10 things to include in your business plan!

Anytime we hear business plan, the name alone could scare us and make us feel like this is going to be a very tedious and non-rewarding process. No it would not! So many people do not really know where to start from. And hell yes, they are justified. How do you start creating a business plan for a business that does not even exist. Yes, but that is the whole essence, to plan out something that has not even taken course yet. Ok, then how do you go about it? Read further!

In the case of a business, you may only have an idea or the destination card. A destination card is more like what you envision to accomplish. Like seeing yourself as the owner of a very successful restaurant. Your destination card is you in your white sophisticated chef attire serving high-end customers.

Envision your destination card to create a business plan. 

Now that you might envision a destination card, you sure can strategize how to actually create that card. With this approach, I suggest that you see the process of creating a business plan more like a developing a strategic roadmap to the destination. AYou can begin to develop this kind of business strategy plan by visualising and outlining specific business related information based on what you know and what information  you can gather from different sources. In my 6 key foundation milestone program, when you complete the program, you sure would have a really good business plan. I also share how to gather the information you will require to compose your business plan or business strategy document.

Forget strict formats. Rather pay attention to the constants. 

Business plan often has a standard format that anyone needing to review your plan understands. That is why some people look for a  business plan template so as to create a plan that meets the standard expectations of banks, investors, partners, etc.. Who decides what is the standard? Practically no one or maybe your business administration professor. It always depends on your business idea.

Nevertheless, there are constants in a good business plan. Meaning, there are details that should be included in any good business plan and that is what we would cover in this blog. I want to share the 10 must include in any business strategy  document or business plan format. But before we dive into this, here is why you need a business plan. To save you time, money, resources and help you find partners ready to support you. Enroll for free to learn why you need a business plan in this free tutorial.

Everyone needs a plan, be it that you decide to sell akara or gold watches. If you want to grow, you need to strategize and plan. Period!

Even if you decide to start a small road side business, yes you need a business plan or a  business strategy outline. You may not need a 30 page business plan formated or typed in a computer, but you will need to develop a system to outline your planned or potential activities in a logical order. I have met too many young people who are extremely enthusiastic about a specific idea that they have and really want to start a business or a project, but end up carrying that idea for weeks or years.

When I had the idea to start the entrepreneurs lab, I continually remind myself that I have to do it. Especially when I would get request form people to coach them. Then I would think out loud, yes, I need to start the lab. But somehow weeks and months passed, I did not start. I was still stuck in my normal routine. These things that just take up your time because life happens and you get stuck up in the difficult-easy things and lose focus on your destination card.

You can create action plans to be your motivation! 

This is where a business plan can help. Because in a good business plan, you can actually go as far as creating work plans and action plans to help you move further progressively. Not until I actually sat down, bought an empty journal and began to pour out my idea, putting pen to paper as they say, did I really find the momentum to start. It is time to learn what you must include in your business plan and how to structure it. Now do not scream when you read this list, it is not rocket science. I did it, so you can.

I have created a tutorial in my 6 key foundation milestone program covering each point and this will help you develop them confidently. If you feel the need, you can get a friend to work with you on this process.

10 things to include in your business plan!

Your business plan should be structured in a way that anyone reading it would understand it. And here is the structure I recommend and it is written chronologically how it should appear in your plan.

The 10 must include in a business plan.

  1. Executive Summary: this is actually the part you will compost last, after you have covered all other 10 must include. Because it summarizes everything and brings the most important information for example, your solution, on point. I call this writeup a persuasive summary. It should take up a page or less, if you share the page with an image.
  2. Problem –  Here you get the chance to explain the situation you want to solve. Depending on how complex, be precise and clear. You can enroll for our tutorial on how to draft out a problem statement for your business idea if you feel the need to develop more skills in this field.
  3. Your solutions in details – Your product or service that you are offering in details. You have to describe the product/service. Actually, there is a full tutorial on these 10 must-haves where I explain them.
  4. Your unique selling point or proposition – The added value of your solution, why should a customer pay for your product/service or solution?
  5. Operational plan – How would you run your business daily?
  6. Legal structure – Would your business be a sole proprietor company, a joint venture, a non-profit?
  7. Team – Why you or your team is the only one to make the business work. Do not underestimate this part. People are interested in who you are and what your abilities are. Even the customer is interested in teh genuine connection you have to the business idea. Share beyond your professional skills, share your story that resonates with the idea.
  8. Marketing plan – How do you intend to reach your customers? The marketing plan should be extensive enough to cover the price policy, promotion strategy, distribution and expand more on the qualities of the product.You can learn more in our Milestone 3 about drafting a marketing model for your idea.
  9. Financial plan – How will you fund your idea and what are the costs? Outlining your possible expenditures, potential revenues. I always suggest you work this part in an excel sheet and later integrate the key data in the executive summary, then attach the excel sheet to the plan when printed out or sent as a digital file. I talk about all about finance, budgeting and revenue model in our milestone 4 of the 6 Key program.
  10. Scaling & Maintenance plan – yes you have a plan to operate but how do you intend to keep the standards? Do you inetd to grow your business? If yes, how?

Now, let’s have a quick recap! 

10 things to include in your business plan!

I hope I have been able to share a valuable business plan example which will help you or serve as a guide when writing your own business plan. To have a great business plan, you will need to develop a series of information such as the problem, solution, your USP, operational plan, legal structure, team, marketing and finance plan, maintenance plan and scaling plan. After you have developed these, you can then confidently put your executive summary together.

Depending on who you present your plan to, you will need a different version. Maybe a 5 slide deck, a 2 pager or another version. But remember this is the masterpiece. This is the version for you or for anyone who cares to read this long version. I have a tutorial about all other versions of the business plan and how to create them. 

Remember to stay in touch. I need you to work on your ideas and build healthy businesses. My team and I are here to support you through. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, join our community forum and of course follow me on instagram to connect in real time. (Instagram botton is beneath)

Thank you once again. This is Joadre, building healthy minds to create healthy businesses.

Cheers, Joana

I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

The Joadre Analysis & Industry Journal

FREE Templates



SME Get Access To Loan|Tunde Obadero, Zitra Investments

Tunde Obadero Fron Zitra Investments Nigeria explains how their products help SME to access quick loans.

Learn To Use Accountability As A Tool To Build Your Ideas

How and why accountability can help build your business ideas. LEarn simple ways to integrate accountability into your activities.

Engage In An Emerging Market | Nigeria

Understand how to engage with emerging markets because these socio-cultural dynamics can determine if you will succeed or not.

10 Best Crowdfunding Platforms To Raise Funds For Projects

How To Use Crowdfunding Strategy and Platforms To Launch Your Project. Not all platforms offer what you want. Here are some tips.

How to start a low capital business with social impact.

Or you can release a collection by creating varieties of pictures - editorial, advert, graphics, product pictures, and then post them on your website and different social media platforms. Then you can go further to write a well crafted blog on the collection where you talk about the making process, the quality, how to use the fabric, the style, who it is for, what makes it special etc