A well-written business plan must include long-term targets and means for achieving goals in quality, cost, delivery, and morale. A number of factors concerning the company's strategy should be discussed including: short term launch projections, long term goals, product advantages, financial backing and competitive advantages.

Other important categories include the following information:

  • Quality/Customer Satisfaction
  • Sales, Market Share, Labor Costs, Production Costs, Profit Margin
  • Number of New Products or Services, R & D Costs, Accuracy of Research
  • Office Location, Headquarters Location, Business Expansion Plans

Business plans should be to the point. Prospective investors need to find convincing information quickly, while being persuaded of potential market growth and profitability at all times. Business plans should convince without hard selling. Let your most impressive statistics speak for themselves and investors are bound to be impressed. When trying too hard to sell a product in a business plan, potential investors question the underlying facts of your presentation.

Key Vocabulary Notes

long-term / short-term targets = specific business goals such as sales, market share, etc.
morale = how employees feel

Our long-term goals include opening stores in California. Our short-term goal is to increase production at our new facilities.

launch projections = A launch is made when a new product is introduced. A launch projection is a forward looking estimate at how the product will do in the market.

Our launch projections estimate that we will obtain 5% of market share in the first year.

financial backing = what financial resources will support the business plan

Financial backing is provided through an initial investment of $500,000.

competitive advantage = the advantages of your product over the competition

Our competitive advantage has been secured through multiple patents.

market share = the percentage of a market that a product or business has

We expect to obtain 15% market share in Canada within three years of launch.

profit margin = what percentage of profit will be made once costs are deducted

At $29.99 the profit margin per item is approximately 35%.

R & D costs = research and development costs

R & D costs will total $200,000 for the year.

to the point = direct, concise

Please get to the point.

potential market growth = the total opportunity of a new product

Our research shows potential market growth of 20% per year over the next five years.

By Kenneth Beare, About.com Guide