We have been getting quite a few questions lately about the proper order of a business plan or how to put all of the information together in the right sequence. I figured it was time to address those questions here on the blog.
For the most part, there is no exact order that your business plan has to be in when you hand it over to an investor or loan officer. You should have a proper title page, including the name of the business, your name, address, phone number, and email address. Many title pages also include a legal disclaimer, although this can also be placed on the second page. Next, include a Table of Contents with page numbers for all other sections of the business plan. This should be followed by your Executive Summary. After that, there is no industry standard. Even business plan experts will disagree with how to follow the Executive Summary.
A key point to understand is that the investor or loan officer is unlikely to read the business plan from cover to cover in order. In my opinion, this is why there is no industry standard; each investor or loan officer wants to further understand a certain aspect of that business plan better after reading your Executive Summary. As we’ve explained before, the Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan. You can view that blog article by clicking here.
This simply further emphasizes that a particular order after the Executive Summary is not important. Also, remember that because the reader may not read the plan in sequence, you should always consider each section is separate and fully explain all aspects related to that section of your business plan within that section. For example, never assume that because you fully explained your target market in the fourth section that you can very quickly reference it in section nine. You must give enough of an explanation in section nine for the reader to fully understand your point as he or she may not have read section four yet.
If you still need help piecing your business plan together, feel free to visit our Business Plan Templates page here or call us for a free consultation.