A business plan is essential for providing your business with direction and to assist you in obtaining finance. If you were to crowdfund for your business idea, approach a financial organisation for a loan, or seek angel investment, you are unlikely to get very far without a solid plan of action. After all, no one wants to invest in a business unless they think it will be profitable.
But business plans can be long and complex. A business plan summary condenses the plan into a single page and can be useful for getting started in seeking investment, and in providing an overview of your overall plan.
What elements make up a business plan?
A business plan should contain the following:
- A title page.
- Short overall summary of your business plan.
- Details of your organisation.
- Individual sections on finances, legal issues, innovation, risk management and insurance, sustainability, products and services, the market, operations, and financial reports such as balance sheet, profit & loss, cash flow and breakeven analysis.
Business plan summary
Once you have completed your full business plan, you can condense it into a summary. This should ideally be only one page long, and include:
- Registered business name.
- Business structure – i.e. whether sole-trader, partnership, company or trust.
- Australian Business Number (ABN), and Australian Company Number (ACN) for a company.
- Vision statement.
- Main location.
- Date established.
- Ownership details.
- Products and services overview.
- Target market and marketing strategies.
- Finances required and intended source of funds, including owners’ contributions.
- An overview of the business’s current financial position.
Another type of single page plan that is useful in business is a one-page action plan.
One-page action plans
A one-page action plan complements a business plan summary, but it is different. It is more of a snapshot of where the business is currently at in specific areas, where you want it to be within a specified timeframe, and the strategies required to get there.
How to write a one-page action plan
There is no one correct formula for doing an action plan. One way to go about it is to set out three sections – one for ‘Now’, one for ‘Where’, and one for ‘How’ – in a table format.
- Now – this defines current challenges or pertinent issues. Examples might include current profit level, number of clients, or annual sales revenue. It might also generally outline what needs to be done to address the issue, such as “we need to increase sales to improve profitability.”
- Where – defines where you want to be with regard to the pertinent issue and by when. An example might be “increase sales by 10% by June 30.”
- How – sets out strategies for meeting the defined goals, such as “set up a customer referral system.” It should also include who will be responsible for carrying out the task (e.g. sales manager).
One-page action plans such as these can be developed for just about any important issue or challenge within your business, and can also be very good for delegating tasks and responsibilities for actioning.
These plans come in handy for those times when you are seeking additional funding as they provide concrete and clear ideas and strategies for achieving your goals. The timeframes on action plans also help you to track and monitor your goals and objectives and improve accountability.
And when you have to submit your full business plan to potential investors? You can use eFax. It’s easy and secure to send a fax online with an encrypted virtual fax service from mBox – and it doesn’t matter how large the document is.
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