics:

  • Target markets
  • Key competitors
  • Analysis of competitive position
  • Pricing strategy
  • Promotion strategy
       For example:
             - trade publications
             - media outlets
  • Distribution strategy

Management and Staffing


  • Organizational structure
  • Management team
  • Staffing
  • Labor market issues

Regulatory Issues


The U.S. government has a myriad of departments that are good resources to find information on the topics below. Check this excellent hierarchical list of U.S. government departments for more information on these topics:

  • Intellectual property issues
                       - trademarks
  • Other regulatory issues
    For example:
               - wages and salaries
               - disability policies
               - health regulations
                       - product safety programs



  •  Market risks
  • Other risks

Financial Plan


For a full review of the sources necessary to implement a financial plan,
consult Writing a Business Plan - Financial Section

  • A. Sources and Applications of Funding
  • B. Capital Equipment
  • C. Balance Sheet
  • D. Break-Even Analysis
  • E. Income Projections
  • F. Cash Flow Projection
  • G. Deviation Analysis
  • H. Historical Reports for Existing Business