Tel: 425.415.6427

Elements of a Successful Business Plan

When I write business plans to help my clients seek financing, the following elements must be explained, or the bank is likely to say “no.” Even if you just want a day-to-day working plan to run your business, I’d still follow this outline, although no one is going to say “no” if you’re the only one reading it!

Executive Summary

  • 1-3 page overview of your business
  • Give to lenders, investors, employees, advisory board, vendors, etc. to explain what your company is all about
  • Most important part of the business plan
  • Geared to grab reader’s attention and compel them to read rest of business plan
  • Highlights key points from all of the sections of your business plan
  • Write this section last

Mission Statement

  • Tells what your business is about and what you want it to become
  • Talks about the direction you want to take your company
  • Explains what is important to you about your business
  • Gives a clear picture of why your business is important to you – motivational factor for others to know you believe in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it

Company Background

  • Provides the history of how you brought your idea or business to this point
  • Summarizes both short and long term plans for the company

Ownership Structure

  • Explains legal form of your business
  • Discusses owners and roles they hold in company
  • Talks about funding of company

Description of Services

  • Identifies the problem that your product or service solves
  • Explains how the product was developed
  • Discusses how your product differs from your competitors
  • Determines the cost and profit on each product/service and the breakeven point

Market Analysis/Industry and Trends Description

  • Identifies characteristics of your market
  • Suggests the % of the market you will capture
  • Tells why customers will buy your product/service over your competitors’ offerings.
  • Identifies size of the industry, trends, and what effect they might have on your business
  • Discussed regulatory trends that may affect your business

Competitive Analysis

  • Discussed your major competitors’ products/services
  • Identifies each competitors’ position in the market
  • Lists strengths and weaknesses of each competitor

Marketing and Sales

  • Explains your marketing and sales strategy
  • Discusses your marketing activities quarter by quarter
  • Shows your market research
  • Explains your communication and distribution channels

Operations and Facilities

  • Describes how you will provide services or products
  • Includes description of equipment and suppliers needed
  • Covers growth goals
  • Describes the location of your business
  • Discusses manufacturing equipment and space

Management & Personnel

  • Talks about the role of key management staff and board personnel
  • Discusses personnel – training, skills, benefits,
  • Explains methods of accounting and information management

Financial Projections and Investment Description

  • Explains your financial needs
  • Discusses how the funds will be used
  • Captures project cost data and realistic sales projections
  • Explains how you will provide a return on the investment, pay back the loan, etc.

Supporting Documents

  • Financial statements
  • Cash flow
  • Income projections
  • Operating budgets
  • Leases, contracts, resumes, all documents that support the concepts in your business plan


If you need help developing your business plan, please contact Nancy at or at 425.415.6427 for more information.