Elements of a Business Plan

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The length of the business plan varies greatly from business-to-business. All of the information should fit into a 15- to 20-page document. If there are crucial elements of the business plan that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—they should be referenced in the main plan and included as appendices.

Important: While it’s a good idea to give as much detail as possible, it’s also important to be sure the plan is concise so the reader will want to get to the end.

A business plan is a fundamental document that any startup business needs to have in place prior to beginning operations. Banks and venture capital firms indeed often make writing a viable business plan a prerequisite before considering providing capital to new businesses.

Operating without a business plan is not usually a good idea. In fact, very few companies are able to last very long without one. There are definitely more benefits to creating and sticking to a good business plan — including being able to think through ideas without putting too much money into them and, ultimately, losing in the end.

Good business plans should include an executive summary, products and services, financial planning, marketing strategy and analysis, financial planning, and a budget.