Writing a five year business plan

A general plan looks at the entire business holistically and projects it into the future, while a more targeted plan might be used by individual departments to develop strategies.

Writing a five year business plan

Share on Facebook According to business-planning authority Tim Berry, founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software, the purpose of business plans is planning. Instead of keeping business plans out of sight when they are not being shown to investors, company owners should use them as they are intended -- as management tools for planning.

When important outsiders want to read the business plan, management can modify it to accommodate them. A venture capital firm wanting its commitment to the company to be limited to five years, for example, would want the financial projections and the marketing strategy in the plan to cover at least five years.

Step 1 Write the company description. This section should tell the story of how the business came to be. Tell what the company does, give its location and describe the staff. Photographs of the building or the interior work areas are appropriate for this section. Step 2 Collect information about the company's main product or service and organize it in the product description section.

Tell the reader what the product or service is and how it differs from -- and is superior to -- others on the market. If the company has been engaged in research and development and is bringing the result to market, tell the reader about this part of the company's story.

writing a five year business plan

Step 3 Write the marketing section, including your analysis of the industry, your market and your competitors. Report on your competitors' strengths and weaknesses and describe the products that will compete with yours.

Describe your sales strategy, your pricing policy and how you will advertise and promote your product. Give a thorough assessment of the market potential for your product for the next five years.

Step 4 Organize the management section. Include biographical summaries for each member of the management team plus key employees. Each biographical summary should present the person's responsibility at the company, his prior business experience and his educational background.

Include special certifications if they are relevant to the company's business.

If appropriate, include information about professional support -- attorneys, accountants and consultants. Step 5 Complete the financial section. It should consist of enough reliable information to give the reader an understanding of the company's financial health and its prospects for the near term.

If the company has been operating, include its last three years of financial statements, which should have been audited or at least prepared by a firm of certified public accountants. Financial statements consist of a balance sheet, an income statement and a cash flow statement.

Include recent personal financial statements of the company's principals and copies of the company's last three annual federal tax returns, if available. The business plan is for five years, so it should include a projection of the company's income statement for this period.

Give monthly figures for the first year and annual amounts for the next four years.

If the historical statements and tax returns are too bulky, include them in an appendix. Step 6 Write the executive summary.

Write it last, but place it first in the plan. It is best to write this section last to ensure that it includes the strongest and best points about the company.

The executive summary should include the most compelling points about the business.How to Create Your Five-Year Master Plan. Two weeks ago, I wrote this article here: The Most Valuable Strategy to Apply to Anything You Do.I received a lot of positive feedback from hundreds of.

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How to Write a Five-Year Business Plan | Bizfluent