Why it matters: Marketing is what puts your product in front of your customers. It’s not just advertising — it’s an investment in your business.
Throwing money into random marketing channels is a haphazard approach, which is why it’s essential to do the legwork to create a solid marketing plan.
Here’s some good news — by this point, you should have a solid understanding of your target market. Now, it’s time to determine how you’ll reach them.
Example of a Marketing Plan Overview
“Our marketing strategy will focus on three main initiatives:
- Social media marketing. We will grow and expand our Facebook and Instagram following through targeted social media ads.
- Website initiatives. Our website will attract potential visitors by offering updated menus and a calendar of events.
- Promotional events. Jay Street will have one special theme night per week to attract new clients.”
6. Sales Plan
It doesn’t matter if your sales department is an office full of business development representatives (BDR) or a dozen stores with your products on their shelves.
The point is: All sales plans are different, so you should clearly outline yours here. Common talking points include your:
- Sales team structure, and why this structure was chosen.
- Sales channels.
- Sales tools, software, and resources.
- Prospecting strategy.
- Sales goals and budget.
Like with your marketing plan, it might make sense to attach your completed sales plan to the appendix of your business plan. You can download a template for building your sales plan here.
Why it matters: Among other things, investors are interested in the scalability of your business — which is why growth strategies are a critical part of your business plan.
Your sales plan should describe your plan to attract customers, retain them (if applicable), and, ultimately, grow your business. Be sure to outline what you plan to do given your existing resources and what results you expect from your work.
Example of a Sales Plan Overview
“The most important goal is to ensure financial success for Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant. We believe we can achieve this by offering excellent food, entertainment, and service to our clients.
We are not a low-cost dining option in the area. Instead, the food will have premium pricing to match its upscale feel. The strategy is to give Jay Street a perception of elegance through its food, entertainment, and excellent service.”
7. Legal Notes
Your investors may want to know the legal structure of your business, as that could directly impact the risk of their investments. For example, if you’re looking for business partners to engage in a non-corporation or LLC partnership, this means they could be on the line for more than their actual investment.
Because this clarification is often needed, explain if you are and/or plan to become a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, LLC, or other.
You should also outline the steps you have taken (or will need to take) to operate legally. This includes licenses, permits, registrations, and insurance.
The last thing your investor wants to hear after they’ve sent you a big chunk of change is that you’re operating without proper approval from the local, state, or federal government.
Why it matters: The last thing your investor wants to hear after they’ve sent you a big chunk of change is that you’re operating without proper approval from the local, state, or federal government.
Example of Legal Notes
“Jay Street Lounge and Restaurant is up-to-date on all restaurant licenses and health permits. Our business name and logo are registered trademarks, presenting the possibility of expanding locally.”
8. Financial Considerations
Ultimately, investors want to know two things:
- When they will earn their money back.
- When they will start seeing returns on their initial investment.
That said, be clear, calculated, and convincing in this section. It should cover:
- Startup costs.
- Sales forecasts for the next several months/quarters.
- Break-even analysis for time and dollars.
- Projected profit and loss (P&L) statement.
Facts and figures are key here, so be as specific as possible with each line item and projection. In addition, explain the “why” behind each of these sections.
However, keep in mind that information overload is a risk, especially when it comes to data. So, if you have pages upon pages of charts and spreadsheets for this section, distill them into a page or two and include the rest of the sheets in the appendix. This section should only focus on key data points.
Why it matters: One of the most important aspects of becoming “investor ready” is knowing your numbers. More importantly, you need to understand how those numbers will enhance your business.
While it’s easy to write a number down on paper, it’s more important to understand (and communicate) why you need capital, where it’s going, and that your evaluation makes sense.
Example of Financial Projections
“Based on our knowledge and experience in the restaurant industry, we have come up with projections for the business.
Starting with an expenditure of $400,000 in year 1, we forecast sales of $1,500,000 and $2,800,000 for years two and three. We expect to achieve a net profit of 15% by year three.”
A detailed and well-developed business plan can range anywhere from 20 to 50 pages, with some even reaching upward of 80.
In many cases, the appendix is the longest section. Why? Because it includes the supportive materials mentioned in previous sections. To avoid disrupting the flow of the business plan with visuals, charts, and spreadsheets, business owners usually add them in the last section, i.e. the appendix.
Aside from what we’ve already mentioned – marketing plan, sales plan, department budgets, financial documents – you may also want to attach the following in the appendix:
- Marketing materials
- Market research data
- Licensing documentation
- Branding assets
- Floor plans for your location
- Mockups of your product
- Renderings of your office space or location design
Adding these pieces to the appendix enriches the reader’s understanding of your business and proves you’ve put the work into your business plan without distracting from the main points throughout the plan.
Why it matters: An appendix helps the reader do their due diligence. It contains everything they need to support your business plan.
Keep in mind, however, that an appendix is typically necessary only if you’re seeking financing or looking to attract business partners.
Use a Business Plan Template to Get Started
Writing a business plan shouldn’t be an insurmountable roadblock to starting a business. Unfortunately, for all too many, it is.
That’s why we recommend using our free business plan template. Pre-filled with detailed section prompts for all of the topics in this blog post, we’re confident this template will get your business plan started in the right direction.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Mar 11, 2022 7:00:00 AM, updated March 11 2022