Expert insights on how to write a business plan, from the executive summary to appendix. The opportunity chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives—it includes information about the problem that you’re solving, your solution, who you plan to sell to, and how your product or service fits into the existing competitive landscape.
Construct a working spreadsheet so that the bottom-right cell shows the total sales or gross margin, or profit, whatever you need to measure, and by changing the figures within the split (altering the mix, average prices, quantities, etc) you can carry out ‘what if?’ analysis to develop the best plans.
A business plan should contain details of the organisation’s objectives, and these objectives should follow the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timed) framework, to ensure that the company is capable of realistically achieving them.
Also, these principles and methods apply to very large complex multinational organizations, which tend to entail more and different costs, fixed overheads, revenues, and consequently larger planning formats; more and bigger spreadsheets, more lines and columns on each, more attention and people working on the numbers, more accountants, and typically – especially at middle-management level and above – more emphasis on cashflow and the balance sheet, alongside basic ‘profit and loss’ planning.
The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments (also called target marketing ), how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.