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Therefore, it is advisable to have an introductory page in your financial plan explaining in plain English the key assumptions and how each one was determined.
The specific marketing actions are developed in the Marketing Action Plan, which is used to implement your business idea.
In other words, what are you going to do to drive traffic to your front door — both literally and figuratively? For each of the five marketing steps, note the cost to implement (which, when totaled, becomes your marketing budget), if the items can be completed by you alone or whether you will need assistance, and the sales expectations (which when added together, become the sales forecast).
These four key sections are the executive summary, marketing plan, key management bios, and financial plan. This is one of the shortest sections of a business plan, but the one you should spend the most time working on.
Whether your business plan is 5 or 30 pages, an executive summary must recap all of the material in your plan in only two pages.
While the financial plan is a very important section, it’s appropriate for it to come last, because if the executive summary is a discussion of all that is to follow, the financial section is a recap of all that precedes it.
The products and services, marketing, operations and personnel sections demonstrate that the business idea is feasible, but it’s the financial section that demonstrates it is viable.The reason this section gets so much attention is that it might be the only section the reader looks at when making a decision to go forward or stop.To paraphrase an old proverb, “you can tell the quality of a business plan from its executive summary.” The executive summary is the ultimate elevator pitch where you introduce the idea, provide background, talk about approach and results, and convey confidence that you will be successful.Where there might be experience/skills gaps, mention how you plan to add others to the team to provide this expertise.One of the final elements in your business plan is the financial statements.In one paragraph, the executive summary should include a description of your business and the customer problem being uniquely solved so the reader understands what you are trying to achieve.The marketing paragraphs should include information about the size of the market, sales forecast, demographics of your potential customers and competition, and your competitive advantages.The point of the competitive analysis section is to make sure you understand what you are up against.This section should list about five competitors and their strengths and weaknesses, like operating hours, accessibility, pricing, return policy, marketing budget size, reputation, product delivery policy (is it provided free, at cost, or not at all), complementary products and services, current/outdated versions (which might also apply to current/outdated styles), and buying quantities (which may equate to lower or higher costs).It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish and who is the audience.That said, after having written and reviewed hundreds of business plans, I feel there are four key sections used in almost all situations, and these are augmented by additional sections depending on the circumstances.