Your idea should flow in a nice, organized fashion. Each section should build logically on the previous section, without requiring the reader to know something that is presented later in the plan.
Although there is no single "correct" business plan structure, one successful structure is as follows:
- Executive Summary: This is a brief, 1 to 3 page summary of everything that follows in the plan. It should be a stand-alone document, as many readers will make their initial decision based on the executive summary alone. This should usually be written last; otherwise, you have nothing to summarize!
- Background: If you are in a highly specialized field, you should provide some background in layman terms since most investors will not have advanced degrees in your field.
- Market Opportunity: Describe how businesses and consumers are suffering, and how much they are willing to pay for a solution.
- Products or Services: Describe what you do, and how your solution fits into the market opportunity.
- Market Traction: Describe how you have succeeded in attracting customers, marketing and distribution partnerships, and other alliances that demonstrate that experts in your market are betting on your solution.
- Competitive Analysis: Identify your direct and indirect competitors, and describe how your solution is better.
- Distribution and Marketing Strategy: Describe how you will go to market, how you will price your products, etc.
- Risk Analysis: Identify major sources of risks, and describe how you are mitigating them.
- Milestones: Showcase a strong past track record, and describe key checkpoints for the future.
- Company and Management: Provide the basic facts about your companywhere and when you incorporated, where you are located, and brief biographies of your core team.
- Financials: Provide summaries of your P&L and cash flows, and the assumptions used to come up with these. Also describe your funding needs, how you will use the proceeds, and possible exit strategies for investors.
As stated earlier, there is no "right" structureyou will need to experiment to find the one that best suits your business.