Updated November, 2009
File C5-69

Create Your Own Business Plan

Below is an outline and template for creating your own business plan.

There are eight broad business planning categories listed below. Each broad category contains sub-categories that may be relevant to your situation. All of the subcategories contain comments and questions that will help you identify the type of information to include. 

Don’t be scared off by the large number of categories and subcategories.This outline is designed to cover many different types of business.  Only a portion of them may be relevant to your specific situation. So, complete only those subcategories that are relevant to your situation and skip those that are not relevant.

In addition to moving you through the business planning process, the outline below helps raise issues and questions about your business venture that you may not have considered.  Identifying and resolving these issues now will save time and money later and increase your chances of creating a successful business.

For more information read Writing a Business Plan.

A)  Executive Summary - Summarize your business opportunity.

      1.  Cover/Request Page
      2.  Table of Contents
      3.  Executive Summary  

B)  Project/Business - Describe your business concept.

      1.  Business/Project Description and Background
      2.  Mission Statement, Goals and Objectives
      3.  Business Structure
      4.  Products/Services
      5.  Research and Development

C)  External Environment - Describe changes in the economy, society and industry that  provide opportunities and threats for your business and its products/services.

      1.  Economic/Social Environment
      2.  Industry Analysis 

D)  Management - Show that your management team is capable of managing the business.

      1.  Project Leadership
      2.  Business Management

E)  Markets - Demonstrate that customers will buy your product/service.

      1.  Marketplace Analysis
      2.  Target Market and Customer Analysis
      3.  Direct Marketing
      4.  Competitive Assessment
      5.  Market Access, Distribution, Pricing, and Sales Forecast
      6.  Marketing Message and Promotion

F)  Operations - Show how you will supply your product/service to the marketplace.

      1.  Facility Requirements and Site Selection
      2.  Technical Analysis
      3.  Operations Plan
      4.  Production Inputs
      5.  Labor Plan
      6.  Regulatory and Environmental Requirements

G)  Finances - Demonstrate that your business will make money.

      1.  Budget Projections
      2.  Capital and Contingency Plans
      3.  Financing Plan
      4.  Financial Data and Analysis
      5.  Economic Variability and Risk Management
      6.  Exit/Reorganization Plans

H)  Implementation - Show how you will execute your business plan.

      1.    Implementation Plan
      2.    Supporting Documents


Don Hofstrand, retired extension value added agriculture specialist, agdm@iastate.edu


Don Hofstrand

retired extension value added agriculture specialist
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