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A traditional business plan can be very detailed and can run up to 20, 30 or even a LOT more pages, depending on that the actual business is.

As a result, it takes a lot more time to write than the lean startup plan, and it is extremely comprehensive by design. And if you plan to ask for funding from traditional lenders and investors, then this format is usually the one they want to see!

Now there are many sources of information online about how to write a traditional business plan. My intention is NOT to reinvent the wheel, particularly since the Small Business Departments of most governments usually cover this information very thoroughly.

Instead, I’ll just give you a quick outline of what might go into the main sections of your business plan, and then I will suggest a great little resource I recently discovered that can provide lots of useful examples and templates etc.

The Business Plan Structure

A business plan shows your ideas and plans about your business, and how you’re planning to achieve your business goals. Whether or not you’re showing it to a potential investor or keeping it for your eyes only, a business plan should make logical sense.

Shown below are the main sections you might normally find in a business plan. When you write yours, you do NOT have to stick to the outline, as some sections will make more sense than others when looking at your business and your needs. So just use the best combinations of these sections.

  1. Executive summary

    The executive summary outlines the most important aspects of your business and what’s included in the rest of your plan. Despite appearing first in this document, it is best written last.

  2. Business Details

    This section provides information on the core components of your business, including ownership details, business structure, employees, and other operational details.

  3. The Product/Service

    The product/service section of the business plan provides information about what you’re selling, what problems they solve and how.

  4. The Market

    This component of the business plan is about your current and potential customers and how to reach them most effectively. Here, you’ll also identify your competitors and how to stand out against them.

  5. The Finance

    The financial section details how much you need to set up and/or run your business, how much it’s making and how much you expect to make in the future.

  6. Goals and Milestones

    This section is all about the future of your business and what you hope to achieve. It details how you plan on achieving your goals and how they will be measured.

  7. Appendices

    Throughout your business plan, you’re likely to refer to additional documents or other sources of information. This section is where you provide them.

Now, as I have said earlier, there is little point in me spending too much time here when there is just so much great information which already exists on this topic online.

Instead, I would simply like to point you to an EXCELLENT resource I discovered last year!

Some of the notes here came from just one of the many free publications and templates that Dani has available for you to download at Her blog is worth spending some time look at too 🙂

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