Business Planning

– the old fashioned way!

Use this outline as a checklist. Depending upon your business, there may be more topics to cover or less. You may find that a bank or investor doesn’t require all of this information. However, it doesn’t hurt to do your due diligence and work out the details. It sets up a foundation and makes the journey easier. Keep it simple. If this is only a planning too, one line will suffice per item. Add a page in the appendix for future ideas. Note: A ‘lean startup‘ plan may be more appropriate if time is of the essence.

Start up questions:

  • Why are you starting this business? What are your expectations and goals?
  • What is the niche or special attraction? Why does your market need your product/service?
  • How will you finance this venture? When will you turn a profit or realize ROI?
  • What are the red flags?
  • Is your business model flexible enough to accept change?
  • Do you know all the terms used below? Take the time to learn before you jump in!

Established business questions:

  • What are you looking to accomplish and why? What are your expectations and is everyone on board?
  • Do you need new products/services or do you need to pivot and change the model?
  • How long will it take and are you comfortable with this time-table?
  • Will your current technology, equipment, and employee skill level, meet the needs for change?
  • What additional resources and capacity level do you need to meet your new goals?

Company Overview

  • Executive Summary (written last, includes pieces of each section) – feel free to disregard if this plan isn’t for financing.
  • Mission Statement (include CSR)
  • Vision Statement
  • Description of Organization – business model
    • Products or Services
    • Location
    • Legal Structure
    • Insurance
    • Licenses, Permits, etc.
    • Advisory Board
    • Equipment, Technology, Intellectual Property

Marketing Plan: Research, Analysis, & More Research!

  • Competition
    • Direct,
    • Indirect
    • Inertia
    • Future
  • Location (In-depth if major component of the business)
    • Access
    • Security
    • Parking
  • Industry Trends (Growing, Declining, Support for the business model)
  • Consumer Analysis (B2B, B2C, hybrid)
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Revenue projections
  • Products and Services (From the customer point of view)
    • Special features and benefits
    • Niche
    • Pricing model
  • Sales & Marketing Strategies (should support revenue projections)
    • Target Markets
    • Product Strategies
    • Pricing Strategies
    • Digital Content
    • Distribution Strategies
    • Promotion Strategies


  • Human Resources/Talent Management
    • Culture of Organization
    • Skill Sets (Now/Future)
    • Types of Employees
    • Qualifications, Responsibilities, Expectations, KPI’s
    • Remote, On-Site, Hybrid
    • Training (On-boarding/Continuous Learning)
    • Performance Reviews, Feedback, Communication
    • Salaries, Benefits (Tangible/Non-tangible)
    • Future Needs
  • Operations Cycle
    • Organizational Structure
    • Production, Customer Service, Delivery
    • Operating Complexities
    • Best Practices
    • Risk Management
    • Technology (On-line/In-house) (Platforms/Systems/Support)

Financial Plan

  • Use of Loan Funds / Sources
  • Forecasted Statement of Cash Flows: 3 years by month.
  • Forecasted Statement of Operations:  3 years by month…include start up costs
  • Forecasted Balance Sheet: 3 years by month.
  • Break-even Analysis

Appendices/Supporting Documentation